“YOU GET OUT OF HERE, NOW!”

Having had a go a bit of ‘street photography’ on a recent trip to Amsterdam, I discovered that it is actually quite hard.  The biggest problem is trying to be discreet when you’re 6ft 4 and carrying a fairly chunky DSLR camera.

Most of the time I tried communicating that I wanted to take a picture by pointing at my camera, then pointing at the proposed subject and then giving a thumbs up or down.  This tactic didn’t go down too well.  Some google advice and a coffee later I found out that a lot of street photographers just point and shoot without the worry of having to attain some form of permission.  What the blogs hadn’t told me was how to deal with threatening situations.

Picture this scene (pun intended), a typically beautiful canal with some great sunlight, the buzz of a crowd nearby, rows of bikes and boats floating by; as I raise my camera to try and capture something interesting, just behind me I hear “OYE, OYEH!! YOU! YOU! YOU!! HERE NOW.” in an incredibly thick (I’m guessing now) greek accent.  I turn around to see a man on a red bike, who is now dismounting and heading in my direction; I ignore him and continue to take some pictures.

“SHOW ME. NOW!”, he says.  I replied with a very calm “ok”.  As he’s scrolling through the images on my camera I’m asking him what he’s looking for; “WHERE ME?” he repeats over and over again (I’m writing his dialogue in capitals as he is genuinely shouting everything).  I don’t know why he thought I’d taken a picture of him, especially as he was directly behind me but he seemed adamant that he’d find something.  After plenty more scrolling the man starts shouting “MY TOWN, MY TOWN; YOU CAN’T TAKE PICTURE IN MY TOWN”.

Now I’m really irate, I start to clench my fist and sling my camera over my shoulder just in case; I responded with “Don’t be so bloody daft..” which couldn’t have sounded any more posh if I had tried.  As we have a mini staring competition, he finally says “YOU GET OUT OF HERE, NOW!”.  I slowly walk away and glance back occasionally to check he’s not following me.

Barring that one incident, I found Amsterdam an amazing city; there’s a fair bit going on, and it isn’t short of gorgeous backdrops so you’re bound to take some good pictures.  You can find some of my attempts below.  I’ve started to adopt a heavily desaturated character in my images, sometimes editing them to create an almost hazy or dreamy like quality; I think I might make that my ‘thing’.

I’m not sure if the street style is for me yet, I feel like I still need a bit more control and have the ability to engineer a situation rather than try to catch one instantaneously.  Maybe this will improve given time, and maybe it’s also an excuse to buy a slightly more sleek or mirrorless camera body; but I’ll have to start earning some serious wedge before that sort of investment.

Hope you enjoy the images!

 

 

All images are copyrighted © by Karandeep Singh Bhogal.  The use or reprinting of any image from this site is prohibited unless prior written permission from the artist is obtained.

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“you’re really f***ing tall”

I didn’t expect that to be the first thing Rankin would ever say to me, I didn’t really know what to expect going into ‘A Photography Masterclass with Rankin’ at The Guardian in London.

I was one of a lucky 100 people to get my hands on a ticket to meet the man that has shot pretty much everyone; name any celebrity and there’s a very high chance he has worked with them – he even managed to get the Queen to crack a smile.  What is interesting though is that it’s apparent that he’s not actually interested in High Fashion photography, in fact it’s almost as if he’s had enough with it.

 

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– go and check out his ‘F*CK Y*U’ series here

Looking back through his work there seems to be a consistent theme of ‘breaking the norm’; a photograph of his published in Dazed & Confused, Issue 15, shows a model taking a bite out of some chocolate, exposing bulldog clips on the back of her jacket – a traditional trick used by stylists to make clothes appear more ‘fitted’.  “I was outing the fashion industry” – a strange stance to take given a good bulk of his career is based on the fashion industry, but a refreshing one.

He also goes on to talk about body dysmorphia amongst young people, the impact of social media on teenagers and safe sexual education, gender identification, the lack of balance between female and male nudity in the media and how these are all subjects on the ‘to do’ list going forward.  What is surprising is that although I didn’t know what to expect, I wouldn’t have guessed it was going to be a guy this down to earth, nor someone so interested in exploring and trying to positively influence current social affairs.

What is also inspiring is his passion and drive to go against the grain; his father didn’t approve of him wanting to be a photographer, instead wanting him to be an accountant.  This is typically something we all probably deal with at some point, and partly the reason why I’ve started this site.  For his final coursework at college, he concealed a nude image within a tinned food can.  This was a ‘fuck you’ to his then course tutor who seemingly had a ‘my way or the highway’ approach to teaching and photography.  The image and contents of the can wouldn’t be revealed unless purchased first and then opened.

