The evening I received my new full frame camera, the Nikon D750, I took it out for a walk. I made a brief stop at the pub next to my apartment, The Surrey Vaults, because they had displayed a photograph I had taken of a regular behind the bar.
Another frequenter, a Jamaican-British man named Trevor, asked me to take his portraits there and then, which I was more than happy to do. He said that he wanted a shot of him with St Paul’s church in the background, since it was a symbol of his neighborhood.
Trevor – The Surrey Vaults, St Pauls
After the impromptu portrait session with Trevor, I took a stroll into town, and found out that St Nicolas Market was open late that night.
St Nicolas Market
On my return home I contacted a Turkish friend, a green-eyed girl named Zeynep, who had only been in the country for a week embarking on a marketing internship. Somehow I twisted her arm to wake up early on her first day off to come and pose for me in a cemetery among the frost and mist. Who would not want to do that?
Unfortunately, it was too hot for the frost and mist I had planned for, so after a few frames and a lot of tinkering (the jump from mirrorless to full frame is significant) we headed to a greasy spoon cafe for a full English breakfast, then on towards Bedminster in north Bristol to capture some of characters in an area not as gentrified as the rest of the city (but it’s only a matter of time).
Arnos Vale Cemetery
It took a while to get round to processing and printing the shots for Trevor (a copy of the St Paul’s Church shot now sits alongside fellow regular Seedy’s portrait behind the bar of The Surrey Vaults).
When I gave him the prints in late December, he told me that he was to bury his father the day after. He asked me to take some portraits to remember the occasion after the wake. What follows are those images.
3 weeks later – The Surrey Vaults
They do say that Bristol is the kind of place that once you live here, you never want to leave.
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4 replies to “To Live and Die in Bristol”
I have to ask what lens are you shooting on? It’s interesting to see your transition and my photographer’s eye spots some things that I still struggle with on my full frame.
This set was with the Nikkor 50mm 1.8 and the 85mm 1.8 and I’ve recently added the Nikkor 24mm 1.8 to complete the lineup of primes, which is my preferred method. What particular shots were you thinking about? I have to admit that because these were taken in the first 24 hours of possessing the camera, I did not know what I was doing, so perhaps it was the editing that gave it the appearance of competence!
Great portraits. What’s up with the Russian hats? The shallow DOF works well.
Thanks Pete, I’m liking the bokeh from this new setup. I don’t know why there is a Russian hat theme here, it’s not a trend in Bristol, just coincidence I guess.