Note: I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to feature some truly extraordinary photographers that I have met on the internet. For the first featured photographer, I decided to feature Neal Bingham, who is also one of the Admins for the “Aspiring Street Photographers” Flickr group that I founded a few months back. Neal shows great passion for street photography, which is apparent through his work. I hope you guys get to know more of his genius through this short bio of him!
How did you get started in street photography?
I first discovered street photography through the BBC documentary ‘The Genius of Photography’, and was inspired by the powerful images I saw from legends such as Garry Winogrand, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Joel Meyerowitz. I had recently taken up photography but had yet to find a genre that really captured my imagination – street photography very quickly became my passion.
Having only started shooting on the streets a little over a year ago, I’m still very much learning the art form. I share my images on Flickr and it has played a big part in my
development so far as a street photographer. Flickr is huge but as a community it’s relatively small – and the ability to connect with like-minded people from across the world, and share feedback and support, is hugely helpful and rewarding.
I draw inspiration from contemporary photographers, such as the members of In-Public, just as much as I do from the ‘grand masters’. I’m not setting out to deliberately emulate any one particular style – instead I hope that over time, my own individual style will emerge.
How do you shoot in the streets?
The first mistake I made when I first started was going out and buying a telephoto zoom, on the assumption that it would make it easier to take candid pictures of strangers – in fact I found the opposite, and felt really conspicuous walking round with such attention-grabbing gear. Ditching the ‘bazooka’ for something more discreet was when things really began to click for me (no pun intended!).
I usually shoot with a Nikon D90 SLR and a 35mm prime lens, or a small fixed-focal length compact camera (Ricoh GR Digital III). Not being able to zoom in forces me to move in closer to my subjects (‘zooming with my feet’ if you like) and to think more carefully about my compositions.
I live in London, which is where I do the majority of my shooting – fortunately, my city is full of potential for a street photographer. I tend to stick to busier areas of the city and walk around looking for interesting situations or scenes developing in front of me. I look for people interacting, unusual combinations of elements, and graphical compositions.
The pictures I’m interested in are candid, unplanned moments – so my approach is to try and avoid interfering with the scene that I’m photographing. I don’t ask
permission, as that would create a different type of shot to what I’m after, so I do my best to blend in to the environment as much as possible, without doing so in a way
that would appear sneaky or sinister. Most of the time, people just think I’m taking a picture of something else.
What do you love most about street photography?
The challenge of creating a beautiful or interesting image when so many variables are out of my control is highly motivating, and that’s what spurs me on to keep walking the streets in all weathers, looking for the right moment to shoot. Getting the timing right and nailing a difficult shot without interfering with a scene is a great buzz. And the unpredictability – never knowing what I’m going to photograph until I see it – makes it a photographic genre that I could never get bored with.
Street photography has made me see the world differently. Now even when I don’t have a camera with me, I still see the streets in ‘frames’; because once you start to look, you begin to see interesting things happening all around you that you previously never paid attention to. The pace of city living makes it difficult to step back and observe these fleeting moments. Preserving these instants with a camera gives me the opportunity to take that step back.
Got a question for Neal or want to show him some love? Leave a comment below! :)