On the 21st of August 2017 my summer adventure began! It was the day I travelled to the UK for the 3rd Annual Street Hunters Meeting and so much more. I knew deep in my heart that I was going to have a great time, but it turned out to be so much better than what I had imagined. In all honesty it was one of the best weeks of my recent life and what made it so amazing was all the wonderful friends who showed me so much love, fun and support. To show my appreciation to them, I decided to write a longer than usual blog post because I would like to share with you, dear Readers, the importance of friendship and to express my gratitude towards street photography for giving me the opportunity to meet up with old friends and to make many, many new ones. Because what photography is all about is true life experiences and recording those moments and keeping them forever. So thank you photography for opening up this whole new world of friendships and opportunities for me.
21st of August 2017 – Day No1
I arrived at Stansted airport in the evening. It was the 21st of August, a Monday and the 3rd Annual Street Hunters Meeting was to begin on the 25th of August. So, what was I doing in the UK so early? I was accepting a very generous invitation by my mate and fellow street photographer John Hughes to stay at his place with his family for 3 evenings. The plan was to spend our days shooting in Cambridge, a lovely city which I enjoyed a lot, and to spend our evenings discussing our photography, catching up and just having fun while watching street photography documentaries and preparing for the London meeting. So, I arrived at Stansted and there was John waiting for me at the gate! I hadn’t seen John in 2 years but I recognised him from a fair distance away. He was holding up his phone as I was approaching. I thought he was taking my photo, but it turned out he was live streaming my arrival on Facebook! Typical John Hughes! Thanks for that one mate! Ha! You can see the stream here. So, after we said our hellos, off we went straight to Bury St. Edmunds where he lives and got settled in. The first evening didn’t include any shooting, but it was still all about street photography, oh and yes, beers! Great times!
22nd of August 2017 – Day No2
In the morning I woke up in my cosy bed in John’s guestroom. The sun was shining bright and I felt a sudden urge to get out and about. I needed to do some street photography. You know how it feels when you are visiting a place you have never been before? How the urge for photography is so strong you can’t help yourself? Well, that was the feeling I had and I remember waking up at 07:50 and getting ready for the ride to Cambridge! After a quick breakfast, John, his son Indiana, a promising 14 year old street photographer and myself, took off for Cambridge. The plan was to shoot all day until the early evening together with Street Hunter Editor Digby Fullam who was going to meet us there! I hadn’t shot with Digby since Easter when we went shooting together in Athens and had a blast! I was excited that I was going to see my friend again after all this time. So, I was really looking forward to experiencing the day with my friends. There was no doubt it was going to be perfect. I mean how could this get any better right? Well it did! The thing is what I didn’t know was that I wasn’t going to be shooting with my Fujifilm X-Pro1 that day, but with a Fujifilm X-Pro2 graphite edition! John had one given to him by Fuji to try out and apparently it was the last day he had it, so he generously gave it to me to shoot with! Smashing! I hadn’t used a camera like that since the time I wrote the Fujifilm X-Pro2 review back in May 2017, so it was a really pleasant surprise for me. Cheers John, really appreciate it mate! So, off we went, X-Pro2 in hand and my Cosyspeed Camslinger Streethunters Edition around my waist! My street photography adventure had just begun and I was excited! After a 15 minute walk and 45 minute bus ride I set my foot in Cambridge for the first time.
What a beautiful place to photograph in! John and Indy showed me around town for about a couple of hours before we met Digby. We hit the market and the surrounding areas, grabbed a bite of Greek food at the Gardenia restaurant (if you have ever been to Cambridge you should know the place) and then we met Digs and continued shooting all the way until early evening. Of course we had plenty of beers stops. When me and Digby shoot together, beers are almost always involved.
As for the weather, the light wasn’t good. It was that dull, flat grey light you usually get in the UK. So, I decided to make my own light using my flash. Did I get any keepers that day? No, I don’t think so, but at least I warmed up for the days to come!
