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At the Edge of the World

 

Last weekend I attended an Alain Laboile workshop in London. Alain Laboile for those of you who don’t know, is an amazing photographer from Bordeaux in France. Originally a sculptor he turned his hand to photography in 2004 and hasn’t looked back since. He has made his wife and six beautiful children the subject of his work. None of his images are posed or staged; it is pure documentary photography at its best.

 

I have been following Alain for a few years and when I heard he was coming to London to deliver a number of workshops I immediately booked myself a place. Alain’s work is inspiring, not only because of its content but also because of the tones in the images, they are simply beautiful. Alain shoots largely in black and white (monochrome for the aficionados out there), which as you know I love. It was great to spend time with Alain and listen to his views on his work and his views on our work after he sent us out onto the streets of Lambeth on an exercise. The course literature said to bring your camera but I never imagined being put to the test in such a way, it was just like being a contestant on the Sky Arts program Master of Photography. By the way you can win 150,000 euros on that show so well worth a stab if you think you have what it takes!

 

Alain set us a task of making the following images:

  1. A subject from an indirect perspective
  2. An image from an unusual angle
  3. Compose a shot and anticipate movement
  4. An image with a controlled background
  5. An image which contains independent subjects.

 

What’s that you say? Yes that’s exactly what I was thinking with no subjects to shoot and only an hour to do it in. After I got over the initial panic I decided to find some shops, and perhaps shoot in a café. As it turns out I stumbled across Camerini Hair in St John’s Hill…perfect. The owner kindly let me come in and snap away for an hour. Being upfront and brazen in photography often pays huge dividends. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

 

Below are some of the images from the assignment; I will let you decide which was which as I’ve thrown in a few extra to give you a real test. I am pretty pleased with the outcome for an under pressure hour of work, just a shame that I had to show Alain the unedited RAW files, maybe he will come across this blog and give me a second critique!

 

If you want to see more of Alain’s work I’ve given you a list of his books below…and if you want to see more of my work you can get in touch right HERE.

Alain Laboile Books:

At The Edge of the World

Under the Monochrome Rainbow

Waiting for the Postman

A picture of the Camerini Hairdressers in London
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Two ladies waiting to get they hair cut in Camerini Hair iin London, photographed by Simon Hawkins Documentary Photography
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Three ladies getting there hair cut in Camerini in London, photographed by Simon Hawkins Documentary Photography
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A lady reads a magazine as she waits to have her hair washed in a hairdressers in London, photographed by Simon Hawkins Documentary Photography
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A hairdresser prepares to make a cut in a ladies hair at a hairdressers in London, photographed by Simon Hawkins Documentary Photography
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As a lady gets her hair cut it falls not the floor by the hairdressers feet
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A hairdresser looks full of concentration at a hairdressers in London
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A lady yawns as she reads a magazine in the hairdressers in London
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