Candid Photography on the London Underground
I love street photography – capturing spontaneous everyday moments that can suggest something deeper than we usually notice when we’re walking around. Beyond the power of great photographers like Cartier-Bresson and his Magnum cohorts, I love how simple and effective a practice it is for my eye. If I can produce a compelling image from the unexpected, then I can sure enough do it in a studio with a plan in hand.
I’ve been photographing strangers in different cities for years. It’s a way of actively engaging in my surroundings, by looking for the moments that could have wider meaning. But these days, the London Underground is the form of transport I use most often, so it’s there that I’ve been practicing my street photography lately. And I’ve been finding that my Olympus OM-D micro four-thirds camera is the perfect tool for this. I’ve tried out using the iPhone camera apps for this kind of work but it isn’t nearly flexible enough for my needs, and I find it disingenuous and voyeuristic to use a camera phone for street photography. Using a camera phone for candid street photography feels like you’re being deceptive, whereas using a proper camera requires you to be more sensitive and open about where you point it.
Back in 2010, I ran the Street Photography Now Project, a year long street photography mass participation programme run by The Photographers’ Gallery and Thames & Hudson books, to promote the new book Street Photography Now. It was a huge success, and the participants have continued the project every year since then, running it themselves and continuing to develop intriguing images pulled from everyday life. What interesting scenes will you see the next time you go out?