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Brighton, Photographically

It was not a good start to the day. The Southern Trains 90% special offer to Brighton was negated by my own special offer to world – retardation. I had looked up the train time the night before. I had looked at the departure board in plenty of time. But still I was convinced that the train was leaving at 9:46. The train was leaving at 9:42. Just missed it. So it was either sulk home or fork out full price for two day returns.

Brighton Cafe, Face Covered

Brighton Cafe, Face Covered - Leica M8.U2, Konica Hexanon 35mm, 1/90s @ f5.6

Myself and the fiancée were meeting a couple of chums for a day out, so this was never going to be an all-out concentrated street photography session – more like trying to fit some in with the rest of the day. I took the M8.U2 partnered with the Hexanon UC 35mm, and ‘The Beast’, my golden (literally) Fujifilm GSW690-II, for the really, really serious stuff (this camera usually gets comments, and yesterday was no exception). I got one or two shots with the Leica that I’ll print today, and will live with for a while before deciding whether I like them.  What I shot with the Fuji will be more interesting – I was shooting exclusively 6×9 while we were on and around the pier.  It was overcast, and exposure was 1/125 @ f8.  I wish now I’d maybe loaded with ISO 400 rather than 100.  The North Laines are also a prime location for street shooting – lots of interesting characters, lot’s of outdoor seating/dining/drinking/vending/busking. I do feel that since starting this blog, discovering some contemporary street photographers, and becoming more aware of my photography, my confidence shooing the streets has gown. There were notable occasions yesterday where I shot with the camera to my eye where three months ago I would have shot from the hip.

Brighton book purchasesQuelle surprise – I didn’t shoot enough.  This was due to a) the company, b) the rain and c) my photography book habit.  I came back with five (and, randomly, an HP 12C financial calculator), all purchased within the first couple of hours.  I love a good photography book nearly as much as a good camera, but it’s frustrating when my weakness for them gets in the way of shooting. In the first store (I didn’t catch the name), I came away with a 1980 collection of ‘Classic Essays on Photography’ edited by Alan Trachtenberg, and ‘Weegee’s World’ (I had a nice chat with the owner/sales assistant informing her of the origins of that famous nickname). Two minutes down the the road (Laine?) I stumbled into Sandpiper Books. Mamma mia – I could have spent hours in here and come away with twenty books. I kept my cool, and restricted myself to a further three: ‘Overexposed’ edited by Carol Squiers, Peter Turnley’s ‘Parisians’, and a sealed copy of ‘Obvious & Ordinary – America 2006’ (once featured on 5B4, no less). The guy at the till here was very knowledgeable, and we talked about Parr (apparently he refused to sign O&O, said something about the images being ‘stolen’), about a photographer Parr had written about in Aperture, then about Stephen Gill’s Nobody Books. I have not once in London had such an enjoyable and informed conversation about photography in a bookshop.

Five photography book would be enough to make this trip a ‘win’, but I’m eager to see what images the Ektar rolls from the Fuji hold. If two or three of the frames came out as they appear in my mind’s-shutter-eye, the trip will have been a ‘big win’.

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