I made sure i managed to get a spot in this workshop over a year ago. I’ve always felt a little skeptic about these sort of things, but have to admit it was well worth it.
I caught a flight from Napoli departing at 6:15 in the AM, and thanks to the Lufthansa Business Lounges managed to be alive and well in London before noon. Took the train to my AirBnB room for the weekend (Angel area), left my stuff, and started heading towards ULU (University of London Union). Unfortunately the early alarm clock completely twisted my mind and found out I was 4 hours early. Oh well, I walked around for a little bit and made it to the classroom around 5. People started showing up, Eric arrived as well, and the show was underway.
The first day was a presentation and a critique session with the group. Never participated in anything like it, and it is amazing how much benefit one can take from open and honest confrontation. Some good feedback on three of my most recent and (what i thought) strong pictures which really opened my eyes while giving me quite a lot to think about.
Day two was focused on shooting. We were paired up, and hit the streets the whole day, mainly in the Oxford Circus area. I didn’t think about where i was, rather i just focused on the shooting.
Ben Loosening up
After a couple of hours on our own, it came to the 1 on 1 time with Eric. I have never been pushed so much and never felt so uncomfortable while shooting, to the point where i was really close to walking away. Luckily i remembered i was paying a fee for that, and thought to myself “Fuck it, no one knows me here” and powered through. Engaging people and asking (or not even asking) to take their picture is something i have never done and found to be not that hard as i thought.
Here’s a few shots after the pushing, where we realized it wasn’t so hard, but more than that, it was so bad at all.
After the day was done, we were to select three pictures we thought were the best. I was able to get down to twenty-ish.
Day three was in the British Museum and trying to apply lines, diagonals, subject to ground and several more tips Eric was giving us through the weekend. I wasn’t quite feeling it, but felt glad i wasn’t the only one. We got back in the afternoon to the classroom and found out the pictures we needed to select was just one! Luckily Eric helped each one of us to edit and get down to the final one. Below was mine
I gotta say, i’m not sure this is my best shot, and not really happy to say this represents my weekend. But at least i can say it was exactly what i had in mind at the time shot it, so i guess that’s good.
I waited a week to write down some thoughts (and due to my lazy ass i would’ve probably waited some more) because i wanted to see a followup to what i had learned during the weekend in London. To my suprise the tools i acquired during the workshop are definitely still with me, i managed to prove that yesterday, a week later, back in my hometown Napoli.
So overall an awesome experience, got to meet some great people, and learned a lot. Now it’s time to keep these tools with me and apply them to find my street photography identity. I’m not sure portraiture is my way, but i’m glad i’m loosening up to the point where nothing is holding me up. And i believe the weekend in london enabled me to do just that.
On to better things!