One of the questions I get asked most often is ‘where do you find all these characters?’
My usual answer is along the lines of ‘they’re everywhere’.
We are all ‘characters’ really, all faces are interesting in some way. From a photographic perspective, it’s really just a case of looking for the fleeting expression or a hand gesture or the interaction between subjects with each other and their surroundings.
A lot of the street photography books and videos have suggestions such as finding an interesting location and waiting for something to happen or someone ‘interesting’ to walk through the scene. I’m not really a fan of this approach. Firstly it’s boring but more importantly, why should the interesting characters walk through the supposedly interesting location? Similarly, I’m not really a fan of photo expeditions. Why should the characters only appear between 2pm and 4pm on a Saturday afternoon because a photographer has decided to load up a gadget bag and hit the streets?
My approach is much more random. Walk the dog and have a camera in your pocket, go to the shops – have a camera with you, grab a coffee – have a camera with you. You never know when you need it.
To illustrate the point here are a few pictures I took in Leeds a few weeks ago. All were taken within an hour (backache and steep car parking charges were major factors) on a pocket camera. No classic pictures but they’re not too bad and hopefully show that the ‘characters’ aren’t that hard to find. Carry a camera and they find you.