Step into the captivating world of seaside street photography with Dan Baker, a street photographer based in the Northeast of England. His lens focuses on the breath-taking English coast where he skilfully uses the Leica M11 and M6 to craft stunning imagery.
What does your history with photography and Leica Cameras look like?
I remember a friend showing me his Leica M6 at university. This camera seemed so different, yet perfect for this new avenue of street photography I was excited to explore. Not long after this I picked up my M6 and spent the next few years touring different cities pretending to be an early magnum photographer. I still own my original M6 to this day and it’s been all over the world with me.
Do you have a favourite seaside location or beach that you enjoy photographing the most?
There are a couple of seaside locations; firstly Cleethorpes, as this is the place that I focus nearly all my photographic attention on and over the years this small stretch of coastline has allowed me to produce some of my best work. This small place has also helped me carve out my photographic voice and has set the tone for my work.
My other favourite place has to be St Ives in Cornwall, not only is it such a beautiful location but it’s also a very special one for me. This is where I proposed to my wife and spent the week photographing after our wedding just a little further up the coastline. This new series of images comes from a truly happy place within me at this time in my life.
Why do you choose to shoot with Leica M-Cameras?
When I slip into my creative zone I forget about everything else and concentrate on what I’m trying to capture. M-Cameras don’t get in the way and when the moment is right they capture the scene without delay. There’s a certain amount of trust and pleasure from using such an inspirational piece of kit, as well as the quality and history of the camera. If I want to feel confident in what I’m making I pick up my M-Cameras.
When you’re choosing to shoot 35mm film or digital, what does your thought process look like?
I do love the process of shooting film and all the tactile analogue processes that come with it, like selecting your film stock and even winding on the frame after a shot. There’s something quite grounded about it all. So the choice depends on how I want to shoot on the day and I usually carry both cameras. My M6 with a 28mm lens and my M11 with a 35mm, seamlessly switching between the two while walking around.
What is your go-to lens, and why?
I’m a 35mm kind of guy, it’s the focal length that I started shooting when I first got my M6 and it just felt right. My go-to lens is the 35mm Summicron IV, which is now a vintage lens and produces a certain charm that I like to lean into for the look and feel I want for my images. This lens starts to introduce a little character but retains the high quality. It stops us from just looking at the images and instead start to feel them.
Do you have any tips or advice for shooting imagery at the seaside?
Photographing around the coastline during summer has its inherent issues especially when we consider young families and a general distrust of people with cameras. My advice is to be positive about the images you are making and celebrate the joy that the seaside brings. If you are happy and confident this quite often comes across and people are generally more accepting – you don’t have to smile but it helps!