In conversation with Larry H. – Part I
Born in England in 1977, Larry Hallegua is an award-winning street photographer based in London. Larry strives at capturing candid moments of everyday life, trying to incorporate elements of art, fun and surrealism in his photos. His subject(s)’ are generally unaware of him capturing their emotions, Larry states, ‘’If emotion is on the street it must be poured onto the page of the photo, for all to learn and benefit from.’’
Larry Hallegua’s pictures have been exhibited across the UK and US. You could also check out Larry’s collection:
Currently teaching English in Tokyo, Larry spends the rest of his time capturing the city through his Fuji X100 (current camera of choice) or Leica M2.
Before we started the interview online, he just got back from his shooting in Harajuku – a fashionable district in Tokyo. So, our conversation started from there.
MB: Elexu Senior Associate, Meng Bean
LH: Photographer, Larry Hallegua
Confrontation with the subject
MB: Is there any difference between shooting British People and Japanese? I heard that Japanese can be shy and less open to strangers.
LH: Well, the reaction is generally better, and less confrontational. British people are becoming more and more defensive over having their photo taken in public, I think this is due to a number of reasons but is definitely affected by the popularity of social networking sites like facebook and how quickly and widespread information can be shared nowadays. Japanese people can appear much more forgiving or less wanting to engage in a confrontation, which makes my job easier. I have also experienced a much more positive attitude towards street photographers from the Japanese compared to the British public.
If they notice, I usually make some kind gesture of thank you or point out what it was that I found beautiful and shot. Today, when I was shooting in Harajuku I used ‘kirei’ (beautiful in Japanese) quite a bit after photographing people, mainly to avoid any uncomfortable moments. No one here has asked me to delete anything, in fact some encouraged me to take more once they realised what I was up to.
Capturing the moment
MB: Do you carry a camera everyday or go out and shoot for a particular topic or area as you did in Harajuku today?
LH: I try to carry my camera all the time, very rarely do I leave home without it. I even take it to the University here when I am teaching.
MB: Has there been a time that you took out your camera too late and missed a moment that you regretted?
LH: Oh yes, that happens. I try not to regret things as there are always more moments. I will go insane if I am hard on myself all the time for missing shots. But sometimes I hit the air with my fist in irritation that I missed something.
I think the key is to keep your eyes open. Since starting this over a year ago, I have definitely developed my eye even more and now I am much instinctive and also getting better at editing down the good shots from the bad. Sometimes it’s hard not to fall in love with some photos, even the bad ones.
MB: So you care more about the moment than the person’s life story? Unlike Humans of New York, I feel they are trying to peek into normal people’s life from that one fragment of time.
LH: I do sometimes focus for a few minutes on a subject that I find very interesting but I am not trying to carry out a social study. If that comes out of some of my photos then great, but it is not my initial intention. When I shoot it is usually very impulsive and I like to shoot candid, not posed.