I was invited to become a moderator on here a little while ago and I always meant to write something. So here you go.
I've kept a lower profile on here than I would have liked but, you know..time is always of the essence. I am happy to be on here anyway, I think it has the potential to be a great group, the focus is definitely in the right places.
When I think about it, a few of my first 'contemporary' street influences are represented by some of the photographers in this group. Before 'street photography now' there was not many new examples of street photography. So it's good to stay connected!
Anyway, to say a little more about myself. I was born in Manchester, England. I am still based there for the moment but God knows where I will be in a few months.
I'm 22. I got into photography as a 16/17 year old. I started making my own street photos after seeing the work of Cartier-Bresson. Originally i started working in black and white, making my own prints in the darkroom. These days I prefer the challenge (headache) of colour photography.
I am not as concerned with the decisive moment as many of the street photographers I know. I am more interested in the silent, resounding moments in society, they give me real food for thought.
I love painting, music and literature as much as I like photography. My main photo influences are Robert Frank, William Eggleston, Helen Levitt, Tom Wood and Saul Leiter.
I find it amazing that street photographers can work from their sub-consciences, meaning they capture moments that may say more about themselves than the person in the photo…without realising it. Consequently I may have missed a bunch of shit out. So if you are wondering about anything just ask me.
Here i'm going to include a little interview I did recently with 'Perspectives' - it is new and up to date with where I am at right now
www.claireatkinson.net. What's your most prominent current source of inspiration?
Probably anxiety. I can't stand being indoors for long periods of time. I'm happiest outside wandering with my camera. The thought of seeing something I've never seen before, even just a weird combination of colours, gets me outside. Your images display a high level of up-front engagement with your subjects which must've been daunting at first; how did you get over that?
I was nervous to begin with, but one day I had the realisation that I'm not out to hurt anyone, so why should I worry? I'm at peace with how I work and people probably sense that. I've never had any trouble.
I know some street photographers love to sound like war-horses and trade stories of their fights with members of the public. I don't like that kind of attitude. You have to be respectful, you have to give as much as you take. Do you ever ask permission? Is that important?
No I don't. Most of my pictures would have disappeared before my eyes if I stopped to ask permission each time. I don't think it's necessary. I'm less interested in individual identities than I am scenes that just feature 'people', so it's not an issue for me. What about when you venture abroad in search of street photography; is it harder to summon confidence in an unfamiliar place?
No, I find it much easier. When I'm somewhere new it is for a limited amount of time so I just go for it like a madwoman. There is nothing more inspiring than going somewhere I have never been before. I love it.How do you add a unique spin to the well-spun genre of street photography?
The chances are that when you take any picture on the street nobody else will ever take the same picture again, so it is always unique in that sense.
I approach things like a street photographer, but I want to make images that are about more than just a coincidence or bit of symmetry. A lot of contemporary street photography is very witty and clever, but at the same time kind of meaningless. To me anyway. I prefer to work on projects these days.Are you always in pursuit of humour? Is that important?
No it's not very important to me, but I seem to capture it a lot.Do you eschew more controllable - or predictable - forms of photography, e.g. the studio?
Yeah I can't stand the studio. It's about as relevant to what I do as chalk is to cheese. Tim Hetherington said before he died that we are living in a post-photography world and I agree. The term photography has almost been rendered meaningless because it is so vast.
I just like to get outside and see what is out there. Maybe that doesn't make me a photographer at all. The themes I am interested in regarding humanity can be found in many mediums, all of which I enjoy. My camera is just the tool that best suits my lifestyle.What do you aspire to be doing in five years' time?
I just want to keep making pictures. Hopefully by then I will have a few more bodies of work. As long as I keep creating, I'll be fine. ♦
Thanks for reading!