URBAN International Photo Awards 2017, Now Open For Entries . . .

. . . The URBAN International Photo Awards 2017, an international stage for photographers, is now open for entries. Italian artist Maurizio Galimberti will be Jury President and a total prize fund of 4,000 euros (1300 euros to the winner), is up for grabs . . .

Submissions now open to the URBAN 2017 Photo Awards, international contest organized by Italian cultural association dotART, together with media partners Photographers.it and Sprea Fotografia.

Urban 2017 Photo Awards + Exhibition 14 February - 31 May 2017 Kevin Shelley Street Photography Blog UK

Now in its eighth edition, URBAN sees every year thousands of participating pictures and hundreds of participants from all over the world. It is an always growing international contest, one of the very few that goes “over the boundaries” of the Internet offering to photographers real visibility through dozens of international photo exhibitions.

Continue reading “URBAN International Photo Awards 2017, Now Open For Entries . . .”

Chester Street Photography with the Mamiya C33 and Ilford FP4+ . . .

“That guy must really like his camera, he hasn’t stopped looking at it for the past 10 minutes?”

At least that’s how I imagine the average ‘Joe’ might regard someone shooting Street Photography with a TLR camera, such as the Mamiya C33.

In all honesty I’ve never felt more comfortable photographing strangers and candid situations, than when using the Mamiya C33 TLR Medium Format camera.

Young Girl in Chester Finds Something Amusing Medium Format

Admittedly the ‘outfit’, with it’s 135mm Sekor lens (90mm in 35mm terms) does weigh as much as a Carling 8-Pack (whatever one of those is). Fortunately this minor (?) handicap is utterly negated by the unorthodox (by modern standards) shooting style.

Continue reading “Chester Street Photography with the Mamiya C33 and Ilford FP4+ . . .”

Ricoh WG-5 Rugged Street Photography Camera Review (Part 2) . . .

. . . continued from Part 1 . . .

It’s all well and good owning what many regard (or regarded) as the ultimate Street Photography camera (Leica M), but if you don’t use it for what it was intended, it becomes nothing more than an expensive piece of jewellery, or bling, or even an extravagance. More worryingly, outside of the relatively ‘clean’ environment of the street, the Leica M could be quickly ruined through dust and water contamination, or damaged from the slightest knock, etc.

What I needed in reality was a camera that would do everything. A camera I could ‘throw’ into the cavernous pocket of my motorcycle jacket and not have to worry about it getting cold or dusty. A camera I could clip to the ‘day pack’ on the front of my Kayak and not worry about it getting wet (or god forbid submerged if I capsized), or a camera I could simply stow in the glovebox of the car. All of this whilst still being able to turn it’s hand to the occassional bout of street photography.

Ricoh WG-5 GPS Rugged Street Photography Camera

Hence I narrowed my choice down to the Ricoh WG-5 GPS, an all weather, rugged, waterproof (to 14m), dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof and crushproof, 16 megapixel compact point and shoot camera, or as Ricoh prefer to simply describe it, ‘Adventure Proof’.

Continue reading “Ricoh WG-5 Rugged Street Photography Camera Review (Part 2) . . .”

Ricoh WG-5 Rugged Street Photography Camera Review (Part 1) . . .

. . . The Leica M-E has gone to a new home.

For that matter, the Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 Nokton and Voigtlander 28mm f/1.9 Ultron lenses and the Leica M2, now also find themselves spread far and wide and hopefully providing many more years of photographic excellence to their respective owners.

Am I mad ?

This was a recurring question that I kept asking myself over many a month. Would clearing out all of my ‘Leica kit’ really be such a bad thing?

Continue reading “Ricoh WG-5 Rugged Street Photography Camera Review (Part 1) . . .”

Morecambe Not Wise – Expired . . .

. . . To be completely honest and as far as I was concerned, photography was dead to me.

Regular visitors to the Street Photography Blog will be all too aware of my eternal battle with ‘seasonal disappointment’, brought on when the days shorten and the sky turns an uninspirational shade of morbid-grey.

In this frame of mind I would habitually ‘hibernate’ throughout each autumn and winter period, until one day the overcast horizon’s lift, that strange ‘light in the sky’ makes a much anticipated appearance, and it’s no longer necessary to wear five layers of clothing just to go shopping.

