Essay Lead page - chris hilton

Essays and Articles


Does Street Photography Really Need to be Quite so Aggressive?

Street Photography has always been a 'thing', but it has only relatively recently been named as such. Once upon a time it was just 'taking photos' ... and things were much simpler then. Things weren't bound then, as they are now, by arbitrary rules.

Back then, the pictures weren't full of startled looking faces, shocked at the sudden intrusion into their space by a photographer with an enormous flash gun. Yes, some of the pictures were 'gritty' but they were also full of warmth, full of humour ...

When I view the streets I don't see a populace that looks as if its been caught like a rabbit in the headlights;  I don't see the majority of people looking angry. Street photography that shows me that doesn't reflect what I see as walk around. I see things that make me smile and I see visual absurdity that delights me ... 

The current trend in street photography is very confrontational, it puts the perpetrator at odds with their subject. Perhaps being less 'in your face' would yield better results for most photographers? It certainly works for me ... and it feels better doing it too ...



Plastic Chairs of South East Asia was published as an article by the adventure travel website adventure.com.

As part of their brief they required lengthy captions for each image so the style of the article ended up being very different, albeit equally enjoyable, from the original book which can still be purchased on eBay.


Do We Need Words  to accompany the images we make? There is a long tradition of coupling photography with the written word but an equally strong one of attempting to tell a story within a single image ...

Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange is used to tell of the collaboration between photographers and the author John Steinbeck during the catastrophe that was the Great Depression.


What's in a Definition? And does it really matter that certain quarters seem hell bent on pigeonholing the work that we do? On a certain level ... perhaps not, but then again, some of those rules that are used to define a certain genre can be quite restrictive.

This article was printed in 'The Decisive Moment', the magazine published by the Documentary Group at the Royal Photographic Society.

I confess that I was particularly pleased to see my image on the front cover.


Tales of the Road ...  Another article in 'The Decisive Moment' (magazine of the Royal Photographic Society's Documentary Group). It documents the birth of a project looking at lines.

The project started with this image that I took in Sydney, Australia, it's a bit of an homage to Dorothea Lange's photograph 'Man Stepping off a Cable Car'.

Turn to page 58


To Photoshop or not to Photoshop? That is the question … The Sports category of the 2015 World Press Photo Competition was mired in controversy when it announced that awards were only to be made for first and second instead of the usual three. All other images that made it through to last round were subsequently disqualified for ‘excessive manipulation’. In fact twenty per cent of images across all categories that made it through to the penultimate round were thrown out for the same reason.

This essay arose out of "Whats in a Definition" ... the thing is that although I'd submitted that article for publication, I hadn't stopped thinking about it so I carried on writing ... this is the result.