Street photography is brilliant for its ability to capture random encounters between strangers. Chance and timing play hugely into the art, as photographers document candid moments in public places, recording those split-seconds of beauty and humanity that happen around us every day. The creator behind the newly launched London Moment Instagram feed understands the importance of preserving this ever-evolving field, and we caught up with her to ask a few questions about the page and the art in general. Scroll down to read our exclusive interview with Cristina, the street photographer who curates the wonderful images featured on London Moment.
Above: via via @odaddybee
My Modern Met: Can you explain the name of your project and the values/philosophy behind it a little bit?
LondonMoment: I came up with the idea after following a number of London hubs for a while. There are some great photos of London out there but I wanted to see a hub which captured the people and spirit of the capital. I imagined Cartier-Bresson walking the streets of London today and wondered if he would be capturing images of the London Eye and the Shard?! And so I started @londonmoment, the name taken from Cartier-Bresson's well documented The Decisive Moment.
MMM: Do you see a possibility of branching out to other cities in the future, or will London remain your hub?
LM: I've already started planning feeds for other cities but for now, London is the main hub. It takes a lot of work to research and choose photos so I want to get a stable base before branching out further.
MMM: Speaking of London, why the specific focus on this city?
LM: London is a great city. There is such a lot of diversity to capture – and as I live here, it seemed a natural place to start.
MMM: How do you differentiate yourself from other street photography Instagram feeds?
LM: I follow so many great street photographers on Instagram. The main difference I hope my feed brings is its focus on a local area. I think this helps people relate to the photos more – and hopefully encourages them to look for ‘moments' around them. That's certainly the feedback I've had from followers. In a few months we've had over 13,000 images tagged #londonmoment. The enthusiasm for the hub has been incredible so far.
MMM: I think it is great that you are encouraging contributions from everyone, regardless of online popularity or experience. Do you think in a field such as street photography, amateurs are equally able to have their images seen as professionals?
LM: I believe so. Capturing an intriguing photo is about being in the right place at the right time. Of course, some of the more experienced photographers provide a regular stream of outstanding photos – but I try to look beyond that. I don't want the feed to feel inaccessible. You never know what you're missing if you narrow your options. I view hundreds of photos a day and choose very carefully.
MMM: Can you introduce us to the humans behind the Instagram? How many individuals are on your team?
LM: I'd love to say that I have a big team of people but at the moment, it's mostly me! I have two colleagues who help regularly with the selection. The advantage of being a small team at the moment is that we can make sure we get the focus of the feed right. We all have a background in visual media. I'm also a keen photographer and have worked on photography projects based on London and street photography.
MMM: Thoughts on Instagram as a media sharing platform? Do you see yourself exploring other outlets eventually?
LM: I think Instagram is a great place for finding inspiration and showcasing your photos with a broad range of people. I'm definitely considering options for taking the brand across other platforms but I want to ensure that the Instagram base is strong first.
MMM: Do you have any specific qualities or a rubric against which you judge the photographs that are submitted to you? Any specific requirements for image submissions?
LM: The primary requirement is that they include people and they are taken in London. Other than that, the team is pretty open minded – and we often disagree with each other! I'm drawn to photos which capture a fleeting expression, or juxtapose a person with a background in a way that makes you smile. I love images that make you want to go back and look at it over and over. Or you spot something that you didn't notice the first time you looked at it. We all interpret images in different ways and I try to include images that make you think about what may be going on in the scene.
MMM: Are there any other artists or Instagram feeds that you draw inspiration from?
LM: There are so many very talented photographers on Instagram and every day I'm discovering new ones. At the moment I'm really enjoying the photography of @jhyattphoto @oskrinda @pli.panda @tassiemattw @discostu @giselle_landers and @coleman_henry (*too many!)
MMM: Thanks for your time! Any last thoughts?
LM: For me, I think one of the biggest surprises has been the response I've had to the feed. It's very hard to start a hub in a very saturated space like Instagram – and I'm excited by the number of amazing photographers in London who have embraced and supported the feed. This hub wouldn't exist without them. And also our growing number of followers, who are enjoying the ride with us!