‘Go on take my picture’ was what I heard a lot during my last few shoots down the Lea Bridge Road. So much so, I abandoned my goal of trying to work on the shape of backgrounds and let the action play out in the foreground. Even waiting for people to pass through a shaft of light ended up with them looking back, no doubt wondering ‘what is that bloke doing?’, their eyes fixing on the camera at the moment of best light. Once I had come to terms with this, I decided to enjoy chatting with people and taking their picture.
What I did enjoy is talking to and photographing people I’ve never met before. The entrée to these conversations is often the old Rolleiflex hanging around my neck. When I see people looking at it, I catch their eye, hold their gaze, smile and say hello. Sometimes people see me taking pictures and ask me what I am doing. Rarely do people, once we’ve chatted, then say no to me taking a picture.