My best urban street photography is always produced when I am alone in the city. Solitude needn’t feel like nor should it be confused with loneliness.
A Jean-Paul Sartre quote on being alone goes like this: “If you are lonely when you are alone, you’re in bad company”
When I’m on my own it never feels wrong, I recharge my batteries, I can think clearly, I slow down and observe better.
Over the years I have noticed a recurring theme in my London street photography and urban landscapes which just goes to show that what we shoot is who we are.
My city landscapes were absolutely free from people and passers-by. I’d achieve this by waking up at 4am on a Sunday morning to find an empty London, eerily quiet. There was a rare emptiness in this city I photographed, it felt abandoned.
A few years later I moved on to street photography and started photographing strangers candidly and yet again, more often than not these strangers were photographed alone, somehow lost in their thoughts.
I didn’t want to interrupt or intrude, so I never told them that I photographed them. I am fascinated by people enjoying peace and quiet through some level of isolation. It is something I desperately seek and have chased for most of my life.
Our society often associates solitude with sadness but for me it’s quite the contrary. It brings me joy, freedom and independence but more importantly it restores my privacy.
Privacy can feel non-existent in a world of open plan offices, CCTV, commuting on the packed underground, sharing my life to all of my virtual friends on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Being private can easily become a luxury.
I want to show you what solitude means to me through how I capture it. In a way which strikes a chord deep inside me and hopefully anyone who shares my thoughts on this.
What are your feelings about solitude and photography? Share your thoughts, leave a comment!