One of my great regrets is that I started Street Photography so late. Not that I don’t like the era I’m photographing now, but I do have a preference for earlier years. If you ask me to name my favourite street photographers, I’d definitely include Gary Winogrand. OK, that’s several decades ago… So yes, I would have liked to have started shooting street photography back in the 60s and 70s when film was still around. Give me a DeLorean so I could jump back in time!
Well, that’s that. I only started Street Photography in 2016 in the very pretty town of Aix-en-Provence. You could say that in terms of the existence of the practice I’m still a baby! 7 years is nothing. But did I really start in 2016? Yesterday Gwen was looking at our album of our past trip to India, which dates back to 2007. That’s 16 years ago… Well, I was surprised by some of the photos, which weren’t just exotic shots of a tourist on the other side of the world.
We went backpacking in India. We’d targeted northern India because it was summer and we didn’t want to suffer from the heat. Apart from our quick visit to Delhi, we spent our entire stay in Himachal Pradesh, the Tibetan part of India. We even had the opportunity to see the Daila Lama giving a reading in a temple in Dharamsala (that was before he started sucking on children’s tongues…).
At the time I had a Nikon D200 with a 55-200mm zoom, a 24mm and a 35-70mm. Yes, you’ve guessed it, a big camera bag … Every Nikonist knows the D200. Only 10 MP, but a semi-professional reflex from Nikon. It was my ticket into digital photography. I had switched from the Nikon FM2 (another Nikon legend!) to the Nikon D200 a year earlier during a trip to Hong Kong. Like any self-respecting tourist, I took photos in India to document our trip, but I also saw in certain photos the beginnings of the Street Photographer I was to become.
I did a lot of portraits there. It was quite simple because people were happy to pose. It was a long way from the big cities and people were happy to be photographed. Most of the photos were taken with the zoom lens and others with the 24mm. Suffice to say that it wasn’t easy to juggle the different focal lengths with a single camera. These are still photos taken by a tourist, but there is something that will have taken the time to grow between 2006 and 2016. You can see that I’m already attracted to people and street scenes.
Why did it take so long for Street Photography to catch my eye? A lot happened in my life from 2008 onwards. The building of our house in Jouques, then in 2009, the arrival of Joachim in our lives. Then came Ronan’s arrival in 2012. That doesn’t explain everything, but it’s certainly helped fill up my life so much that there’s no room for anything else. You know the rest. In 2016, I felt the need to find something to assert myself in a way other than as a dad. It’s going to be Street Photography and it’s going to be more than a hobby. It will become a way of living and seeing things.
All the photos were made with the Nikon D200.