The evening ended with personally the most prominent piece of advice, “Don’t talk about it, do it”.  If you are contemplating taking something up, be it a passion, an interest, a hobby, how will you know what will happen unless you go and do it?  “The saddest thing..” Rankin goes on to say, “…is seeing and talking to people in the pub, saying they regret not doing ‘this’ or not doing ‘that’, continually talking about it and just not doing it.”.

 

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– deep fotografie, Rankin approved.

If you haven’t heard of the Guardian Masterclasses, I recommend you check it out; they do an amazing job in connecting leaders in their respective fields with those who have an aspiration to try and build their knowledge and skill set.  I’ve definitely come away with a few new ideas and some inspiration for my work going forward; thanks for reading and keep watching this space.

a couple of ‘shout outs’; KALA Art and Bread Club

Having unintentionally guilt-tripped my mum for not picking up a drawing medium in a while (see this post), she’s decided to jump on the ‘zentangle’ art scene that seems to be emerging.  Check out her start up shop over at http://kalaart.bigcartel.com/; feel free to let her know what you think and show her some love.

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I’ve also potentially convinced her to design tattoos and all sorts of stuff that many people have suggested; if there is anything that you’d like specially commissioned, I’m sure she’d consider it.

 


 

The second ‘shout-out’ is for my friends’ website under the name of Bread Club.  These guys are curating some badass vintage threads and giving you lot a chance to get your hands on them.  You can find their stuff at http://breadclub.bigcartel.com/.  Looking forward to a future collaboration (hint hint…).

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Enjoy!

P.S. I haven’t gone quiet on the deep fotografie front; I’ve got a couple of things planned and will be uploading some stuff soon (hold tight!).

“I would have paid £500 for that…”

If there is one thing I’ve learnt recently, it’s to try and not be too inebriated when there’s a small chance you might have to make a speech.  As most of you might have seen, my image ‘Comforts’ has been announced as ‘Best in Show May 2016′ in the London Photo Festival; it’s safe to say when I entered two months ago that I never expected this!

Having maintained that mentality all the way through until the Private Viewing on Wednesday, it sets you up to approach the whole situation with an almost blasé attitude.  I hadn’t planned travel to London very well, I hadn’t looked at trains, return times, in fact I hadn’t thought too much about it other than it would be good fun to hit the open bar, meet some other photographers and hand out a few business cards.

I was on the train at 18:06 from Woking, the event (and open bar) started at 18:00….damn it!  No bother, I had already been drinking and thought I could still make it in time for the award ceremony.

It was 19:23 and I arrived at The Crypt in Borough Market, the award ceremony started at 19:00…. DAMN IT!

I hadn’t missed all of it though; as I walked into reception I could hear the Judge making the announcements.  I couldn’t see the whole gallery as the crowd was blocking the entrance to the main room, so I sidle in and stand to the side.  As I’m half listening to what the judge is saying I was looking around to try and find my photo; I couldn’t see it and was getting more and more irate as I couldn’t stop thinking that they had forgotten to print/post my image in the show!

Suddenly I hear the following “and so, the reason why I’ve picked this image is because he’s interpreted the theme in a unique way; the subject is sat in a bath, he’s smoking and looking out of the window and I just really want to hear the story behind it…”.  It clicks… this is when I start to panic and realise how drunk I am…

As she reads my name and asks if I’m in the room, I sheepishly put my hand in the air and two ladies start pushing me round the corner and right in front of me is my photo on the wall.  I honestly can’t remember what I had said but I can assure you it wasn’t well thought out or considered!

After the horrendous speech I was inundated with people asking me how I took the image and why it was so cheap; the best answer I could give was that I scrolled through a couple of forums and set my price based on others’ advice and the size of the image.  When I submitted my photo, I didn’t think anyone would want me hanging on the wall in their home, but according to one lady she was certain she’d expect to pay £500 for the privilege and not the paltry £40 price tag I put on myself..

I suppose this is a lesson for next time.

 

 

To make up for the poor speech, I’d like to say a massive congratulations to everyone who entered and submitted their work to the London Photo Festival; walking around the room afterwards it really highlighted how out of my depth I was.  Rachael Talbert, who was 2nd runner up had created an amazing image using intentional camera movement whilst taking her photo (you can see her photo titled ‘Tempest’, here).

1st runner up Markus Eichenberger is a fully fledged, multi-award winning photographer and filmmaker who has travelled to over 80 countries capturing some incredible scenes.  His image of him travelling through the world’s largest salt desert in what looks like an old Land Rover Discovery can be seen here.

There was a huge collection of genuinely extraordinary images that must have made our judge’s (Vanessa Champion) job a difficult one and I’d like to thank her for choosing my photo for Best in Show.  Also a big shout out to friends, family and everyone who has been following and showing their support recently; it’s given me a massive kick to try and post photos more regularly and see where this ends up going.

