Edinburgh Street Photography Experiments – Part 1

I periodically blog about my experiments with street photography or what I’m now going to call ‘urban photography’ because I don’t really see seeing myself being a street photographer any more. I don’t think I’m sharp enough to make the kind of images I’d like to see.

These days I’m often nowhere near people in my daily journey at least not in the traditional ‘Street Photography’ sense of a large sprawling city full of people.

On the rare occasions I do find myself on the street its always the same places because it’s part of my route either to work or my daughter’s nursery. This is making for pretty repetitious images which I’m starting to hate making.

What I have been trying to do with the few trips I have made with my cameras is get comfortable with:
a) getting closer, and
b) composing on the fly.

I say that every time I post about my meger attempts at street photography because they are the two most difficult things for me to do. Point ‘b’ is the hardest by infinity because that requires an instant (or less) to make an interesting image. Point ‘a’ is also difficult, getting over the fear of detection by your temporary models and not liking it.

A week or so ago when most of the images here were made I had two incidents where people weren’t happy with me taking their photo. Both parties reacted very differently.

The first incident was with a young man about 19 or so who I thought could make a good portrait while waiting for a bus. I lifted my camera he turned and said “no I don’t like it”. I hadn’t actually taken the photo so I reassured him I didn’t take it and although he wasn’t happy he wasn’t angry and didn’t make a fuss and we both got on the same bus. No problem.

I can totally understand where he’s coming from, if I had taken the photo I’d happily delete the image if it was a digital camera but there was no way I’d remove my roll of film.

I’d simply make sure that negative was never printed or scanned for publication online or elsewhere (like it would).

More in Part 2 ….


3 thoughts on “Edinburgh Street Photography Experiments – Part 1

  1. Really great ‘experimentations’! I really do enjoy following your work, you have an interesting eye to follow! Loads of really great images here, but I still love the one of the girl’s legs. I love those last two images too – the black hooded character with just a protruding nose – that conversation looks interesting, I want to know more! And the last one is a very interesting composition that keeps my interest trying to figure it out. I presume it’s a bus taken through a bus shelter?

    Interesting to read about your confrontations. I have very little experience of street photography and one of my first in Tel Aviv in Israel involved a local Arab throwing a rock at me! I’m still a little mentally scared by that incident and I wasn’t even photographing him or his family; I was shooting a Mosque beyond them! :-(


    1. Wow James, a rock!?

      My worry is that people will think I’m going to do something perverse with the images. I see myself doing what millions of other people have been doing, capturing a slice of life in a moment of time. Like a this is who we are/were.

      Yes, that was through a bus shelter. I hesitated to take that photo and nearly didn’t until I realised in order to take interesting photos you have to be prepared to instinctively take the photo and worry if its crap or not later rather than wish you had.



      1. The rock hit my ankle, he wasn’t trying to hurt me but instead catch my attention – it worked!

        You shouldn’t worry for the reason you’ve stated, but I can totally understand why you do!

        Definitely don’t hesitate, the moment will be over. Trust your instincts, if your instinct was wrong then it’s just a frame to ignore later. Composition and the decisive moment can all happen instinctively in an instant if you have faith that your brain can do it without consciously thinking!

        I do find it much harder with film (rather than digital) because I’m constantly holding back and not doing what I’ve written above due to cost! I’m working on trying to relax about that a little :-)


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