Morecambe Walking The Dog UK Street Photography Mamiya C33

This time round however, things felt oddly different.

Continue reading “Morecambe Not Wise – Expired . . .”

Mojo Falling – A Street Photographer’s Crisis of Faith . . .

. . . “Hello, is there (still) anybody out there?”

Truth is (and now over 3 months since my last post), it makes no real difference if there isn’t. Photography doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. There, I’ve said it.

Even presented with the opportunity to take photographs, I find my mind drifting towards other more attractive propositions, like playing guitar, or riding my motorcycle, or Lamb Balti Vindaloo.

A case in point would be last weekend and I find myself at my favourite campsite in Delamere, near Chester. This rather convenient ‘stop over’ is a particular first-choice of mine, specifically because it features a railway station not 50 yards from its entrance gates. Step aboard this incredibly swift and cost effective public service and the wonderous realms of not only Manchester and Chester, but also Liverpool are between 15 minutes and one hour away.

Having always fallen into the comfortably familiar routine of Chester on the first day (because it’s a Saturday and hence more people) and Manchester on the Sunday (it’s a huge city, so still busy), I’d considered it a refreshing change to try Liverpool.

old woman liverpool cuddles dog love street photography leica m9 m-e

Continue reading “Mojo Falling – A Street Photographer’s Crisis of Faith . . .”

A Late Street Photography Postcard from London . . .

It’s that ‘quiet time’ on the blog again. The London trip came and went, a good time was had and many favourite photographs were captured, using both the Leica M2 and M-E.

Truth is however that before I knew it, my number-one pastime was becoming more of a ‘job’ (again and unpaid at that), with ‘appointments’ being made, promises promised and items for review provided.

So I decided to take a break from the whole photography scene, with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram ‘holidays’ booked. 🙂

And what an absolute joy it’s been without the constant thought of ‘this has to be done’ and ‘must sort that out’ etc. Instead I’ve been able to completely forget about all of ‘that stuff’ and concentrate on other things instead, such as music and my first motorbike in 3 years – nice.

So what about the pictures from London? Well for now I’d like to present what is for me, probably the finest photograph I’ve taken to date (in my opinion). Taken with the Leica M2, Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Classic lens, Ilford HP5+ and processed in a new (for me) developer, Tetenal Paranol S (review to come).

Chow for now and enjoy.

Naked Bike Ride London 2015 Leica M2 CV 35 1.4 Paranol S Kevin Shelley Street Photography Blog UK

Short Reviews, London in June and How Much Money I Make . . .

. . . Have you ever stopped for one moment to evaluate just what it is that you hope to get from your photography? Maybe you just do it for the enjoyment? Possibly like me, you also write a Blog? If the latter, why go through all the time, expense, effort and worry (yes really) of doing so – surely it can’t be for the money?

With regards that last point, I was struck by this particular question a short while ago – how much money have I earned in the last 20 years from my photography, or the 3 years of this blog, or for that matter, the many countless photographic ‘weekends’ away?

Well that’s easy and you may or may not find the answer surprising – Ten pounds.

Yes, Ten Quid, a Tenner, a Bill & Benner, a Cockle, an Ayrton Senna, a Cock & Hen – and I can easily recall how I came to be in possession of that beautiful (if slightly limp) ‘Brownie’.

Five years ago I had this crazy idea of selling photographic prints. As chance would have it, there was a local photography exhibition just a few weeks away and in a moment of utter madness, I chose twenty of my (then) favourite images and had them printed as 16×12″ black & white photographs. As a finishing touch, I lovingly mounted each one in a chunky ebony-coloured wooden frame. Three hundred pounds later and on a cold and dark morning, I headed off to the exhibition. At an asking price of just £25 each, I was sure to make my money back AND turn a tidy profit for my troubles?

Continue reading “Short Reviews, London in June and How Much Money I Make . . .”

Leica M Edition 60 – The Street Photography Review . . .

(Please be sure to see the end of this review for an important update).

. . . During the previous installment of this review, I got to know the M Edition 60 a little better and gained a clearer understanding of what it can offer photography today. Now in this, the final chapter, I took the Leica M Edition 60 out and onto the streets of Chester and Manchester, where I could properly put the camera through its paces . . .

