It is always with a little trepidation that the new year begins for me. As I looked back on the past year’s work a lot to write my year-end blog, the pictures of 2021 are still very much on my mind. It’s an uneven fight. My best photos of a year versus the nascent work of 2022. It’s quite frustrating. Especially since I consider 2021 to be probably my best year on the street. It seems to me that my work has been the most consistent over a full year. There was no travel as there was in 2019 (Rome, Toulouse, Paris, Bristol, Marseille) which until now has been a marker since I started doing street photography. 2021 was spent solely on the streets of Saint Denis. And despite the small size of the city, I had managed to have a good year.
As I wrote in a previous blog, I took my time and circumstances meant that I didn’t start taking photos until quite late this year. I didn’t really start to get back into a routine on the streets of Saint Denis until mid February. I stopped looking at what I had done last year. I didn’t want to be polluted by the photos of 2021. What mattered to me now was what I was going to do with 2022. I had to let things happen. No special expectations.
Quite quickly, I was pleasantly surprised to see the photos coming to me. I didn’t go looking for glory shots, I just did what I do best. I walked around aimlessly, just enjoying the moments that were offered to me here and there by the street. I don’t do anything else. I enjoy a few minutes before picking up my kids from school, my shopping trips…
I wanted to share with you some photos I took recently. Most of them are on the February slideshow. For those of you who don’t want to look at it, I’ll tell you about some of them.
What attracted me to this picture was the naked model showing us his buttocks. Of course I needed something else and soon I saw a woman coming in the distance with a bunch of flowers. With a bit of luck I got the bouquet of flowers superimposed on the lady’s face. I later realised that they were not real flowers. In the end, fake flowers, fake ass, but a real photo.
This second photo is a direct echo of the first. I am particularly attentive to what people hold in their hands on the street. There is always potential in such situations. Here the bright colours of the broom and the orange waistcoat of the worker painting were an obvious choice. Again I like how the broom (the flowers in the previous photo) makes the person in the photo anonymous.
For this picture, I had a dentist appointment (not the time I finished face down…). I saw this woman with her kid hanging out behind. It looks like the woman is coming straight out of the wall as her clothes are as colourful as the wall.
This picture is a classic. Smokers often have their hand hanging out. I spotted this car and the light just shining on the face of the person in front is just sublime. This photo was taken on the fly. You can see in the reflections on the body of the car, that I am in motion.
Photo taken at a busy place in Saint-Denis. This older woman did not go unnoticed with her emerald green dress. I really like the sexy side of the photo.
Look for gestures! This is what I do systematically in the street. Gestures give life to photos because the scene photographed is alive and not static. I had shared in a blog a photo from the same scene. Here I got closer to the person to do a close-up on the gesture.
Look for oddity! It’s the same with elements that stand out in their environment. This was the case with these fire extinguishers that had been left here near this pole. The hardest part was trying to find a way to integrate these elements into a composition. I kept it fairly simple by playing it minimalist. The colours and textures dictated my composition. I just wanted to add a human presence in the frame. The legs echoing the fire extinguishers. Even if I have a rather intuitive approach in the street, I assure you that I thought about all this while making this one.
Picture taken where I love to hang out in Saint-Denis. It’s this guy with his coloured shirt that caught my eye. There’s not much going on, but I like these two people with their synchronised gestures, both looking in the same direction.
For this last photo, I had to act quickly. I quickly noticed that the silhouette of the person with the umbrella was interesting. I also quickly saw this girl with a rather … amazing outfit. I wanted her to close my composition on the left to leave only a bright square in the middle of the composition with the silhouette of the girl with the parasol.
I’m quite happy with these photos taken in February. I’m happy to see that there is a kind of continuity with the work I did in 2021. It seems pretty obvious because just because we’ve changed years doesn’t mean we’ve entered a whole new era. 2021 was just two months ago after all…
All photos were taken with the Ricoh GRD IV.