Richard Bram - AllFormat takeover (2)

(cont’d from part 1)

#SquareFormat 2. 

The thing I like to do the most with the square, though, is #portraiture. There is something very settled and lovely shooting this way, and it gives even an informal picture like my old friend John in the loft reading a newspaper a certain seriousness that appeals to me. 

John, #Louisville 1991

Tom & Billy at Home, #Panicale 2002

Charles, #London 2003

Yvonne at the Pond, Panicale 2008

Silvia, #Montacuto 2000

Silvia in the Studio, #Mainz 2000

In 1997 I married and moved to London. As I began to get used to my new home and new life, I was walking all over town. I’d only been here two months when Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash by her drunken driver. I was quite amazed at the national outpouring of grief that accompanied her sad early death. At Kensington Palace was a mountain of flowers and remembrance. Still having the urge to cover big public events, I went to see what I could get at the funeral procession, 6 September, 1997. Not having any press credentials, I just played the part, kept out of the way of the police, was ordered off the route once early in the day, didn’t leave but photographed the spectators lining the route. Thus I was lucky enough to be in the right place when the cortège came down Whitehall followed by the Princes Philip, William, Harry, Charles, and Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother. This photograph has never before been shown. A year later the news cycle had moved on, but her image was still being used to move magazines and newspapers.

#Diana #PrincessofWales #Princewilliam #PrinceHarry #PrinceCharles #PrincePhilip #Funeralprocession #Whitehall

#NikonF5 #LeicaM6

To come to grips with my new London home, I walked all day with my camera and took pictures of everything that interested me, no matter what it was. I also spent a lot of time on the Underground getting from one place to another. There the advertising constantly juxtaposed itself with people waiting to get on their way, as was I. Occasionally something magic would appear for an instant. If you always have a camera, you just might get it. Today, we tend to think of these as clichés, but 20 years ago, ‘Street Photography’ by that name was not a near-universal thing and this was rare. Now I think of these as ‘warm-up exercises’ for truly interesting photographs. 

Soho Square, 1997 – spotted on my way to an internet café. Remember those?

Angel, 1998 – my first photograph that became well-known.

Gunslinger, 2000

Comfortable Changing, 1998

Countdown, 2003

#London #LondonUnderground #advertising #visualjokes #blackandwhitefilm#LeicaM3 #LeicaM6 #leica_fotografie_international #in_public_collective

London is where I truly came into my own as a street photographer. I’d been making images here for a little over three years when David Gibson saw my work at a gallery and invited me to join the nascent @in_public_collective [@un_public]. It was the very first – and still going strong - street photography collective. At the time, I hadn’t thought of these as ‘street photography’ as such – just photographs. In 2001, there wasn’t any contemporary street photography on the still relatively new Internet. Creating iN-PUBLiC changed that. In those early days we were simply like-minded friends who went shooting together then got together at a pub to talk about photographs, life, the Universe and everything.

One afternoon David Gibson was over looking through some of my contact sheets. I remember him saying something like “It’s amazing: Most of your contact sheets are just crap, then BANG – An incredible shot! – followed by more crap.” “That’s my method,” I replied. It continues to be my way no matter where I am in the world. 

Second Story Man, #Clerkenwell 2004. 

Selfridge’s, #London 2003. 

Oxford Street, London 2005

Fight, #CanaryWharf, London 2004

Taxi, #RegentStreet 2007

Goggles, #OxfordStreet 2007

#blackandwhitefilm#LeicaM6 #leica_fotografie_international #in_public_collective

In the summer of 2008, my wife’s job moved us to #NewYorkCity. I’d been going there regularly for many years though had only briefly lived there in 1979-80. I was still mostly using black-and-white film as we settled in. One good thing about having a camera is it gives you something to do while you’re, say, taking shelter waiting for a summer storm to pass. I was doing just that on my way home from the #WallStreet Post Office. The camera was pre-set, focused, and ready as people scuttled by in the rain. Again, chance favored the prepared mind. A similar situation happened 10 years before in #London when waiting out a shower, I got this on Oxford Street. It was featured in the #MuseumOfLondon’s “150 Years of London Street Photography” exhibition.

New York 2. 

The #FinancialCrisis of 2008-2009 hit just as we arrived. Living near #WallStreet you could feel the tension in the air. Heads were beginning to roll.

Red Cube, Broadway, New York 2008

Nassau Street, New York 2009

Doll’s head, Scooter, New York 2009

New York 3. 

The photographs I made In New York were my last regular use of film, both monochrome or color. Most of these were made with the M3 or M6. 

In 2010 after decades of black-and-white I was feeling stale and needed a challenge. I consciously decided to switch to digital color and have only rarely looked back. Color is harder to do WELL and has re-invigorated my work, leading to the publication of my book “Richard Bram: NEW YORK” in 2016. But as I said, I had spent a lot of time in #NewYork before this and taken a few good photos over the years. Here are a few more.

