Make a List, Make a Wish by Colin Steel

Make a List, Make a Wish

by Colin Steel – See his blog HERE

Where does photographic inspiration come from? Well for me it is usually triggered subconsciously through some innocent event or encounter that makes me think and see in a particular way. A good example of this is this City Diary set from the marvellous city of Rome which I visited recently for the second time. The trigger in this case was a visit to the excellent Pasolini exhibition that showcased his controversial life in Rome through letters, photos, video clips and stills from his movies.

I didn’t realise this effect at a conscious level and it was only when I looked at the shots from the weekend that I began to see the influence that the show and Pasolini had on me and the subjects and framing that I chose as a result. I think that it’s fair to say that this works best if you try not to rationalise too much and simply shoot what creates an emotional response or interest for you, no matter what the subject matter might be. I also find it best not to look at the photos as I shoot and often leave it for a day or two before I edit them afterwards. One thing that I do consider essential for this kind of fun shooting is a small, compact camera that is flexible and easy to use.

I have been using a Ricoh GR a lot recently and it absolutely excels for this type of City shooting with its snap focus and close focusing macro capability that I find very easy to use and control. At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, it goes without saying that the more you use and know your camera then the more you can shoot ‘internally’ without the conscious thought required to fiddle with controls and focusing. Finally, the real beauty of this approach is that you don’t necessarily have to travel to exotic locations to practise it, although in all honestly that is a huge part of the fun and motivation for me.

See Colin’s last poast HERE. Well worth taking a look at if you missed it! TRUST ME!















  1. +10! Once again Colin you’ve proved that photography is more than sharp images, or images with nice bokeh. It’s about photos that have character and emotions; and moments that not only move you into taking the shot but also touch others who see it.

  2. Thanks for another excellent post, Colin! My wife and I went to Rome for our honeymoon. Rome is often romanticized, but you have shown a darker side which I find very fascinating. And as usual, you prove that vision and inspiration is much better than having the latest, greatest gear. If I ever make it back to Rome, I’m leaving my DSLR and lenses behind and just bringing my small RX100.

  3. Your work is consistently extraordinary. Not just one or two nice shots, but many many, and each distinct, and often with such mundane subject matter. I’m really impressed. .

  4. Weird, and abstract like a crazy fever induced dream. Very “inspirational”.

  5. Hi Colin,

    It is always great to read your posts here, I would say you are the most inspirational photographer in this site. I have seen wonderful photos here but man, your images have soul! Your post from Brazil convinced me to buy the GR and is the best camera I have ever published. Thanks for sharing!


  6. Hi Colin, are you shooting in mono or shooting in colour and converting afterwards? Just curious..also of course, are you shooting Jpeg or raw? Can you illuminate, please?

    I think I shall be taking my Gr out (and in my pocket) more often. I do love using the Leica Monochrom with the 28mm Elmarit Asph and an orange filter. For me this makes a very seductive (nice to use/the feel of the thing in hand) camera for street..It’s small enough to be discrete and assertive enough to stop people when required. Anyway keep doing it, your results are great.

    • Hey John, I usually set the GR up for 1:1 and B&W but for these diary kind of things I shoot 3:2. I shoot RAW plus jpg and convert to B&W in Silvereffex. The Jpg is so I can review and see how contrast looks if I need to although to be honest GR jpg’s are pretty nice. I used an old Lumix 24mm optical VF for a while but it kept snagging on my pocket so I usually leave it behind now. Thanks for your kind comments and I hope you do give the GR more exercise 🙂 Colin

  7. I am truly inspired….I will be in Rome in July for 5 days and my friends ask me why…you only need 2 days…but to feel the heartbeat of the city and absorb their passion…one must spend more time and avoid the tourist areas…and with my Leica M240 and my trusty Ricoh GRD2…this post is what I needed….thank you so much Colin and Steve…

  8. I think that many (not everybody) of these nice images would have been even better i colour!
    (Colour is actually more naturally than b/w)

    Probobly will many react on this statement

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