Black and white photo of a man on a park bench eating
Lens-Artists,  Street photography,  Themed galleries

Gallery: favourite people photos of 2021

Whether close to home or travelling further afield, one of my favourite subjects for photography is always the people I see. I recognise that some have concerns about candid street photography, and I understand those. But to me these photos of people living out their daily lives tell you so much about a place. On city streets or elsewhere, it’s the people that bring a place to life.

For Tina’s Lens Artists challenge this week I am posting a series of galleries, each on a different theme and with a selection of my favourite images taken in the past year. Some have featured in previous posts, many have not.

My chosen themes reflect some of my favourite subjects for photography:


Many of my favourite people photos this year were taken on the streets of Paris when we enjoyed a short break there to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Others are from our other trip abroad, a weekend in Seville, and of course from London and elsewhere in the UK.

The featured image was taken in September, in the Parc des Buttes Chaumont in Paris. The remaining images, below, are all in chronological order. Most were taken in the second half of the year, when restrictions were fewer and we were able to get out and about, and to travel. Oh, and more other people were out and about too!

People in a round boat eating at a table

Barbecue boat in London’s Docklands, June 2021

Black and white photo of a man sitting on the steps of a bar

In London’s Soho on a quiet Sunday morning, July 2021

Black and white photo of a couple dancing by a river

Dancing by the Seine, Paris, September 2021

Man standing on a bridge holding a glass of wine

On the Pont Marie by the Ile Saint Louis, Paris, September 2021

Black and white photo of a man in a hat sitting in a cafe

In Montmartre, Paris, September 2021

Two people drinking coffee at a table outside a cafe

Le Consulat, Montmartre, Paris, September 2021

Black and white photo of a street musician

Street musician in Belleville, Paris, September 2021

Black and white photo of a girl sitting on a stone quay

By the Seine in Paris, September 2021

Black and white photo of a man in a cloth cap

In the pit village at Beamish Living History museum in north east England, September 2021

Girl in a pink jacket sitting outside a coffee shop

In Brighton, England, October 2021

Girl in a pink top sitting on a wall

On the seafront in Brighton, England, October 2021

Looking down at a beach with a woman in a swimsuit walking into the sea

On Brighton Beach, southern England, October 2021

People silhouetted against the sky

Walkers on the Cobb at Lyme Regis, Dorset, England, October 2021

Horse and carriage in front of a museum

In the Playa America, Seville, November 2021

Man at a cafe table with his dog sitting at his feet

At a café in Triana, Seville, November 2021

Two men and woman in red dress standing talking

Christening guests in Triana, Seville, November 2021

Watch out for my next set of favourites, focusing on details, in a few days’ time!


    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you so much Ruth, I appreciate the compliment! That ‘pink street’ is a skating / skateboarding area and she was taking a rest from skating there. I’d taken a few photos of her in action but much preferred this one in the end 🙂

  • Annie Berger

    As so many others have already commented, you’ve got some great live shots of people enjoying and celebrating life in the UK, Paris and Seville. Happy that you were able to get out from home during this tough period.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Annie, I like the way you’ve put that, ‘people enjoying and celebrating life’ – I hadn’t looked at the photos in that way but you’re right, that’s a theme that runs through most of them!

  • pattimoed

    Hi, Sarah. What a marvelous collection! You made it to Paris and Seville! Perfect timing. I’m hoping we can get to Spain later this year. We can cancelled our reservations for Malaga in March. Fingers crossed we can get there in a few months. Your candid shots are splendid!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you – yes, I agree, a good ‘people photo’ should make you ponder their back story for sure, like the man on the park bench and the wine drinker on the bench 🙂

  • Leela Gopinath

    Nice collection Sarah! I loved the barbecue boat….must be fun to be in one!!!, The man in the Living history museum really looks like a page from history! and by the way, tha shot from Brighton beach….did you use a drone to get such an angle for your picture?

