It was recommended to me in my Digital Photographic Practise feedback to look a few street photographers, namely John Gay, Nick Turpin and Lee Friedlander. I have chosen to look at Nick Turpin in more depth as I found his style of photography more appealing. I also read and watched a few interviews with him and found him to be very down to earth, passionate and focused.
Nick Turpin was born in London and studied at art and design at the University of Gloucester before going on to study photography, film and video at the University of Westminster until 1990 when he worked at The Independent as a staff photographer. 7 years later Nick moved on to pursue a career as an advertising and design photographer which he continues to this day working for a number of high profile clients like Transport for London and Heathrow to name only a couple.
Nick has been and continues to be a successful figurehead to the street photography genre, helping to raise its standings in the art world through his own work and that of the In-Public group of international street photographer of which he is a founding member. There aim is to;
“Our aim is to promote Street Photography and to continue to explore its possibilities”
It consists as a group of individual photographer with the same aim in street photography and as a collective run exhibitions, competitions and publications across the world. Nick also runs Nick Turpin Publishing where he along with a creative team publish photo books of his own work and others.
Checking out Nick’s website and portfolios its clear to see that he has an exciting and unique to him style of photography that captures people within their surrounding at a very specific moment which adds to the depth and interest in the image. He seems to construct a photograph out of an environment and way for an opportunity to jump out to him as if it fits the composition perfectly, and I’m sure other occasions are right place right time. For example the image shown here on his website (http://nickturpin.com/portfolio/street-photography/ – image 5) is the perfect example of moment and meaning, he has captured a moment of pure opposite symmetry which emphasises the meaning behind the image of how the City of London is changing. This is a superb image, the overall feeling of simplicity from the image only adds to highlight the meaning behind the image, leaving the bold composition and focal points to put that message across. In the same portfolio as the previous image I found to be drawn to image 8, which shows a man lead on the pavement nearby to an advertisement of a lady led on an exotic beach. The juxtaposition of man asleep on the pavement and lady on exotic beach so close together works to make this an interesting and odd composition. I love the balance to this image and it is aided by both facing the same way, as if the beach was truly there for the man. He also looks relaxed, with legs crossed and one arm behind his head, he has a content feeling in his positioning and hand placement which leads the viewer to believe that perhaps the street is somewhere he is accustomed too. I find both these images do very similar things, they grab my attention and make me want to look further into the image because of the striking initial interest in the image. Whereas with a lot of photographers this would be enough to warrant a strong image, Nick Turpin then continues to ensure every aspect of the image is complimentary to the overall message that the image portrays.
When looking at Nick’s work it is very difficult to see his style of street photography within my own, this is perhaps because colour street photography has been largely missed out by myself and subsequently from this research in to Nick Turpins work I have found a desire to attempt to work mainly in colour for my street photography and to see if I can look at the difference and see if there is a place for it in my style of street photography. However one image of mine that I feel I can relate to his is this following one of a street performer on a BMX, the whole framing has a similar process to that it seems Nick Turpin may use when scouting his shots. I noticed the framing given to me by the tree and lamp posts followed by the background of the Houses of Parliament and felt that by keeping the subject to the left of the frame they would fill the space nicely and balance the image. Whilst finding the right angle to do this I came to this position here and just perfectly the performer graced me with a stunning and effective pose that really captured the moment. The somewhat pleading facial expression coupled with the outstretched hand as if expecting a donation is synonymous with the politicians that find themselves in the building in the back ground. It is connections like this within an image that give it a narrative and strong basis in which to build.
“As a Street Photographer you are different, you are not like the others, you are an oddity both in society and in photography. In society you are odd because you are just standing their looking whilst everyone rushes past to their next shopping experience or intake of salty, sugary, fatty food. In photography you are odd because your motivation is not financial and you don’t go to photo trade shows unless it’s to people watch. You are really not part of either world, it can be lonely not talking about equipment and bags and not oiling the wheels of retail….if it weren’t for online street photography forums you could feel isolated like some lonely eccentric.”
Nick Turpin’s beliefs of street photography as highlighted in the above quote is rather strongly worded in belief of the separate nature of street photograph compared to other styles of photography, I would certainly agree. In my experience of photography, street photography has always require something more than technical ability, its the ability to to see people and read them based on all you can see either up close or through the camera. This coupled with then added necessity of patience and belief in that single moment in time that can separate a stunning image and that of one almost got. I love his attitude to photography as a whole but his desire and style of street photography coupled with his technical ability and commentary creates images with real depth and interest in places which people are generally only focused on themselves and getting from A to B.