That night after getting back to Bury, John, Indiana and Elizabeth(John’s wife) and I spent our time talking photography and watching and discussing Dougie Wallace’s street photography documentary. It was one made by the BBC, I don’t remember the name of it, but it was fun to watch Dougie doing his thing. The rest of the evening involved beer, chatting, laughing and fun times! A perfect epilogue for day No2.
23rd of August 2017 – Day No3
The plan this time was to have a nice rich breakfast and then head out to Cambridge again. This time it was going to be just me and John. I wanted to record a Street Hunt video in Cambridge and I wanted John to be the guide, to show the Street Hunters YouTube viewers around town and to tell them about himself and his work. So, after we had our lovely breakfast, John and myself headed into Cambridge. This time I had my trusty old Fujifilm X-Pro1 and I felt so much at home. I love the X-Pro2, but because I haven’t used it all that much, I felt a little bit uncomfortable with it. Once the X-Pro1 was back in my hands, I felt awesome! Fast forward and we arrived in Cambridge. This time we got off in another part of town.
John wanted to show me the less popular side of Cambridge which I found very interesting. It was time to start recording the video for the Cambridge Street Hunt. By the way, the Cambridge Street Hunt is going to be released after the London Street Hunt even though it has been filmed before. Just letting you know. So, we started recording the video and we had a blast! Make sure you watch it when we release it because John has provided some really useful info about the town which I am sure you will find interesting if you are planning to visit Cambridge in the near future.
We shot all day until later that afternoon, grabbed quite a few keepers each and then headed back to Bury St. Edmunds to get a good night’s rest before our long trip to London the next day. That night I was introduced to “Hell Comes to Frogtown” by John. For all of you that don’t know what that is, it is a film. Check out our relevant Facebook post. Ha ha ha! What an eye opener! Anyway, lots of beers and laughs later we called it a night. It was time to prepare for London mentally and psychologically. I was so excited I nearly didn’t sleep that night, but Morpheus did come for me after all and it was bliss.
24th of August 2017 – Day No4
Morning came, we grabbed a bite and off we went to the Bury bus station to grab the shuttle to London. It was the 3 of us, John, Indie and me. On the shuttle we talked about some really cool ideas for www.streethunters.net, which I will be sharing with you in the future and we enjoyed the ride. Funny thing was that behind us were sitting some Greeks, so we started chatting away with them too and we were in London before we even knew it. In London we got off at Stratford and from there I went to Whitechapel to grab the AirBnB that COSYSPEED had reserved for me, and John and Indie went to their hotel.
I would like to say thank you to COSYSPEED for sponsoring this whole event. The 3rd Annual Street Hunters Meeting as well as the Workshops were all sponsored by our amazing friends at COSYSPEED. Special thanks to Thomas Ludwig that was also present in London. It was so good seeing him again after 1 year!
So, my London adventure had begun! I was on my way to Whitechapel, going to collect the key for the flat and to drop off my things. I had arranged a meeting with LSPF’s Alison Adcock at around 15:30, so that gave me just enough time to go to the apartment, drop off my stuff, have a quick, refreshing shower and head out. At around 16:00 (I was late, I know), I found myself seated in the Overground at Stratford about to head to Hackney Wick station. As I was sitting in my chair, I felt a repeating tap on my shaved head. I remember I felt very angry at the time and I looked up ready to say something inappropriate but who did I see there smiling at me? Alison Adcock!!! What a surprise! You can check out Alison’s relevant Facebook post and have some laughs at the reactions of the commenters. Amazing! Alison and myself just happened to bump into each other on a train with more than 15 wagons in the middle of London of all places. Of course we were heading to the same place, but what were the odds?
