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Photowalk 45 - Lee on Solent Shops

Ken at the Framing StoreI set myself a bit of a challenge today, to go and visit Lee-on-Solent, and have a chat with some local independent traders, find out how business was going, and take a few photographs.

What's the challenge in that? I hear you say, well, I didn't know these people, and I wasn't sure what reaction I'd get, but I'm happy to say that everyone I asked agreed to have a photo taken, and it was all a very pleasant experience.

Ken at the Framing Store Taken With Fujifilm S5700, Aperture Priority, F3.5, 1/60th, ISO 100, Focal Length 6mm, Flash, Hand-held
Ken at the Framing Store

Lee-on-Solent is a small town right on the coast, a few miles from where I live. Its got a nice little High St, and unlike Gosport Town Centre (where everything is closing down), Lee actually has quite a few independent shops offering quality goods and services.

The Local Council haven't made things easy - continually changing the parking, going from free to paid, but it's still a nice place for a gander, especially if you go for an ice-cream on the front afterwards.

Ken owns and runs "Framework" a small Framing and Art Dealer Shop - he frames photos and paintings that people bring in, and also sells original paintings, prints, and a few nice photographs too.

We had a really good chat about how Lee is bucking the trend for local shops, and business seems to be growing, and when I get some of my photo's printed I'll be taking them to him to get them framed.

Local Butchers Taken With Fujifilm S5700, Aperture Priority, F3.5, 1/45th, ISO 100, Focal Length 6mm, Flash, Hand-held
Local Butchers

I didn't have long at the Butchers, or time for a real chat, it was just before lunch-time and there were plenty of shoppers. Not wanting to get in the way, I took a couple of shots and went on to the next store.

Leon at the Bike Shop Taken With Fujifilm S5700, Aperture Priority, F3.5, 1/45th, ISO 64, Focal Length 7mm, Flash, Hand-held
Leon at the Bike Shop

Leon runs the Bike Shop on the front at Lee, and we had a good chat about business being good, but again it would be helpful if the parking was free, so I guess that's up to the local Traders Association and Council to sort out - it's really important that these local stores stay open. Out of town Superstores are great if you've got a car and the money to run one, but what abount the many who only have access on foot?

Chris at the PC Shop Taken With Fujifilm S5700, Aperture Priority, F3.5, 1/45th, ISO 64, Focal Length 6mm, Flash, Hand-held
Chris at the PC Shop

Chris runs a fab little Computer Store on Lee High Street - Astrum Computers - and was more than happy to have a short talk about what life is like trading in Lee On Solent. The main concern I received from all the traders was the problems with parking - not enough of it, and it really should be free.

Now I know these pics aren't anything special - I was nervous enough just walking in, starting a conversation and actually taking the photos, without worrying too much about composition and light. I did try to use the Rule of Thirds (apart from the Butchers), shot in Aperture Priority Mode with Forced Flash. I focussed at the subjects eyes, then recomposed. Well done to the Fuji S5700 for making taking such photos so easy!

Along with my Photowalk earlier in the year, where I took some pics of OAPs, this sort of exercise, where I've got to go in cold, build some sort of raport with subjects (have a chat), then snap some photo's, is a way to build my confidence and ability to take pictures of people I don't know - my first steps to street and portrait photography, another "string to my bow" as a Photographer.

I really enjoyed talking to a few of the Shop Owners at Lee On Solent, I'll have to go back on a different day and at a quieter time - but overall, thanks for everyone for taking the time to talk and have their photo taken!

Cheers, Rob.

Reader Comments (6)

Absolutely fantastic Rob. I read this article with great zeal and really enjoyed it.
Whenever I walk up to someone to have a chat, they always look at me like I'm going to mug them or something! So well done on the work.
It's so nice for a break from the 'art for arts sake' type photography, and I wish I had more confidence to get over the 'he's gonna mug me' stage. (Or even the , 'if he prints that I'll sue him', stage!)

Well done mate, very enjoyable.

Best Regards

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterVictor

Cheers Victor, glad you enjoyed it.

I got the idea for it this morning, and the fact that it made me a bit nervous made me all the more determined to do it - it's important to get out of our "comfort zones" every now and again.

I really want to start including people in my photo's where I can, and that's all about increasing my own confidence to approach and ask people, because once I can do it as second nature, I can then start to think about composition and light.

I asked all the people if they wanted a copy of the photo emailed to them, and told them up front it would be going on my website, but if they weren't happy with it I'd take the image down.

The adrenaline buzz after finishing and walking back to the car to go home was great - something I'll be doing again, soon.

Cheers, Rob.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

I think you should really try and get this into a report forum and send it to your local news paper and BBC no joke.

The news paper will love the photos and will love the fact that local business are getting a voice and a face... MAYBE?!

Worth a shot my friend

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Laddie

Good idea Laddie, I'll have to check it out,

Cheers, Rob.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

Wow Rob, you've raised the bar another notch! You have achieved a result most of us only think about. Obviously the approach you used was one of friendly openness, so everyone knows what you're about. I think having a conversation with a stranger, the 'subject', makes those photos very special. 10/10

October 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMaurizio (Mozuk)

Hi Maurizio,

Thanks for the comments, I really appreciate it.

Cheers, Rob.

October 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

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