Here is my contact sheet for 27/11/14.On this date i had gone out into town with a couple of friends with the aim to find and capture some documentary styled images based around cafe culture.We did this by visiting all cafes we came across and either hooking the camera across our shoulder and shoot as we walked past, or occasionally i would face my fear and seek an image through the viewfinder and acted as the ‘invisible man’.The only reason i had enough courage to do that was due to a video by Chris Shaw.
With the first set of images, i was using a Nikon D7100 camera with a Tokina 77mm, 12-14 lens.I used this as it was as close to a wide angle lens as i could get, as i wished to capture more in my image as i walked by so i didn’t miss out on anything, but i was also hoping for a fish eye effect, which unfortunately i did not achieve.This was my first time using a wide angle lens.
With this set of images, i had swapped lenses to a Nikon 18-105 for a closer look on the images.This is the lens i would normally use when going out gathering images, so i’m used to images like this.But it is still new to me getting documentary images and having to go out into the public and gather images of them doing their business.
I found it hard to walk past people and take images, it made me incredibly paranoid that they may notice or hear the noise and wonder where it came from.I had done something similar in a previous project, except on the previous project i was even more up- close and personal like Bruce Gilden, where as on this one my images are more like those of documentary photographers like Chris Shaw.
But i am glad that i have done it and experienced what it is like to go out into the public with no idea what you are going to capture until you already have it.Out of all of those images, there were only a few that i liked, but i do admit that most of the images are repetitive due to me taking plenty of the same place when i walked past, and not all were well focused,but it takes practice i guess.
Below you will find what i consider my best images from that shoot. I have paired them with a black and white version as i wanted to shoot in b&w but i also wanted a coloured version just incase, to i had the idea to shoot in colour and use lightroom to change the following images into black and white, to compare and see which looks best.
Personally, i love B&W photography, so my final pieces will probably end up being in B&W, but at least i tried both versions.
I admit, at a glance this image appears to be of just chairs.The main focus is on the chairs and it’s not too obvious that i was attempting to record the entire cafe that has many empty chaos up close but the further away, the more people there is.It like a gradual increase in customers.
I find this image more of a fine art piece if i am honest, the documentary side of the image is hidden in the background.
Colour choice: Black and white.
With this image, the focus is on the centre of the image, focusing mainly on the sign, the boy and the shop.Because it was taken at a lower than usual angle, it has exaggerated the actual size of the sign and made it roughly the same size as the boy walking past.I think this image would be a decent image for the advertisement of Sam-widges, perhaps if the male wasn’t in it also, as this would put immense focus on the actual shop and be a great, interesting image for the business.
This image is just a simple image of a group of people sat on chairs outside of Greggs having a chat.This is typically what we find around when it concerns people having a tea or coffee with friends, they’re always having a good old natter.I’d definitely class this one as documentary as it’s the town life.People rushing around with shopping bags with some people sparing time during shopping for a break.
I love this image! if you look closely, i have captured women entering a shop, but also couple getting up to leave that same shop whilst there is a man outside having a strangely large slice of pizza. I feel as if i have captured a sequence of actions in one image.Entering a shop, eating, and leaving. I like this image in black and white as it makes it more dramatic, but i also like it in colour as you can tell that this man is eating a pizza easier in colour, and i feel that if i took focus away from that the image just wouldn’t be as good.
This image is of a woman paying for some snacks from a portable business.This van sells tea, coffee, various other drinks and many snacks.It would have gone a lot better with my theme if this woman was paying for a cup of tea or coffee.Any kind of hot beverage really, but i’d rather this than nothing. I prefer this image in black and white as the colours seem washed out and dull.The yellow is a very wished out colour and gives the image a completely different look.Where as the black and white gives more focus to the serving station in the truck due to the darkness, so all the focus is pulled into the centre.
This image is the same as the previous, just from a different angle.Unfortunately, the customer had left by this point but the same view on the black and white image remains the same.In black and white the focus is pulled onto the serving area of the van due to the contrast and darkness emerging form the inside.This would document the various kinds of food trucks you can find around that offer beverages and snacks.This one obviously doesn’t sell the typical english fish and chips kind of thing, but this bring some culture onto the streets of Derby and offers the public easy access to new foods.
I definitely think this image is more dramatic in black and white.I admit there is not much going on in this image, and nothing interesting at that.But it shows the not all shops are wheelchair/scooter accessible.You can tell that it is a rather small shop, but it has meant this poor customer has had to trust the public and leave his/her scooter outside whilst they do something as simple as buy a coffee.Obviously they had nobody with them to go in and grab them something.This image makes me rather sad the more i think about it.
In this image,i am documenting the service and relationship between the staff and the customers.The lady which is serving the man is very joyful and happy, making the customer feel very welcome.This would make a good advertising image also due to the happy service and the Panorama sign in plain view.
