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Photography springing into life

Spring brought a flurry of activity for me including a six-week solo exhibition and a presentation at the Royal Geographical Society about my helter-skelter ride from being a BBC news cameraman and director to an unpaid street photographer who takes photos from a light weight mobility scooter.

Miles on stage Rewired2017
from BBC cameraman to Scooter Shooter

The talk was part of Rewired 2017 for Movement for Hope who create art-science events supporting research and people with neurological conditions (click here for a “The Lancet” review of Rewired).

It’s not the only public speaking that I’ve been asked to do this spring. While my solo exhibition was at Worcester Arts Workshop I was asked to give a talk for the Worcester Visual Arts Meetup. It was nice doing that surrounded by my photography on the walls. There’s something very special about seeing your photos printed, framed and up on a gallery wall – so much more satisfying than pixel peeping on a monitor!

Miles talking at WAW for Worcester Visual Arts Neetup
speaking at Worcester Visual Arts Meetup

The six weeks of the exhibition were truly memorable for me – From the sheer number of people from all walks of my life who came to the opening night and the fantastic response the pictures seemed to have, to the friendliness of the Worcester Arts Workshop / Café Bliss staff, to the support of my great friends who hung the pictures for me because my MND wracked body made it impossible for me to do so. Thanks so much everyone – you know who you are!!!

A few people who couldn’t get to the exhibition have asked me to show the photos online so here they are in the order they were up on the wall:

(Click on the first thumbnail to enter a light box gallery – all pictures © Miles Pilling).

All but the first of the 17 photographs were taken in Worcester (which is a fairly small Cathedral city) so I was apprehensive about the reaction if local people recognised themselves in the candid images. In the event, several people were recognised and in every case there was a very positive response! It was really very heart warming as in the process I found out who some of the previously anonymous people in my photos were.

The reactions made me think that maybe the vast majority of people are quite OK about being photographed candidly as long as the pictures “are respectful of their subjects” as one visitor remarked mine are.

So now I know the background to some of the people in these photos, I’ll be telling their stories in future posts. Why not click “follow” so you don’t miss them….and one other thing  – whatever your life circumstances, grab a camera, get out there and take some photos!

See you again soon 🙂

Blowin’ in the wind

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This image was shot from the new mobility scooter I use because of the disability caused by my motor neurone disease (known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease in the US). Sponsorship from Movement for Hope helped me buy a lightweight scooter that’s enabled me to continue roaming the streets with my camera.

Movement for Hope’s aim is “to encourage the advancement of art and science to raise awareness and support for neurological conditions and the full scope of multimedia art.”

They organise events that merge the boundaries of art and science and I’m really excited to have been invited to talk and show my photography as part of their “Rewired: The Brain, Art and Innovation” evening on March 10th at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

As well as downsizing my scooter, over the last year or so I’ve downsized the weight of my camera equipment to compensate for my decreased strength. For this shot I used an Olympus OMD EM1 with the 12-40mm f2.8 pro lens.

Tickets for the REWIRED event can be bought here.

© Miles Pilling

driven to abstraction

In 2014 (while I could still just about get around with crutches) I captured this image of a lady in Venice who looked like she’d joined in a conversation with two figures in a street mural:

Street conversation

I really liked how she seemed to have become part of the painting giving her an abstract anonymity.

Here are a couple more photos from the trip with the same kind of feeling:

Glass street sculpture

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I’ve been exploring this theme closer to home more recently. While driving around on my mobility scooter I’ll look out for scenes where humans merge with the urban landscape almost becoming abstract objects themselves.

These were taken on a cold morning this December….

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…and early morning sunlight shining through condensation at a bus stop created these lovely patterns and shapes making this figure very anonymous.

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Being forced to use a mobility scooter to get around because of my disability can make me feel anonymous but having a camera with me drives me on giving each trip much more of a sense of purpose.

It’s a pleasure to share what I see from my wheels with you!

© Miles Pilling

Five smoking images

Since it was made illegal to smoke inside public buildings smokers have become easy prey for street photographers. They tend to stay still and are lost in thought whilst enjoying their nicotine kick so don’t notice cameras pointing at them. Here are five smoking street shots that I’ve taken over the last five years – pun intended 😉

In fact only the above image is a candid. In all the others I was noticed. It’s also the only shot of the set that I took from my mobility scooter.

Smoking backgammon player in a Greek Cypriot cafe.

I was walking with crutches on a lunch break from work and grabbed this image of a man also on his work break.

Taken in the days when I could walk freely, I was standing in a crowd of people by a bus stop when a man noticed me taking pictures and for some reason shouted abuse at me. The lady with the very large roll up turned around to see what the fuss was about and I got the picture!

This smartly dressed man was more than happy to be photographed smoking his cigarillo.

© Miles Pilling

Exhibiting in Notting Hill

I was recently asked to exhibit some of my street photos for an exhibition at Tabernacle Arts Centre in Notting Hill.

After much soul-searching, these were the five images that made the selection –

(click on photos in this post to see in a lightbox)

These two colour shots nearly made it but financial restraints and not knowing how much space I’d have caused me to drop them –

I was also tempted to include this film noir style shot. It’s one of my all time favourite photos but I took it when I could still get around on two feet. It was taken using a Canon 7D held above the unknowing subjects head. As the exhibition was celebrating the creativity of people affected by neurological conditions, I thought including it may be cheating a little. I’ll post it again here though just because I love it so much. I hope you do too –

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The exhibition was a great success and raised money for the neurological Art / Science organisation Movement for Hope – www.movementforhope.org. As you can see from these snaps of the private view, there was even an unexpected visit from Russell Brand who seemed to genuinely like my pictures!

back hander

 

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The photographs on Scooter Shooter are taken from the mobility scooter I use because of disability caused by motor neurone disease (known as ALS in the US).

My scooter actually broke a few weeks ago! I’m currently waiting on delivery of a uniquely lightweight scooter that I’m hoping will give me my independence back and allow me to spend hours on the streets again taking photos.

Until then here’s an abstract black and white picture that I took a few months ago. Hope you like it 🙂

© Miles Pilling

Child’s play

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© Miles Pilling

Pointing man

One of a series of photos that I shot on a Ricoh GR at the Hay Festival. The really tiny compact camera and being on a mobility scooter seemed to make me invisible – a recipe for great candid photos!

The photographs on “Scooter Shooter” are nearly all shot from the mobility scooter I use because of disability caused by motor neurone disease (known as ALS in the US). A few have been taken while I’m propped up on crutches.

Click on the links in the menus for my “about” story and more pictures, and please visit again soon. The site is regularly updated.

© Miles Pilling, all rights reserved