Last week I met up with photographer Olaf Sztaba while he was staying in London and preparing for one of his Visual Poet workshops. As I mentioned in a previous blog post (read it here), I'm a huge fan of not only Olaf's images and style, but of his photographic philosophy of visuals.
I am predominantly drawn to his work as his approach is similar to my own and so, when he contacted me to suggest meeting up in London, I jumped at the opportunity - see his work at www.olafphotoblog.com.
Despite leaving in plenty of time, the train journey into central London after work turned out to be a nightmare and, although I had my camera with me to shoot on the way, the lengthy delays and trains at a standstill meant I had no time to use it.
I wasn’t too fussed though as my main focus was meeting up with Olaf; yes, I was late!
Following our meeting (which was great) I headed back towards the underground and checked my train times. Including a short tube ride, I had about 50 minutes before my train departed from Euston.
As it was getting late I considered grabbing a coffee and reflecting on my discussion with Olaf but, as I was feeling inspired and get very little time on the streets, I decided to shoot against the clock...
I’ve become quite prolific at shooting with small pockets of time, and am increasingly able to quickly anticipate the worth and potential of an image or location. I trust my instincts!
In fact, I would go as far as to say that at the moment I shoot better during shorter sessions. Like many photographers, I got into the habit of thinking that to really get ‘into the zone’ and to produce quality work I need a lot of time at my disposal.
It also meant that I had to really work the area I was in. I always prefer to walk until I find a location that inspires me, but without the time to explore I didn't have that luxury.
As a result I had to work harder and at a faster pace to 'see' shots with potential.
I’m lucky to get one clear day a month for the sole purpose of shooting street, so I’ve learnt to be more efficient when I’m under pressure and with strict time constraints. On a full days shooting, it's often the opposite - I’m happy to saunter about without the pressure of time hanging over me.
I am still focussed on shooting during longer sessions, but it's different...
I stop and grab a coffee, I wander, get some lunch and read my book, or grab a beer and look over the shots I've taken so far.
More time = less pressure = more relaxed = LESS EFFICIENT!
Next time you go out, and especially if you're struggling for inspiration/motivation, set yourself a time or location restriction. Shoot solidly for 30 or 40 minutes and really apply yourself during that time, or concentrate working within a very small area.
See what you produce – it might just force you to work at a higher level than normal and with a greater output. It’s very difficult to sustain that level of concentration and application during a longer period of shooting!
All the shots in this blog post were taken in a 45 minute period which included a dash to the tube and a sprint to board my train at Euston - it was worth it!
Finally, don’t forget to sign up and become part of my new venture Spyder Collective, a quickly growing street photography community. It’s free, full of inspiration and we have some great things lined up for you very soon! Visit www.spydercollective.com now...
(All images in this blog post were taken on 08/03/18 with a Fuji X100T and are owned by Sonny Nathan)