This one shows the kinds of people that sit outside of food shops and smokes, not considering the people merely 1 meter away indoors.Since it is classed as outside, people think it is fine, but it is not ethically acceptable.I prefer this image in black an white as it gives it more of an older/vintage style. The cafe here isn’t a new, modernised place, which helps gives the old feel to the image.
This image shows the services are available outdoors amongst indoors, even in awful seater, Uncle Toms Cabin is prepared!This is a typical scene we see every day of some women and a baby having a good old fashioned chat! Perhaps over a cup of tea or coffee.
I absolutely adore this image from a fine art respective as it has 3 levels of focus.The woman close to the camera is very blurred, the stone sign is kind of blurred, and the woman outside uncle toms cabin is well focused.
I took this image accidentally.I only wanted an image of the woman near the sign,But somebody had walked near my lens as i took the image, and i am glad they did.This image may not document much other than some people smoking outside uncle toms cabin, but it’s very pleasing to my eye, especially in black and white.
With this image, i have noticed that the focus is on the pair of people behind the man, but they are more obvious anyway due to them being in light and the main subject being in darkness.But i enjoy this image.You can tell its a cold day but it’s warm at the same time due to us witnessing this man enjoy a nice hot cup of tea/coffee.The people behind look very awkward as they know images were being taken where as the male enjoying his drink was very joyful and open to having his photo taken.He was a lovely man, and i feel this is portrayed through image.We need more people like this in our world!
This image reminds me of the work of Bruce Gilden where he captures images of people by getting up close and personal.Obviously, i have alarmed some people with me getting images of their faces up close.
Here we see two elderly men looking at a menu containing meal deals and discounts.We can see what they usually look for in a cafe as they are looking at deals instead of on the actual menu located to the left of these men.This is documenting the way people behave in cafes and/or with their money.They tend to save as much as they can but still enjoy themselves and go out.I prefer this in black and white as it takes focus away from the sign outside on the floor as its illuminate orange and very distracting from the items on the window and the men.
This shows a supposed single mother and child sat alone on a table in the corner of a cafe.They have secluded themselves from the rest of the world and stayed to themselves.This may be on purpose or coincidental but its obvious these people don’t enjoy large spaces or busy places as the cafe area next to them had people in it. I feel that this feels a lot more emotional in black and white and a lot more dramatic.
Here is a cafe where you can be part of the experience simply by walking past.You are still part of the cafe if you are in the area.Here we see a disabled man at the cafe without needing a ramp to get up the step.We also see another elderly and disabled woman walking past.She perhaps does not intend to go to the cafe, but she fits in well. In black and white the light reflecting off the floor gives a really nice effect and also black and white helps the main subjects stand out more .This is what these people do in their day to day lives, we see this by how comfortable and confident they are.
I think i like this image in colour as we can see the dull, boring scene outside the cafe on the right, but theres many bright lights, bold colours and lovely festive decorations exploding from the cafe and giving it a lovely warm, home like feel.This cafe looks lovely and welcoming due to it being well lit, and festive.This is a simple image of a cafe with a man eating nearby, a woman leaving, and a service area.
Here is an image of a woman sat alone facing into the cafe.She could be waiting for a friend to come out of=r she could just be looking for something to stare at.It i sun usual because, if you sit at a table, you sit facing the table.Whereas she is not, she is facing into the cafe from the outside.I think i prefer the colour version of this image as where the woman is sat seems very dull and boring where as there’s a lovely warm light coming from the service area of the cafe, along with a fridge full of lovely colourful drinks.It somewhat gives the message that it’s exiting and welcoming in that shop.
This has to be my number one favourite image.I do class it as documentary but it has such a deeper meaning to me.At first, this image makes me happy, i feel cheerful and i giggle at the fact that this man appears to be part of the meal deal.You get him, some pop and some crisps.But this makes me look even deeper, which then i see that this man is on a scooter.But why?Maybe he is lazy like some of the other people that ride them.But no.He is one of the few that need a scooter.If you direct your attention to his left leg, you will see something odd, this poor man has no foot.He has been amputated from the knee down.The plastic bag between his leg aids us in seeing the fact that he has no foot, which is what to would notice first about his leg.
I find this image should be in black and white,it makes the image more serious, as its not as playful as you may first think it is.This image makes my feel sympathetic.He could of lost his leg in any kind of way, but either way you know that this poor man has suffered, and still does.
Whilst i had been gathering these images i have learned that not everything we find out in the real world is happy.Not everything is beautiful.When i go out shooting i should capture the good and the ugly.
It has also taught me how to use a wide angle lens on a Nikon D7100 and it has helped me get used to shooting from the hip and shooting without being seen.
What i need to do next time to improve is to , instead of shooting from the hit, shoot like normal, so i can see what i’m getting.But if i do things such as use a smaller camera, or even smart phone, and go out alone then already i am less noticeable.