I Love Going Unnoticed & Capturing Things As They Are. Especially the Unexpected.
- ANTONIA SIMS
I've been doing photography since I was around 8 years old. I started with film, and developed prints in a darkroom. I read everything I could, and in those days there was a lot of street and photojournalistic works, particularly from the likes of Life, National Geographic, and various international magazines.
It is no real surprise that my style developed along those lines. I like to be moving around, working the shot, looking for the best angle, discovering the unfolding story as it happens.
- ELLEN VON UNWERTH
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” — ELLIOTT ERWITT
As a result my images tend to have a 'soft' street or photojournalist style about them. A more natural look which more clearly reveals the character of the person or subject than a formal posed shot. And it is these natural shots which tend to tell the more interesting story. As well as the side stories that take place as part of the main story. These are the stories that memories are based on.
It will be rare to see me setting up a tripod and telling people what to do. There is a time and a place for tripod work and I limit it to then.
I like to move around and 'work' the environment. I have a philosophy that the interesting stories are not going to come to you - you have to find them. There is a time and a place for setting up a tripod and taking group photos, but if you rely entirely on your tripod then you are likely to end up with some very dull and uninspiring images.
Most people have seen TV shows with photographers shooting fashion models. Those photographers are always moving around, looking for the best angle and perspective - working the shot. There is a reason we do that.
The impact and character of an image is dependent on the photographer's eye. That's why you hire me instead of taking shots on your smartphone. For many of my shots you have to be fit - you are crouching down low or lying on the ground; you are trying to find something to stand on to alter the perspective. That is the beauty of street style photography - you have to use your imagination to bring out the best in any potential image. You are continually working the shot. Unrelentingly.
I like to blend like a chameleon; not be a centre of attention. It's about you, not me.
Friends who know my vibrant personality and passion for colour often wonder how I manage to be invisible during shoots. It's not actually about being invisible but about understanding and blending into the environment; just like a chameleon. For most work the centres of attention are the people and event I am shooting - not me, the photographer.
Many of us have unfortunate memories of a wedding or event where the photographer was overly conspicuous by a lack of effort in their dress or mannerisms, detracting from the main event. I aim never to be that photographer!
That's why the initial consultation with clients is important for events. It helps me prepare for the nature and mood of the event, who the people are, who are significant, important happenings, and what the expectations of the client are. And how I can best go about my work largely unnoticed.
Think like an Artist. Always.
When I have time I also like to paint, a skill which was unlocked for me by a brilliant tutor who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in New York.
My preferred subject is portraits, alla prima style, and I soon discovered that the discipline of photography gave me particular insights that influenced my painting. Similarly, learning the discipline of traditional painting techniques, and intensive study of the styles of different artists, gave insights into my photography that are unlikely to come any other way.
You quickly learn that there is often a reason why great artists do things a particular way. When these things become second nature, you have a significant advantage. Which is why I like to read and study the works of other photographers and artists.
Seeing the Street Art and visiting the many galleries in New York and Philadelphia gives one a fantastic perspective into different approaches to image making; it turbocharges your imagination and takes it up a notch.