(Above Image Copyrighted By Thom Davies)
Eric’s Note: I am pleased to feature the work of Thom Davies, a doctoral researcher as well street photographer. I first met him in the Flickr group “Grit & Grain” and have been following him ever since. What I find most interesting about his photography is his mix between documentary and street photography, as well as his ethnographic studies around the Chernobyl border region. Interested? Read on!
Thom: I started shooting the street a few years ago after taking a photograph of a man selling paintings in Spain. He shouted at me and I decided that I did not care. It was the first purposeful ‘street shot’ I had taken and I’ve not looked back since. I think I’m quite a sociable man, but street photography for me is something that has to be done alone. Walking through cities with no other purpose than finding the strange or the unusual within the mundane realities of everyday-life. Anyway, you’re here on Eric Kim’s blog reading this, so there’s no need for me to explain the enduring attraction of street photography. There is a tension there though, that something so seemingly anti-social and solitary can document the social.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Ukraine the last few years researching the ongoing social-economic fallout of the 1986 Chernobyl accident for a geography PhD. A lot of this time was spent within the border villages of the Nuclear Exclusion Zone. Although my primary interest is human geography I have found that photography, and more specifically the process and techniques I have learnt from Street Photography have helped me get closer to the people I have been researching; finding the decisive moment, getting close, knowing when to build rapport and when to go unnoticed. And of course, to always know that luck will have more of a part to play than anything else.
I’ve had a few photographs published here and there in recent months, in some newspapers (The Telegraph, The Independent and The Guardian-online), but there’s clearly no money in this type of photography, so I intend to take it very seriously – as a hobby. The guardian once described a photo I took as showing “a lack of respect for the subject”. Well that was the photo that got me into street photography in the first place.
Like many before, I always carry a camera with me. Just incase.
Make sure to follow Thom on Flickr and you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org