. . . The brief was simple. Evaluate whether a digital camera can function as an everyday ‘shooter’, without a screen – just myself and the Leica M60 enjoying a relaxing stroll through the sights, sounds, smells and inhabitants of two popular, sprawling and rugged cities in the North West of England.

Man Waves in Chester UK Leica M Edition 60

How in fact is it possible to spend an entire two days shooting street photographs and using only a camera that provides just the bare minimum of options necessary to capture a picture – those being shutter speed, aperture, focusing and ISO sensitivity?

Continue reading “Leica M Edition 60 – The Street Photography Review . . .”

Leica M Edition 60 – Past Future . . .

. . . Previously in the article Leica M Edition 60 – A Design Concept (and deliberately avoiding the term ‘Part One’ if only in the interest of originality), I looked at the M60 from the point of view of Leica and in particular their designers and marketers, what ‘it is’ and what it means to Leica themselves. Now I’ll examine the camera, what it’s like to use (with the resultant photographs) and what it can offer the photographer of today . . .

. . . Writing camera reviews (or any written work for that matter), is rather like designing a camera itself. Typically and when beginning such a creative endeavor, it’s common practice for the Design Team (or writer) to draw inspiration and ideas from areas seemingly unconnected to the task at hand. This is often achieved by the creation of a ‘Mood Room’ – an area whereby objects or photographs are collected together and that in some way instill a particular feeling, or an emotion, or place the individual ‘inside’ the mind of the prospective customer. For example, someone wishing to create a vehicle that evokes a sense of the 1950’s may watch a movie from that period, such as ‘Rebel Without A Cause’.

Another approach is to seek enlightenment from one’s own memories and experiences, and which is a technique I frequently use when piecing together the basic premise of an article, such as this one.

Front Top View Leica M Edition 60

In my case and through the course of the 3 or 4 days spent so far with the Leica M60, I was beginning to form a sense of what the camera ‘says’ to me as a photographer. During this period, two distinct and completely unrelated memories began to surface – my favourite old Television Set and Eric Clapton.

Continue reading “Leica M Edition 60 – Past Future . . .”

Leica M Edition 60 – A Design Concept . . .

. . . There is a saying in the world of product design and marketing that is as old as those professions themselves – “There’s no such thing as bad advertising”.

Take for example the case of Leica, for I believe that with the release several months ago of the M Edition 60 (simply called the M60 from now on), there must be at least one or two Designers and Marketers sat in front of their computers at Leica HQ, rubbing their hands with glee?

On the surface however and judging solely by the multitude of impassioned comments this camera has garnered on forums and social media, this would appear to be a peculiar assumption to make.

With words such as irrelevant, unnecessary, snobbish, pointless, expensive, elitist, bourgeois and outdated appearing with almost nauseating regularity, how could one deduce that this would in any way work favourably towards building a successful and sought after product?

Front View of the Leica M Edition 60

Well, from the wisdom of Oscar Wilde, “There’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about”.

Continue reading “Leica M Edition 60 – A Design Concept . . .”

Medium Format Street Photography With A Mamiya TLR And Darkroom Excitement . . .

. . . If anyone was to tell you that ‘film is dead’, suggest to them that they place a post on Twitter and include the hashtags #Film #Photography. Leave to simmer for a few hours and if the number of favourites, enthusiastic responses and re-tweets they’ll receive are anything to go by, film is apparently continuing to grow in popularity – and I for one can understand why.

Leaving aside the obvious attractions of its inherent image quality, the ‘feel’ and the limited number of exposures available (with the benefits this brings to your photography), there is also a level of anticipation and excitement when it comes to viewing your finished images, which is impossible to achieve with digital. (UPDATE : Unless you’re shooting the Leica M Edition 60 – My 3-Part review starting here).

These unique qualities can be experienced whether you send your films away to be processed, or choose (as I do) to do the work yourself. However, it’s only in the darkroom that you’ll experience the full gamut of emotions.

Take for example the last two days, one Mamiya C33 TLR and four rolls of ‘expired’ Ilford FP4 Medium Format film.

