This is an article discussing the benefits of meeting or viewing like minded enthusiasts of street photography, and being inspired. Then treading in each others footsteps, hopefully though not on each others toes, to watch, learn and develop. Indeed one can learn a lot by watching methods and skills of your fellow artists, but of course always developing your own style.
Batsceba Hardy and I decided to get together, to do just that.
This is our story.................
This was to highlight the benefits of learning and inspiration from your fellow artist, visiting galleries and reading articles.
To encourage one to always keep improving whilst retaining your own style.
Batsceba Hardy is the brain child of Progressive Street. We first met through another group, whilst critiquing together. In the back room we would often chat about styles and imagery, bouncing off each other with witticisms about life in general and street photography. Batsceba would often write beautiful articles with soulful images to accompany. Indeed Bats as I came to know her was a master of story telling in words and images. I was immediately attracted to her humour, poetic work and indeed soulful style.
Consequently we were to become inspired by each other in writing and the art of street photography.
Batsceba had told me of her plans to form Progressive Street, so when she put the pedal to the metal and screeched up the avenue, I was only too happy to go along for the ride.
I have learned so much from looking at art galleries in the use of light and colours from ancient masters to the modern. The artists of our group, push me on to be better, so I thank you all for that.
One of the reasons we all come together, is to peruse other artists work, appreciate, share and be inspired. Of course in this genre we are always seizing the moment “Carpe Diem” which is what our subjects whisper to us from the galleries. We seize the moments from around the world. One of the biggest compliments someone can pay you as an artist, is that they recognise your style, without seeing a signature.
I recognise many artists work in Progressive, and one of those is Batsceba Hardy, whom without doubt has her own eloquent, soulful style.
Not really needing any other reason to visit the beautiful streets of Milano for fantastic street shots, I decided to take the opportunity to meet up with Batsceba Hardy to compare style and techniques .
Batsceba also set about documenting me as I amassed many images in my own methodical ways. Which is the reason this article has both of our views and images.
Why do we look at past images through the centuries. Of course we appreciate the art. We stare in awe at the craftsmanship. We lose ourselves in the moments of the era. It was indeed the street photography before cameras came along. They still used the same principles of composition, light, and colours. Of course the greats did it in there own unique style.
Milan is a beautiful Italian city and a Street photographers dream.
I met Batsceba in a coffee shop in the heart of Milano. A great place to plant yourself and snap away at moments and stories that develop.
I have been to Rome and driven a combi van through the streets of Southern Italy. So I had some experience of the nation and papping a horn. But what hit me immediately when I went to Milan, was the difference in cleanliness and presentation of the city. Sorry Rome, but the Milanese win hands down.
Friendliness, beauty, helpfulness came as sweet as the local coffee. Even when you were rejected to take photos, a simple high five came up, which I interpreted as only take five pictures thank you.
When we set off around the streets, our contrasting styles was immediately apparent. I, with my ruck sack and equipment hanging off me like a Christmas tree, looking the quintessential tourist. Indeed a terrific disguise in the big cities. Also to bolster the case, Batsceba in her beautiful native tongue, would say “crazy Englishman” Then everyone would nod rapidly and offer me a patronising smile. I still got the shots, which to me was the important thing.
On the other hand, the native Batsceba would blend with the natives, and seem to just glide along, as if being carried by the wind.
Her cool attire was key, red leather jacket, shades, bohemian dress, canvass shoes and Pocahontas style thick hair, to finish off the cool Italiana blending look.
Bats carried a canvas bag, with the lens of her Nikon knavishly poking out, as if carrying a pet rodent around with her. When she saw a moment, Bats would glide alongside the scene, the lens would just slightly raise it’s head, and then her slender finger gently resting on the shutter, she would instinctively click at the right moment. All done by feeling the moment, like a Jedai Knight, blindfolded and going with the force.
It was a joy to watch, I called it ghosting.
We wandered the streets and tubes of Milan clicking away, Batsceba sighing as I set up camp in different places, while Bats documented the crazy Englishman.
I was on an eternal search for an iconic scooter to pan, for my war with Angel Rodriguez. Bats just wanted to stop me getting lost, and skilfully guided me around the city from one coffee oasis to another.
Of course just the trip there and back, was a catalogue of images.
But that is a different story. Needless to say, a journey anywhere is good for the soul.
Seize the moment............
Share, appreciate, learn, encourage.
Street images will go on forever, be inspired and inspire!
Let us be the best of our generation, presenting the street moments from our world.
Visit your local art displays, and most definitely visit the progressive street galleries, sites, magazine and exhibitions.
Read the articles!
Robert Bannister & Batsceba Hardy