Shoot What You Know, Shoot Where You Live

The photographer Vivienne Gucwa has made quite a name for herself photographing her home city of New York. I guess if you happen to live in one of the most photogenic cities in the world that sort of helps but a lesson I take from this is you don’t have to travel to exotic locations on the other side of the world to create great photographs.

As an aside it is actually getting ever harder to bring back images from faraway locations that are new and which no one has seen. Heck, when even your granny can go on a cruise that takes in Antarctica and come back with perfectly decent images captured on her iPhone how is any photographer going to make a living out of travel photography?

I believe that with a little bit of imagination you can find inspirational images wherever you live whether it be a small village or a large thriving metropolis. In fact, if you live somewhere you have a distinct advantage over visiting photographers.

  1. You know the place better than a visitor, even if they do come armed with a pile of travel books.
  2. You can visit at any time of day (or night) at all times of the year.
  3. You will be aware of events, large and small, that run at different times of the year and be able to get to them before most visitors.
  4. You can slowly build up a body of work over a period of time, continuously visiting the place again and again.
  5. You can return to the same place again and again and capture the changes that happen there.

During 2016 I started to make a serious effort to capture images of my home city of Birmingham, England. Birmingham is the UK’s ‘second city’ (behind London) and like many post-industrial ‘Northern’ (that is North of London) cities going through a period of great change and expansion (and is set to do so even more). It’s also following the trend of other large cities to a devolution of funding, powers and responsibilities as well as selecting an elected mayor in May 2017.

Here are some images from my first year of capturing ‘Birmingham Through the Lens’.

Snow Hill Offices

Snow Hill Offices

Hotel La Tour

Hotel La Tour

City of Colours 2016

City of Colours 2016

City of Colours

City of Colours

The Bull Ring

The Bull Ring

Blossom Trees in Brindley Place

Blossom Trees in Brindley Place

New Street Station

New Street Station

The Cube

The Cube

The Cube

The Cube

Gas Street Basin

Gas Street Basin

Gas Street Basin and The Cube

Gas Street Basin and The Cube

Brindley Place

Brindley Place

The ICC

The ICC

A Real Birmingham Family by Gillian Wearing

A Real Birmingham Family by Gillian Wearing

 

 

The End of a Brutalist Icon

The End of a Brutalist Icon

Outdoor Table Tennis

Outdoor Table Tennis

The Player

The Player

Skyline

Skyline

Outside Games

Outside Games

Images captured with mainly an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk I and a variety of M.ZUIKO lenses.

2 thoughts on “Shoot What You Know, Shoot Where You Live

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