Mamiya C33 TLR Medium Format Camera Street Photography Blog

It began a few days ago, when I accidentally tripped over my ancient (and beige) National Geographic canvas camera bag, poking out from under a table – “Ah the old Mamiya” I thought. Very shortly I’d pulled the camera from the bag and soon discovered there were also four rolls of unexposed black & white film in a front pocket. A quick once-over and several film-less test shots later confirmed everything was (somewhat surprisingly) in good order. The old grey-matter quickly got to work and in no time, a plan was hatched.

Continue reading “Medium Format Street Photography With A Mamiya TLR And Darkroom Excitement . . .”

Leica X (Type 113) Review – Out Of My Comfort Zone . . .

. . . With this review I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try something completely different, both for the Street Photography Blog and (possibly) for camera reviews in general. So in documenting my experiences with the Leica X, I’ve split it into two distinct parts.

Leica X Front View Review Street Photography Blog UK

Part One consists of this review, which is a hands-on look at how the camera performed when recently taking it round the UK Photography Show.

Part Two is an accompanying (and FREE) eBook in PDF format. The eBook “Not Of The Street” features (as well as writing) the main ‘body’ of photographs taken during the time spent shooting with the Leica X and which are themselves a first for my photography, a series of 15 portraits. Enjoy . . .

Continue reading “Leica X (Type 113) Review – Out Of My Comfort Zone . . .”

Leica X (Type 113) First Impressions . . .

The Gods of Photography must be smiling down, as not only have I secured a Press Pass for the upcoming Photography Show at the N.E.C. Birmingham on 21st – 24th March, Leica have very kindly provided me with one of their latest cameras for review, a Leica X. Thank you Leica UK . . .

. . . I’m quickly discovering that in the world of camera reviewing, it’s easy to fall into a ‘standard’ frame of mind. Take one camera, compare it to similar models from other manufacturers, ‘peep’ at the images on a pixel level, examine the spec’s and from that, offer an opinion as to whether it’s better or worse than the others. Simple really?

There’s of course a problem with this much favored style of appraising a cameras’ strengths and weaknesses – it tells the reader nothing about what it’s actually like to use in the real world.

Therefore you won’t find any of that ‘stuff’ in my reviews. Yes I may make passing comparisons to another model or two, but this is always from a usability point of view – which leads me to this rather smart offering from Leica, the ‘X’.

Leica X Type 113 Front View Street Photography Blog

Continue reading “Leica X (Type 113) First Impressions . . .”

Leica M-E (M9) – A Street Photography Review . . .

. . . In this review I mention the Fuji X-E1, but all the images presented here are taken with the Leica M-E . . .

. . . Question: What do a Fuji X-E1 and XF35 1.4 lens, a Leica M6, an electric guitar and effects pedal, an iPad and a Cello all have in common?

Answer: That is what was sold in order to finance what is for me, the ultimate street photography camera – the Leica M-E, or to give it its full model designation, the “Leica M-E, Which Is Actually An M9 But Without The USB Port Or Frameline Preview Lever And In A Different Colour. Apart From That It’s Identical In Every Way To An M9.”

Of course that can be a bit of a mouthful at times, so for the purpose of this article I shall refer to it solely as the Leica M-E.

I also won’t bore you to death with the industry-standard approach when reviewing a Leica ‘M’ camera, that being a ‘mini-tutorial’ of how a rangefinder works in practice, endless comparisons to DSLR’s or Micro Four-Thirds and especially how manual focusing with a rangefinder is better or worse than auto-focus etc.

So without further ado, let’s start at the beginning with a good-old photograph of the ‘beast’ in question – albeit a beast costing a four-figure sum . . . Gulp !!!

leica m-e m9 street photography test review uk photographs

Naturally with ‘M’ camera bodies, the price didn’t include a lens, though luckily and considering my manic desire to ‘sell sell sell’, I had the presence of mind to keep hold of the wonderful Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5 lens previously mounted to the M6 and M2 (the latter of which I still have – hey I’m not that mad 🙂 )

Continue reading “Leica M-E (M9) – A Street Photography Review . . .”

It’s Not Only Film That Can Hide Long-Forgotten Surprises . . .

. . . It’s often said (including by me) that one of the attractions of shooting film, is that until you actually come to develop a roll, you just never know what pictorial delights may (or may not) be waiting for you.

Well the same thing happened to me yesterday morning, but it wasn’t from a roll of film.

