Hereford HR4 9DG
Exhibition of Street and Urban Photography by Colin Howard
As a child I spent endless hours peering out of my parents’ first floor flat in East London onto the busy street below. Life constantly passed to and fro whatever the weather: no moment was ever the same. In those years of post-war austerity, traffic was light, the urban space more open, and people walked everywhere. Open markets were the order of the day, and local businesses were just that – local.
The street is the barometer of vibrancy in urban living. It is the interface between our hidden domestic lives and how we interact with others. Some make their living in the street, many regard it as merely a convenient way to travel from one place to the next, a few regard it as a venue for romance and courtship, others express collective passion and concern. Individuals express their feelings through fleeting expressions of face and body, almost subconsciously reacting to others around them and, more widely, to the built urban environment.
The street photographer captures fleeting moments in time through which the viewer can analyse at leisure a meaning as to how people react with each other and with the public infrastructure that dictates their daily activities. Small moments build a comprehensive picture towards understanding what it means to be alive among those that are around us and our station in life. Quirky glimpses, unplanned yet structured appear fleetingly to amuse or to inform. Each brief slice in time mimics Henri Cartier-Bresson’s famous ‘decisive moment.’ There is language to be gained from studying expressions on people’s faces in response to these fleeting instances.
Many pictures of this series have been added over a number of years. They often illustrate that the once contemporary but perhaps mundane image frequently acquires value as part of a social documentary of changing lifestyles and values. The faster the economic development, the faster life in the streets changes, almost to the point of sanitation in some regions of the world. Many of these images were shot on film, giving a particular poignancy to the final print.
I have been fortunate to see and feel this pace of change, especially in Asia where I have travelled regularly since the early 1980s. I am fascinated by the visual relationship between people and their immediate environment. This can generate images of unwitting humour, curiosity and the unmasking of relationships between people and place.
Colin Howard is an award-winning photographer living in Hereford. He started his photographic journey as a child when given a Kodak Box Brownie by his parents. As a teenager he developed a passion for darkroom developing and printing, pursuing this more seriously later in life as part of the Great Missenden Advanced Photography Group. During his professional career as a lecturer he always travelled with a camera by his side. Since retirement he has been able to indulge his passion for street photography. Colin has exhibited widely, most recently as one of the 2018 Ludlow Seven. In 2017 he was artist-in-residence at Inverewe Gardens, Scotland. He is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, Vice-Chairman of the Herefordshire Photographic Society, and a member of Missenden Photographers.