I find couples intriguing. There’s something about the spirit of companionship and togetherness that is reassuring and warm. And it may sound ironic coming from a singular character like myself but I do appreciate a glimpse of comradery when I see one and I try to preserve these glimpses on film when they present themselves.
Here are a selection of photographs that show that spirit of togetherness I’m so fond of.
I saw this couple on a sunny Saturday afternoon on the High Street in Colchester, Essex. As many of my shots are covertly taken, there’s a funny story to this photograph. I was on my way back home when they walked past me along the row of shops, so I did a U-turn and walked back on myself. I walked fast enough to overtake them … by a block … and posted up outside a shop window, pretending to look in. So my eyes were looking one way and my camera was pointing the other. When they finally got close enough, I pressed the shutter and caught this moment. I like the way they are dressed. I can’t think of many people who would wear a three-piece just to shop on the High Street but they sure proved that style matters all day, any day. What I particularly like about the photo is the superbity of his walk balanced with the dependency of her grasp.
This was taken along the Southbank Walk. This couple were both studying the inscription at the base of the sculpture, also composed of a couple. I actually had to run towards them to take this picture so I won’t miss it. One has to do seemingly crazy things like that from time to time, otherwise life would obliviously move on.
Here, I found this couple just standing at that corner, with eyes fixated on something across the street. I don’t recall what they were staring at and that wasn’t what I cared about at the time. All I wanted to do was take a picture of them. I was actually closer to them than the photograph suggests. So just like in the first picture, I had to take this as covertly as I could, without looking through the viewfinder. You could imagine that they might have been waiting to ambush that poor unsuspecting man approaching the corner. The sinister look in the eyes of the man of the couple makes it very believable.
Some people don’t need much convincing for a quick shot. These folks were certainly willing me on. I know he was, he was in his everyday-best and his bag was bigger than hers. She, on the other hand, at least queried lightly. I shot this from their level and was almost sitting on the floor. I feel it gave a different perspective and I’m quite pleased with it.
This was taken about half an hour after the one above. The shaded couple had been replaced by this be-furred and be-hatted one. This time though, I didn’t ask. It would have ruined the shot, and they looked just right just the way they were. So I sat on the opposite curb facing them, placed my camera on the floor and took this. As she drank, he smoked, and that’s what makes the picture for me.
As I turned a corner of a street just off Brick Lane, I pointed my camera at this couple coming down the street and before I could push the shutter she gave me a smile and threw her arms out wide, as if to say “Let me jazz up the picture a little for you!” And that was just what the picture needed: a bit of life. I think he was too cool for school though to pay any mind … cool enough to look forever cool in this picture. It was this instantaneous collaboration between myself, turning into a street, and her, turning out, that makes this one of my personal favourite images taken in London.
Now, these two are not your average couple (or maybe they are) but today, they were coupled by public service. There was huge traffic and I was on the upper deck of a stationary bus just outside Victoria Station when I couldn’t resist taking a picture of these two officers below. They were stood there directing traffic away from the sealed off street and just looked the part, you know? It looks like the shot was posed for but it was as candid as they come.