The observation of the human condition in their natural habitat, is a subject that has fascinated both photographers and the lovers of street photography for as long as portable camera’s have been available to those with the perseverance and the desire to observe a world that goes unnoticed by most. That magic insight into the human zoo that we are all inmates. If I was to offer tips to anyone picking up their first camera and heading out into the often hostile world of the streets, it would be firstly, go as unnoticed as you possibly can, dress in dark colours,be like a mobile shadow, always keep the camera in hand with the lens cap off not around your neck like a tourist and seek out if possible an interesting location where the subject comes to you.
There are probable a billion holiday snaps of Trafalgar Square in London and I was deep in thought as to how I was going to get a unique picture of a place that has been photographed more times than Kate Moss, As I sat and pondered the problem, as if sent from the photographic gods themselves, the coolest guy, riding the coolest bike in London, pulls up at the lights wearing a reflective chrome helmet and lo and behold that helmet was reflecting a perfect image of the square and more important the iconic column of Lord Nelson. Luck maybe, but you make your own luck and I was there with my camera ready to take the picture I wanted and I moved faster than Usain Bolt over ten meters in that micro space of the few seconds before the traffic lights had changed and the opportunity would be lost forever..
This picture of a homeless refugee on the banks of the river Themes in London has haunted me from the time I took it. Imagine waking up on a river bank in a strange city, you have no money, you don’t speak the language, all you possess in the world is in the small bag beside you and your friends and family are thousands of miles away. loneliness is too small a word to describe how this man felt at that moment.
Whenever I look at this picture I took in Havana Cuba, I marvel at the human condition to adapt to any circumstance that people find themselves in their lives. This is home for those people in a city where almost every building looks like something from a war zone.This is the result of the 60 year trade embargo inflected by the world on this little island, an embargo that has left the once beautify city of Havana in a state of decay and neglect and the country locked in a time capsule of the 1950s, yet everywhere there are flowerpots decorating the windows of these slums and life goes on. On a wall in Berlin somebody has written on a remaining segment of the Berlin Wall, if you treat people like people they become people, worth remembering that when you go out with a camera.
Words Pictures David Coomber