Barry was recently asked to be interviewed by Birmingham photography movement, Birmingham Loves Photography (BLP) with the focus on his street photography work.
Q. How did you get into photography/what is your background?
My dad handed me his Olympus Pent FT, a camera he bought in the 70′s, I was interested in photography since then…. I’d like to say I went through 100′s of rolls but i didn’t.. maybe 10… it didn’t really take off until I went to Uni at Manchester Met in 2000. I picked up a digital camera in my first term, and was fascinated first by this new technology then by the creative possibilities.
I documented all of my uni years. After graduating I moved to Birmingham and got a graphic design job. Then web design. I learned a lot about composition and that helped with my photography.
Then after around 9 years enjoying photography as a hobby I decided to see if I could make a career out of it, or at least allocate more of my time to it. So I became a full time freelancer, allowing to split time between photography and web design.
Q. How would you describe your style of photography?
My style is always evolving, hard to say if I have a style… however what has always been constant is the subject.. People photography. I love to document people… when living there everyday life… document people at their work for commercial shoots… or at weddings. I like to photograph real people, find it much more comfortable than photographing models, maybe that will change with time.
I would like to add humour to my street photography, as I think I’m quite funny others don’t but they will come round! 🙂 so I look for funny moments when shooting the streets, to be fair they are never going to be hilarious…. but slightly amusing will do.
Some people say a photograph can tell a story, like an Annie Leibovitz image.. others say it definitely can’t.. it just says a couple of words.. a sentence at a stretch.. I try and take photos that might not say that much.. but evokes something… says something even if it’s just a couple of words… I’ve tried to stop taking shots that I think that’s a nice image.. but doesn’t actually say anything.. because in Street Photography nice images of people you don’t know aren’t very interesting I feel, there has to be a little bit more.
I find street photography so fascinating and challenging, as documenting the every day, is relatively simple, but to do it and make the image interesting, funny or say more than a few words is a challenge. The challenge is what I love.
Q. What equipment do you use?
I use a Canon 5D MK2, with 35mm and 85mm lens… Ricoh GRD3, and Canon AE-1
For street I mainly use the Ricoh its awesome… and tiny… and the Canon AE-1 as black and white is so nice on film…
I have lightweight lighting gear.. a fair few flash guns, light stands, softboxes and all that.. however I like using natural light when possible.
Q. Who/What influences your work?
I like reading photography books and been on a few seminars, one decent Dave Hobby one.. and a few other portrait photography courses… but besides that I’m self taught .The internet is a great way to learn, its a really accessible however I’m a firm believer in going out and shooting, you learn much more while you shoot, the internet is great for inspiration or motivation, as long as you don’t quit after seeing the amazing photographers out there… I’ve felt like it a couple of times but glad there’s so much to learn.
Photographers that inspire me, Nick Turpin, Martin Parr, Annie Leibovitz, Elliot Erwit, Misha Erwitt, Dave Hobby, John Keatley … Flickr too many to be honest…
Q. Do you have any ideas on how photography in Birmingham can be developed or ideas for events/projects?
Like Tim Winnal said in his interview, getting photographers together is good… and having a Birmingham platform like this site helps.. also helps showcase brummy talent..
I’ve never exhibited.. wouldn’t know how to, have 100′s of ideas for projects and books.. but would be good to have an event that shows people how to go about exhibiting… would give me something to work towards.