Fast forward and we arrive at the venue of the LSPF. It was the Stour Space venue. After getting there Alison and myself said a few quick hellos and got to work, organising the photos that were to be placed on the walls in the venue. I really enjoyed the process, especially since Alison is such a great person to work with! About 1 hour later, I got a message from Thomas Ludwig, letting me know that he was going to arrive in London after about 2-3 hours. So, I decided to have a beer (or two) and head out back to the centre of London, to Leicester square to be precise, to meet up with John and Indie and their friend Chris for some shooting. What better way to kill time in London than doing street photography right? As always, I had a blast. Time flew by in a blink of an eye and before I knew it, it was 21:00 and I was heading to Whitechapel to meet with Thomas Ludwig. Thomas loves shooting with multiple exposures and slow shutter speeds. He does some really creative work. He had arrived to the apartment a little before me so he was killing his time shooting until I got there. I was so happy to see Thomas! So, we got him settled in and left the flat to go and meet John and Indie at Stratford for dinner. We were all famished and it was late (for UK standards), I think it was 22:30 and the restaurants were closing in the area at 23:00, so we had something like 30 minutes to eat. After dinner, Thomas and myself headed back to the apartment where we waited for Hamish Gill and James Greenoff-Cairns to arrive. They were going to crash in our apartment. Hamish was going to teach the Film Photography Workshop the next morning and James was one of the people attending that workshop. The guys arrived a little after midnight. It was time to catch some zzzzzss. The next day was going to be a day full of walking, talking, shooting and drinking!
25th of August 2017 – Day No5
Morning came. A couple of teas and tube rides later, the four of us (Thomas, Hamish, James and myself) were at Waterloo station, meeting the workshop students under the large clock. The film workshop was about to begin and I was very excited to be there as an observer watching Hamish Gill explain everything nicely while at the same time assigning tasks to everyone.
For all of you that don’t know Hamish, he is the person behind 35mmc, a blog about cameras, mostly analogue and also one of the representatives of Beers & Cameras in the UK. So, back to the workshop, we started in Waterloo where Hamish made a small 15 minute introduction and moved northwards towards Covent Garden and then Chinatown. Along the way Hamish explained all the details about film shooting and enthusiastically answered all questions the students asked him. It was a great workshop and I am sure that everyone that attended benefitted immensely from it. At 14:00, it was time for the workshop to end, so we took our lunch break in this cute little restaurant in Chinatown where we got a chance to relax and discuss more about film photography and street photography. Our lunch lasted about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Oh, I forgot to mention that the weather was amazing! Such a pleasant surprise!
Some of the Film Photography Workshop participants were enlisted in the Flash Street Photography workshop too. So together with Thomas Ludwig, our Sponsor, we all headed back to Waterloo station on foot to meet the rest of the participants. By 16:00 we were all under the big clock meeting the rest of the students. It was time to get wild! After a brief introduction and some theory about Flash Street Photography, we all mounted our flashguns on our cameras and exited the station, heading towards the direction of Trafalgar square. During the walk there we learned about how to setup the flash, depending on the zone focus we were using and how to shooting against the sun and filling with flash. Luckily the weather was amazing and the sun was bright and hot and that gave us the opportunity to really push the limits of our flash and to create some really cool photos. Once at Trafalgar Sq. we all switched to off camera flash and started shooting filling in from sideways, top and bottom, using the light in creative ways. What fun! Following Trafalgar square we headed up to Leicester square and then to Chinatown where our flash guns just kept on going off, or should I say on? Anyway, you know what I mean! At around 18:30 we took a beer break which we combined with Flash Street Photography theory and examples of shooting within a dark place at slow shutter speeds and then once our thirst was quenched, we headed to Soho where we ended our workshop. What a great workshop that was! I really enjoyed it!
It was now 20:00. The night was very young, so some of us decided to go and hookup with the guys from Beers & Cameras in a pub near Waterloo station. Off we went, cameras and flashguns in hand to meet the rest of the guys. That evening was so much fun! I had a great time with Dan Berntsson, Thomas Ludwig, Robert De Castro, Hamish Gill, James Greenoff-Cairns and the rest of the B&C guys! We kept on drinking and laughing while making creative photos all the way past midnight. If it wasn’t for the 3rd Annual Street Hunters Meeting the next morning, I think we would have remained there until much later! What a great day that was. Thanks to the photos and this blog post, I will now remember it forever!
