Street Photography: My Creative Freeze & How I Broke Through It In London

Portobello Rd. - London
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Long time, no blog... Why? Well, I've been in a creative freeze for the first half of 2016. Here's how that happened...

For the most part of 2015 I've been shooting with a fish eye lense and never used a different one during that time. Shooting with a fish eye is different in many ways. You need to be extremely close, compose the surroundings before you take a shot of a subject, try to be stealthy anyway so you won't get posed images, and so on. Hard to explain, but try it for yourself and you'll see what I mean.

Since the beginning of 2016 I wanted to start using a 'normal' lense again. I thought it was about time and it also started to feel like a 'one trick pony'. I think I've set a pretty good standard for those who want to use it on the streets, it gave me a lot of exposure on the web and got to know many interesting people because of it. I'm glad I did the project, but time to move on. You can view my fish eye portfolio here...

Using a normal lense again felt so different that it felt like I had to learn how to use that all over again. Every time I changed my fish eye to my 14mm it took no longer than 15 minutes to change it back to my fish eye again since I couldn't get myself to shoot with a normal lense. I just didn't see it, didn't know how to approach my subjects anymore and felt extremely uncomfortable with it. I kept going back and forth for about six months and couldn't take a single shot that I thought even remotely came close to an 'ok' shot. Very frustrating and even started to lose interest in practicing street photography. You could argue that I had a fish eye cold turkey :)

Until my Facebook friends El Bull & Marcy Em invited me to London which I happily accepted and got to meet Philip Cleminson and Rainer Nowotny in the process ;) So to say, I packed my bag, took my fish eye and my 14mm along with me and was excited to meet all of them and thought a change in environment would do me well.

I took off with my 14mm and came home with some interesting shots as well as a portfolio shot!

London tube
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After arriving at El Bull and Marcy's place, we got to know each other better, had a nice coffee and moved into the city to meet Philip and Rainer. Of course I started out with the fish eye, but after 15 minutes I just got so bored with it I changed it to the 14mm and never looked back. I still don't know if it was just the change in environment or the specific environment of London. As Philip rightfully said that day: "London is an attack on your senses"... It definitely is! If you fail to go home with a good shot after shooting the streets in London, you'd better find a new hobby is my humble opinion. We visited Camden, Trafalgar Square, Soho, Chinatown and Portobello Road. Besides the great time we had together, I had the great experience of what a fantastic place to shoot the street London really is!

Camden - London
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Trafalgar Square - London
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Camden - London
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Near Portobello Rd. - London
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I finally broke my freeze!

Experiencing a freeze too? My advice to you would be to change environment drastically. Visit quiet places and move to incredibly busy places, keep changing, keep moving, force yourself out of your regularities... Eventually you will break through it!

If you have any questions, suggestions or remarks please feel free to contact me through the contact form, in the comment section below or through Facebook.

All the best,

Willem