Last month, we ventured out of our usual area of expertise to introduce you to the inspiring photographic work of SBTV shooter Steven M. Wiggins in the first of our Photography & The Streets series, in which we will be putting the spotlight on some of London’s finest up and coming urban photographers.
"One of the biggest things for me currently is to inspire those around me. I'm ambitious and extremely determined to succeed, and like I’ve said, I want to be phenomenal one day. I feel like if people can see London from my perspective in my images and see the same un-orchestrated scenes in real life then I’d be happy. I’m really into appreciating my city on a whole right now I think it’s important to document it organically instead of painting perfect images all the time."
This instalment, we are proud to introduce you to the wonderful Greg Coleman, who is currently working out of North West London. Using social media effectively, Greg has garnered over 13,000 followers on his Instagram account “@iammrcoleman“, beautifully portraying the city of London from his unique perspective, often utilising the city’s rooftops to produce startling panoramic shots.
Below are some of Greg’s finest shots, but be sure to check him out on his INSTAGRAM and TUMBLR pages for the full collection! Scroll down to read our exclusive interview to get an insight to how Greg shoots!
Find out more about Greg’s style and work here:
Tell us a bit about yourself – what’s your name and where do you come from?
My name’s Greg Coleman, also known as Mr Coleman. I’m from North West London.
What kind of gear do you use?
- Camera body – Canon 6D
- Lens – Currently running with the Sigma 24mm 1.4 art and a Canon 50mm 1.4
- Tripod – Manfrotto Compact Action
- Filters – I have one but I never use it, it just sits in my bag.
- Flash – x2 Yongnuo Speedlite 560’s
- Camera bag – Lowepro Pro Runner 300 all weather
- Mention others, if any. (etc etc) Flash Triggers, remote, Light Stand, and million batteries haha, need to get me some rechargeable ones, Macbook Pro Retina, G Drives, pretty much all the necessities of a photographer.
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
Man, I put a lot of time into this particular part of my craft. I would say every night it’s a personal battle where I have to summon some extreme discipline and come away from my Macbook and get some rest. I really study hard though. I want to be a phenomenal photographer and learning as much as possible is so important to me personally. I understand that being great takes time and I just try my best to take in a lot of new information as much as I can. I’d be on the internet looking for new inspiration daily, even looking at the same things over and over again as some stuff takes a little more time to sync in. Having said this however, I’ve learnt so much from the work that my peers are putting out, they inspire me massively and have influenced my endeavours more than they can possibly imagine.
Among your works and series’ so far, which one is your favorite? Why?
Now that’s a tuff question. I’m pretty hard on myself and the work I produce in all honesty. I’m still in a place where I feel like I still have so much more to learn and improve. I don’t think this is a bad thing though, I mean, yes I have an array of images I’ve taken that I love of course, but I couldn’t label one as my favourite just yet. With some of my upcoming positions in photography, I’m sure it won’t be long before I have that shot I can label as my favourite.
Whose work has influenced you most?
I have a few. Baring in mind I love different types of photography, I’m going to start with a guy named Don McCullin. He was a war photographer from Finsbury Park, London – his work is insane, and extremely moving. I remember reading somewhere that a bullet hit his camera as he was composing a photograph once. Crazy!! Albeit I won’t be shooting war zones anytime soon the power in his images is something I want my images to give off one day. I quite like dark and moody vibes. I could probably go on for ages with this question and list a load of names that people have never heard of… Who else comes to mind right now, Vincent Chapters and Holly Marie-Cato have both been huge influences, as well as Emmanuel Cole not just because they have all done well on Instagram, I see them as organic photographers before anything, ones that I’m sure inspire so many others the way they inspire me. I also really like Curtis Jehsta’s work, so professional and clean, and he simply delivers the goods every time. Also Isaac J Cambridge and Steven Wiggins… both incredible … Yeah in terms of work, these are the names I WOULD BET ON EVERY TIME! Huge influences for me.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
When editing, Too much ‘clarity’ tells more lies than truths haha…
What do you think makes a memorable photograph?
Hands down an image that can evoke an emotion the first time you see it. I like photos that either make me smile, laugh, or think, and in some cases the extreme opposite and make me feel quite emotional and uncomfortable, sort of like the work that Don McCullin produced. It’s always a portrait that gets me though.
What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
One of the biggest things for me currently is to inspire those around me. I’m ambitious and extremely determined to succeed, and like I’ve said, I want to be phenomenal one day. I feel like if people can see London from my perspective in my images and see the same un-orchestrated scenes in real life then I’d be happy. I’m really into appreciating the my city on a whole right now I think it’s important to document it organically instead of painting perfect images all the time. Admittedly it took me a while to get to where I am, but yeah, just truth in my images overall and a go getter. I’d be content if that was the general feedback I received in the future when people view my work.
What do you think are some clichés in photography you steer away from yourself?
I wouldn’t say I steer away from anything. Personally I think it depends on the individual and how one perceives something to be cliche. First thing that comes to mind is the city. Images of the shard, Tower bridge, you know that stuff would undoubtedly be labeled as cliche. They are the images you will come across time and time again, however they are images that the whole world loves and will always get great responses. I’ve shot them to death haha. Im in a place now though where it’s not so appealing to me anymore, not so much because of a cliche label, London on a whole is some much more than what the world is shown and I’m in a place where right now, I’m not into the whole thing where people are selling the world dreams haha. I’d much rather go get stuck in and document the city the way I’ve really seen it my whole life. I think that’s being true to myself, my craft and my audience.
When you are out shooting—how much of it is instinctual versus planned?
It depends really, on what I’m shooting, and also the weather. If I’m patrolling the streets, I may just pick a location at random and see how things develop when I get there. No days are the same really, I like to check the weather as this can help decide on a particular locations I will head to, especially when it rains. On a whole I would say much of my day to day shooting isn’t organised, I’ll just leave the house with my camera and take it from there.
How has social media played a role in your photography?
Massively. Social media right now is so important. I’m most active on Instagram, and following that, I’m on Tumblr and I’ll tweet every now and agin. As unhealthy as it can be at times, I’m glad I have been so active on Instagram, I’ve learnt loads, grown a decent following and had some great opportunities come from it. It’s through social media I have had the privilege to meet those I mentioned earlier as well as people like Dave Burt, Tobishinobi and Jacob Riglin, all of which have played some part in my growth on social media side of things.
Any tips for aspiring photographers?
Honestly, my best advice is “Go Through It” and enjoy the process. Most people join a social media platform with the aim of becoming a key player and the reality is, it takes a lot of work. I started very strategically, putting out stuff I know people like, but my advice would be to simply not to lie to yourself and just focus on what feels right to you and don’t expect anything over night. I always say, as hard as it is, remember that nobody on social media owes you anything. If you can remember this I think you will get on just fine and have a lot more ‘fun’ building an audience. Also, do some research on the particular social platforms you want to join, and use the platforms the way they have been designed to be used. Network with others, don’t be afraid to reach out. Also don’t kill yourself trying to get the best equipment, focus more on your photography knowledge and work with the gear you have, I believe as you get better, your gear will get better, you know, when you feel like you have a good selection of images that represent what you can offer as a photographer then just put yourself out there, get stuck in, meet people, talk to people and be confident in yourself and your abilities. Lastly, find someone that is in the position you want to be in, and work toward that!