Posters Street Photography- The art of observation

Richard Barnard is 50 year old amateur photographer living in Manchester, U.K. His challenge is finding a pleasing composition where typically it would not exist or would otherwise go unnoticed by others. 


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My name is Richard Barnard. I am a 50 year old married man with three children and an amateur photographer living in Manchester, U.K.


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I have had a lifelong interest in photography, starting around the age of 11 years when my dad gave me his old Praktica LTL SLR. I have been interested in various photographic genres and started out by taking natural history shots but in recent years I have focused on street whether this be street art, urban abstracts or candid street shots.


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I love the challenge of going out on the street and looking for and capturing the unfamiliar, the unexpected. I find the whole process addictive. The fact that you can spend hours on the street and come back with nothing and yet, just waiting around the corner, the shot of a life time may be waiting for you.


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I like the idea of using photography as a way of being fully engaged with the city and the people within it. In my professional life as a Clinical Psychologist I often make reference to the concept of mindfulness as a means of promoting mental well being.


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Mindfulness emphasises the importance of paying attention to the present moment, it is about being fully present and engaged with the sites, sounds and smells around you on a moment by moment basis rather than being distracted by and caught up with an internal dialogues of negative thoughts and worries.


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For me being mindful on the street is about being fully aware of my surroundings, looking for those chance abstractions, the fleeting candid moment, the challenge of finding a pleasing composition where typically it would not exist or would otherwise go unnoticed by others.


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Elliott Erwitt summed this up in his quote “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” Torn posters have a particular appeal for me.


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The mix of image and typography gradually worn away by the elements but creating random, evolving pieces of art in the process. I am particularly drawn to faces within posters, the way in which they age and decay through being exposed to the elements, an accelerated ageing process.


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I have used a variety of cameras over the years and the images in this selection were taken using Canon EOS 350D, iphone and more recently Fujifilm X20 which is now my camera of choice for street work due to its versatility and discrete size.


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I tend to shoot alone although always have camera in hand much to the consternation of my wife and family as I frequently disappear mid-conversation to check out an interesting looking side street or capture that elusive candid!


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On the positive side, my wife is a textile artist and has been able to incorporate some of my poster images and typography as a background layer in her art work.


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I am intrigued by the fact that this gives further life to the image enabling it to be further abstracted and immortalised in a completely different form to its original, transient and fragile paper state.


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3 thoughts on “Posters Street Photography- The art of observation”

  1. I really love your creative observations, they certainly are works of art. Inspired by what you say about mindfulness too, thank you.

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