Creativity and technique Archive


Curiosity killed the cat

‘The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.’  Ellen Parr Curiosity gets a bad press – people often confuse it with being nosy. So if someone tells you that curiosity killed the cat, they probably mean you should mind your own business. As a photographer, you’re then left


Photography : black and white or colour?

For many years a friend teased me. She would praise one of my black and white photos, then suggest that colour might have worked better. Smiling, I’d explain that I preferred black and white, before changing the subject. But when I moved to Zambia, the choice didn’t feel so clear-cut. Suddenly, faced


The KISS principle in photography

Don’t worry – I’m not preaching free love. Today I’m more interested in photo composition. KISS – an acronym for ‘Keep it simple, stupid’ – gained widespread currency in the 1960s. And more recently the phrase has inspired an entire series of books. If you want to learn fashion design in a


Photography : drawing with light

That’s what photography means – drawing with light. Whether you aim your camera at the scene of a tragedy or a sunset, you’re drawing with light. Since being named, photography has grown up a lot and been used in so many ways : to tell stories, to express wonder, to share emotions.


Black and white digital workflow : some brief thoughts

When living in the UK, I only used film cameras and shot almost exclusively in black and white. I still love traditional ‘wet prints’ made in a darkroom, but for practical reasons I went digital in 2016. Here in Zambia, photo chemicals and papers have to be specially imported and I don’t


Photography : staying inspired

‘All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he or she grows up.’ Pablo Picasso As a photographer, it can be hard to stay inspired. When I’m feeling grumpy, I tell myself that it’s all been done before, so why bother? Why indeed? Because when you’re in


Ways into street photography

‘Street photography’ : say it out loud. How does it make you feel? I have mixed emotions – a thrill of anticipation, sometimes followed by anxiety. So today I’m going to suggest ways of overcoming any fears you might have. Don’t always photograph people : typical street photos have people in them,


10,000 not out : improving your photography

Are your photos getting better? Henri Cartier-Bresson said that your first 10,000 would be your worst. I think he was trying to be encouraging – I hope so. I’m going to dodge the thorny question of what makes a good photo, because it’s too subjective (and too vague). A better starting point


Print out those family photos

There’s a parlour game that people sometimes play. Imagine that your house is on fire – what would you risk your life to try and save? Unless you want to upset your family, you’d better rescue them first. But then what? I find the game morbid, but people’s answers can be revealing.


Street photography : taking pictures from behind

I spotted this young lady and her poodle near Pall Mall in London. Following them down to Whitehall, I managed two shots before we went our separate ways. Not being an extrovert, I’d stepped outside my comfort zone by taking pictures in the street. Taking photos from behind might seem to be