The Rebellion Festival (AKA “Punk Weekend”) in Blackpool is a fantastic event. It’s something I’d been meaning to attend for a long time, but didn’t get the opportunity until 2012. Last year I went with the typical street photography approach, preparing, anticipating, and capturing. I also shot mostly on black & white film.
This year, I decided to take a slightly different approach with some street portraits lit by flash. This is the first time I’ve taken the flash onto the streets and walked up to random people to ask if I can make a portrait. It’s all Mikey’s fault.
Often, at events like these, you get one shot. If you’re lucky you get two (and occasionally the flash wasn’t placed quite where it needed to be, so it needed a little tweaking and a second shot), but everybody I spoke to was great, very happy to take a little direction, and seemed pleased with what they saw on the back of the camera.
I did get one or two “No, thank you” responses, but given the number of other people I saw wandering around with cameras, especially on Saturday, it was understandable. They’re there to enjoy themselves, not have lenses shoved in their faces. I thanked them, and moved on. When you’re working with people on the street, sometimes they just want to be left alone and you have to respect that.
Of course, some folks just crave the attention, and I had a number of people see me photographing others and actually approach me to photograph them too. You just can’t beat that, especially when they look so great and interesting.
Even language barriers (there were a lot of different nations represented in Blackpool this weekend) didn’t seem to be a problem. They were happy to confront the camera, and seemed to understand the primitive gestures I tried to pass off as something resembling direction just fine.
I’d like to extend a massive thank you to everybody who dared to step in front of my lens over the last couple of days, and also to Elaine and Yvonne for helping me out and carting the softbox around for me each day.
The reactions and responses I was getting from people throughout the weekend were just amazing, I could not have asked for a better weekend or better subjects at which to point my camera. The softbox surprised a few people initially, but when they saw the results, the look on their faces told me all I needed to know.
I’d also like to thank the gentleman on the right, who wasn’t part of the weekend’s festivities, but agreed to pose for a portrait all the same.
A fun challenge, a fantastic experience, and definitely one which I plan to repeat.
The rest of the images are available to view, tag and share in an album on our Facebook page.
Same time next year?