A series celebrating the talent of our friends in the Londonist Flickr pool. This week, -EMCN- AKA Ed Neumann on learning to look up in London and the guilty pleasures of black and white.
“I would love to say photography is something I have always been interested in. That at birth I came out with a camera in one hand and a light meter in the other, yelling at the midwife to give me more pout.
However, that would be a lie (and a rather far-fetched one at that). The truth is it wasn’t until 2006, at the age of 22 when I went traveling through South America that I found my love for photography. During the trip I would dedicate large amounts of time to hanging around for sunsets or going off into the wilderness chasing new, foreign landscapes to snap with my trusty point and shoot. And that’s how the seed was planted.
Unfortunately, when I got back to London about a year later the photography got shelved. The camera would only come out now and again – I did start to look at the technicalities that surround photography (ISO, shutter speed, aperture etc.) but it wasn’t the same. I have lived in London most of my life and in retrospect I think I was guilty of holding the city where I had grown up, in contempt. Photography to me at this point meant gallivanting around South America with a point and shoot, capturing undiscovered worlds and new cultures. Not wrestling through London discovering tourists, pigeons and rude people.
This view changed about 18 months ago when I finally took the plunge and bought my first DSLR. I immediately had a huge appreciation for the fact I could shoot in RAW and all the benefits this brings in post processing. I felt a like a hyperactive 10 year old with a new toy and London was my playground. I started looking up more. I started to notice things I hadn’t noticed before. I discovered a newly found appreciation for architecture and lines. The blinkers were off.
I like to think my photos reflect the things I find striking about London. It is such a diverse place and there are always a wealth of photo opportunities across the city – some of my favorite places are South Bank, Canary Wharf and the West End. I love South Bank because there is always so much going on with loads of nooks and crannies to explore. The Canary Wharf area is modern and futuristic, leading to great opportunities to capture clean architecture shots (it’s a place I really want to do a project on). And then there’s the West End , the hustle and the bustle, bright lights and abundance of characters. One thing I do find when I go out shooting is that I am more often than not drawn to the banks of Thames – I’m fascinated by all the different places that punctuate its path as it winds its way through the city.
At the moment my portfolio is separated into seven sets, with all of the photos in the sets shot exclusively in London. There are some recurring themes throughout my work, for example in the sets ‘Structure’ and ‘Night’ it is symmetry and leading lines, in ‘Protest’ it is the subject and environment, and in ‘London’ it is the idea of alternative perspectives. Finally, a lot of my work is in black and white and only a small percentage of my photos are colour. This is something that has, over time, become a guilty pleasure during post processing – I love the effect it has on an image and the manner in which the mood of the photo can be sculpted solely by black and white tones.”
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