A large part of my job is all about arriving at a location, usually full of cyclists and just told to "do what you do". No moving people into certain poses, no control of lighting, no direction and no input on the unraveling of events. I love to shoot this style of photography. It is challenging and eventful. You never really know what is going to happen or how it is going to unfold. You have to be ready for anything and not be too precious about only capturing that one money shot. You have to be able to see numerous chances to create a selection of 'money shots'. It keeps you on your toes.
There was never really a world outside of cycling for me. I have played around taking pictures for my own amusement but never really challenged myself to work in environments that were outside my comfort zone...until recently. I have begun to work on my portraits of people. This involves a whole new way of handling locations and how to see an image. The fast-paced, no direction approach lends itself to fate and skill. Sometimes you won't get the shot you wanted because the light suddenly changed or the surroundings moved but generally you get something else. When you find a mountain and place a cyclist on it they know what to do. They are eager to ride the experience and your job is to capture that moment, foresee the suffering and freeze a memory forever. You are creating escapism through images that are generated naturally by cyclist born to chase that feeling. Portraits are about seeing the picture way before you have even considered turning on your camera.
If you don't build the image from scratch then the picture will not happen, you can't just wait and see. I am starting to work with more and more clients that are letting me be creative in my portrait photography, allowing me to play with lines and shadows. This is definitely an area of my work I'd like to increase.
I am really enjoying the directional and artistic approach to creating images from locations you like. Seeing a wall with a splash of colour or a street with the right amount of light and then imagining what a subject can do in that space.
A camera can make people feel uneasy. It's a strange tool. You aim it at someone and ask them to remain natural, it's not that easy. I enjoy building a relationship with that person throughout the shoot. I don't want it to ever just be about the photographer. I prefer to work so both parties leave feeling they have achieved something together. After all, I cannot take the picture I have in my head without the input of the subject, you have to work together to produce a common goal. You want something to look great and that person wants to look great in return.
Here are a few images I took in Folkestone the other day. An awesome town. It has so many little locations that can really vary a shoot, you are never stuck for choice.