Juliette

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Herbert

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Emmy

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Jed

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Freya

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Mark

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Isabela

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Tony

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Tash

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Luke

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Lyndsey

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Jordan

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Paris

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Roni

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Hayley

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Duncan

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Charlotte

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

John

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Shannon

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Josh

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Sarah

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Tommy

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Phoebe

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Daryl

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Tyrisha

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Frankie

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

George

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Paula

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Oliver

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Harry & Honey

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Morgan

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Misha

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Luke

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Reema

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Roger

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Manya

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Jason

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Andy

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Ben

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Rhiannon

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Angus

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

unknown

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

James

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Star

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Mike

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Grant

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Irena

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Kate

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Michael

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Katarina

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Tommy

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Katrina

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Chris

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Courtney

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Doddy

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Liberty

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Tom

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Victoria

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Dan

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Pam

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Joseph

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Zoe

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Danny

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Angela

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Ray

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Victoria & Juno

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Brad

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Ellis

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Chris

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Kash

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Abi

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Elizabeth

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Iain

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Roxy

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Gareth

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Chloe

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Chezny

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Anfal

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Jack

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Hannah

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Big John

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Charnae

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Dylan

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Emma

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

John

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Georgia

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Sam

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Tex

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Pam

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

unknown

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Darren

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

George

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

unknown

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Emmie

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Kristen

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Oscar

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Laura

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Emsy

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Tom

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Alexandra

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Lauren

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Verity

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Dario

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Steve

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Lex

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Rob

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Kyle

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Bryony

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Chris

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Noel

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Les

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Dale

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Melanie

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Emma

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Louis

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Ali

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Eleanore

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Mathew

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Patrick

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Marlon

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Blue

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Stuart

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Callum

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

me

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

David

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Eli

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Jack

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Emma

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

Peter

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018

 

 

unknown

What began as a social media project for British creative director Marksteen Adamson, soon evolved into a social study set in his hometown of Cheltenham. Armed with a small Leica camera, Adamson would take every opportunity, journeying to and from his studio, to capture portraits of people he would see and meet in the streets where he lives and works. 

At first glance, the close-up street portraits by the self-taught photographer, Marksteen Adamson, could be reminiscent of Bruce Gilden’s wide-angled distorted faces, or Martin Parr’s ‘stolen moments’. Adamson acknowledges both Gilden and Parr as sources of inspiration. His approach however, differs from the two icons of socio-documentary street photography as he explains: “It’s easy to find people who are broken and to photograph them. It’s more dramatic but, I think, less respectful to the subject.”

With his Cheltenham Folk portrait series, Adamson’s goal is to produce a balanced reportage of his hometown. Rather like a social study of a town that is primarily known in the UK as the location of GCHQ, the Government Communication Headquarters, the heartland of horse racing, and home to members of the upper classes. These perceived images do not align however with Adamson’s impression of the town: “Cheltenham has a massive variety of people, culturally, economically and socially, the town contains the whole spectrum.”

Raised in Tanzania and having lived and worked around the world, Adamson took time to adjust to the fact that the UK can be very grey and dull most of the year, but as he was now settled here, he decided to start photographing local people in the street in his free time. He started to realise that Cheltenham is full of really interesting people and not as monochromatic as he’d thought for so many years.

“I want to show the beauty and character in each person I meet. There is something special about everyone regardless of who they are. Some have stories to tell and others are in a hurry. Some of them are homeless, some are wealthy, some are more educated than others, but most of them are just ordinary, everyday, working people.”

He also knows about the temptation of selecting images where those portrayed are not shown in the best light. “Sometimes I have to be strong and resist publishing a picture where the person appears somewhat ridiculous. The image might prove more compelling, but it would be lacking in compassion.”

Over a number of years, the creative director had become bored with photography. Then, two and a half years ago, he bought a Leica camera and challenged himself to do the hardest thing he could imagine – street photography. Soon, Adamson wanted to get even closer to his subject, but without ‘stealing their image’ as some street photographers do. Conversely, he decided to address his fellow citizens directly, despite the risk of rejection that entails. “You have to be emotionally prepared for them to say no. It’s not easy to be rejected and it sometimes affects me, but I have to remind myself that it’s not because of me, but more about them not wanting to be photographed.” It is, of course, natural for people to adjust their expression if they know they are being photographed, however, Adamson has a technique for getting around this problem: “If I take 15 to 20 pictures of the same person quickly, there will always be one shot where they are not really posing, and then I’m able to capture something unique about them.” After taking the photograph, he asks the person for their first name and uses just that as the title for the portrait, he then posts it on Instagram. He has made a conscious decision not to write down the person’s story – he is not aiming to produce a project like Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, rather, he wants to leave room for interpretations and projections. In this manner, each viewer can ask his or her own questions about the lives of those portrayed.

For his Cheltenham Folk series Adamson learned how to use a flash in daylight. Because he did not want to rely on the camera’s automatic programme settings, he controlled the light with manual settings. “It’s tough to use the flash appropriately, because the proximity and the surrounding light change the impact it has,” he explains. Adamson spent long hours practising until he found the right setting. He has even gone so far as to fix the flash with tape, so the setting will not accidentally be changed.

“The best outcome of this project for me is that people see the value in taking portraits of each other as we are; without over-preparing and without ‘after-effects’ like Photoshop and soft filters. There is, surprisingly, an inner healing in the authenticity of this approach, that we discover when we see ourselves just the way we are”.

Adamson has been in talks about exhibiting his project outdoors. “Of course, my personal ambition would be to have my work exhibited in an art gallery. However, not all the people captured in these photographs would be likely to visit a gallery. So, I would prefer this work to be displayed somewhere in public, in a street exhibition perhaps, to give something back to the people of my hometown but getting permission from the local council can be problematic.”

At the time of publication, six giant posters on hoardings advertising the exhibition have so far been put up in the town centre. The rest of the images will be hosted in the Chapel Arts Gallery and in various bars and cafés around the town.

 

DENISE KLINK  – Editor (LFI) Leica Fotografie International

Interview first published in LFI December 2018