Street Photography - asking for a photo

Can I take your photo?

Up until a few weeks ago I had not crossed that boundary, “hi there can I take your photo?” I have been able to shoot street photography without having the need. On a few occasions  I have been caught taking people's pictures and I have had someone turn away hiding and covering their face. The large majority of people have never noticed and even if the they have nothing has been said, I just smile and move on. But there have been many occasions when I have spotted someone who I think would make an interesting photo but before you know, the person and the moment has gone. If only I'd have asked them. It's not the easiest thing to do though.

Street Photography in Leigh on Sea

However a few Mondays ago I was in Leigh on Sea a small seaside town in Essex, UK. I walking along the high street armed with my Canon 1000fn (film camera). When I spotted someone who I thought was Wilko Johnson, I looked again and I was now sure it was him. He was looking up and down the street, he was wearing all black carrying a small black case. The first thing that came to me was, I wanted to take his photo! I literally ran across the road and straight up to him. I simply asked him, “hi there I'm a big fan, is it okay to take your photo?” He said of course. I quickly prepared myself, the camera was on, in shutter priority mode, 100/1. I lined up the shot and I had to manually focus (as it doesn’t work on the kit lens that I have). Obviously with it being film I wasn’t able to tell if I had captured Wilko as I wanted. I thanked him telling him that he was an inspiration after what he has gone through. I shook his hand (a solid handshake) and I left him. 

It all happened so quickly, I was buzzing afterwards. I had managed to ask somebody I massively admire to take his photo, and he said yes! All I had to do now was look after the film and get it processed. Hoping that the film gods are looking down on me and the photo came out okay. I have never treated a film with such care.

So if you don’t know who Wilko Johnson is, his story is an amazing one. You should watch the interview of him on BBC’s Hardtalk, also check out his website.

A few days later I got the film processed at Bayeux in London and this is what I shot.