26th of August 2017 – Day No6
I remember waking up on the 3rd Annual Street Hunters Meeting morning thinking that nothing could beat the experiences and the fun of the previous day. But I was in for a great surprise! Firstly I had to get over my mini hangover. Luckily I had prepared myself from the previous night. I find that a cup of tea with milk before bedtime and one more in the morning work wonders for me when I have a hangover. So, I had a couple of teas with milk, a nice long shower and I was as good as new! It was time for the 3rd Annual Street Hunters Meeting and my excitement had reached crazy levels! Thomas was on pins and needles too! We said our goodbyes to Hamish and James that headed back home, grabbed our gear and jumped on the Underground and off we headed to our rendezvous point at Waterloo station under the Big clock again. We got there 10 minutes before the meeting and people were already starting to gather. Due to some minor train delays we ended up starting our walk at 09:30. Many friends from previous Street Hunts were there! I was so excited to see Brian Boyce for the 3rd time in a row, of course my very good friend Dan Berntsson and Xavi too! To assist in the day’s event 2 of my friends volunteered to be our guides. John Hughes whom I mentioned before and Alexey Kuzmis. I would like to thank you guys for planning the route! Without you the photo walk wouldn’t have been the same! Before we started our walk, Thomas Ludwig of COSYSPEED gave away a Camslinger Streetomatic Street Hunters Edition bag using the good old name in the bag (or hat) method! The lucky winner was Pouru Onishi. Congratulations Pouru!
After the giveaway I mounted my little Sony Actioncam on my camera and we split into two large groups and headed out! The 3rd Annual Street Hunters Meeting had begun!
I will talk about the Street Hunt we recorded that day on the day I release the Street Hunt video, so for now I will fast forward to the point where we reached the end of the walk at around 18:00 when we arrived at the LSPF venue. Even though we were more than 20 when we first started, we ended up to be around 8 in the end. Walking from Waterloo to Hackney Wick isn’t a small feat. You need willpower and determination to cover the distance. Once there, whoever had felt tired from the Street Hunt soon forgot about their fatigue, because there were so many interesting photographers at the event to talk too that everyone felt instantly regenerated! During the last minutes of the London Street Hunt I managed to include short clips from my meeting with Vineet Vohra, Richard Bram and other inspiring photographers that I am sure you will find very interesting to watch, but you will have to stay tuned for that, because the video will be released in about 2-3 weeks from now. As for me personally, arriving at the event didn’t only mean meeting inspiring photographers and people that I had been in touch with on social media for years, but also good friends that I had missed dearly.
Friends that I have shared so many things with in the past, such as Anastasia Nazare and Forrest Walker! So, I put my little Sony Actioncam away. I had recorded all I was going to record in London this year. It was now time for me to mingle, talk, engage, have fun! Many beers and many chats later, Anastasia, Forrest, Dan and myself decided to go shooting.
It had been decided that Forrest was to crash at our flat so was Anastasia, so we all left for Whitechapel to drop off some bags and then the plan was to go shooting in Soho! We got to Whitechapel, said a quick hello to Thomas Ludwig who was already at the flat, grabbed the essentials (cameras and flashes) and left. It was time for us to go shooting! We walked from Whitechapel to Tower Bridge and there we stopped for some beers. We then left and walked all the way to Soho in search of interesting characters. Even though we didn’t make any winning shots we still had a blast and at around 02:00 we decided it was time to head back. Besides, I did have a presentation at 11:00 at the LSPF and I had to regenerate.
27th of August 2017 – Day No7
I remember waking up at 07:30 that day. I was very nervous that I had to make a presentation at the LSPF. Even though I enjoy being around people and making noise, when everyone else is standing still and is looking at me I get this weird feeling which I can never get used to. But anyhow, it was Sunday morning and my presentation was due in less than 4 hours so I had to get ready both physically and mentally for the day. I started my day with my 2 cups of tea with milk and a long shower (notice a pattern) and then I worked on my presentation a bit. Luckily too, because I noticed some things I had forgotten. Once I was ready, Anastasia and myself left the flat and headed to the LSPF venue in Stour Space .
