Portfolio

My photography in 2015 by Ed Walker

2015 was a year of development, being published and taking pictures of people playing Pianos. It was also a year of taking what I had learned in an underground car park in Edinburgh and applying it to my street work. It's also the year I move my work from Flickr to Instagram, a much more vibrant community of varied photographers. 15668270273_b13478a539_o

This was the first great picture of 2015 for me, on the Circle Line choosing the right moment to take the picture of this awesome scaffolder. I got on and saw him, hesitated and then someone came and stood in front of him, so I resolved that when they moved I’d shoot, and I did.

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St Pancras has these types of scenes all the time but this couple were really going for it, completely unaware of who was watching. The picture is made by the woman in the background.

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I rarely stand and wait for people but this guy in Kings Cross looked so good I had to capture him, it took a couple of minutes for him to look up from searching for his ticket to notice me.

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This year’s alternative project apart from my street work was St Pancras Piano. When I was commuting every day past the 3 pianos in the station it was clear I needed to take pictures of the wide range of people that played them. Most photographers shot from the back, I chose to shoot from the side. My hashtag #stpancraspiano got picked up by the regular piano players on Instagram and soon lots of photos began to appear by other people using it.

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2015 was also the year I started to shoot for Electronic Sound magazine, an iPad mag for the synth electronic music scene, spanning everything from classic Moog to new artists like Karin Park. I was sent down to the venue and told by Neil Mason, the Commissoning Editor, to just do what I do.

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My street work has become wider, as in I have stepped back and aim to get a little more context to the photo than just a head a shoulders.

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This is my picture of the year. A holiday in Helsingborg in Sweden, a fantastic Air BnB house with a pool, outside eating area and a pizza oven, the lights however were not so good, leading to iPhone lighting and a shot which looks like a Caravaggio painting (and quite possibly a Taylor Wessing entry for 2016).

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Shooting Gary Numan was a highlight of 2015, frantic, very stressful and the time flies by like a blur but the result is a really honest portrait, I daren't ask him if he likes it though.

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New York! The last two months of 2015 have been spent in New York, I came here to shoot and I’ve been very happy with the results. I was so worried about not getting the shots I wanted that I shot outside of my normal comfort zone and went for subjects I never would have gone for in London.

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Times Square is my new favourite place to shoot. With such a varied group of people and lighting to die for it’s perfect for moments like this which look staged but are anything but.

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As I raised my camera to my eye I hesitated thinking that this shot was not going to work. However, with all the other people looking left at the traffic, the couple looking up at the astonishing electronic billboards and the only person actually looking at me is the photographer, I think it kinda worked out.

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The light in New York is amazing, the grid layout means the sun creates amazing shafts of light while leaving the background in almost complete darkness. This well dressed guy was waiting at the lights, holding his coat closed from the November wind, creating a perfectly lit moment of quiet.

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The lighting in and around Times Square creates amazing pools of reds and greens as the adverts wash everyone with colour.

So another year of firsts, new projects, new people, new locations. It feels like I am still working towards something and at the moment I’m enjoying the journey and not worrying too much about the destination.

Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/edwalkerphotography/

Karin Park - Electronic Sound Magazine by Ed Walker

ESmag_Karinpark2 Neil Mason is the commissioning editor at Electronic Sound Magazine (electronicsound.co.uk) and approached me about shooting an electronic musician they were featuring called Karin Park. He’s been watching my street work on my Flickr and blog for a while and encouraged me that he wanted me to do a similar style of thing for the feature.

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I went to Olso in Hackney with the writer Danny Turner in the afternoon for the soundcheck and met the band which consisted on Karin Park, her brother David on the drums and bass and Juno on the keyboards. I started off by shooting Karin in her dressing room applying some makeup and chatted briefly to her about her music, I find this kind of interaction hard as it's quite intimidating and the whole patter of a portrait photographer something I’m not used to but as a former model she was an excellent subject, knowing just what to do to give some great close up shots of her in a mirror.

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The sound check was a great place to get all sorts of shots, with the band being completely happy to have me move around them on stage and shoot completely unhindered from all sorts of different angles, they also had a YouTube music channel there shooting some film for a feature which meant that they did full run throughs of a couple of tracks with full lighting. It gave me one of my best shots where Karin was sat on a stool and the lighting guys bathing her in wonderful blue and purple light.

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After the soundcheck was finished we shot quite a few backstage shots in their dressing room and in a small bar area. I found a spot behind the bar which had great lighting and took portraits of David and Juno, testing out a few different settings and getting ready to shoot Karin for what I felt would be a great intimate portrait of an artist just before she went on stage.

