Shadow Lines - Directors Cut, Redux, whatever...

I have recently taken a Ridley Scott approach to a street photography and have revisited a project that I did roughly 18 months ago, shooting new content and re-editing existing images, with the biggest change being my decision to convert the images from B&W to colour. When I originally shot the Shadow Lines project I very much visualised it as B&W images, but I have shot exclusively in colour since then, including images that would very much fit into the Shadow Lines project, so decided to give them the colour treatment.

Before I go any further, I should probably talk a little bit about the original idea and why I originally shot it in B&W. Like many street photographers, the interplay between light and shadow interests me visually, with shafts of light cutting through dark shadows making for really dramatic images. As I shot the images over a period of time I found that what I really wanted was subjects bathed in light but framed in black shadows, which adds drama and a little abstraction to the images. I also felt that people momentarily passing through a bubble of light also reflects how people go through periods of darkness/light throughout the courses of their lives, whether that is mental or emotional etc. As these ideas coalesced into a project it was, at the time, obvious to me that B&W was the best medium to present in and colour wasn't really a consideration. At the time I think shooting in B&W lent a certain film-noir quality to them, which complimented the style and theme, but I have now done a complete u-turn and feel that the images are much stronger in colour. So why the sudden change?

Well I have recently been reviewing images shot over the last few years, partly out of curiosity and partly because I was looking at images that I wanted to enter into the London Photo Festival, which I will talk about in a separate post. I started looking at the Shadow Lines project and felt that something was missing from the images.

I started off by creating a virtual copy of the first image (below) and converted it to colour. The themes still held true, but colour really brought the scene to life for me. I then looked at the crop, and found that changing it gave more depth and scope to the image. I have now begun the process of reviewing the whole project, converting to colour and reviewing the crops etc and am excited by the results.

Have you ever returned to an image/photography project months or even years later and no longer felt the connection to the work, and what did you do? Did you, like myself and Sir Ridley, with his many cuts of Blade Runner, review and re-edit, or do you think that once you have moved on from a project, it is best to leave the work as it is and invest the time and effort exploring new ideas and challenges? 

Anyway, I will add the entire Shadow Lines project directors cut to my website in the coming weeks, but for now here are some examples of images that were part of the original project along side its colour counterpart.



Crystal Palace Park in Infrared

In August, just before moving down to the South Coast, I experimented with some infrared photography in Crystal Palace park. 

I'd toyed with the idea of doing some infrared for a while, but had never gotten around to it, but over the summer I was going through a bit a creative block, so though that it might be a good time to give it a go. 

There are basically two options when it comes to infrared, 1) the bloody expensive option, 2) the significantly less expensive option. I went with option 2. This basically involved buying an infrared filter, which blocks visible light, allowing only the invisible infrared light onto the sensor. This cost me £37 from Amazon. Because you're blocking so much visible light, you need to take a longer exposure, so you'll need a tripod and cable release to get sharp results.

The alternative and expensive option involves sending your camera to a specialist to have a sensor conversion. This costs roughly £250 plus p&p, which is a bit steep for an experiment! 

One thing to be aware of when shooting infrared is the potential for hotspots on the resulting image. These are areas, usually in the middle of the frame, that are over exposed. These are caused by reflections between the filter and the rear element of the lens. Apparently. To avoid these are a couple of sites the tell you which lenses work best for this kind of photography.

I shoot on the Fuji X system and found this really useful -

The shooting is the easy part, with the complexity being in the edit. There are tons of youtube videos that walk you through the process so I won't go through it step-by-step here (although feel free to get in touch if you have any questions).

I hope you liked the images, I think that they look pretty cool. But I’m not sure how I feel about infrared photography at this stage. It’s cool to learn a new skill, but I’m wondering whether or not infrared photography is a bit of a gimmick. That’s not to say that there aren’t great infrared images, and great photographers producing those images, but it seems that I would be able to take a fairly boring image, and elevate it to something much more interesting, with pink leaves and shit, without actually having to improve my composition. Anyway, I'm going to keep experimenting with it and I'll see where that takes me.


Ps. Some useful links!

Here's a link to another site that tells you which lenses work best for this kind of thing -

Anyway, if you fancy giving it a go, here's where you can get the filter

New website, new location, same street and urban photography!

Hello, and welcome to my newly updated site. I'm a street and urban photographer from London, but have recently moved to St Leonards-on-sea in East Sussex. 

As you can see, most of my photography has a certain "urban" quality to it, and I admit to being little worried that I wouldn't find much in St Leonards to satisfy my neon and concrete cravings. But I needn't have worried. There is some great urban photography to be had around the Hastings and St Leonards areas, with the stunning Hastings Promenade or "Bottle Alley" as it's known, the imposing Marine Court, the Azur restaurant, alleyways, underpasses, car parks and industrial buildings, and that's without mentioning the beautiful Hastings Pier, that won the rather prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize 2017 (click the below link for more info)!  There's also the De La Warr Pavilion just up the road in Bexhill, which I will cover, along with the pier in more detail in a future post.

For now, I hope you enjoy these recent shots from my initial explorations around my new manor. The first two images are from the lower part of the double decked Hasting Promenade. The rest of the images are taken along the seafront, heading west towards Bexhill. These include the beautiful Azur restaurant, which is the golden triangle shaped building. I can't comment on the quality of the food as I haven't eaten there, but the building fascinates me!

Anyway, hope you enjoy to pictures!


Ps. Click on the image below to scroll through the images.