Features

Like a British Film Noir: Moody Shots of London’s Streets

By Madeline - 5 min read

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Joshua Jackson's unusual street photos capture the beauty in seemingly mundane situations. He told us why things get interesting when you scratch beneath the surface.

Joshua K. Jackson has been living in London since 2002. After ten years in the financial industry, he recently decided to pursue his passion for photography full time.

wet, rain, window, real people, one person

Street Photography

“The most interesting thing about street photography is the unpredictability. You head out with no real expectations of what you may come home with. This makes street photography very challenging, but that’s part of the fun—it really changes how you start to see the world, in that you start seeing and paying attention to things you were completely oblivious to previously.”

no people, car, transportation, close-up, red

Background

“Although my interest in photography began at school, it’s only been in the last 12 months that I’ve started to specialize in street photography and realize the potential to turn these skills into a new career. Now I work on lots of exciting commercial and editorial projects, whilst pursuing street photography and teaching workshops in my spare time.”

Location

“I take most of my photos in a relatively small, compact area of Central London. I really like documenting the daily changes within this particular part of the city. On the face of it, the streets looks largely the same, but when you scratch beneath the surface, you find something new every single day.”

no people, indoors, close-up, day

Composition

“Street photography is one of the most accessible genres, but it’s also one of the most challenging to do well. After all, anyone can take photos of a street scene on their mobile phone, but if the image doesn’t convey a message or feeling to the viewer, it will be forgotten very quickly. To take an image from ‘good’ to ‘great,’ there have to be one or more special elements that enhance the scene and elevate it into something more unusual or unique: light, color, textures, gestures, etc.”

“I enjoy taking pictures after dark.”

Technique

“Breaking with convention, I take all of my photos with a short telephoto prime lens. Using the same focal length for all your photographs creates a consistent look and feel. It will also help you better judge framing and composition during those decisive moments. I enjoy taking pictures after dark, or during challenging weather conditions too; recently I begun exploring ways to incorporate more light into my work.”

Layering

“I’m constantly looking for extra elements to enhance the scenes in some way. I’ll often look for frames, then visualize ways to bring the background and foreground elements into play. I find that adding complexity to images creates greater interest for the viewer and brings the story to life.”

“You have to move into a heightened state of awareness.”

Vision

“When taking street photographs, you have to consciously move into a heightened state of awareness - noticing details, anticipating and visualizing scenes before they happen. It takes patience to refine your vision, but with practice, you’ll start to see more and more opportunities to take pictures that capture moments in time.”

“Use whatever camera you have.”

Advice

“The key to getting into street photography is overcoming the fear of taking photos in public and developing an eye for a good scene. In the beginning, use whatever camera you have and forget about the technical side—it’s more important to upgrade yourself than your gear.”