This August I got an amazing opportunity to travel to London. It was amazing for so many reasons:
First of all, it was very spontaneous. I've been wanting to go there for a long time, but what really pushed me to go apply for visa and buy the ticket was an email from Street Photography International Collective who let me know that I was one of the finalists of their annual SPi Awards. I was more than happy as it was my first win in the London photography contest, and a second international group exhibit outside of United States. And I tend to appreciate victories like this in my life!
Second, three of my best friends from Kazakhstan, have lived in London for a long time, and with some of them I didn't get to hang out for a while. So you can imagine my excitement about this opportunity to see my beloved soulmates and celebrate this victory with them.
And third - of course, London - the biggest city and inspiration for street photographers along with New York City. And I couldn't be more delighted to return to this city and capture it with a street photographer's eye - first time I was there was in 2012 and I was a college student with no real camera and not doing street photography at all.
Part I - Street Photography International Awards 2018
Although I haven't won the main prize (yes, a beautiful Leica camera, the biggest dream of my life). I had a wonderful time at the reception at Leica Cafe and Store in Mayfair, London, and was happy to see my Last Snowstorm in Manhattan on the wall along with other 20+ finalists who were selected out of thousands submissions from around the world.
I also got a chance to personally congratulate and celebrate victory with the winner of the contest, Alan Burles - wonderful street photographer from London who has been doing this art for over 20 or 30 years. His work is really remarkable - check it out yourself here!
Here I want to give a special shoutout to the loves of my life and ongoing supporters and soulmates.
My dear Anna who I have known for 27 years now - yes, we graduated from school together, and although now we both live on different continents, we are still friends. Anna has brought me the best flowers ever - a sunflowers bouquet that made this whole trip and rainy days in London much brighter! Thank you, dear!
Tigran - my very special one and a soulmate who I don't even need to use words with to express exactly how I feel! Thanks, my dear, for hosting me again at your wonderful English apartment with high ceilings, back garden and a fireplace where everything looks exactly like you - delicate, exquisite, spiritual and creative! Love you forever!
Kolya, my dear Kolya - we have been through so much with you, and we were so young when we first met, but you are still that 17-year old sunshine in my life, and you will be 17 for me forever.
Anna, Kolya, Tigran, Eldar
Anna, Kolya, Tigran, Eldar
Arthur and Glen - thanks for coming over, you guys rock !
I do hope to see you guys sooner than we think. Love you all.
Part III - Street Photography
This trip has completely changed my perception about you.
I've known that you are the biggest street photography Mecca along with New York City, but I couldn't even expect that you would be so generous and such an inspiration for me.
All the time that I was there I had just one thought in my head - how lucky you, guys, to be living and shooting in this city that seems to be created for street photographers: large bus windows, large cab windows, rainy days and steamed windows of pubs and restaurants, very subtle sense of elegance and style everywhere and in everyone (yes, NYC simply is so casual in terms of style).
And of course - London sky: I could see it, I could feel it, and I realized how I missed just simply seeing the sky after living surrounded by endless mazes of NYC towers and buildings where even looking up becomes casual and you just browse in daily routine with your eyes stuck to the ground or view founder of your camera and simply don't appreciate the beauty above your head.
London people - very nice, very precise and well dressed. Nice in a "not fake American" way - where everyone is trying to be extra nice sometimes without meaning it (I call it too sweet, too sugary that you wanna spit it out sometimes).
And finally - brotherhood of Street Photographers.
I got to meet and shoot with 4 amazing artists who vary in style and how they see street and world around them, but turned out to be so generous and kind to show me around a REAL, non-touristy, London!
Brunel Johnson - man, you were amazing! Thanks for taking me to the Boxing club on Baker Street - I hope I got some nice shots there, and also Dalston Street Market, and Tate Modern - a gem for photographs with insanely beautiful light!
Below are some street shots from the trip, still a lot to process.
London, I will miss you and I will be back shortly!