happy blogging

I was digging out an old photo from my VOX gallery earlier this week and was quite surprised to find out that my one-year anniversary of blogging on VOX came and went undetected (at least for me) beginning of this September. My goodness, has it been a year already?! I know I say this often enough, but where does the time run off to so quickly?

It's been a great year sharing my London here with you all. Thank you so much for watching and actively commenting on my photos and ramblings on them in this blog. I know I'm not the most active community-orientated person, and this is something I know I can improve on. ;) Your comments and blogs aren't going undetected though, I'm just a girl with a few words and I do much better in visual terms, showing more photos than speaking.

To mark the 12-months of photoblogging here I've decided to show my own personal favourites from the past year and maybe talk a little bit more about why I like them so much. I've decided to mention a bit about the circumstances they were taken as well. So, here is my Top Ten of my first year on VOX!

This is what I would consider my best photo of 2006 altogether. I remember seeing this couple meeting after work in Moorgate from afar and admiring how they got totally immersed in a world of their own, in a way only people in love can. I rushed over, positioned myself to their side and waited for some people to pass by to try and show how really into each other they were. It was easy to capture their emotion as they were completely oblivious to the world (and me) around them, in the middle of all the rushing home on a busy Friday afternoon.

I end up at Trafalgar Square a lot at times with my camera. It is very central in London, on my way home, and always full of sitting ducks for any street photographer alike. :D Saying all that, it's actually not the easiest places to photograph people in London. And at night time it hasn't been lit up very well, so it poses all kinds of challenges. On one of the times I ended up wandering around I spotted this cute girl messing about with her siblings and pulling faces at her parents. She was in a perfect spot, with Nelson's lions and Big Ben behind her, so all I had to do was lift the camera to my eye, snap and walk away. Even though I am a girl and can get away with a smile a lot of the times, I am extremely careful taking photos of children. Not only for caution, but also for respect. But how could I resist taking her photo, really! ;)

There are some stereotypes in the genre of street photography where people are almost "set up" with their environment. I'm a bit of a sucker for this juxtaposing of people, especially if it is with large advertising or posters, like in this photo. The first thing I noticed of this scene was the gorgeous low sunlight filtering through the trees across the street, but when people started wandering past the poster I smiled, and waited. It's unlike me to position myself like this to wait for the perfect moment/person, but I'm not adverse to it. I usually like to document and observe things around me in that instant, but think this photo turned out lovely in so many levels, so it was worth the waiting.

For me this is the funniest photo I took last year. It's also one of the luckiest. I was out with a friend, wandering in the more touristy parts of London when we spotted this couple taking the usual London memento photos. For some reason this gate had only this one guard and the wife initially only stood in front of the empty guard box. The husband had a little brain storm, told her to step in and that is what I was aiming to shoot, which is what I thought was quite funny contrast as well (a soldier on the left and this woman in the other box). But it was not meant to be, since this is what happened exactly at the moment I pressed the shutter down – the guard ordered the woman briskly out of the box and her face, I love it! Very funny and very split second. The scene was over before it started and I'm so glad I caught it in this photo.

Sometimes pictures really speak louder than words ever could. For me this is a perfect photo of British winter. There are no words I could really find more fittingly to describe the miserable concrete grey that hangs upon your head for four odd months in this country – this photo does it in an instant. On this particular day I was out not really pulling a Martin Parr-ish weather documentary, but out of protest just to photograph regardless of what nature threw my way. I don't think this lady waiting by London Bridge was out there voluntarily though, but I'm grateful she was standing in this spot for me to me capture something great that day.

