Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Stranger #9 - Celeste, Barista

Celeste works in my favourite coffee house in London. (Flat White in Berwick Street, Soho).

She never seemed to stop moving.... making coffee,delivering coffee or sandwiches to tables etc.... and always with a sunny smile. I was able to persuade her to pause for 20 or 30 seconds to take a couple of pictures. Not sure I could either be that cheerful or work that hard all the time!

You can see her colleague still beavering away at the espresso machine in the background.

This picture is #9 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at www.100Strangers.com

This is the flat white I was drinking while waiting for my sandwich.

Almost every time I come into the café I pick up the book you see from the corner of the magazine stack. It is "Soho Lives" by Catherine Garcia. A fascinating book all about people who live in, work in or regularly visit Soho. For each portrait it names the person in the portrait, gives their role in life, and a 1 line quote from them about Soho. The picture on the left page is actually one of the other Flat White baristas sitting in front of the door of the café I am sitting in. An inspirational book for photographing strangers.
Love this café..... great coffee & food plus a cool bohemian atmosphere. I visit here almost every time I come into London on my infrequent trips

Monday, 29 November 2010

Published !!!!

Published !!!!, originally uploaded by It's life Jim.....
OK, so only 'cos I entered a photo competition in Berkshire Life magazine. Winner of the National competition gets £5000.... Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Still - nice to see one's work (& ugly mug) in print.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people jumping up and down for joy?

Photo session with both my sons late last night. My older son is doing a jumpology project for his Photography course at uni & persuaded his brother to do a few jumps for him.

He had me set up my big white studio paper backdrop up outside & we used a projector to project an image of the sky onto it, then Sebe did a few (hundred) jumps. I would never have conceived of this. Odd doing nothing in a shoot but taking direction.

A few extra in the comments section of this photo in my flickr stream (Just click on the photo to get there)

Monday, 8 November 2010

Stranger #8 - Lorraine, Café Owner

Meet Lorraine, the owner/proprietor of the nicest coffee shop in Henley on Thames. (The café is "Hot Gossip" situated on Friday Street.)

What makes it so nice?.... mainly the friendly welcome you get there. Lorraine & the two young girls serving there seemed to chat amiably to everyone who came in. It is also the only café around that is dog friendly - I had been out taking the dog for a walk & fancied a sit down in the warmth. Lorraine and the girls pampered my dog Shana who shamelessly looked mournful until she was fed dog biscuits from the special doggie treat tin.

Lorraine has owned the café for 3 years. She gave up a career as a graphic designer to set up the café. No regrets from such a big career change. These days she still does portraiture sketching for fun & relaxation.

This picture is #8 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at www.100Strangers.com
Jim Shields Photography

Flashing the Mo !

Flashing the Mo !, originally uploaded by It's life Jim.....
Time for you folk to dig in your wallets. This is Movember..... the month where chaps start clean shaven & grow a moustache throughout November in support of Prostate Cancer. (Donate here)

Only a few days growth so far.... i.e. too embarassing to display. Not entirely sure I will make it through the month - still job searching & not sure a half grown moustache is the right impression to take into a job interview, but will see how it goes.

See my version of the picture on the front cover of this book below.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Stranger #7 - James, Avid reader

Came across James, sitting neatly on a stump on the riverbank as I was walking the dog in Henley. I had brought my camera along with the intent of getting another stranger shot & his intense concentration on his Dick Clancy novel was endearing enough to catch my eye.

I wish I knew what James did, because although he IS an avid reader, it's probably not a very good label for anyone. Not sure I would have got an answer even if I had asked. James is the first stranger I've talked to that was somewhat reluctant to be photographed... although I realise 6 prior strangers is not exactly a conclusive social trend. He seemed perplexed by some weird chap coming up & wanting to take his photo for no apparent reason. I did explain the 100 strangers project, but this clearly only partially explained my oddness. "What are you going to do with these photos after the project?". Good question indeed.....

Am I learning anything through the project from these first 7 strangers? Well I think so.... One has to think quickly about composition & what you want of their character to show in a portrait, and you only have about 5 or 6 shots to get it. It does make you consciously think about your shots - digital photography allows us to shoot blithely away, knowing that each shot costs nothing & that if you take enough shots then there is bound to be a decent one in there. The 100 strangers project requires a completely different ethos entirely and will create another working methodology that will be useful on occasion

Far from the best portrait in my strangers project so far.... although his concentration on his book attracted me, it lacks a connection with the viewer.