An Evening Walk Down Oxford Street

I’m going to tell you a secret. I have a habit of stockpiling these blog posts, writing several of them in advance, then sometimes scheduling them to appear, automatically, on successive weekends.

But habits are meant to be broken, especially if you’re a street photographer, and today I’m bringing you the latest crop of images. They’re not, I hasten to say, the entire set from a day’s shooting in London, but an extra… an afterthought, a mini half-hour project on which I embarked, a bit reluctantly, at the end of the day.

Catching Up
During late afternoon in a café near The Photographers’ Gallery I enjoyed a cup of coffee with an old friend whom I’d not seen in many years. She didn’t mind missing the Roger/Rafa semi-final to chat with a dishevelled photographer who’d been tramping the streets for hours. Afterwards, feeling rested, I was supposed to head for home, but something stopped me. It was the light!

The light was so good I was tempted into walking again, so I set off down Oxford Street towards Tottenham Court Road and then on to Holborn.

The ten pictures you see here are the ones I took on my 30-minute stroll, in order of their taking.

The featured image, at the top, was a good start, although I had to “unprocess” it by removing some sharpening I added in Photoshop. When sunlight is direct and flat (coming from behind the camera) you don’t always need to sharpen the image if you’ve used a high shutter speed.

The Other Nine
I tend to look for compositions where colourful dresses and backgrounds can play their part, so the next shot is mainly a combination of blacks, greys, and some prominent red.

people walking past red sale sign

I saw quite a few people in almost-primary colours: such as the two ladies in the shot below. I like the way the woman in the background is removing her sunglasses. Or is she putting them on?

two women, one in red, one in green

Here (next) is a shot that conveys some of the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street in the rush-hour. At this point, I was quite a long way from Savile Row, as indeed was the guy in the snazzy suit. I’m not sure where one acquires such a suit, but it looks kinda neat on a Friday evening! Clearly, he’s already in a party mood.

man in bizarre suit with cartoon exclamations all over it

Although there are lots (lots!) of tourists in London right now, I think most of the people in my shots are Londoners returning home after work or shopping. Let me take this opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone for letting me take a picture (whether or not they/you noticed me doing it).

two women of striking appearance

Now here (below) is a shot I really like. Not only does this lady have fantastic hair she seems to have attracted the attention of the person behind her — who is pointing at it! Unusually, everyone else in this shot has great hair, too, if not quite as spectacular as that possessed by the main character.

woman with braided hair

I love to get shots with high notes of deep red, as below — where a London bus matches the red in the tee-shirt, with little bits of red in the shop sign and the Tesco bag. Of course, at the time I saw only a courteous-looking man wearing an in-your-face tee, but the rest of the shot turned out well.

Man with "Deadpool" tee-shirt. Speech bubble says "Outta the way Nerd"

Whenever I walk down Oxford Street there’s always some kind of incident: an outburst, a scuffle, or a little petty larceny. I’m not sure what was happening in the shot below, but the gesture of the man on the left seems to be saying “Cool it!” whereas his friend is making his feelings known. I’m glad to say it all calmed down very quickly.

Young men gesticulating

Unfortunately, these “incident shots” are rarely well-composed, so I just snap them and hope for the best. Better by far, from a photographic point of view, is the following shot, taken when I was getting close to Holborn Tube Station.

Of the Asadal restaurant, The Guardian’s food critic Jay Rayner wrote: “If Kim Jong-un is determined to press the button and take the rest of us with him, I want to go with the flavours of his food on my lips.” I don’t know if the people in my photo are talking about world politics (or food), but they’re certainly in serious discussion. Again, for me it’s reds and blacks and whites, and the lovely evening sun I’ll soon have to leave behind.

Walking past a news stand, men talking

Finally, outside the station, I took one last shot, this time of a tall man holding forth while the others paused for reflection and refreshment.

It was time to leave. In another post I’ll show you the shots I took earlier in the day. Maybe I’ll schedule those in advance.

Man holding unlit, rolled up cigarette, talking to a male friend; two, much shorter women beside him

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