Looking ahead

I took this shot at the end of a walk after being trapped at my desk for a long period, working an online marketing course. I hadn’t been shooting a great deal and to say I felt rusty was an understatement.

Lipstick kiss. Copyright: Mike Kemp

Lipstick kiss. Copyright: Mike Kemp

I’d walked into the City in the rain, and grabbed a couple of frames along the way, but easy stuff really, more illustrative than anything. Then I thought I’d try something I never do, as a friend had said I should give it a go. I put my camera on Auto. A potentially good situation of a wealthy looking guy under an umbrella sucking on the last remnants of a cigar stub sticking out of his mouth approached.

The camera figured it all out of course… Got it totally wrong. It’s blurred at a 60th second. No the end of the world, it still had a good atmosphere, but I went straight back to Manual. I was feeling pretty useless at this point. 

Had I lost my mojo? How long would it take to get it back? 

I decided to take a different route home. But I had seen the guy with the cigar coming, and I had photographed him pretty close up. So it’s not all bad, right?

What I had been doing is a skill you can train yourself to do, but I don’t think it is something that you will be able to get immediately. I’m talking of the ability to look ahead and spot things which are out of the ordinary. Some bird-watchers say, to be able to spot their illusive feathered friends, they first follow the lines of a tree, and look out for anything which seems to break the natural shape.

Well, that is what you should be trying to do with street photography, to be open minded, scanning for something which is breaking the natural order of life, and therefore having the makings of a picture which may be interesting on multiple levels.

Looking ahead.

So, heading home, walking along Wentworth Street, which is where part of Petticoat Lane market is held, in the distance I saw a mark on a mans face that looked strange. I’m ready, 250th, f8 MANUAL. Just how I like it. From about 20 metres away I realise it’s a perfect lipstick mark. As they come closer, I lift my camera pretending to shoot a view of the street, then as they are right in front of my, I gently drop a little and take a frame so as to be more on their level.

I look at the back of the camera. He’s got the perfect lipstick mark, and she, clearly the deliverer of the kiss is beside him. He has a slightly pensive look on his face. I like it. Mojo restored in that brief moment.

So, if you’re out and about taking pictures, rather than focussing on what is right on top of you and photographing passers by, try looking ahead and scanning what may be coming, what’s over the road, looking for things that break the natural order.

Have a great week!