On Wednesday 23 September Ian Boulton LRPS Zoomed in from Bristol to show us what good street photography looks like.

More of Ian’s work can be found on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/40023368@N05/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/boultonian/?hl=en

“Street photography” can be defined as a documentary form of photography produced candidly in the public realm without staging or manipulation.  It therefore focuses on people and their public behaviour.  And it has been around for as long as there has been photography.

Ian has always been drawn to street style photography and capturing the world around him, particularly the humour and the quirks.  And he has been taking pictures since around 1995 – film days of course.  In due course “I got a bit of pixel” in the form of a 3MB Fuji and, subsequently, a 6MB Canon.

Now Ian uses mainly rangefinders, rather than DSLRs.  He has a Fuji X100T, a Fuji XT3 (with 23mm, 12mm, and 50-230mm lenses) and a Fuji X-M1 (with 27mm pancake lens) “for shopping”.

His “go to” settings are F5.6 or F8, 1/250s, Auto ISO.  That is what works for him.

He shoots whatever he sees that interests him or appeals to him.  He particularly likes putting people in juxtaposition with something interesting or amusing and “matching up” things/people with colours (eg, someone in red clothes with a red telephone box) or patterns.

Although Ian specialises in street/urban photography, he confesses to being quite introverted.  So he actually finds street photography quite difficult and is often “a bit on edge”.  But getting a good shot gives him a buzz.

With his fascinating images (many in monochrome) as illustrations, Ian demonstrated that street photography is essentially about observation.  The pictures covered a wide range of street subjects, mainly in and around Bristol.  There were scenes of people going about their ordinary business (such as shopping in the supermarket), portraits of local characters, great shots of the Bristol Carnival and Bristol Pride parades, and – right up to date – interesting coverage of the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Ian also included a couple of AV sections, one of which covered the local pavement and street art and graffiti.  “You have to take it when you see it.  Go back and it’s gone.”  He is keen to record it because otherwise it will never be seen again.

And there were some cityscapes and even a bit of infrared photography.

Ian’s “well seen” pictures, often putting just the right person in clever proximity with an interesting or amusing sign or background, certainly revealed his sharp eye for the humorous and quirky.  And of course the success of Ian’s images is not a matter of chance.  He has developed his eye over many years.  As he put it, “the more you observe, the luckier you get”.

This was an excellent illustrated talk.  It included a thoughtful portrait of Bristol through Ian’s eyes.  And there was much more besides.  Anyone interested in street photography will have found plenty to admire and got plenty of ideas to inspire their future activities.

More of Ian’s work can be found on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/40023368@N05/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/boultonian/?hl=en

If you didn’t know, you can also post your comments at the bottom of the page. Engage with other Members and share your thoughts on the entries and judging. 

NB: Members can watch the recording of the meeting in full on the ‘Members Only’ section of the website.