retreating to suburbia

I’m looking forward to taking more photographs from the relative comfort of a scooter after my productive experience at Hay.

The other day I drove to a place where I hadn’t taken street photos before. When I saw the crowds and the grumpy look on most people’s faces, I have to admit, I chickened out.

Trying to create street photographs whilst walking with crutches is tough at the best of times, but instinct told me I was in for a series of “did you just photograph me?” questions. As I was experimenting to see if I could still handle my heavy full frame camera with my disability, I just wasn’t in the mood for confrontation.

Where there is perception there is deception

…is something that the Buddha is credited with saying. My perceptions may have been wrong, but I decided to go with my gut instinct. I got back into my car and drove off into the suburbs.

Ten minutes later and I’d found my inspiration again –

The colours of Carling
The colours of Carling

Parked up by a group of shuttered shops next to a housing estate I knew that, at the very least, here I could take some abstracts of the buildings in peace.

As my mind calmed down I began to see photographic opportunities.

These Carling shots are three of my favourites from the hour I spent waiting and watching-

Carling screaming

All are single frames taken through a tear in a poster on a glass phone booth. I don’t think my interpretation is quite what the ad agency had in mind but hey, that’s creativity and freedom of speech for you.

smearing a Carling
Smearing a Carling

I only took about ten frames in the whole time I was there.

Here are some of the others –

You can run but eyes still watch
Watch over your shoulder
Blue handle
Getting a handle
market trader
Market trader portrait
red, white and blue
Red, white and blue

All were taken on my Canon 6D with a 24-70mm f4 lens using my “German Crutch Company” crutch as a monopod. (I kid you not, I had to search for German crutches online to buy them!)

You can just about see the size of my Canon 6D in this “self-portrait with a German crutch”. I like the way the natural borders and distressing from the window have given it an old-fashioned Polaroid look.

a polaroid look
The distressed look

After struggling with the weight of the 6D I can’t wait to get back out on the streets with my tiny Ricoh GR on my scooter!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Thanks for your company 🙂


words and pictures © all rights reserved Miles Pilling

13 thoughts on “retreating to suburbia

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  1. Excellent!
    I find it difficult to take photos of people without asking their permission. So most of mine are landscapes, architecture and the like. Although crowds of people are different….or like at The Hay where it looks like people were expecting to be photographed so you were able to capture some great images.
    My last visit to Venice I “sort of” took a picture of a man that I found very striking. I didn’t share it on my blog because he was probably easily identifiable….at least to his friends and I just couldn’t take the chance. I kick myself for not walking up to him and asking but he looked to be very comfortable just sitting and smoking his cigar that I just didn’t want to disturb him. He was very well dressed (it was winter) in a long black overcoat, a hat, a cane and black leather gloves….very, very striking in the midst of the tourist who don’t seem to care how they dress.

    1. Hi Michelle. Thanks. You know, it’s legal to photograph anyone in a public place and publish the image as long as it’s not used commercially, or in something like a political campaign etc. That’s the law in most countries. In Germany they have a right to privacy in public law I believe. So it’s slightly different – in theory every image needs a model release form there – but people seem to publish candid street photo blogs there anyway without being arrested! Newspapers wouldn’t be able to publish most of their images if we weren’t allowed to photograph people candidly. The moral / ethical thing is a different debate. I actually wrote a bit about that in one of my posts -
      Thanks for commenting. Take care. Miles

  2. Your photos are fantastic. You didn’t mention what your illness was but I’m searching on a ‘motor neurone disease’ tag. I’m 16 and have found out I have it, it’s cool that you can still use your camera- I hope It can too, Thanks 🙂

    1. Thanks. It would be very unusual to develop MND at 16. I have never heard of anyone that young having it. If I was you, I would ask for a second opinion. I was diagnosed with the PLS variant of motor neurone disease. It’s the rarest type and the slowest developing. Take care and thanks for visiting my blog.

      1. Thanks. I’m still have ongoing sessions with neurology department. I have been told I have onset MND, but yes where I am trying to get used to the idea of this I am still seeking other opinions as I have some symptoms that are not infitting with MND. Thanks and you too 🙂

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