The intensity of her look belies the simplicity of the moment as a school girl enjoys a sugary treat on her way to wherever she’s going. Her friends faces echo her tense energy while framing the otherwise simple action to create a moment that steps outside of time. The girl in red’s pointing finger completes the lyrical sense of motion across the frame and the result is a shot that’s street photography gold. Hit the jump for more!
Chris Moxey Street Photography
When you think about shooting on crowded city sidewalks, classic photographers like Winnogrand and Meyerowitz come to mind but modern shooters like Chris Farling are continuing that tradition. The sheer number of variables make this one of the most challenging and rewarding forms of street photography.
When I disovered Chris Moxey’s work I was immediately struck by her sense of control in the face of chaos as she elegantly captures the fleeting moments of daily life. There’s a poetic sense to her shots that reminds me of Meyerowitz in some ways but her work isn’t tied helplessly to that tradition. She’s in the heart of the action creating unique statements that are the perfect embodiment of her individual perspective on the world. Not an easy thing to do!
I reached out to Chris Moxey and asked her a few questions about her work:
Hi Chris, can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get interested in street photography?
I wasn’t really aware that what I was doing was street photography until people started to comment on my pictures on flickr – I mean, I was aware of some of the better-known names like Cartier Bresson – and it turned out that some of my longtime favourite photographers were classed as street photographers: Tony Ray Jones (who was my hero), David Hurn – yet I wasn’t familiar with the term. I got back into taking photographs after taking voluntary redundancy from my job to study part-time and I just started taking photos locally.
Your flickr stream is a mix of urban landscape and really excellent street photography. How do you find the balance between the two? Do you go out looking for urban landscape and shoot street when it presents itself or are the two mutually exclusive for you?
Thank you. I’d say the two are mutually exclusive and I approach them differently. The landscapes aren’t really urban, though some may look it because they’re quite industrial – but those are mostly taken on walks along the Thames estuary which can get pretty remote the further you get away from London. Others are taken on walks at the seaside where I tend to look for commonplace but unusual things. If I’m doing street photography I tend to go into central London and that will be my sole purpose. And yes, the two have a balance that I enjoy.
Let’s talk about the lollipop girl shot! It looks like the kind of photograph where you have one shot at the scene. One chance to get the best that the moment has to offer. Did you see the scene developing or did serendipity have a stronger hand in its creation?
There wasn’t time to raise the camera to my eye because we were about to bump each other so I quickly used the LED screen to take the shot. I’d spotted the intense looks on all the faces, and the reds – and the woman pointing her finger. I just wanted to take a pop at it.
I remember when you originally posted this shot on Facebook some people wondered if it was shot from the hip or if you composed through the viewfinder. What’s the difference for you with street photography? Does it even matter?
Haha! Yes, it was quite embarrassing as someone else posted it saying it was a shot that they liked. Someone commented that because of the angle it was obvious I hadn’t raised the camera to my eye. This appeared to annoy them although I didn’t try to cover up what I’d done and I also pointed that it wasn’t my usual method. It feels more natural to use the viewfinder and I’m quite happy with being seen.
The shot looks super wide angle. What focal length do you prefer to work with on the street? What’s in your camera bag? :)
I use the Panasonic GX7 for my street shots. It’s the smallest and lightest camera I’ve had and I really like the quality, too. I tend to shoot pretty wide as I like to get close so the 7-14mm lens suits me well.
How can people see more of your work?
What’s your take on Chris Moxey’s lollipop girl shot? A great example of one of the toughest disciplines in street photography? Or just another random shot taken on the sidewalk? Post your ideas in the comments below and keep the conversation going!