I belong to a photography forum where members can discuss more or less anything photographic and post images for discussion. One member, let's call him Fred, is a prolific and very good street photographer. When it comes to captioning and giving descriptive titles, Fred believes that the viewer should strike his or her own opinion and interpretation of the shot and not be influenced by the naming of the image by the photographer.
I have some sympathy for that view but I believe that there are occasions when the photographer can draw attention to certain aspects of the image and engage the viewer more fully. Much of today's photography is ephemeral, hardly given a glance and quickly forgotten. I want to entice you in, make you work a little and think about the above image. The young man is called Chancelvy, I could have just used his name for the title but I want to draw your attention to the tiny posy in his beard. Is it an affectation or is there more of a story that will retain your attention?
As the title suggests, the flower was affectionately placed by a five year-old by the name of Perle. Who is Perle and why did she place the flower where she did. Are you intrigued and is there scope for further speculation? Giving you all the information would surely shorten your involvement.
On the other hand, (think Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof) do you feel that the young man's name would suffice? Let me know.
Just when you think you really know a neighbourhood inside out, explored all the nooks and crannies, a special place presents itself. That's what happened to me a few months ago.
Just a few hundred yards from Brick Lane, there as a triangular wedge of land, perhaps a hundred yards long by fifty yards at its widest point. Hemmed in by rail tracks on two sides and a less than beautiful approach, it’s little wonder that I missed it during my previous wanderings.
Populated by tiny gardens created from pallets, shacks made from old doors and discarded timber, a hand-made temple and a mobile cafe that looks like a big Vespa scooter with a cabin attached, this place is different, totally. Then there is the people who maintain this extraordinary spot, you'll be meeting some of them later.
In the meantime, I decided to call this image - "Power to the People", a slogan appropriated from an ancient TV series called Citizen Smith. The graffiti has changed but the last time I looked, the sculpture was still in place.
Curious? With a little perseverance, you'll find the place, I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.
Welcome to the first of my posts during Photomonth 2016 (2016.photomonth.org/) What I hope to do is to introduce you to some of the people I meet as I meander along and around Brick Lane. This street has always been a transit point, The Huguenots came to escape persecution in their native France, Jews from eastern Europe arrived in their tens of thousands, today there is little sign of either community having lived here. The evidence of the Bangladeshi community is everywhere but one sees the relentless march of gentrification as curry houses are sold and replaced by exotic outlets selling delicious but very expensive chocolate.
I digress, so, please let me introduce you to Bea, short for Beatriz. Our paths first crossed a few years ago when Bea was distributing leaflets for 'Blitz', one of the larger vintage clothes shop along Brick Lane.
Originally from Granada, southern Spain, these days Bea runs her own vintage stall in the basement of the Old Truman Brewery. Full of fun, smiles and whacky poses, it's always a pleasure to meet this charming girl and be shown her latest tattoo. I hope she stays, I'll miss her if she succumbs to the undoubted pull of her very beautiful home town.