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When Karin was ready I asked her if I could get a few shots of her and while she was quite busy and clearly nervous she agreed. She said she didn’t have much time but because I had already shot David and Juno there I was all set up and after only ten shots I said ok; which surprised her. ‘That’s the fastest photo shoot I’ve ever had!’ but she was pleased with the shots I had got of her and so was I.

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The show itself was full of a really enthusiastic audience and I took quite a few shots from in front of the stage. This was the most challenging aspect of the day as getting a great shot of her live with people all around you proves hard. It really goes to show that getting a really fantastic live shot is a lot harder than you would imagine. The lights are moving and changing, Karin was very energetic in her performance and this made it hard for my Nikon and Sony to freeze her in the action. I never use flash and obviously this is not desirable to the artist while they are in full flow so shooting at f1.8 on quite a slow shutter speed makes this challenging and tricky.

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I moved to the sound and lighting booth for some wider shots which encompassed the whole stage and audience and while this made of a couple of interesting shots I can see now why most photographers don’t do this, the intimacy is lost and the shots look a lot less exciting from this far back.

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The performance was fantastic and the new album ‘Apocalypse Pop’ sounded superb live, if you ever get a chance to see her live I would highly recommend it. Make sure you check out the article in Electronic Sound Magazine and I look forward to my next assignment!

You can see even more pictures from this shoot on my flickr page

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Wizard of Oz by Ed Walker

DSC_6780 When I was living in Edinburgh I took some pictures for Ikram Gilani who was putting on a show about the boxing industry as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. The shots were simple as the show was basically a couple of spot lights and a couple of chairs. The lighting really suited my style of photography and you can see the set here.

Brett Hunter was at one of those shows and worked on some post promotion and I shared the pictures with him. This year Brett as part of Bright Ideas CIC was putting on a production of Wizard of Oz for all the local schools in the Lanarkshire area and asked me to come and along and shoot the production.

One of my stipulations was that I would be given full access to every area of the production, I would be able to get on stage during rehearsals and shoot a couple of the public performances. I essentially wanted to shoot in a candid manner but with everyone knowing I was there and giving me that freedom.

I flew up to Glasgow on the Saturday and went straight to the rehearsals which were double interesting because it was the first time some of the cast had met each other and also the entire set was being built at the same time. I wanted to get as much of the build up, backstage and practice as I could and on the first day I shot over 1000 pictures with around 70 being in the final edit that night.

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Astonishingly that one and only run through was all the practice they had and on the Monday morning they had their first performance, I shot lots of backstage stuff and build up and on the first day tried to get more behind the scenes images. On the monday there were two performances, the first was (as you would expect) quite rough with technical issues with sound and almost everything that could go wrong, going wrong. In that kind of environment it’s hard to be sensitive to the panicking stage hands, music and lighting people and actors frantically trying to pull something together when everything around them is not working. To that end I don’t think I got a picture which eloquently illustrated this, only close.

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The afternoon show was 100% better and it was only after this that everyone relaxed. The backstage shots from this afternoon were much easier to shoot as they were certainly more confident in their roles.

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The second day I went out front to shoot the show from the audience's perspective, crouching in the pit and also moving out between the audience. I’ve never really been a fan of music photography where the shooter only gets to take pictures up the nose of the artist from the pit, I also now realise quite how difficult it is to get anything decent from that angle.

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Now that I was familiar with the show and the way it was being performed I could start to think about the set pieces that I wanted to shoot that would give us the promotional type shots that could be used by the production company. I wanted to do family portraits and this is an area I certainly need to improve on, directing people and having the confidence to keep going until I get the shot I want. Knowing people had lunch to get and not wanting to hold up actors is all well and good if you’ve got your shot, I didn’t feel like I devoted enough time to this and the result is good but not spectacular.

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After 4 days I was shattered, it was such hard work being on throughout three days of shooting, most of the time spent on your feet moving from one area to another and constantly looking for a shot whilst managing the multiple cameras was exhausting. Coupled with the editing in the evening, not enough sleep and a few takeouts ment by the time I got home on Tuesday night I was done for. Next time I shall do it differently, take better care of myself and be better prepared.

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Four edits by Ed Walker

There are only a few common pieces of advice I take stock in when it comes to Street Photography. With so many photographers out there trying to come up with regular blog posts you often get bombarded with do’s and don’ts that are just nonsense. But one of them will absolutely improve your photography, edit your work like a beast. I have a process, it’s very simple and it removes a lot of the hand wringing you get when trying to whittle down your work. I call it the four edit process.