This is probably another good example of what I was talking about earlier regards to setting people up with their environment. It also incorporates one of my weaknesses: good, yet quirky lighting. This is one of my favourite photos also for the reason that it's the one I got most hassle for in the past year. I don't often get approached when I photograph in public. It is an art form to do what I do discreetly, but this time the site manager noticed me taking photos, rushed over and gave me a right earful of it being against the law taking photos of this building site. I went for my default response: I smiled, acted foreign, apologised and walked away before he could ask me to delete any photos I'd already taken. What would have he said if he knew I wasn't really taking photos of the building they were building, but this very funny man just writing on this little form with his full safety gear on (as the sign clearly states though)! :D

Right, this naughty photo… I think like shooting children I really don't go after up-skirt shots of girls when I'm out (I suspect you knew that already :D). So, why is this photo in this list? I think it's a good example of another type of happy accident photos I sometimes manage to take. You see, sometimes I'm just standing somewhere in London, simply observing what is going on around me, and I might take a few photos to get a feel of the place and people, and sometimes not until I get home I notice that something peculiar has happened the moment I have taken this kind of a boring warm up photo. Like in this case. A bit naughty, but at the same time quite funny. ;)

  Ok, there are more of these setting people up with posters and such in my personal favourites than I realised! :D (Maybe I'm just a bit old skool in that way…) I like this photograph better than the other photo I took with these Rankin portraits by the Royal Festival Hall simply for the fact that I have managed to capture a connection with the subject and myself, as well as having the connection with the artificial gazes of the people in the posters nicely in this. I don't, as a rule of thumb, approach people to ask for their permission to take a photo. (It's actually legal to do this in UK in public places!) Sometimes people do notice I take a photo of them, but most times people think they are in the way of something far more interesting that I'm taking a picture of. Like in this case. Funny that!

Sometimes I just walk into the perfect situation and set up for a photo, like with this one. I love looking at photos by other people where a lot of things are happening, and where you have to think through what really is going on. For me this is one of those photos I love myself to see. I was simply crossing the street on Piccadilly when I saw these guys desperately trying to figure out a) how to get away with parking their lorry in the middle of the road and b) how the hell they were going to offload this huge thing out of the back of it and get it where they were supposed to. (A classic: How many men does it take to figure this one out- joke. ;)) The colours in this are really lovely for me, too. Especially how that red bus is balanced out with the red RA flag across the street. Lovely scene, just waiting for me to document – I wish it was always this easy really!

This photo is from my first time at the Notting Hill Carnival this August. I like it for the fact that my Holga and shooting on film had become more regular for me towards to the end of these 12 months. It's also damn difficult to take a photo at this carnival of someone not smiling! :D There was something human I caught in this photo in the middle of all the fun, colours and music, and I'm really happy about that.

Selecting ten photos wasn't as easy as thought it was going to be, so settling for these particular ten was a bit of a compromise between so many others I have loved, and am really proud of having taken this past year. I had to draw a line to only grant entry for photos I have taken up to the end of August, to be true to the 12 month time line as well. I really hope you've enjoyed these as much as I have! And if you disagree with any of my selections and think I've missed out on any special ones, please let me know! :D

Here's to the next 12 months VOX! ;)

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9 Comments on “happy blogging”

  1. Alex says:

    Great post! Thanks for the descriptions of the photos. It's so cool hearing what thoughts went into them.
    And congrats on your one-year anniversary!

  2. Emma says:

    Congratulations on your first aniversity! Mine's next month, which seems pretty weird to me!

    As always, fantastic photos, and I loved hearing a bit more about them.

  3. Melissa says:

    i am loving your photos!my favourite is 'loving it' because it is one of those photos that you rarely see depicting london! and the direct contrast between both sides of the photo! very nicely done! =)how are london people towards street photographers? i do a little street photography too and the people here either love getting their photos snapped, or hate getting their photos snapped that they give you that stare.

  4. lauowolf says:

    Here's to the second year!Great collection of photos.GrrGirl may be my favorite — I suspect you've photographed her soul there!

  5. annaliisa says:

    Beautiful and compelling photographs as always! I enjoyed this. Your writing is also beautiful and evocative. I think the entire Vox community would enjoy this anniversary post. Happy anniversary!

  6. Stephanie-j says:

    I adore your photos and your blog. I'm glad that I stumbled upon it that day, you have inspired me to always have my camera on hand (not that I show my photos). Your photos also keep alive my desire to travel to Europe in the (hopefully near) future. Happy anniversary, here's to another year *cheers*

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