Above all else, I love spending time with people. Family. Friends. And work subjects.

Yes, you can probably get what you ‘need’ from a quick interview and a couple of snaps (by need, we the media usually mean enough material to make it appear informed and complete). But deep down we know there’s more to be had, more listening to be done.

Proper immersion is a beautiful thing to be cherished.

Lining up the bowls
Lining up the bowls

It can happen in an evening, such as my night with Colchestersoup.

‘Soup’ is a socially-focused crowdfunding project, in which members of the community pay a small entry fee in return for a bowl of soup – and the right to vote on one of a few local causes pitching to win the prize fund, which is the sum of the entry money. It is based on an idea that comes from Detroit.

At this Colchester event, the voters decided to buy a new kiln for a daycare centre for disabled people using the £191.52 prize fund (the combined £5 entry fees plus someone’s £1.52 donation) from the second ever Colchestersoup.

Delivering the pitch
Delivering the pitch

My three hours at Colchestersoup allowed me to meet the people, see the entire process unfold from beginning to end and – here’s the important bit – become part of the scenery.

Photographically, it is extremely difficult to get down by people’s knees to take pictures or plop a camera at their table while talking unless a sense of ease at your presence has been established already.

Discussing the pitches
Discussing the pitches
Baby in the audience
Baby in the audience

Blending into the subject is pretty much the street photographer’s mantra. And it allows great movement around your scene without artificially distorting your subject or (if everybody is looking at the chap with the camera) making oneself part of the subject.

Voting time
Voting time
The options
The options
Sandy French, winner on the night
Sandy French, winner on the night

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March 28, 2015

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