Sense the City: Meet the Photographer Q&A – Stephen Banks

This Q&A is part of the Sense the City Flickr Project. For background on this project see Sense the City – Flickr Project.

Better to just ignore him..., by Stephen Banks, 2011

Tell us about the inspiration behind your photo
I visited London back in December, partly to do a tour of the galleries and museums, but also partly to expose myself to better street photography opportunities. My home town in a place called Bridport, in West Dorset. Although it is a lovely place to live, it doesn’t have anywhere near the kind of buzz and spontaneity of a city like London.

How long have you been involved with photography?
Pretty much all my life (all 22 years of it so far). I had always been fascinated with whatever camera my mum or nan had, but never really got taking photographs until I was in my teens. My passion for photography came about during one general studies lesson in the first year of Sixth Form at The Blue Coat School in Liverpool. We were told to go out and take macro photographs and whoever came back with the best one won a prize. I hadn’t chosen art for either GCSE or A Level, so my result wasn’t very good. Needless to say, I didn’t win. But I was inspired. I could do something so fun and it was considered as work!

What equipment do you use?
The majority of my professional work at Watershed PR is done on a Nikon D7000 dSLR with a variety of prime lenses. I also do a fair amount of video work with this. Street photography is handled with my little Panasonic Lumix GF2 and 14mm pancake lens, although I have until recently ventured out with cameras such as a Lomo LC-A and my beloved Leica M3. The film cameras don’t see the light of day much any more, but I still keep a fair collection of them.

What inspires you?
Young people getting out there and giving it a fair crack. There’s plenty of creative kids around here in Bridport, but they either don’t have the drive to push themselves, or they succeed and leave the area because of the lack of jobs. I’m sure it’s different in the city, but with the job market as it is at the moment, I know I’m extremely lucky to be in a job I enjoy so much.

I also subscribe to around 50 creative website RSS feeds, so that keeps my creative brain ticking over in my spare time. Beats sitting in front of the television all night!

What is your preferred subject matter?
Candid street photography. I love seeing how people act on the street and I react accordingly with my street photography. Oddities in behaviour, juxtapositions, visual puns, all that jazz

Plans for the future?
Get a car and a house. Oh, in terms of my photography? Well I’ve just completed a time lapse starscape project in the local area called Bridport by Night: – as much as a video can do around here, it’s gone viral. So, once the buzz dies down about that (I set a target of matching the number of views with Wikipedia’s population count of 12,977 for Bridport), I will be working on a series of short films and trying to improve the first version of Bridport by Night with some new shots.

Describe your photography in one word.


Further Information

Stephen Banks Website:
Stephen Banks Flickr Photostream:
Stephen Banks on Twitter: @DorsetScouser

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