"FILM ABSORBS MY SUBJECTS" - AN INTERVIEW WITH THE LONDON VAGABOND

"Film Absorbs My Subjects" - An Interview With The London Vagabond
Comments

"FILM ABSORBS MY SUBJECTS" - AN INTERVIEW WITH THE LONDON VAGABOND



Written by Jack Blocker
30 Thursday 30th July 2015

Page 1 of 2

Although it doesn't happen very often, you'll occasionally come across a photographer whose images are more striking, more honest, and altogether more important than the work of a lot of better known artists. At least this is how I felt after stumbling upon the back catalogue of Kieron Cummings, aka The London Vagabond, a man who's been pointing his lens at the scenes most others don't bother with, or don't dare to shoot.

I got in touch with Kieron to ask him about his photos.

Where are you from and what do you do?

I grew up in London and its still where I have my base, but I am always all over the UK. When I am in London my mind is always drifting off elsewhere. I float about the country taking photos of the characters I meet and see in the street amongst other things.

What do you shoot on?

I mainly shoot on a bunch of different old SLRs that I picked up from charity shops. I am always buying new ones and trying them out to see what fits best. I also carry a 35mm point and shoot all the time too.

How did you get into photography?

I was always interested in photography as a kid but never had the money for a camera. When I finally did get my hands on one I was using it to document the graffiti I was doing at the time. Gradually it evolved into me documenting the places I was going with the people I was hanging out with. Then it evolved even further, and I started documenting all the people and the things I would see.

What's the appeal of 35mm for you?

Originally I used to think 35mm was pointless and a waste of time. Why would you limit yourself to 24-36 shots when you can get a digital SLR and shoot thousands of photos? I ended up losing my DSLR to police and that's when I was like, "Damn! I still need to be able to take photos!" I had a few dusty old SLR's that I had collected from charity shops so I started using them and I haven't looked back. I wouldn't switch back to digital at all.

I think that 35mm suits my style; the grittyness, the grain. The film absorbs my subjects.

Can you talk us through your favourite shot?

I don't really have any favourite shots. The people I meet are more important than the photos I produce. All my favourite photos are the ones I have seen in my head and I either wasn't quick enough to shoot, or I was told to fuck off.

What's your approach to photographing strangers in the street?

I shoot both candid stuff with no permission and then intimate close up portraits with the subject's permission. It all depends on the situation and who the person is. I prefer my close up portraits due to the stories behind a lot of the characters.

A lot of your photos feature nightlife, drunk people and policemen. Has anyone ever kicked off because you've taken a photo of them?

I've had a few altercations due to me or my friends taking photos. I've had police talk down to me saying I can't do it but I don't listen to a single word they have to say. I always swing it back on them and say they are using CCTV to do the same thing. I have had abuse shouted at me, I have witnessed friends get punched and I've got into a number of altercations.

The scariest was when I was in Birmingham photographing two heroin addicts sorting out their gear and injecting, when one just suddenly decided to switch on us while still holding a needle. I just had to get out of there quickly.

Thanks, Kieron.

Be sure to follow The London Vagabond here:

Instagram: @the.london.vagabond

tumblr: www.thelondonvagabond.tumblr.com

Head to the next page for more photos.


Page 1 of 2

Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at panic@dontpaniconline.com and we will respond asap.



Comments

MORE FROM DON'T PANIC