2012 has been a pivotal year in my photography. During the previous two years I had plans to be exhibited and published but up until 2012 it hadn’t come to fruition. There is one main reason for this, I didn’t have my thing. In 2011 I spent a lot of time shooting street, specifically Borough Market, and I think this was training me to get closer. The market gets very cramped and crowded and I was finding that to get the shots I wanted I needed to be quick and close with my subjects, it also allowed me to move on swiftly and over the year I was getting bolder with my shots.
Then in January 2012 I decided to buy a new camera. Due to a banking error (PPI related) I could afford to step up my equipment and was deciding between a D7000 and a D700. A friend had a D7000 and lent it to me to play with before made my decision. The same day I stepped onto a tube at London Bridge and shot the most important image of my life. I caught the eye of a girl in headphones standing 3 feet away from me in a crowded tube carriage and as I raised my camera to my eye, focussed and took one frame. She continued to hold her gaze, she posed for me. As they say that the first reaction colours your whole approach, this couldn’t have been better, if I ever see her again I will thank her because it gave me the courage to get closer, seek eye contact and capture intense, personal images that a lot of people seem to really like.
That shot not only gave me my thing, it set off a year of pictures which would see my work being described by the Guardian Camera Club as ‘stylish and uncompromising’, win places in three separate exhibitions and have a follow up photography review with Gina Glover where she heaped praise on how far I had come in the 12 months since I first showed her my work.
After that first shot I quickly followed it up with a great portrait of another woman, this time on a bus in Brixton and over the coming months I built up half a dozen close up street portraits. Also in May I moved jobs and my commute was extended to take in London Bridge to Angel and it was here that I captured some great images of tube life. The great thing about tube stations is that they are not only platforms but also stages, lit (in London Bridge’s case) by spotlights and full of subjects from every walk of life. It was these images that caught the attention of the Guardian Camera Club who reviewed a portfolio of 6 images that I submitted to their Flickr group.
It was also on Flickr that I submitted some pictures to a competition ran by The Horniman Museum called ‘The London Look Photography Challenge’ and the first image I took in January was selected out of over 300 images to become one of 14 images exhibited in the Museum.
Shortly after that the tube images that II submitted to the London Independent Photographers member show were shortlisted and they chose two to be exhibited in The Strand Gallery near Charing Cross. Then to round off a great year Photofusion in Brixton chose another close up portrait taken on the Victoria Line for their AMPS Salon show in December.
So, a superb year full of discovery, success plus a little bit of criticism for only taking images of women, all of which has led to a short period of reflection and thought about what 2013 will hold. I shall no doubt continue to take close up street portraits but I will almost certainly try and mix it up with more men. I want to continue with tube life images and after a brief experiment with Blurb books I want to launch a number of books on different subjects. In addition to the close up portraits, I have continued to shoot London landscapes, street and also experimented a little with traditional portraiture. I plan to submit my work to a lot more magazines and competitions, and to push my style out to as many different avenues as possible. After seeing what I can achieve in one year, and knowing I could do so much more, I can see a creatively prosperous future for my photography.