#ReindeerSuit 1989

#Sisyphus 1988

#HoustonStreet 2009

#Tourists 2009

#YankeesParade 2009

I’ve been fortunate to travel to a lot of different places. There is nothing like walking the streets of a new city where you can’t even read a street sign. My approach is always the same: Have a camera, keep mind and eyes open, have a ready smile and a humble manner. It gets you through a lot. (Sometimes someone might say “Don’t take my picture.” OK. Don’t take their picture! They have the right to say no. There are always more pictures and subjects somewhere else. This applies at home, too.) But anyway, here are a few favorites. 

I first found my voice as a street photographer (though I still wouldn’t have used that term) in October 1992 when I went alone to Moscow and St. Petersburg. It was a seminal moment: For the first time since I’d become a photographer 8 years before, I had no agenda, no shot list, intense curiosity, a lot of film, and complete freedom. It had just become an early winter as I walked all day, every day until it got dark. 

Wedding Party, Red Square, Moscow

Shawl Vendor, Arbat, Moscow

Crow, Belorusskaya Station, Moscow

Footprints, Moscow

Anastasia Practicing, St. Petersburg

Great Dane, St. Petersburg

Smokers, St. Petersburg

First Snow, Sergeyev Posad

Fortress Monastery of Sergeyev Posad on the 600th Anniversary of its founding.

A 40-year-old photographer in GUM, Moscow, with his trusty 1955 M3.

#Russia #Moscow #StPetersburg #LeicaM3 #winter #GUM #crows #blackandwhitefilm #analogphotography @leica_fotografie_international #in_public_collective

The world is vast and I’ve seen only a few little bits of it. I’ve been to a very few places in #Asia and a brief time in each, but managed to bring a few decent photos back. Here’s a little sampler from #Bangkok 2000, #Shanghai 2004, and #India 2005. Spending a short time in a place that is so different from one’s own home is difficult. At least for me, it takes time to get past being overwhelmed by it and get past the obvious. But again, if you let your curiosity take over, you might. (When I said I was going to India, my dear friend Matt Stuart @mattu1 said to me “…colour, Bram. India is colour.”)

Ferry, Bangkok, 2000

Portrait, Bangkok, 2000

Card Game, Shanghai 2004

Nanjing Lu Boys, Shanghai, 2004

Nanjing Lu Girls, Shanghai 2004

Motorcycle, New Delhi, India 2005

#Cows#Holi#Udaipur, India 2005

#Blackandwhitefilm #colorfilm #LeicaM6 #streetphotography @leica_fotografie_international @in_public_collective #travelphotography

Living in London is wonderful for another reason: you can easily travel all over Europe from here (perhaps not after the hideous debacle of Brexit; we shall see). Here are a few favorites from here and there. A little story about the first photo: In 1998 we were crossing the ancient bridge of #Albi in #France when my wife said “Look! Fast!” I instinctively raised the camera to my eye and clicked as a young couple zoomed by on a bicycle. As they rode away the charming girl shouted back to me “You have a photograph of a young French girl…” 

Albi, France, 1998

#Lucca#Italy 2000

#Pienza, Italy 2003

#Mainz, Germany 1996

Mainz, Germany 2003

#Panicale, Italy 2004

#Rome, Italy 2006

#Oaxaca, in the south of México, is a very special place for us. On my first trip there in 1996 I asked the woman who is now my wife to marry me. We’ve been going back regularly ever since. I’ve made a lot of photographs, had exhibitions, and have friends there now after such a long time. You’ve seen a couple here this week; here’s a further sampler. I can be a bit of a romantic. This is a Good Thing.

Lilies, 1998

Streetscape 1998

Palm Leaves 1999

Preparations, #Teotitlán del Valle 1998

Couple, #MonteAlban 2002

#travelphotography #LeicaM3 #blackandwhitefilm #analogphotography @leica_fotografie_international @in_public_collective [@un_public]

On line, on television, we are bombarded with negative messages frantically demanding our attention and our eyeballs. Tearing yourself away from that can be difficult. It’s hard to remember that the world is mostly still a wonderful place to be, filled with beauty, joy, and laughter. Don’t forget to just enjoy yourself: Stop and appreciate it. In your pursuit of ‘authenticity,’ don’t only see how aggressive you can be with your camera, how bright your flash in a stranger’s face can be, how much angst and grit you can show. Allow yourself to be kind, honest, and fair to your subjects and to yourself. Your heart rate will go down, you’ll be calmer within yourself, and you’ll get better photographs. Give in to the sublime.

Thank you for looking and reading, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the week. A BIG thank you to Ioana Marinca @transilvirish for asking me, and to the members of @allformatcollective for allowing me the privilege of sharing all of this with you. Love and courage, Richard.

Still Life with Fruit, Montacuto, Italy 2000

Perugia, Italy, 2008

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