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Stage 1. Import

In the import screen don’t just import everything. I used to do that and would carefully go through each image looking for something that I could use in each one. But some shots are not even worth importing and your hard drive will thank you for getting rid of them right at the start. Make the thumbnail size large enough to weed out the missed, out of focus and just plain rubbish shots.

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Stage 2. Process.

Now go through your images and decide which ones to process. If you’ve done stage one really well you should be processing most of the ones you’ve imported because you’ve deemed them worthy to live on your hard drive. The ones you thought might be ok but when looking at them large won’t cut it should be deleted completely.

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Stage 3. Export.

Now of the processed images decide which you will export to jpg and at this stage in Lightroom you could probably lose a couple. Once they are in your folder on your drive open them in your image viewer and go and weed out the ones that aren’t as good as the rest. Be vicious, you’ve got this far so be really strict with yourself and even if you think a picture has potential, if it doesn’t stack up to the others in the folder, leave it behind (but don’t delete it).

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Stage 4. Publish.

My online platform is Flickr, it’s where I put everything and see how it performs. I upload the images to my account but set the visibility to just me. This gives you another opportunity to view them in context with your other images in your photostream and every morning I set a new image to public and post it on my Facebook, Google+ and Twitter streams. The result of this is that some images never get published, they stay in my photostream unseen because I shot something better the next day.

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The result is you publish the very best of your work but you get to contextualise it with the stuff that nearly makes it but not quite, which I think is sometimes the most valuable comparison.

Check out my Flickr page

My photography in 2014 by Ed Walker

13671477385_b6c3802058_k A year of new projects, new cameras and new focal lengths.

During December 2013 and the early part of 2014 I was looking for a new job so my photography took a back seat. I'd also just bought a Fuji X100 and was struggling to get anything other than out of focus rubbish.

I found a role in Edinburgh and moved up there in February and during my first weekend Enna took me to an underground car park in the city centre. We walked down the stairs to level -4 and when we went through the doors I knew I'd found my new project. Taking place, far underground, was a car boot sale.

When I think about my photography it's all based around people standing and waiting on platforms, perfectly lit by spotlights with loads of texture and depth around them. I pull people out of the crowd and freeze them; constantly fascinated by interesting and unusual faces. With my Nikon I'd been getting closer and closer to my subjects on the London Underground but when I bought my Fuji it's focal length was 24mm and the autofocus was much slower. As it turned out the underground car park was perfect for the new camera, I was stepping back and observing so a lightning fast autofocus wasn't always needed, also the wider lens actually brought more to the scene. Each bay was lit by a spotlight and also down the centre of each corridor, this meant that everyone was steeped in light and shadow which made for some excellent shots.

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I went back to the car boot sale every Sunday morning for four months, I played with using my Fuji on numerous settings, took the Nikon a couple of times and eventually bought a Sony A6000 but the best shots were taken on the Fuji on almost auto settings. It brought back my days at Borough Market but enhanced by the months and months on the London Underground building up the nerve to shoot people who were looking straight down the lens of the camera.

After 4 months I felt the project was finished, I’m not sure why but it had come to a close. I used a website called The Newspaper Club to create a newsprint tabloid of the project and had 10 copies made, I sent them to various magazines and in early 2015 my shots will appear in Amateur Photographer.

The Sony did allow me to get back into close up work on Princes Street in Edinburgh, my Lunchtagram project was a combination of the new super fast autofocus on the Sony, it's Wifi function to send a shot directly to my phone and Instagram. I had wanted to get back into using Instagram for a while but never saw much point because the camera on my phone was just not easy to use. When I got the Sony suddenly I could go out at lunchtime and have a shot up on Instagram as soon as I got back to my desk at work in the afternoon.

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During my time at FreeAgent Roan Lavery asked me to take some pictures for him as an Australian magazine called Offscreen was doing a piece on him. They gave us reasonably strict style guides and we shot lots of pictures around the office, in coffee shops and the back streets of Edinburgh. The resulting article and shots looked fantastic. It's also reignited my curiosity in taking portraits.

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Coming back to London in the Autumn ment back on the Tube! I had missed it so much and now my commute involves going through two major stations, St Pancras and Paddington, and using a very busy tube line. Using the 35mm lens on the Sony means my shots have been wider and much more like the car boot shots. I’m hoping to build another portfolio of tube shots that are less portrait and much more about the life of the commute and find some interesting scenes. I’m also looking for another project, something like the car boot sale that I can regularly go to and build up over time.

