Becky Frances | London

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Hello Becky, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how did you get involved into street photography?
I've always been drawn to photographing people and I started off taking portraits of people I knew in an urban environment. After a while I began to take photographs of people on the street, not really knowing about the genre of street photography.  I joined Flickr and learnt a lot from the community there, people were really generous with their advice and they helped me to grow and develop the confidence to push myself out of my comfort zone to take better shots.

What drives you to pick up a camera and hit the streets?
I love to take photographs and I love the city I live in, so I feel privileged to be able to grab my camera whenever I feel like it and wander the streets for as long as I want. I've also had a long struggle with depression and being able to get out and about with my camera helps me to combat that.

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What are you looking for when you go out into the streets and shoot ?
When I go out to shoot I'm looking for different things depending on the weather.  If the light is good, I'm looking for scenes that show this - clever work with shadows is one of my favourite things. If the light is flat and grey, I look for interesting people or interesting situations. I look for linking colours or patterns in a scene or for humour (which to me is the most difficult kind of shot to get and something I find very rewarding).

Is there a favorite place in London where you like shooting? 
If I'm shooting on a weekday I like to head towards Central London.  I walk from Trafalgar Square, through Chinatown and up into Soho. These areas are all busy and vibrant.  If I go out at the weekend, I like to go to East London. There is a flower market it Bethnal Green on a Sunday and you can walk from there to Brick Lane which has a market on. They are both busy and there is a lot going on. Sometimes I stop in Stamford Hill on the way back home which is the centre of London's Jewish community.

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Are you more of a walk and watch or a wait and see kind of street photographer?
I'm always moving around when I take pictures. I rarely stop even to shoot. Sometimes though, I will see a scene that needs something to complete it and then I'll wait around to see if the magic happens.

How do you deal with confrontation when shooting on the street?
Confrontation is the worst thing, its never nice when people are aggressive with you. If I can move away from the situation before it gets to the point of confrontation I will but if people start shouting or demanding I delete their photos I will normally humour them.  I'm usually on my own and I wouldnt argue to the point of fighting - its not worth it.

What do you find is the hardest challenge when taking pictures?
The hardest thing for me is confidence, some days im the most confident person in the world and the next day I find it difficult to leave my house.  I push myself to keep shooting during these times but it is difficult.  When you're pointing your camera at people, you risk confrontation and that can be scary.

What's your favorite focal lengths and can you explain us why? 
I use a 27mm lens, it means that to zoom I have to use my feet and get closer to people.  As a result its easier to take photos that land you right in the middle of the action which is what Im aiming for.

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Is there a photographer or type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?
My Dad bought me a book by Martin Parr years ago and it made me want to pick up a camera and photograph people. I love the quirky Englishness of his work although I dont think my photographs are anything like his.  If it wasn't for him I probably wouldn't be a photographer now.

If you had the chance to go on a photowalk with a famous street photographer. Who would it be? 
I would probably pick Joel Meyerowitz because I love how he photographs New York. He's constantly on the move and can see how a scene will look in a photograph in a split second.  He's very clever...

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