It’s not quite black and white

From years back, when I was still wearing the soles of my shoes out on street photo walks, I’ve found the idea of anonymising people and merging them into the urban landscape intriguing.

I have some sympathy with people who question whether it’s right to take photos of people without asking first. As much as I think candid photography at it’s best communicates our common humanity, and I can appreciate the “in the face” candid work of shooters like Bruce Gilden, I feel uneasy if I think the subjects are being exploited in any way.

This “hat man” photo was taken in Birmingham before I’d had any hint of the onset of my motor neurone disease. I was actually walking down the street behind him with a heavy Canon 7D held up over my head…oh for the health of March 8, 2011! Even though I was probably invading this man’s personal space, I don’t feel it’s exploitative.

hat man

Other photos taken from my lunch break walks in Birmingham develop on the theme.

click a picture to enter the gallery


In Venice I seemed to be subconsciously developing the idea too –

click a picture to enter gallery

Merging humans into the surroundings alters the balance between the “subject” and a photos background or context. It seems to cut out any exploitation. There’s a philosophical slant trying to find its way out here somewhere and I can’t quite put it into words. I think it’ll become clearer and be communicated visually as my street photography develops.

One of the first posts on “Mindful Photos” mentioned how my disability caused by motor neurone disease has benefitted my photography. I’m more disabled now, but I still think the photography benefits. I can’t move around, so I’ll pick a spot, stay still and mindfully watch how the urban landscape develops.

Here are some black and white photos taken from the same location as my last blog post – the Hive library in Worcester. They were all taken from one place, but the humans passing through kept altering the landscape. I hope you enjoy them.

click a picture to enter gallery

words and pictures © Miles Pilling

4 thoughts on “It’s not quite black and white

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      1. You’re welcome. Thank you. And I look forward to more of your urban photography. There’s a certain aesthetic going on that is very pleasing. That Lift Legs really really is nice…

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