Johnny Mobasher – Life on the streets

johnny mobasher - street photographer

Johnny Mobasher is a street photographer, his photos are a million miles away from the polished visions of
perfection of say, someone like Aaron Riveroll but while there is a gritty realism to his shots, they have their own unique beauty.

Sometimes bleak, but often inspiring, his snapshots of the everyday are never boring. I like his stuff because rain or shine he is out there doing something he loves.

Johnny Mobasher - Street PhotographyWhen did you start taking photos?
I started taking photos at the age of 13. I was driving my father mad about buying me an Olympus OM1 camera! Instead, he bought be a 6X6 Lubitel (a Russian made film camera) and said: come back and talk about another camera, when you can and have learned to take a picture with THIS!

SO, I loaded it with a film and way before I had any idea about a GENRE called Street Photography, I just went out on the street and started taking pictures. My very first lessons were the ‘how to take pictures’ instructions that used to be printed inside film cameras!!

A few years later, I bought an Olympus OM1, which I still have and use, occasionally.

What made you start taking photos of street life?
My father used to take pictures all the time, slides. So, I was around a camera ever since I can remember. But, what made me go on to the Streets?? I have no idea to be honest!

I had never ever heard of people like Walker Evens, Bresson, Robert Frank! No One. I think it was just a very strong instinct to get out there. No one ever said “You know you can take pictures in the street!!” I just did it. It Just happened. I guess, I wasn’t into still like and landscapes and must have thought: where can I take pictures!? Aha.. The Streets! simple as that really.

Where is the best place City to take pictures?
I think anywhere is good and possible! but, My most Favorite is NYC & London. especially nowadays when its getting more and more difficult! But, In NYC ( which I feel is like a big movie scene) You feel & you know, No one cares! no one minds and even if they do, they just shout or cover up but generally, its a place where people are used to seeing Photographers on the streets. Especially nowadays.

Johnny Mobasher - Street Photography

Johnny Mobasher - Street PhotographyHas anyone ever got upset at you taking their picture on the street?
Some people if you ask them, they say NO. Most dint and generally, you don’t ask and I don’t ask. But the only time I recall is when a guy who picture I had just taken, started to ask if I took his picture, and a conversation like place which consisted of and in no particular order: F**k you, Mother f**ker, F**k Off, I’ll F**k You and so on! I don’t think he was a full shilling and on the edge of becoming a tramp I thought! But Generally NO.

You get that out of your heart if you want to shoot what you want to shoot in the street!

Do you prefer digital cameras or analogue?
For special project I actually still shoot 6X7 film. For Street Photography, nowadays generally Digital but I often load up a B&W Fuji NeoPan 1600 film which I think its absolutely irreplaceable.

Is there a secret to taking good photographs?
I used to say ‘no’, just get out and do it! But I now realise that there is a secret:
just get out and do it.

Go out ready. Have the intention to shoot and not keep the camera in your pocket/bag “Just In Case”. Take it out and go out with intent. Get Psyched up!

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions?
My last exhibition of Street Photography was 9 Large (1.5MX1.5M) (5’X5′) Back Lit screens On Manchester Piccadilly Platforms, Public Art. But … Actually my last exhibition was in France, this year, Antennes, Arles Photo Festival, again On Large Street Screens in a collective..

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To see more of Johnny’s images visit his website here.Take a look at the rest of our Art Month 2011 features HERE