Alison Adcock had told me the previous day that I needed to be there by 10:30 just to make sure everything was ok and to have some time in case anything needed to be done. Luckily nothing needed to be done and everything was fine! At around 11:00 Thomas and Forrest arrived too. My presentation started at 11:30. I talked about Streethunters.net and all the cool new ideas that we have planned for the future. If you want to see the presentation, you can access it here.
Once that was over, I had some interesting discussions and then me and my friends Forrest, Dan and Anastasia headed out for some Street Photography.
The area in which the LSPF was held was called Hackney Wick and it was quite interesting for shooting. I think we all got back with a keeper or two about a couple of hours later. I made sure I wasn’t any later than that because I didn’t want to miss Forrest’s panel talk. He was on stage with Dmitry Stepanenko, Chris Suspect and Cam Crosland answering questions about Street Photography. It was quite an interesting talk.
After the panel talk more presentations and talks followed, however what I enjoyed mostly was getting to know my fellow street photographers in tete a tete conversations. I especially enjoyed my discussion with Richard Bram, my talk with Lynne Kaplan, my lunch with Nico Ferrara, Anastasia Nazare and Dan Berntsson and just having fun with everyone at the festival. If you want to get a small glimpse of the good times we had, you can check out these videos I shared on Facebook:
- The flicking on the badge
- Posing for a photo which was in fact a video and
- Alison Adcock going nuts with a flash
We stayed at the venue until late in the evening. I think we were some of the last to leave, but before we left we managed to make some really cool photos to remember the fun times of the LSPF!
In the end we had to say goodbye to everyone. The first to go earlier that day around noon was John Hughes and Indy. Then an hour later we had to say goodbye to Thomas Ludwig because he had a plane to catch. Later in the afternoon Dan left so that evening it was just Forrest, Anastasia and myself at the flat. Before bed, I had another cup of tea with milk.
28th of August 2017 – Day No8
Next morning we all got up, got ready and headed to the Underground. It was time to leave the flat. Anastasia was heading back to Birmingham and Forrest was on his way to Dmitry’s place. At around 11:00 Anastasia and myself said goodbye to Forrest and it was just the two of us left.
We went to London Bridge station, walked to Borough Market and had a nice scrambled egg and coffee breakfast there. Later on we met with a mate of mine, Julia, and spent some time with her and after that it was time for each one of us to head their own way. Unfortunately for me, the National Rail service wasn’t operational from London Bridge that day, so I had to find another way to get to Gatwick airport. So, after saying my goodbyes to Anastasia, I jumped on the Underground to Waterloo and from there I got on the train to Clapham Junction. I switched trains and was in Gatwick soon enough. My amazing week in the UK was now at an end. I had mixed feelings. I already missed everyone from the previous days, but at the same time I anticipated the moment I would get back home to my 2 daughters. Before I boarded the plane, I did some light shopping, got to meet a very interesting artist that was a photographer in his youth with many interesting stories to share and I had some lunch. It was time to board the plane now. My trip to the UK was now officially over.
I feel so thankful and blessed that I managed to be in the UK surrounded by friends and fellow street photographers for a whole week! I got to see so many people that I miss dearly, such as Digby Fullam, Anastasia Nazare, Dan Berntsson, Forrest Walker and Thomas Ludwig. I am so grateful to John Hughes and his family for putting up with me for 3 days and so happy to have met so many street photographers that I’d only previously known from our interactions on social media, such as Gabi Ben Avraham, Vineet Vohra, Ken Walton, Ania Klosek, Fabian Schreyer, Dani Oshi, Chris Suspect and more. The positive vibe during these days was so strong it uplifted me and made me feel inspired and constantly happy. I can’t wait to live another similar experience and to share it with all of you dear Readers.
Before I sign off, I would like to thank COSYSPEED one more time for making all this possible! COSYSPEED has been supporting Streethunters.net for a while now and we really appreciate all they have done for us. A special shoutout to my friend Thomas Ludwig who is a Street Hunter at heart!!!
Don’t forget that the London Street Hunt video will be released within the next 2-3 weeks and about 2-3 weeks later, the Cambridge video will be released too. So stay tuned and remember what we say here at Street Hunters:
Stay Sharp & Keep Shooting!