  • Sue

    These are great Sarah I love the ones from Paris and Seville but actually they’re all good, and you got about, even though you say “Because it was mostly in the UK it didn’t really feel like travelling”…… well, I’m becoming a hermit……

  • Manja Maksimovič

    Lovely, Sarah. They made me smile. 🙂 My favourites are in the second half, starting with the pink-haired lady in the pink top, the carriage, and the man with the dog, but many others are memorable too.

  • SandyL

    A very good selection of photos. The first one is just precious & I like the last shot in Seville too. Do you ever think why you like particular photos? I find it helps to think about it, as it guides me in decisions about framing & treatment. I like your first shot because the subject has so much character – in his expression, is body position and his sandwich. I like the last photo because of the interaction between the 3 people , it’s a two & one interaction, emphasized by the contrasting color and texture of the woman woman versus the men. The photo of the girl sitting in front of a shop window in Brighton is an interesting one. I had to think about what caught my eye. It’s the symmetry between girl’s outline & the table; the angle of her legs seem to echoe the table’s foot; the cup in her hand versus on the table & the almost on point direction of her profile. It’s a clever capture and a photo with a lot of potential. Nicely done, Sarah.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Wow Sandy, it’s fascinating to get such detailed and thoughtful feedback 🙂 I’m with you on why the first and last photos are successful. And a lot of my shots seem to follow the ‘rule of thirds’ although I only occasionally consciously do so! As to the Brighton shot, I think it was the colours that first caught my eye, with her pink jacket picked up by one of the stickers on the door frame and contrasting nicely with its deep blue 🙂

  • Christie

    Dancing by the Seine is certainly my favourite. It’s probably because I wish to be there LOL
    And the lone man having a glass of wine. I am amazed he is using a glass one😊

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Who wouldn’t want to be by the Seine?! I think that man must have come out of an apartment on the island and wandered on to the bridge to enjoy his drink. There wasn’t a bar very close where he could have bought it.

  • wetanddustyroads

    Hmm, the people in Paris just have “something” about them 🌟. And I do like the barbeque boat – that’s something really interesting! My favourite is the man and his dog (I think I maybe saw it in one of your previous posts) … maybe I like the dog more than the man 😉.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you 😀 Yes, I used that photo in Triana in a post about that district, and the last one too I think. The barbecue boat is a cool idea. You rent them by the hour, bring your own food and drink, and can spend time out on the water with your friends 🙂 They also have jacuzzi boats but I’m not sure I want to sit in a hot tub while passers-by stare at me!!

  • Terri Webster Schrandt

    Your street shots of people are spectacular, Sarah! I have to wonder if the person in your featured image was really looking at you? I love that silhouette shot of the walkers–so striking. Funny how when we see urban street life, most people could be in any city in the world. Well done!

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Terri 🙂 Yes, I think that man in Paris had just spotted that I was taking photos, although I tried to make it not obvious and was at some distance!

  • margaret21

    Oh, fabulous. I really need to get over myself. I still find photographing strangers difficult, and tend to hide myself behind some passing Corinthian column or similar and quickly press the shutter before I’m spotted..

  • Rose

    Lovely shots. My favs were the dancers and the street musician in Paris. Their expressions, the smiles, the appearance of genuine joy, is what I liked. Perhaps I’m just in the habit of looking for smiles when I take pictures of people I know. It’s hasn’t occurred to me to photograph strangers. But what you say is true – people in the streets bring a place to life. They add to the character. I’ll try to look at strangers in a more charming/artistic way.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Rose 🙂 It’s true that if you take candid photos you can’t guarantee a smile. It can be nice when you get one, but on the other hand I like to capture ‘real life’ and no one smiles all the time!

  • Yvonne+Dumsday

    Not bad for a year of covid induced restrictions Sarah. All beilliant shots – but would expect no less from you.

  • maristravels

    Words fail me. The ones taken in France are just fantastic (but they are all great). I especially loved the one of the lone man drinking a glass of wine on the Pont Marie.

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