Category Archives: Research and Reflection

Paul Bence – Street Photography

I stumbled across another article offering advice on street photography by Paul Bence.

The article below offers some great tips on what and what not to do. I’ve noticed some big similarities with the advice on street photography.

I love the style of Paul Bence – he gets so up close to his subjects, and often shoots through windows which creates a lovely urban feel. He captures great expressions on his subjects, and the eye contact between them and the camera evokes emotion.


Drew Hopper – Street Photography

In my quest to gain more confidence when photographing people I began researching photographers and forums giving advice and tips on how to overcome the fear of photographing strangers.

That’s when I came across an article written by Drew Hopper – an Australian landscape and travel photographer. Here Drew gives 10 top tips for getting over ‘the fear’ and includes examples of his travel photography.

Not only is this advice stellar, but his imagery is incredibly evocative.

His use of colours really make the images ‘pop’ and I like the vignette effect he’s applied to several of the shots.

His use of camera angles are enviable, and produce some really great shots. For example the aerial angle used to capture the fruit and veg seller.

Here’s the article:

Tips for successful street photography

Along with the link to Drew’s website…………well worth a look. What an amazingly creative photographer.

Drew Hopper Photography


‘The Last Resort’ – Martin Parr

I have previously referenced the work of Martin Parr earlier on my blog, but was advised by my tutor to look especially at his collection called ‘The Last Resort’. I had a substantial lack of confidence for my latest assignment and chose to avoid photographing people where possible – something I am fully aware I need to overcome. As my tutor Robert pointed out – we are all entitled to photograph the world around us, and at times may need to seek permission, but photographing people both aware and unaware is something I need to become much more confident with.

What I learnt instantly from looking at ‘The Last Resort’ is just how confident Parr is when photographing his subjects. He manages to capture such raw and intimate moments in time.

His collection can be viewed here:

There’s very little in the way of preparation with this collection. No one is posed or positioned in order to create a more aesthetic composition. There’s no second chance, or chance to recreate a certain shot. What is also apparent is that Parr is up close and personal, rather than relying on/hiding behind a zoom lens. Parr’s ability to capture expressions and gestures are purely a combination of his impeccable timing, his eye for detail and most importantly, his confidence behind the camera.

What captivated me the most about this collection is the glaring irony.

‘New Brighton is a seaside resort on the Wirral Peninsula, three miles from Liverpool. Originally a watering place for the wealthy merchants of Liverpool, New Brighton hit the peak of its popularity in the first two decades of this century. The tower, built in 1897, was actually higher than Blackpool’s but had to be demolished after the First World War due to the neglect. New Brighton’s decline was accelerated in the 1960’s when most of the sand disappeared because of the tidal changes in the River Mersey. This was consolidated by the closure of the ferry service to Liverpool (1971) and the demolition of the pier (1978).

Despite this, some notable features remain: the Lido outdoor swimming pool, built in 1934, is one of the largest in Europe. There is also a fine promenade and ‘The Palace’ amusement park.

Today’s visitors to New Brighton are day-trippers from Liverpool and the Wirral. A hot summer day can still draw large crowds. Martin photographs document contemporary New Brighton: and urban seaside resort, run down, but very much alive.’

This resort used to be frequented by the wealthy, but slowly spiralled into a decline – which is very much apparent in this series. People had gone on day trips and vacations to this destination, yet the feeling of disrepair or some sort of disconnect is very much apparent. The litter scattered amongst groups of sunbathers, the crying children, the bored parents and the elderly couples sitting in silence. What a captivating collection. This really has given me the drive to photograph the public….

Exercise: How Space Changes With Light

For this exercise I have to return to the same location at different times of the day or different weather, to see how the light changes. It is important to take note that dusk and artificial lighting can create even greater differences.

The first shot was taken early in the morning, with the winter sun shining strongly from the right. The details of the plant beds on the right are almost lost, and there’s strong shadows cast on the wall. If I were photographing the garden in this light iId change my positioning to capture more of the mid tones.

Later in the morning there was some light cloud which has eliminated the strong shadows allowing more of the flowers/beds to be visible.


Just before the sun started to set, I’d added an artificial light source (the kitchen light, evident on the seat of the chair) which adds some depth.

Finally a mixture again of natural and artificial light. Without the artificial light the garden was almost invisible.

