Joshua K. Jackson is a British photographer based in London, UK. His work focuses on life within cities. But during the global pandemic, Joshua has altered his approach to street photography, focusing on more scene-based imagery and often looking for character in things rather than people. We caught up with Joshua about the Leica gear he used to create this captivating low-light series in both black-and-white and colour.

Why do you like using the Leica M10-R?

Moving from the M10 to the M10-R has been a seamless transition. All the things I enjoy about the M10 are present in the M10-R with the added benefit of better image quality. Printing photographs is a key step in my process; the extra detail really shows, and more resolution opens up the opportunity to exhibit works on a larger scale. As with all M cameras, the most enjoyable feature is the simplicity and user experience. The M10-R combines a unique shooting experience with outstanding output.

You like using the APO-Summicron-M 50mm. What makes this lens special?

The 50mm focal length has long been a favourite. For me, it’s a perfect blend of intimacy and context. This lens renders an impressive level of detail, excellent contrast and beautiful colour. It really shines when used wide open, delivering a clean modern look with buttery smooth transitions and out-of-focus areas.

How are you staying inspired to take pictures during these challenging times?

I’ve been photographing locally as part of a daily exercise routine during the most recent lockdown. The streets are very quiet, especially at night, so I’ve used a more scene-based approach, often looking for character in things rather than people. The global pandemic brought about an unprecedented level of change so making a record of this time feels especially important. Photography has become a therapeutic process during this dark and uncertain period; it’s something I look forward to every day.

Where are your favourite spots in London to explore and take pictures?

I started photographing on the street in August 2016 and have spent much of that time photographing in London’s West End. The work for my debut monograph, ‘Sleepless in Soho’ was made entirely in this area over a three-year period. The pace of change is remarkable, and each day brings something new and unexpected. More recently, I’ve really enjoyed photographing close to home in Wandsworth, London.

What’s your approach to shooting at night?

I always approach the streets with zero expectation. An open mind helps me to be totally open to the possibilities on any given day. In low-light conditions, finding good sources of artificial light is paramount so I’m generally looking for opportunities in the spaces illuminated by streetlights, traffic, neon signs, shop windows, restaurants, bars and cafes.

My camera is set up in a certain way, so the technical side doesn’t become a distraction from what’s important, observing surroundings and enjoying the process. At night, I usually set the lens to wide open and use auto ISO with a minimum shutter speed of around 1/60th or 1/125th. I’ll dial in the exposure manually when I need better control or when there’s no time pressure.

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