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Point-and-Shoot London by Douggie John

"Pre-smartphone, pulling a digital camera out of your pocket to record a brawl close up, was a risky thing to do. Nowadays everybody is pointing smartphones at everybody else, and people play up to it."

My first Canon Digital IXUS 'point-and-shoot' camera became like an external bodily organ. In hand or pocket, I never left home without it. Prior to owning an IXUS, I would lug my partner's expensive DV Camera around everywhere. I used it to document frazzled Brixton during the tail end of the crack epidemic. The DV was too big and obvious - and you know how some people react to cameras.

The IXUS came in very handy. Keeping my arm by my side, I learned to hold it in such a way as to make it almost undetectable. I'd covertly record street brawls, and crime scenes. On at least two occasions, I nearly came badly unstuck. When not risking life and limb in the eye of the storm, I'd be out and about taking photographs. To some extent everything is art. Over two decades I've amassed thousands of video clips and photos - hard drive's stacked like firewood.

Modern London is a threshing machine, fuelled by an endless timelapse of human lives. This is where dismal tragedy and oblivious triumph play out on the same stretch of pavement.

How far is one from the other?

We are not here long. It's a drink and a smoke - if you can afford it.

I am just an observer, taking notes. "Tainted Smoke" is my digital testimony. - Douggie John “Every picture tells a story. But sometimes it's hard to know what story is actually being told.” ― Anastasia Hollings, Beautiful World


Pre-Smartphone Slang photography

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