Any good photographer worth their salt is always looking to improve, progress and learn new things. So I try to attend workshops with other professionals when I can.  A while back I attened an Alain Laboile workshop in London. Alain Laboile for those of you who don’t know, is an amazing photographer from Bordeaux in France. Originally a sculptor he turned his hand to photography in 2004 and hasn’t looked back since. He has made his wife and six beautiful children the subject of his work. None of his images are posed or staged; it is pure documentary photography at its best. Right up my street.

I have been following Alain for a few years and when I heard he was coming to London to deliver a number of workshops I immediately booked myself a place. Alain’s work is inspiring, not only because of its content but also because of the tones in the images, they are simply beautiful. Alain shoots largely in black and white (monochrome for the aficionados out there), which as you know I love. It was great to spend time with Alain and listen to his views on his work and his views on our work after he sent us out onto the streets of Lambeth on an exercise. The course literature said to bring your camera but I never imagined being put to the test in such a way, it was just like being a contestant on the Sky Arts program Master of Photography. By the way you can win 150,000 euros on that show so well worth a stab if you think you have what it takes!

During the workshop Alain set us a task of making the following images:

  1. A subject from an indirect perspective
  2. An image from an unusual angle
  3. Compose a shot and anticipate movement
  4. An image with a controlled background
  5. An image which contains independent subjects.

A tough gig in just an hour in a place where none of us knew the area. After I got over the initial panic I decided to find some shops, and perhaps shoot in a café. As it turns out I stumbled across Camerini Hair in St John’s Hill…perfect. The owner kindly let me come in and snap away for an hour. Being upfront and brazen in photography often pays huge dividends. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Below are some of the images from the assignment; I will let you decide which was which as I’ve thrown in a few extra to give you a real test. I am pretty pleased with the outcome for an under pressure hour of work, just a shame that I had to show Alain the unedited RAW files, maybe he will come across this blog and give me a second critique!

Feel free to comment and critique yourselves ?

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