- Jamie Dean
Graffiti Safari - Shoreditch.
Since lockdown I have found it really difficult to find the motivation to get outside with my camera. Sure I have been using my Nikon to photograph other hobby subjects and items that I would be selling on Ebay, plus of course I have still used my iPhone and Sony A5100 to capture the odd interesting thing while walking to and from work. But to actually go out with the D800 specifically to have some time dedicated to capturing images has been hard to do. So when I was thinking of going to Shoreditch to have a look around the streets for new and interesting street art and a friend, who I haven't seen since the beginning of the year, offer to tag along it gave me the added incentive to get out there. As it turned out, I met with another friend later in the morning who wanted to get out in the street to try out a Sigma 35mm f1.4 he had borrowed or rented.
I meet with the first friend on London Bridge at about 08:45 and we walked together to Shoreditch, discussing what we have been doing since and during the lockdown. London was still relatively quiet, I guess quite a few workers are still able to work from home and have chosen to do so. Once at Shoreditch we walked my normal route looking for new and interesting street art. There was a few new pieces that I captured, I just had the D800 and the 24-70mm attached, I was travelling light. This combination was stuffed into my Lowepro Toploader. As there morning progress my friend had to leave to allow her time to get to work, I walked back to Liverpool Street station with her and then met with second friend.
Shortly after meeting my second friend I spotted this lady wearing a red coat about to walk pass a wall of black and white arrows, I saw the potential for a great shot but I had to get the DSLR out of the Toploader and shoot between passing traffic, I have to say it was a struggle to get any image at all but I think it came out ok, kind of. We then headed back to Brick Lane where I captured a few more images of street art and my friend was capturing random strangers in the street, some he asked to take their photo, others he shot candidly. He was telling me all morning how much he loved the lens he was using. It was good to see him using his camera again so enthusiastically. It seemed we both needed this time to be out creating images. Ok, not so much me as I was basically photo-copying the pieces of art painted on the wall in front of me, but I was at least creating a piece of history as the artwork would certainly not withstand the brutal taggers for too long, and the rule of the street artist is that once the image is tagged it is ok to paint over it. Then the art has gone forever, well except for the image I have safely stored in my Lightroom catalogue.
One of the last images I captured from the day was this piece by the artist @dreph_ which has been untouched for quite sometime as I have seen and photographed it before. As I approached to shoot it I noticed the reflection of it in the window of the adjacent shop. I positioned myself so the whole face would be reflected and gentle pressed the shutter. This ended up being my favourite capture from the Nikon of the whole day. The reflection giving it a little more than just a representation of the artwork. But, ironically, my favourite capture from the whole day was captured using just my iPhone not my Nikon and is the image presented below. Another reflection shot, but this time of the painted wall and random posters in a puddle in the road. All in all though it was great to catch up with friends and get out with the camera. Perhaps next time I won't find it so hard to dedicate some time to my passion.