It’s been far too long since I had a whole day to dedicate to street photography - today I put that right. For the last few days I’ve been keeping an eye on the weather forecast for today and I was thrilled to see rain on the horizon! That may seem strange, but a little rain adds a whole new dimension to street photography, with shiny pavements and the possibility of reflections in puddles. Of course, I hadn’t expected London to be deluged with a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours!
I headed straight for the South Bank Centre when I reached the city, knowing there would be plenty of strong, graphic lines and places to shelter from the downpours. I spent a couple of hours here, exploring the spaces around the architecture and the banks of the River Thames. I had planned to shoot the skate park and the outdoor bookshop beneath Waterloo Bridge. Sadly the bookshop was closed, but I found one skateboarder trying out some tricks.
From there I headed across Hungerford Bridge, shooting as I went. I’ve been reading up on Henri Cartier-Bresson in recent days. I’ve always thought of the phrase, ‘the decisive moment’ as being his iconic quote. But I was amazed to discover that it was the translation of his book title prescribed by his American publisher. A more accurate translation of his original phrase is actually ‘photography on the run’ – a different concept entirely! This seemed very appropriate as I walked across the bridge as both I and the people I photographed kept moving to avoid being drenched by the rain.
After a quick tube journey to Oxford Circus I meandered down to Piccadilly Circus where I found some wonderfully colourful reflections. They’re so different from my monochrome shots though, so I’ll share them in a separate post. After some lunch I kept walking, via Trafalgar Square, along Whitehall and down to Westminster Bridge. By now the rain was coming sideways across the Thames and no one seemed too keen to remain stationery for long. I made use of this, shooting people as they battled with umbrellas and did their best to stay vaguely dry.
My other plan for today was to step out of my comfort zone and actually ask people if I could take their portrait. It quickly became apparent that this was never going to work in such awful weather – it was simply cruel to expect people to stop and pose while getting drowned! I did take one successful portrait though, of a young man who was relaxing in his tuk-tuk (or something similar) on Westminster Bridge. I’m sure he thought I was completely crazy, but he posed for me in any case and it gave me the confidence to have another go at this on a less inclement day!
10 June 2019