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© Alan Schaller

29 sharp London street portraits from Alan Schaller

Londoners in black and white

Written by
Guy Parsons
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Alan Schaller, 27, has spent the last year dedicating his free time to candidly photographing London life. Equipped with his black and white-only Leica, Schaller hunts for expressive moments on the city's streets. See more of his work below...

Held at a red signal
© Alan Schaller

Held at a red signal

‘I was on the train home after a long day of shooting. I looked up and saw her standing in what seemed to be a spotlight. Turned out to be the best shot of the day!’
Feeding the birds
© Alan Schaller

Feeding the birds

‘This lady has named many of the pigeons, and visits them every day. They clearly like her! She told me stories about a few of them after I took her picture.’
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True gent
© Alan Schaller

True gent

‘The combination of his expression, hat, and the reflection caught my eye for this one.’
Dancers
© Alan Schaller

Dancers

‘I found her expression to be intriguing. I wonder what she was thinking.’
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Reflective
© Alan Schaller

Reflective

‘I used a slow shutter speed and deep depth of field to help create this image. He was engrossed in thought, and I was gifted a few precious seconds to compose the image.’
Smile
© Alan Schaller

Smile

‘This woman seemed to enjoy having her picture taken, and came over to speak to me. I caught this image whilst we were chatting.’

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Suspicious
© Alan Schaller

Suspicious

‘London is among the greatest places I have ever encountered for street photography, and I feel lucky to live here. The diversity of the people and backdrops provides an endless source of inspiration, and keep me out there snapping away!’
Smoke break
© Alan Schaller

Smoke break

‘Street photography is all about instinctively seeing, reacting and capturing subjects. I never plan what photos I am going to try to take on a given day – instead, I keep an eye out for interesting, expressive moments to capture.’
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Sharp suit
© Alan Schaller

Sharp suit

‘I love the spontaneity of working like this, and an unrestrained approach keeps photography fun for me. Street photography does require a certain confidence. It’s not easy at first to take pictures of people you don't know.’
Marathon man
© Alan Schaller

Marathon man

‘I used to worry that people would be angry with me for taking their picture. To date, this worry has proved unfounded. People in London seem either indifferent to or flattered by having their picture taken. ’
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Browsing
© Alan Schaller

Browsing

‘I use a camera steeped in the history of this style of photography, a Leica M Monochrom. Many people on the streets mistake it for a film camera, and it is true that it looks like one. It is a small, light, quiet and unobtrusive camera, and importantly allows me to be discreet when taking pictures.’
Looking elsewhere
© Alan Schaller

Looking elsewhere

‘Sometimes you want to be noticed when taking a street portrait, but I find people’s expressions are often far more engaging when they are acting naturally.’
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Pigeon man
© Alan Schaller

Pigeon man

‘Black and white is my preferred style for street photography – in fact, my camera doesn't have a colour filter, so it can only shoot in black and white.’
Pondering
© Alan Schaller

Pondering

‘I feel that without the distraction of colours, the intended subject or point of the picture is made more prominent and emotive.’
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The embrace
© Alan Schaller

The embrace

Bulldog
© Alan Schaller

Bulldog

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Street music
© Alan Schaller

Street music

Kitty
© Alan Schaller

Kitty

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The bubble business
© Alan Schaller

The bubble business

40 winks
© Alan Schaller

40 winks

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Three's a crowd
© Alan Schaller

Three's a crowd

Elbow
© Alan Schaller

Elbow

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Among the fountains
© Alan Schaller

Among the fountains

Light at the museum
© Alan Schaller

Light at the museum

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Dancefloor
© Alan Schaller

Dancefloor

‘The combination of the lighting and excessive use of the smoke machine helped this picture nicely.’
The entertainer
© Alan Schaller

The entertainer

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With his pack
© Alan Schaller

With his pack

You have one new message
© Alan Schaller

You have one new message

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Ready
© Alan Schaller

Ready

See Alan's work in exhibition
© Alan Schaller

See Alan's work in exhibition

You can visit the Classic Camera, near the British Museum in Holborn, to see more of his photographs.
About Alan
© Alan Schaller

About Alan

Thanks to Londoner Alan Schaller for sharing his photos. For more of his images, visit his Flickr page, and follow him for one new photo every day.

To contact Alan, book him for an event, or order prints of his photographs, drop him an email.

London in pictures

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