Southside Portraits

# photography

Claire and I have decided to move to Italy this summer. I’m excited for the move, and I’m also quite sad to leave Glasgow. I think it’s a really special place. I have a strong feeling that I want to capture some of that specialness before I leave, so I’ve been more motivated to go outside and take pictures. Last week, I went out to take street portraits three times.

Street photography in the Scottish winter is difficult. The streetscapes are drab and ugly. Pedestrians are wearing hats and scarves and puffy jackets. And the light is quite muted. I needed a lot of patience to find good shots.

When I got my photos back from the lab, I had three pictures that I liked.

This was my first photo. I went for a photo walk in Govanhill. In street photography, the first photo is always the hardest. You have to put yourself in the mindset to approach strangers. I had just taken my camera out of my pocket when my eyes wandered past this guy, who looks like he could be a Culkin brother, waiting for the bus. I did a double take, and we made eye contact. I gestured with my camera, “Could I take your picture?” I asked.

“Sure,” he said, completely relaxed.

I rushed and took a clumsy photo without taking the time to frame or focus. “Thanks!” I said. As I walked away, I was disappointed, sure that the photo would be completely blurry. When I saw the final product, I discovered that the focus is actually okay. It’s quite soft, but it almost feels a little dreamy.

A few days later I had almost the exact same experience. I went out to take pictures and saw this woman standing at a crosswalk. It was my first photo of the day, but she was really excited when I asked for her picture. When I pointed my camera at her, she assumed the most confident, direct post, looking straight into the camera. Again, I was nervous, and after I took the picture I was pretty sure it was out of focus.

Fifteen minutes later, I bumped into her again, and we chatted for a minute. She said that she doesn’t have Instagram, but she was so excited to see the picture that she would use her friends phone to look for it.

When I got the photo back, not only was it sharp, but the the colors were great and her pose was awesome.

Later that day, I was walking home when I saw this couple behind the grocery store. “We’ve got a reservation for fish and chips,” the man told me when I asked for their photo, before happily obliging.

I like their pink-beige-and-tan color scheme and their genuine smiles.

© Sam Littlefair, 2023