February 17th saw an excellent presentation from Tom Langlands on street photography. Tom is an award-winning photojournalist based in Annan, Scotland who is known for his wildlife and landscape photography as well as street photography.
Tom described how he went about taking images of people on the street and he gave some helpful tips on how to take photographs discreetly. These included blending in to the scene by wearing neutral colours and not pointing the camera in one direction for too long. He illustrated his talk with a wide range of photographs including ones of street musicians and other performers, shoppers, stall holders and produce in indoor and outdoor markets, participants in parades and demonstrations, and people at work.
These were taken in a variety of locations ranging from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee to cities further afield including Berlin, Florence and Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In the latter the pilgrims provided a seemingly endless supply of subjects for Tom’s camera.
He explained that the story telling quality of an image is very important and he uses the juxtaposition of people and other elements, such as signs and posters, to achieve this. Light, water and shadows are also considerations when deciding on his compositions and he will often employ unusual techniques such as taking reflections in mirrors, sunglasses and, on one occasion, in a crystal ball.
Patience was frequently required, for example he sometimes finds an interesting setting and then waits for a suitable person to walk in to the scene. It is also important to be observant and to look for the unusual.
Towards the end of the evening Tom talked about two projects that he had recently undertaken. The first concerned homeless people. This section contained many powerful and emotive images in which he contrasted the desperate circumstances of the homeless people he photographed with the evidence of wealth all around them such as banks, restaurants and cafes.
The second was undertaken in the last twelve months and documented the impact of Covid19 and the associated restrictions on the people and streets of his home town. The images of empty streets and people wearing masks provide an important historical record of Annan during this period.
This was a memorable evening with many superb images and an equally entertaining narrative.