London Colour on Flickr.
Its been a while since I last posted anything photographic on here so its long over due an up date. Truth is its been a busy time for me photographically, which in itself is a good thing I guess.
I had a job which took me to Norfolk for a week which I manage to finish by mid week, i had also purchased a new micro 4/3 camera which I had yet to test, which I took with me to play around with during the evenings. I had sat on the fence long enough to see this new format develop, It was time to dive in and test one on the streets, their lightness and compactness were the attraction. And anyone who works from the street will know what I mean when I say your first priority should be the shoes you walk in because when your on your feet all day you need to be comfortable. But a bag full of kit puts weight on your feet so lighter quality equipment comes next!
Having a few days to spare I book myself into a local hotel and headed for Yarmouth seafront to try out the new set up on the street, but it didn’t happen. The lack of people in peak holiday time was astounding, what happen instead was a series of images shot over a couple of days that in my way tried to portray this. But I liked the images enough to edit them into a book, the result of which can be seen here:
The word game or better known as the Tories pathetic attempt to put their spin on a word to try to alienate the working class and turn them against each other. I wonder If it had occurred to them that there are plenty of decent hard-working people who can’t work largely due to their own economic policies that have put wealth before people. Its based on on the myth of something that Joseph Stiglitz called the trickle down effect, you know the one, its based on the principal that if you look after the wealthy it will eventually trickle down to the poor. As Stiglitz points out though it dosen’t work, in 1850-1900 Briton was one of the wealthiest countries in the world and yet had a level of pauperism as bad as many third world countries. He goes on to point out the same was true in the USA during the 1980s, very little if any of the countries wealth benefited the poor. So the play on words clearly and poorly designed is both insulting and hypocrisy, most of those sitting in Westminster don’t know the meaning of hard-working compared to most poor folk. And the only thing that has trickled down so far is Bull-Shit!
Published on Flickr.
A year down the line I finally got there. A big thank you to Anna who wrote the forward for the book, I’m honoured to have had you to write it. You can view and read the book by following this link:
The Discontented, a set on Flickr.An ongoing project that probably has two more years to run.
I was once accused of being very political in my photography, but in fairness there is a little bias in every photograph, its how you interpret it. I prefer my street work to be ambiguous leaving the viewer to draw their own conclusions, a little too close and it becomes street portraiture and it loses the essence of street by excluding its surroundings altogether.
I was asked this week by someone about my approach to photography, the person in question was making reference to the fact that for my personal work I still work with film. I have a number of reason for this that are stated elsewhere on this blog so I’ll try not to run over old ground. Photography was invented, at least in the UK by a man that couldn’t draw, to aid his sketching he took to using a camera obscura, his aim was to make his sketches as realistic as possible to what he saw in front of him, his dream was to fix that image that the camera obscura reflected permanently on to paper and Henry Fox-Talbot would eventually succeed in doing just that. The essence which drove him to achieve his goal was one of truthfulness, to capture what was in front of the camera and to transfer its likeness to the permanence and physicality of something you could hold in your hand, the photograph.
Work continues when time allows on my second book ‘One Camera One Lens One Reason’ but as always with street photography its progress can be be very slow accumulating the images no matter what the photographic medium. But when shooting with film its even more of an unknown until you have developed the negatives. I shot four rolls of 35mm on my last visit to London and shot plenty of rubbish in amongst it, but then take respite in the fact that I am not alone in that respect.
'You only know it when you see it and even then you may not even know that you got it' ……Martin Parr
The Martin Parr interview can be seen here:
I had a argument once with a University lecturer, over the content of certain street images that I had taken for project, it was a preliminary view of what I had shot up to that point, I should point out at this stage that this guy had a fashion background. He liked one particular image and felt that the whole project should be shot around it, the image in question was shot on a day trip to London and was taken of a crowd of people waiting to go into the theatre. Now putting the cost aside of travel to London, which is a big deal when your a student, and the practicality of putting together a series of images that had any coherent feel to them based on the same subject would take time. Time when you have a deadline to meet does not exactly go hand in hand with street photography, its more off the cuff stuff and instinctive, you capture what happens to engage you at that moment in time. I pointed out to him that this was not a studio shoot where you can plan in advance exactly what you want and reminded him also that the cost of making such work would be prohibitive for a student in the time frame allotted to this assignment. It was met with much rolling of the eyes because he felt I was challenging his academic judgement which I guess in a way I was. Anyway I shot my own thing probably didn’t get the grade I deserved because I chose to shoot it my way.
Fast forward to present post University, and a few more personal projects under my belt I feel vindicated in what I said at the time. My current project and book has so far taken me to London twice, I’ve shot seven rolls of film and have at present posted 35 images from a possible 250 frames and I have at present probably 4 to 5 frames that I am happy with. And I now know from experience there will be many more trips and many more frames exposed before I have enough images of the required standard to fill the book.
In a recent interview Magnums Bruce Davidson stated the following : ‘I find that young people tend to stop too soon. They mimic something they’ve seen, but they don’t stay long enough. If you’re going to photograph anything, you have to spend a long time with it so your subconscious has a chance to bubble to the surface’ You can read the full interview here: http://blog.leica-camera.com/photographers/interviews/bruce-davidson-thoughts-on-a-lifetime-with-leica/
So I’ll continue to work the way I do because I believe in what I do and I and only I will know when I have the right images. I can’t explain that because I feel that’s it a photographic phenomenon that a photographer develops over a period of time, its a kind of instinct that tells you have a picture that ticks all the boxes.
So to the lecturer in question and in the words of Bart Simpson ‘Eat my Shorts’