Nearly...

Sometimes, you come across a situation which is like gold dust. A dead certain street photo all lined up and ready for you. A killer picture in the making.

But it isn’t that simple, I’m afraid. More importantly though, it is doable, but may require perseverance.

 Bond Street hoarding. Copyright: Mike Kemp

Bond Street hoarding. Copyright: Mike Kemp

I found this giant hoarding on Bond Street one day in October 2014. Behind it is one of the constant shop refits that go on along this exclusive thoroughfare. The question being; what is the picture to make from it? I could use the elements around it as juxtaposition, or, as I have done here, crop all of that stuff out (bollards / trees) and just turn it into a slightly surreal scene, whereupon than I need human interaction. I tried all the above.

The first time I went here, I got a picture of a wealthy mother and her child standing on the red and white wooden beam to the bottom of the frame. The kid was wearing clothes to the value of my entire wardrobe, and was highly irritating. Then I shot a workman eyeing up a woman as she passes and he’s lighting a cigarette. I like this one, a lot. Though it doesn’t blow my mind, it’s a definite keeper.

A day later I got a workman peering out of a window cut into the hoarding just to the right of this frame. Nice, but for me it’s a…

Nearly.

The following month, I made a frame of about a dozen workmen sitting on the wood beam, and that really worked well. All of them doing something or other while on their break. Smoking / texting / eating etc. I’d place myself in position for about an hour at a time, while watching out for traffic coming from the right, having to get out of the way and not get run over, dipping in and out. The workmen were curious to start with but could tell what I was doing and so relaxed and ignored me (I chatted to them later). Again, pretty good, but it’s a…

Nearly.

In 2015 one freezing day in February, I was back, with a brutal wind coming, as it seems to have a habit of doing, straight down Bond Street. Frozen to the bone, I came away with only ‘nearly’ frames.

In the spring of 2015 after a couple more attempts, the hoarding was taken down. I remember feeling disappointed the opportunity was gone, texted a friend and fellow street photographer who replied ‘there will be other opportunities’. This scene never became an obsession, I didn’t go there every day, but you know, perhaps I should have done until I got a real winning frame. It would have happened, eventually.

That was where my true disappointment lay, I hadn’t worked it enough. Though I’m over it now. I think…

So, when you are out there and you find what could be a gem, put in the time. 

Revisit if necessary, be realistic with yourself, asking “Is this really good enough?” or is it just people walking down the street. And if it’s a ‘nearly’. Don’t stop until you improve it until it’s a real winner. 

Have a great week!

Mike