I am a great fan and admirer of Real life Photography.
By this I don’t mean, wedding, modelling or any type of formal photography shoots. My definition of “Real Life Photography” comes under the definition of Street Photography. Some may argue and differ.
There are Great photographers out there that have amazing skills in the studio and those who capture important images in weddings.
But for me, there is nothing more challenging then taking images of drug users, homeless people, social issues and images around social injustice. Because 9 out of 10, you are out of your comfort zone.
Lately, I did a project on Real Life Photography, and pushed the concept a little further. Not only to push myself, but to do something that is not often done.
I wanted to shoot something that was taken for granted, day in day out! By this I mean, photographing the core of the community services, like the Milkman, barbershop, restaurants, supermarkets etc. Do you see where I am coming from?
I stepped back and decided to photograph something in the Bradford community that was taken for granted, but yet important.
Why not? I was born in Bradford and reside here. I know the community and what makes it tick.
I stepped back a little, and decided to shoot a Real Life Photography project on, “The Butchers of Bradford”.
Living in the heart of the Asian community, and knowing that Halal meat is always an issue, I decided to go ahead and do an intimate shoot of the Asian Butchers in their Just like the milkman, the bin men and the postman we just take them for granted. Yet they are core services that we rely on and are the heart of the community.
Not only did I want to photograph the Butchers working in their environment, but I wanted to shoot the images to show the grittiness and the gore.
There was no doubt that the images had to be shot in colour and had to be close up of the meat, and the butchers. I also wanted to shoot this subject in a more unorthodox, so I did some searching in Google images. After viewing what was out there on the world wide web, I shot the images totally different.
Not only was it difficult to shoot the images close up, but it was not easy getting access to the back counter where the Butchers worked. This was due to the fact of the trust factor. There was always the suspicion that I was the health inspector from the council that had a camera.
Once I persuaded one Butcher shop of my intentions, then the rest was pretty much plain sailing. All I did was to put some of my Butcher images on my tablet and displayed that to them. They were pretty intrigued!
The environment where the Butchers normally worked can be small, congested and placed with dangerous meat cutting machines/knives. I simply couldn’t use my large DSLR.
For this project, I used my trusty Ricoh GR. A great discrete camera with a 18.3mm (28mm equivalent) f/2.8 lens. This camera was very handy for the project, as it is small and great for taking angle shots in confine places. Here is a link to the GR Ricoh
It took me around 9 months, and photographed around ten Butchers in Bradford.
Hence, I am now a proud owner of a small body of work that not many others have done.
Attached to this article, I have put a few images in a slide show to give you an idea of what my vision was when photographing this project.
I am interested in any feedback and comments.