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Street Talk

February 28, 2011

The street is a perfect place for private conversation. No one else will hear the exchange so it is possible to discuss issues that might be avoided in a house where voices can be overheard. All the conversations photographed here would be spontaneous. They have started because of a chance encounter on the street.

Two men in conversation

Two men in conversation. Junction of Whitechapel and Vallance Roads, 1988

I used a roll of film to photograph these two gentlemen (above). The 36 images will at some point be put into a sequence and used in a film. This was the final frame. Previously they were standing where I took this shot from and they are standing where I shot most of the film. They were so pleased to see each other and engrossed in conversation that they were oblivious to everything around them. Black and white images were edited together for the experimental film ‘East End 1‘ with music by Lola Perrin. Many of the images used were taken in the 1980’s. Digital photography has enabled me to experiment more but the rules are just the same. With film I think you consciously take more notice of light and speed and aperture settings. As imaging was never instant you had to take more notice of the lighting environment you were working in. I think using film, processing it and printing in a darkroom is the best way to learn photography. The whole process facilitates an intimate understanding of exposure and technique.

Men in conversation in Marakech

Men in conversation in Old Town Marrakech, 2006

Just like the men in Whitechapel these two men (above) are engrossed in their conversational encounter. The public space of a street is paradoxically probably the most private for conversation.

Two ladies having a conversation on a market stall. Middlesex Street 1986

Two ladies having a conversation on a market stall. Middlesex Street 1986

In all of these images there are many similarities. For me the most obvious is the way hands orchestrate and underpin the conversation.

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