I’d like to try this exercise again but using an indoor space as I think my results would be more evident. Besides the first picture, I wouldn’t necessarily consider changing my position in any of the other images. Had I used an indoor space I think the varied shadows would have been greater and more interesting. Perhaps I should have removed the artificial light used in image 3 to portray stronger results. Still, I am very aware of how light can vastly change a space, requiring us to consider angles, viewpoints and composition in order to capture a space successfully.



Exercise: The Users Viewpoint

For this exercise I am required to choose two or three buildings or spaces designed for a particular activity that is undertaken from a specific, distinctive, position. For each location, take one or more photographs that attempt to capture the user’s point of view. Consider height, orientation and lens focal length.

I wanted to use two spaces that were relatively different in style, purpose and size so chose a modern library and a traditional church (influenced by my recent research)

The library has multiple small reading spaces, closed in by bookshelves separated by topics/genre. The entire space has been divided up into smaller sections, resulting in a more private, cosy environment.

I wanted this image to be a total replica of what I (the user) was seeing. I used my 50mm prime lens to soften the book shelves in the background, and increase the focal point of the books on the table.

The church is the complete opposite. It is a vast open space, depicting grandeur, and emphasising the use of space while exhibiting the detailed historical architecture.

This image is take from a seated position, therefore enhancing the brief of a users point of view. I was lucky enough to incorporate someone else in the picture, sitting quietly. I used a wide angle lens in order to fit as much of the surrounding is a possible, and to heighten the feeling of scale. While sitting in a building as big as this, the overwhelming sense is that of size.

Not so much from a users point of view, but I wanted to include an image taken very low to the ground in order to emphasise the size once again. Although the pew’s are obstructing the space to both the left and right of the image, they lead the eye to the stain glassed window and the alter right at the far end – emphasising the scale of the building.



David Spero

My tutor introduced me to the work of David Spero ( and I’ve found his work, especially his Church portfolio to be extremely thought provoking.

For part 3 of this module we are to look at spaces and buildings and how people use them and interact with them. I had been considering photographing local Churches.

Spero’s Church work completely goes against the conventional ideas and interpretations of Churches. When we think of Churches, we think of historical grand buildings adorned with colourful stained glass windows depicting stories from the Bible. Ancient buildings filled with artwork, paintings, furniture and objects that have been preserved and kept for many many years. The iconic smell of these old buildings, the cold air and hollow echoes that bounce around the hand crafted places of worship.

Spero has sought out the modern day worship halls that simply look like normal buildings. They are normal buildings. A place of worship does not need to be grand and fancy, it’s about the relationship the followers have inside these buildings that matters. David has used examples of buildings that you wouldn’t look twice at.

Here’s several of my favourite images from his collection:

These images highlight the rawness of inner city places of Worship; their unkept surroundings, shared building space and uninviting appearances. Perhaps all the grandeur and elegance of your stereotypical Church is unnecessary and irrelevant when it comes to Faith…

Architectural Photography

It is paramount that I realise from the offset that part 3 is NOT architectural photography……..

With that in mind I feel I need to have a clear understanding of architectural photography and how this type of photography can be avoided.

Wikipedia defines architectural photography as:

Architectural photography is the photographing of buildings and similar structures that are both aesthetically pleasing and accurate representations of their subjects. Architectural photographers are usually skilled in the use of specialised techniques and equipment.

The first permanent photograph ever recorded was also the first architectural photograph as it included buildings. The photo was View from the Window at Le Gras by Nicéphore Niépce taken in 1826 or 1827.

Shortly after, photographer William Henry Fox Talbot began photographing buildings, and his image of a latticed building taken in 1835 is well known.

By the 1860’s architectural photography was becoming more and more established, and by the early 20th century photographers were using diagonal lines and bold shadows, paving the way for creativity to be incorporated into architectural photography.

Photographers then began to develop certain techniques to enhance their subjects such as perspective control, emphasising vertical lines, and using a deep depth of field.

Architectural photography can be both interior and exterior.

Interior photography tends to use both ambient lighting and interior lighting. Often additional lighting is used to improve subject illumination as the principle subjects rarely move.

With exterior photography, the available light is used more, and sometimes incorporates added ambient light from other buildings, street lights, or moonlight. There tends to be the inclusion of the surrounding landscape to enhance the compositions; such as flowers, trees, statues etc which help lead the eye to the subject.

Below are some interesting modern architectural photographs which, while inspiring, are examples of the techniques I will be trying to avoid throughout this section.