Feature of the Week 12
Congratulations to week twelve’s Feature of the Week winner, @jon_chater_photography!
This beautiful photograph received 4, 204 likes during during its qualifying period on The Curious Camera Club’s Instagram page (@thecuriouscameraclub). As always, we were very proud to feature such an awesome photograph, and extend our warmest congratulations to our worthy winner. Well done, @jon_chater_photography!
This is the final Feature of the Week winner who will have their photograph featured in issue 1 of C U R I O U S magazine, available for purchase from June 1 2019. Feature of the Week winners for weeks 13- 24 will be featured in issue 2, due for publication in September 2019. Look forward to seeing all these, as well as lots more exclusive articles, profiles, advice and features, contributed by a range of talented creators with a passion for photography.
My recent obsession with street photography was borne out of a frustrating period in my professional life. A couple of years ago, thanks to government cuts, I lost a teaching job at a college in north London. As luck would have it, this coincided with my commercial photography work drying up. My confidence took a hit, and I almost stopped taking photos completely.@jon_chater_photography
Street photography emerged as a kind of therapy for me at this time, a way for me to fall back in love with making pictures again. I
travelled to Berlin and spent three days wandering the streets alone with my camera. It felt great to be free from the constraints of a commercial brief, I could make exactly the type of images I wanted. It was this feeling of creative freedom that first attracted me to photography 20 years ago.
Street photography is a confidence game, and sometimes it can be immensely frustrating. Some days I trudge around town for hours and come back with nothing. On days like this I try not to be too hard on myself. It’s very easy to give up and say ‘I’m no good at this’. I try to keep in mind that every hour I spend looking, striving, failing, is part of the learning curve. On a fruitless day of missed opportunities I might see something that I can revisit another time. Developing a street photographer’s ‘eye’ is like training a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Conversely if you leave it too long it starts to get weaker. When I don’t pick up a camera for a week or two I’m always surprised at how much my confidence and bravery have drained away.
I trained to become a teacher in 2014, and through teaching photography I have learned so much about how to construct a photograph. Breaking down photography into its basic components in order to teach them has helped my own photographic practice a great deal. Also, moving from a big Nikon DSLR to a compact Fuji x100F has improved my hit rate significantly, it’s so pocketable and fun to use that I want to take it everywhere with me. Also, the Fuji looks like an old film camera so people tend to ignore you.
I’m slowly learning the type of street photos I’m comfortable with making. The Bruce Gildon method of getting up close and ‘in peoples faces’ doesn’t feel right for me at the moment. I’m still a bit shy and fear having a confrontation. So my current method is to find a scene with interesting light and some strong compositional elements, then wait for a human figure (usually) to enter the scene. You could say I shoot urban landscapes with a human presence somewhere in the frame. Often, I like to underexpose the figure creating a silhouette. This method preserves the privacy of the subject somewhat.
A huge thank you to the Curious Camera Club for supporting me, and for giving me the opportunity to share my work.