London through the lens: street style
by Olivia Sandu
They say a picture paints a thousand words. That's what always fascinates me about photography. I’ve been playing with my camera for years and have been very enthusiastic with the results, but I never considered it could turn into something more than a hobby. Not until we were asked the question: “If you could take a day and learn about something you love and always wanted to master, what would that be?”. This is what Ash Communications challenged us with, to attend a course that will empower us and get our creative juices flowing, in the memory of the inspiring Sue Ash, founder of the company and close guardian of our activities.
After moments, I decided to register for a course in Street Photography, held by Brian Lloyd Duckett, a well-known London press and agency photographer, to explore the city’s ‘hot spots’ and learn how to shoot striking, compelling and witty street images.
While I usually research until I feel confident and prepared to tackle a new challenge, this time I decided to start with a blank canvas to be able to absorb all the lessons of the day. The training started with an intro on the golden rules of street photography, which provided me with a different insight on this matter. Although street pictures look very raw and seem to be a result of pure spontaneity, there is much hard work behind all this. Apart from having a goal,
managing expectations and bearing in mind all technical recommendations, what fascinated me was actually the importance of blending in and being one with the scene. Not standing out is what allows you to play with the context and get the most out of it in a picture frame.
After this, we sent a full day strolling down the affluent streets of Kensington & Chelsea, looking out for contrasts between the new and old sloanes. From what started as a very relaxed task, then progressed to become an exciting challenge where we had to keep our eyes peeled throughout the whole journey and make sure that our cameras were engaged and ready to seize the moment.
Every movement could have been an opportunity, and every person seemed to have a story to tell. Being part of this was a very personal experience, for which I am very grateful. Plus, I have now all these great pictures to keep and am exploring the option of dedicating one of my walls at home to a temporary installation exhibition.
Playing with the unknown and going outside of your comfort zone can have great results. I, for example, discovered that I fancy black & white photography, pictured myself as a tourist in London from the early 20th century and still managed to be contemporary by using my iPhone now and then to capture what my not-so-professional camera failed to.