Continue reading “It’s Not Only Film That Can Hide Long-Forgotten Surprises . . .”

Street Photography Is Like A Box Of Chocolates . . .

. . . Yes you’ve guessed it, “you never know what you’re gonna get” (especially where 35mm is concerned). I could also quote a favourite saying of one-time TV football pundit, Jimmy Greeves – “It’s a funny old game.”

At least that’s how it felt as I took my place amongst the crazed swathes of early Christmas shoppers on the streets of Chester recently, one dark and cold Saturday morning.

Mercifully though and despite the ominous blanket of moody black cloud that appeared to hover inches above our heads, the day remained dry. Add to the equation that there was barely a square foot of pavement available to each pedestrian and you have the perfect environment (?) for the Street Photographer, be it one who’s still in recovery from a good-old-fashioned nervous breakdown.

Which brings me nicely to the reason I was now standing approximately centre-left of a shopping thoroughfare, the Leica M2 loaded with HP5 and a Voigtlander 50 f/1.5 lens mounted.

It had been at least 10 weeks since I’d even dared to pickup a camera, partly through fear that doing so might trigger another ‘episode’. What if I started panicking again, or worse still, began sobbing and wailing uncontrollably like some great grizzly bear and in full view of every bewildered passerby?

“Pull yourself together Kevin”, I told myself “you’re made of stronger stuff than this”!?

So whilst utilising some simple meditative techniques I’d learnt just days before, and with an extra large deep breath, I aquired a subject and clicked the shutter.

asian lady talks on phone rummages in handbag and stands on one leg chester street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale leica m2 voigtlander 50 1.5

Continue reading “Street Photography Is Like A Box Of Chocolates . . .”

Facing My Demons . . .

. . . Thank you to all who have written with kind and helpful words of support, both about my ‘problem’ and their own. Also, to hear that my Bipolar Article has been of help for others in coming-to-terms with various issues, has brought a tear to my eye. Thank you.

I’m especially indebted to a reader of the Street Photography Blog (you know who you are 🙂 ) who sent me a selection of Meditative literature. As a result of this, I was able to summon the courage to once again grab a camera and hit the streets. Cheers mate.

To that end, I am now writing this post whilst enjoying a coffee outside a Starbucks in Chester. So far it’s been a very enjoyable experience, despite feeling a little detached from reality – floating on a cloud so to speak.

street photography uk photographer kevin shelley prints for sale leica m2 voigtlander 50 1.5

All being well, there should be some cool shots ‘in the can’ and on the blog, soon.

Seasonal Bipolar Disorder, Depression and Street Photography . . .

. . . This is without a doubt the most difficult article I’ve ever had to write. Not so much because of the ‘personal’ nature of the subject matter, rather ‘because’ of the debilitating effects of the subject matter itself . . .

. . . It’s been a bit quiet here on the Street Photography Blog of late. Indeed it struck me that I hadn’t posted anything for the whole of October – even September consisted only of ‘bulletins’ regarding interviews and features. Nor for that matter had I taken any pictures. In fact, at no point had any of my cameras been out of the bag for the last 10 weeks or so. Even the ‘Chicken Shed’ darkroom, that warm and cosy outhouse of brick and slate had remained locked and in darkness (much to the relief of the resident spiders).

Sorry, I tell a lie. I did actually go to Manchester with the Leica M6 about 8 weeks ago, with the aim of spending a couple of days shooting on the streets. Sadly, it all took a sudden and upsetting downturn from thereon.

Continue reading “Seasonal Bipolar Disorder, Depression and Street Photography . . .”

A Feature Length Interview in Inspired Eye Magazine – Issue 15 . . .

Once again, many thanks and huge appreciation to Don Springer and Olivier Duong of Inspired Eye Magazine for the wonderful 18-page interview and photographs in Issue 15 of their exceptional publication. This issue features interviews and photography from 9 photographers, Essays, Readers Gallery and Travel Writing.

Click Here (not a pay-per-click, just a link) to buy the bumper 165-page Issue 15 now for just $4.95 (£3.10 approximately) in PDF format . . .

. . . and click the picture below for a sample of the first page of my featured article.

Inspired Eye Magazine - Street Photographer from the UK, Kevin Shelley