Prolific Notts Photographer Rich Bell Now Has A Youtube Channel

Words: Nathan Langman
Photos: Rich Bell
Monday 27 February 2023
reading time: min, words

If you’ve taken a stroll around Nottingham at any point of any day of any week, you may have spotted Rich Bell with his camera, capturing everyday moments and celebrating them as something more than that. We hear all about his work, motivations and YouTube channel - which brings his stunning photography to screens across the county…


Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do…
I’m a street photographer from the North East of England, and I love to capture moments out on the street in and around Nottingham. For me, street photography is somewhat of a meditative experience. The world is alive with many wonderfully simple, spontaneous moments going on around us all the time. My work is about stopping and taking the time to celebrate and capture them. That is the really wonderful thing about photography - it allows you to almost pause time, and I think street photography is the perfect expression of that.

I’d say you’re pretty prolific - you’ve always got new work to show. How do you manage to stay active and motivated?
Thank you! it’s something I love and, honestly, it can be an addiction. I really like to create a lot and it's taken me a long time to find my voice in my work, but I think you can only find that by being out and taking photographs. But the thing that keeps me motivated is the people and wonderful streets here in Nottingham. I think what street photography has taught me is to see the world differently, and it's given me a new appreciation for what is going on around me. What once would have passed me by could be a wonderful image, and every time I go out, something new reveals itself.

You’ve got a YouTube channel. Tell us about that…
I’d been posting my work to Instagram for a few years, trying to post new images every day, but I often found that I'd be sharing images that fit the format rather than my favourite scenes, and that I had stories to tell beyond just a single image. So at the beginning of 2021, I decided I would start to make short films about street photography in Nottingham. I set up a YouTube channel called Life Work & Dreams, and it really breathed new life into my work and gave me a platform to talk about my work in a very different way. I work to create one film a month around a different subject matter or theme. I think YouTube is a wonderful platform to express yourself creatively and simply. I have started to grow a great community around my work there.

What street photography has taught me is to see the world differently, and it's given me a new appreciation for what is going on around me

I know you’ve been in LeftLion before; I first heard about you from your interview with Tom Quigley last year. Back then, you were talking about your excellent photo book entitled Life, Work and Dreams. Your YouTube obviously shares the same title - remind me about that book and tell us a bit about its inspiration…
The book came about initially as a way for me to reflect on where I was as a street photographer and celebrate how far I’d come, and write the honest story of how I got into street photography but also act as almost a line in the sand for me internally, so that I could push myself further in the future and always reflect back on my work until that point.

When I was trying to come up with a name for the book, I wanted something that captured not only the spirit of the images I’d made, but also the daydreams and thoughts I’d have out on the street while making photographs, and Life Work & Dreams seemed to fit that perfectly. As my works evolved into the YouTube stuff, the name seemed to fit and became the brand for my work moving forward.

Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects, books or videos you’re working on?
I’ve been working on a year-long project entitled Tuesday. The concept started really simply with the idea to create a collection of images that were connected by the day of the week they were captured. These wouldn’t be confined to just street photography but moments of everyday life, with the hope of having 52 images at the end of the year.

It has evolved into something really special, charting everything from the street, being stuck at home with COVID, life in Nottingham, moving house, and the birth of my daughter. None of this I could have imagined when beginning the project back in January. I'm just in the process of selecting the final images with the hope of making a book and film later this year.

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