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Lights, Meetings and Shots

Hello and welcome to this weeks post. Today I’ll be talking about the Winter Lights @ Canary Wharf Festival, sharing some photos from that night, my first meeting with the Street Photography International Collective, and two fantastic pieces of news.

Last week I left you with the news of me planning to take photos at the London Lumiere Light Festival. Due to work commitments, I was only able to attend on the Sunday. Even though my plans hit a slight snag, (my camera having to be sent for repair) I was thankfully still able to use my girlfriends Olympus OM-D E-M10 to capture some shots. I was fortunate enough to meet up with my good friend and fellow Street Photography International Collective member Gagan Sadana, at Canary Wharf, to enjoy the spectacle of the Winter Lights Festival instead, and to capture some images of other visitors enjoying it too. It’s always great to see Gagan, he’s such a genuinely good person, and great to talk to. On this occasion he first welcomed me into the SPi Collective, which was a lovely way to start the night. We had a brief chat over coffee, and both shared some recent shots for each other’s opinion, before we set out for our photo walk.

Even though Sunday was bitterly cold, hundreds of people still arrived in Britain’s financial district, to view and interact with the light installations that had been set up since January 11th. One thing that was good to witness early on, was seeing people of all ages enjoying the night, and there was a lovely vibe around the place that helped make it a pleasant experience. With it being quite early in the evening and a large number of people visiting, certain exhibits were forming queues of people waiting to use them. One of which was a light on a podium, that once you moved your hand around the bulb, it would change a light source behind a screen to form different shapes and colours, while also creating different pitches of noise, dependent on your hand’s position around the bulb. The title of this piece was Aura, by Philips Lighting Design. Here is a photo showing a young boy using it, and watching his actions change the patterns on screen, titled ‘Reach for the Light, and you may Touch the Sky’.

As we made our way around the streets, we would reach another part of the exhibition in a short walking distance. This one being inside One Canada Square (The iconic London skyscraper that people call Canary Wharf) called The Luminous City, by Nathaniel Rackowe. This was formed of a few separate exhibits; of which my favourite of these had breezeblocks stacked one on top of the other, with the sides of them painted luminous green. These blocks stood approximately 3ft high, and were spaced just wide enough from other columns to form a grid, not too dissimilar to an aerial view of the streets and avenues of New York City. In between each gap, fluorescent tubes ran from one end to the other. These lights were attached to a pulley mechanism hanging from a frame that raised and lowered every 10 seconds. Upon the raising and lowering of the lights, the look of the concrete blocks changed dramatically. I wanted to capture this piece with a sole person viewing it, from a face on perspective. I got this shot just as the lights were at the same level as the breezeblocks; lighting up the luminous paint to it’s brightest green. This is that image, titled ‘Highlight of my Life’

The last piece of artwork that Gagan and I enjoyed was an 18ft tall, inflatable alien figure that was positioned on its hands and knees as if to inspect something on the floor. Amanda Parer called her installation Fantastic Planet. Having walked around it and getting a few shots, there was an element missing from the pictures we had taken. As I stood on the grass and walked along it, it seemed to invite other people to get their photos in front of it. This was just the thing that was missing, and I was able to get this shot of a mum leading her daughter towards the alien to get their photo taken by the father. This is titled, Lead me into the Light’

Lead me to the Light.jpg

The Winter Lights @ Canary Wharf runs until 22nd January, and is best viewed between 4pm and 9pm. For more information click here.

If you would like to read a great blog on The Lumiere London festival, I totally recommend Ronya Galka's very interesting blog, which includes some great shots that you can view here.

Also very exciting this week, was the opportunity to attend my first meeting with the rest of the SPi Collective. It was such a good experience, seeing first hand how well the Collective work as a team. Every member was putting great ideas forward, and I must say there are some really exciting things planned to help promote and inspire street photographers around the world to take up the art of street photography. This is something I’m really looking forward to helping the SPi Collective achieve. You can keep up to date will all the latest Street Photography International news by visiting our website at streetphotographyinternational.com, following @StreetPhotoInt on Twitter and @StreetPhotographyinternational on Instagram with the tag #SPiCollective on your photos.

I would now like to finish off this week with the mention of two fantastic features I received in the last few days. My first feature was on Instagram where I was tagged in a photo by the group MaybeLDNer, with the news of being featured as that day’s photographer (#20). This was a brilliant surprise, and I was really flattered by Koray Hussein's fantastic write up regarding my photos and the street photography genre. You can read it here. MaybeLDNer are a relatively new team on Instagram, but they have skyrocketed to over 20 thousand followers in a short space of time by spreading the word of how many amazing and exciting things there are to do in the amazing city of London. If you are not following them on Instagram, I would suggest in doing so, so you’re able to keep up with daily photos, photographers, reviews and news of what London has to offer. You can also visit their super cool website maybeldner.com to find out more information about the team, and what they love about London. My second feature was another unbelievable surprise. For those of you who have visited my website from day one, you would have seen Marius Vieth’s name mentioned in a number of blog posts, and in the ‘About Me’ section above when naming my biggest inspirations. Well later on that same day, Marius tweeted a link to his YouTube video Legends in the Making #7. I thought, that’s cool of him to personally invite me to view it, and happily clicked on the link. Expecting to see some great photographs to inspire my own photography, I was blown away by the first stunning image by F.D Walker. What came next was even more mind blowing; it was my image ‘Paddington Silhouette’ and Marius was giving it a really positive review. I watched the rest of the video, admiring every one of the shots featured with a huge smile on my face, knowing people are enjoying the photography that I enjoy shooting. I would like to thank MaybeLDNer and Marius very much for these wonderful features, they are hugely appreciated. You have given me even more inspiration and drive to keep enjoying what I’m doing, and to continue shooting with passion. Hopefully I'll be able to say thank you to both of you in person one day?

That is it for this week, thank you very much for reading today’s (lengthy) post, and I really hope you have a great weekend.

Happy shooting,

Craig