Next to Glasgow, Athens is my favourite city in the world. There’s so much going on all the time, and always something different to see. We’ve been here for almost three months, and a few weeks ago I got annoyed at myself that I wasn’t really getting pictures that captured that.
I’ve never been a great street photographer – mostly because I’m always feart of getting caught – but also from not wanting to be intrusive. Working in nightclubs for years has coloured the way I feel about taking photos of people, and I’m kind of tired of being in people’s faces all of the time. The few times I’ve tried to get anything good surreptitiously I’ve been far too self aware.
However, I knew I would regret leaving without making some sort of effort. I looked online for inspiration, and one day things seemed to just fall into place. Rather than being nervous or trying to hide, I’ve found it’s easier to do the complete opposite: Stand out. Beforehand, I was so concerned with blending in to where we were that it made me incredibly uncomfortable to look like a tourist, but that’s exactly what you need to embrace.
If you feel like you’re doing something sneaky, people will pick up on that and it will inevitably lead to conflict. Instead, slowly and deliberately raising the camera to your eyes, getting the picture, then calmly putting it back down means you almost become invisible. Don’t make eye contact. People generally don’t care what you’re taking a picture of, especially if it appears like you are more interested in something behind them. On the rare occasions anybody does give a quizzical look, a friendly smile back diffuses any tension.
We’ll see if I can pull off the same kind of thing in Glasgow, but for now, here is a glimpse into what the streets of Athens are like. All pictures shot on a Leica M8 with a 35mm Jupiter 12 lens.
See ya later Athens.