Thursday, May 12, 2011

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David Gibson. A street Photographer

I met David Gibson when he came in Athens in late March for a workshop. When a friend of mine Zisis Kardianos let me know that he is planning a workshop led by David, I was probably the first to join. I knew David from his work in iN-public  as well from participating in flickr. I'm very pleased joining his workshop, wandering with him on the streets of Athens, Knowing better the Man behind these excellent photos.

London, seen through his eyes, is a place of oddity and dark humor, of human stories and graphic compositions endlessly creating and recreating themselves. His images capture "the elegance, and the occasional absurdities, which inhabit the lives of ordinary people", he explains. "I'm one of those people; I'm just hiding behind a camera trying to make sense of it all as much as everyone else"

"Taking street photographs is an instinctive urge, an itch that needs scratching. It’s simply what I do. Some people walk round a golf course, some people take a dog for a walk. I walk with my camera because I’m curious about things and people around me and I want to record some of it. It is my visual diary. I also feel a responsibility to continue doing it.
I live in London and most of my street photographs are taken there. I know London well and although it’s a big, overcrowded city, I can isolate scenes fairly easily. However, somewhere like Oxford Street is too messy and crowded for me. I don’t like clutter in my images. Too many people require a greater orchestration and luck."

David has a particular love of word-image juxtapositions and clever visual puns. These have formed an ongoing theme in his work. "If there is one sound piece of advice, which is to myself as much as anyone else, it is the potential of projects or prolonged themes. It's the equivalent of having a dog that needs to go for a walk. Projects need walking"

"Essentially, I just go looking for ‘my’ photographs. And within the ones that work there are certainly recurring themes and styles. So I seek out elegance, graphic shapes and also often a sense of a story going on. I like photographs that draw you in, that surprise and delight and have you asking ‘what is going on here?"

“I probably spend more time looking at photographs than I do actually taking them. My shelves at home are lined with photography books. The work of the so-called master photographers – and the less heralded – have always been a source of reassurance and stimulation for my own photography."

“Photographers such as Elliott Erwitt, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mario Giacomelli, Robert Frank, Sylvia Plachy and Tony Ray-Jones, to name but a few. The list is endless and always open to change. Street photography for me is an instinctive urge and after more than twenty years of wandering with my camera, it still remains about staying curious and inspired – and then looking for the luck”

David also acknowledges how much he has benefit from being part of the In-Public street photography collective. "There is a paradox with street photography because it is a singularly solitary pursuit, yet it has the potential to generate exceptional warmth and friendship amongst those who practice or appreciate it. The other photographers from In-Public, especially those in London, have constantly refreshed and challenged me."

"I believe that when shooting there is a mindset or zone, where you’re operating at a heightened state and working instinctively. Getting to that feeling is the difficult bit. Cartier-Bresson interpreted this feeling as something attuned to a Zen-like trance. One can get a little pretentious about such things, but I do get this feeling that something like a doorway does exist. This heightened state is also like a cloak of invisibility and not being overly conscious about being seen is part of the process.
Trying to absolutely describe what I look for is like hunting for the image itself, because it is often elusive. Maybe my themes have shifted over the years but my basic approach has always been ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ and I always take photographs that are pleasing to myself. However I do carry in my head ideas, hopes and a sense of what is possible, what luck might provide."

All photographs ©David Gibson
David Gibson has been taking street photographs for more than twenty years. He is one of the founder members of in-public the international collective of street photographers and his work has been widely published and exhibited. He is commissioned by some of the UK's leading design groups and he supplies several picture libraries with his images. David worked for several years as a Residential Social Worker before pursuing photography full-time in 1994. In 2002 he completed an MA in Photography: History and Culture at the London College of Printing.

Increasingly David is also leading street photography workshops which have included Tate Modern and Photofusion in London and more recently a 5 day workshop in Athens, Greece. More workshops are planed for 2011 in London and beyond. Actually, there is one taking place in  London 28th-30th May . David is based in east London.

His site       
His flickr stream

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