My Smoking Room by Ed Wright

Ed Wright is British journalist who shooting with camera for about five years. With Nikon Df camera he is looking for photos to have some sort of narrative.




Please tell us a bit about yourself?


I am a British journalist with a UK national newspaper. I am based in Poland and write for the global news desk on the paper. I have been doing photography seriously for about five years.




What inspired you to become a photographer?


It was a combination of things that evolved over time. My mother is an enormous art-lover, for example, so when I was young I was surrounded by great paintings which undoubtably inspired the aesthetics of my photographs. My father was an excellent amateur photographer and bought me my first analogue camera when I was in my teens. And my step-father is a brilliant sculptor, so all this definitely inspired me while I was growing up.




My fascination with people and their lives has also played an enormous part and, in a way, my photography is me wanting to tell stories through the medium of pictures rather than words. But it’s only really in the last five years that all this has come together, mainly because of my partner who has been my muse. She and a couple of others reignited my passion for photography and now I take my camera everywhere.




Whats inspires your photography?

Essentially, people and their interaction with their environment. I love the works of artists such as Edward Hopper and so I try to capture what I think are visually interesting moments, or snapshots, of people in everyday situations. For example, there’s a photo I took of a woman sitting at a table and flicking her cigarette into an ashtray. For me, the setting has a certain bleak and melancholy loneliness about it and I like how that juxtaposes with her demure posture.




But it doesn’t always have to be so. A photo of my partner sitting by the sea has an almost opposite effect. While I was setting up the camera and waiting for the right light, etc, she got bored. As I clicked the shutter I captured her in the middle of an enormous yawn. I like the contrast between the dramatic backdrop and her facial expression. So, the photos can also be humorous, as life often is.




How did the project start?


My Smoking Room project began by accident. Being a smoker I used to spend a lot of time sitting in the dingy backroom of my local pub, taking photos of the different characters coming and going. The lighting was great and I loved the way the pictures looked so I decided to turn it into a series.




How did you approach the subject matter?


Generally, it was a case of blending into the background and waiting for the right moment. I wanted to give the place both a sense of personality as well as anonymity so often I took the photos without the subject being aware of it, just capturing them talking to friends or sitting by themselves. On other occasions I would simply ask if they minded me taking their photos. After a while, the landlord began posting the pictures on the pub’s Facebook page and then customers began asking me to take their photos. Sadly, the pub is now gone.




What cameras did you shoot with and why?


For the Smoking Room project I mainly used my Nikon Df with a 50mm, 1.4, lens. I used that as it’s not so intrusive and the lens is great for low lighting. Other times I use my Nikon D4 as it has an amazing sensor, machine-gun fps when needed and is great in virtually every situation. And despite its size I’ve become quite adept at using it candidly.




What are you looking for in street photography?


Interesting stories and compositions. I like the photos to have some sort of narrative. For example, a man walking down a street isn’t inherently interesting. But if he is crying then suddenly there’s a whole back story there, whether it be real or imagined. The same with someone standing outside a pub smoking. Essentially it’s a very mundane and everyday situation.




But sometimes you’ll see someone who has a certain look or expression which makes them stand out, or the lighting makes the situation intriguing. So I try and capture that. A good example is a photo I took in Porto last year. It was raining and a university student dressed in a Harry Potter-esque black robe had taken shelter under some stone arches. Standing in the shadows with the robe clasped to her chest and an enigmatic half-smile on her face, she and the setting were perfect for the type of photography I like.




Any closing comments?


I’m definitely still learning and it’s only recently that I’ve put together an online presence. I want to keep pushing myself to take better photographs and generally improve both my composition and technical skills. I imagine that will be a life-long journey, but for sure it will be an enjoyable one.




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5 thoughts on “My Smoking Room by Ed Wright”

  1. Great photographs Ed, I see I have a long way to go before mine are anything like as good, a real pleasure to see yours.

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