You can find out more about the event and the organisers (Emma Mapp and Kit Shah – they’ve done a fantastic job organising such a great event) at the following links;

my model bailed on me

It’s amazing what you can find on the internet once you’ve finally ‘completed’ facebook (and no, it’s not what you’re thinking).  I was sat in bed last week and I stumbled across a link that took me to the London Photo Festival’s website; it’s definitely not a massive event, but it looks like it’s been running for a while and it attracts a fairly healthy following.

Now, when I decide to do something that requires me to put myself out there I normally think about it long enough for the self doubt to talk me out of it; however, being ill, sat in bed for hours on end and loaded on all sorts of painkillers apparently gives you the same sort of confidence you find when you’re cutting shapes on the dance floor on a shady Friday night.

Having received confirmation of my entry, the fear starts to set in; I find out that the theme is ‘the four elements’ and I need to submit the photo within a week.  After a quick Pinterest search and scrolling through hundreds of conceptual photos I immediately start to regret my decision, this is not my style at all; I like taking pictures of people doing weird stuff or looking a bit edgy.  A few more photos scroll by and I come across a pretty cool photo of Steve McQueen smoking in a bath tub with a very attractive lady friend – gives you an idea of what inspires me.

I immediately message a friend that I feel I can easily persuade to have some photos taken whilst potentially being semi-nude; 5 minutes later and she’s said yes.

D-day… it’s immediately obvious that we’re both super apprehensive about the whole situation – why did we ever think this was going to be an easy ‘thing’?  We take a few test shots for lighting and positions and she goes her way; we both know that we won’t be doing the semi-nude shoot that’s for sure.

This leaves me without a model and about 3 days left to take and submit a photo.  I decide to jump in the bath myself; here’s the result…

 

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Going back to the theme for the exhibition, the four elements could be interpreted through different items and focal points in the photo (tedious links so bear with me); air and fire through the cigarette and lighter, water through the bath tub and earth from the view through the window.  The pitch to the exhibition is that this image symbolises how mankind has harnessed these four elements to make ‘comforts’ out of them… or something like that.

So we’ll see how the exhibition goes, I doubt I’ll be selling or winning anything soon but the main purpose of this is to get out there and start forcing my hand to learn from and meet some people in the industry.

Key things to remember so far;

  • Don’t ask your friend to pose in a bath, it’s awkward
  • Taking a self portrait without a remote shutter is also awkward
  • Don’t sign up for things whilst under the influence

The exhibit starts on 19th May and ends on 21st May 2016 so I’ll be back with an update on this one soon after.  More details about the exhibit can be found at http://www.londonphotofestival.org/.

Thanks for reading.

the first post..

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I’ve been trying to figure out what to post first; it’s never easy when you have to contend with so many other blogs and profiles that will inevitably be a lot more interesting than mine.

So I ask myself, “what’s the aim?”…  As the ‘about me’ section states, this is a bit of a creative space for myself; now you could say “well why do you need to create a wordpress broadcasting all of your boring crap?”, and I’ll say it’s probably because I actually think I might want to be a portrait photographer (don’t worry, this internal/fictitious public dialogue will stop now).

I was walking through Berlin and noticed a small photography business in the corner of a department store; nothing out of the ordinary, just the standard setup with clean walls and lighting, a table of props and an iMac.  As I stood there watching, I couldn’t help but notice how many people were waiting, and more importantly how happy and confident they looked.  It’s amazing how such a simple idea creates so much attraction.

Ever since I got back from that trip, I couldn’t stop banging on about having an idea or doing something in my spare time.  This is where my mum steps in (yep, that’s her in the picture above), being the creative/arty type that she is, she’s a constant reminder of why I feel like I’m a jack of all trades.  I seem to have inherited a creative nature from my mum, but have gone down a road that is fairly technical; more often than not it’s an awful place to be, constantly being told even by friends and loved ones that “you can’t do this” or “you can’t do that” because you haven’t studied that ‘thing’ or you haven’t got experience in this ‘thing’.  However I like to think my mum (and you too dad because I know you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned you yet) is a symbol of why you shouldn’t listen too much to those types of comments (I won’t go into their experiences because this blog isn’t about them…), and because of that I’ve finally got off the pot and started doing something about it.

I also need to credit my mate a little bit too for constantly reminding me that we need to have a passion, or at least pursue our passions more seriously outside of work (yes, I know Harris, we seriously need to start discussing what the joint project is going to be..).

So my thinking is that through showcasing some ideas through this, I’ll get the ball rolling into what will hopefully result in a mobile studio that visits all sorts of events, using you guys to create some interesting portraits.