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So overall this year has been excellent, I feel I’ve grown and expanded my work while still maintaining the overall themes and style.

Car boot sale newspaper by Ed Walker

DSC03495 I’ve been going to the Edinburgh Omni-centre Car Boot Sale every Sunday for about 5 months, in that time I think I must have taken hundreds of pictures but at the start of August I felt that I had come to a natural and logical close to the project.

I’ve been looking around for different types of ways to present my work and for a while I’ve wanted to experiment with a tabloid newspaper format. A company called The Newspaper Club digitally print onto newsprint and in this case I felt the subject matter suited the newspaper format perfectly.

The results are great, naturally the newsprint sucks some of the depth out of the images and I don’t think this is something I’d do on a large scale but as a promotional item to send to magazines and galleries it works perfectly.

Strictly limited to 10 copies, signed and numbered a copy is available for £9.99. If you would like one drop me a line on the contact page.

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My photography in 2013 by admin

Borough Market What a horrible year, miserable, frustrating and the biggest let down I think I’ve ever had creatively. It’s 2012’s fault, it was such an amazing year and I expected it to keep going. But it didn’t.

It all start in November when someone took my work apart on Facebook, you can read about that here but in short it put me back six months. I spent the first half of 2013 with my camera in my bag, demoralised and feeling like I’d got it all wrong. Despite some very kind words by people I respected and trusted it was to no avail.

It still haunts me today, a few weeks ago I spoke with a professional photographer who after seemingly being very intrigued by my work became almost similar in the view that it was intrusive and wrong when I said no to her suggestion that I really should talk to my subjects afterwards and explain what I was trying to achieve. I think I’m going to have to live with this from now on. I can’t change the way I am and the interaction I want with the subject is very specific.

So my output this year has been considerably lower, I didn’t enter any exhibitions until the autumn and I’ve had to readdress my approach, what was I doing? why was I doing it? what am I actually trying to achieve? I still don’t really know. My solution was to get back out there and get back on the bus. In fact it’s the only solution, I can only take the pictures I take, if someone doesn’t like them, fine. As I said in my August blog post this isn’t a time limited project, in fact the more time the better because fashion will kick in and these images will start to take on historical importance.

The other thing I did, which I resisted for so long, was to buy a different bit of kit and see if that helped. In truth I was already back on the bus by this time, so maybe this was a gift to myself as well as an investment to try and see how different technology would change my eye and the results. I’m still struggling with it, my second hand Fuji X100, but I love the challenge. For some reason the harder it is to take these pictures the better it feels when you capture something good. I just have to put to the back of my mind the amount of images I’ve missed that I knew I would have got if I had my Nikon in my hand.

So the year has ended better than it started and actually when I look at the crop of shots, they aren’t too bad at all. Not as good as last year but a couple of them show progression and it was nice to be accepted into the Photofusion Salon/13 exhibition for the second year running. Expectations lower, sitting on this bus is maybe what I needed and a reflective year has maybe done me more good that I can, at the moment, see.

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Brixton Village

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Green Park

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London Bridge

Oxford Circus

Piccadilly

Tate Britain

Victoria (1)

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Victoria Line (1)

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Victoria Tickethall

Portfolio for 2011 by admin

As a Graphic Designer I was taught traditional photography at college but as a student it was a means to an end rather than the art form I consider it now. I could take pictures, develop film and print; but a lot of it was guesswork and luck.

I suppose, without realising, I was waiting for was Digital Photography. The first digital camera I used was an Apple Quicktake 100 in 1996, but only being able to take 8 shots at 640x480 it wasn’t exactly practical. It was a few more years before I had my first Kodak point & shoot, however, in 2005 when I bought my Nikon DSLR (the D50) my attitude toward photography changed. At this point that I realised I didn’t know very much about photography at all; leaving the dial on Auto all the way up until leaving it on a plane a couple of years later.

After suffering major withdrawals from photography  I decided to go back to school and enrolled on a short basic photography course led by Dave Hodgkinson. Six weeks with a borrowed Nikon plus 50mm prime lens seduced me under the skin of photography forever.

It was in San Fransisco with a Canon G10 that I took my first portfolio shot: The Bay Bridge and ferry terminal at dawn.

I now pack a Nikon D80 which nourishes my passion for photography; a passion that consumes my every waking moment. The shots that I’ve missed over the past couple of years because I either didn’t have a camera or it wasn’t in my hand at the right time, are burnt into my memory.

This body of work is a selection from the past three years, which reflects my recent move into Street Photography. As the work changes and progresses, more and more black and white street shots creep into my portfolio. Let me know what you think.