New Year and time for some new projects. I have been having a think over the last few weeks and decided that my photography needs a right kick up the arse. So, I have taken a look at the realities of my current life circumstances (busy jobs, young family and not much free time basically!) and have thought about what I can actually do with the time that is left. In the end, I came up with the idea of less is more. Less breadth of work, but more depth.
Visit Britain. I have been starting to put together some ideas about an alternative viewpoint of Britain project, which is currently going under the working title of ‘Visit Britain’. It’s really early doors at the moment and I haven’t put together a solid idea of how the project is going to work. But, I have started to do my research on how Britain is advertised and sold as a tourism product.
Like when I went to New Zealand, there is a common tour route that people will take to explore a country. This means that all the usual places get seen, such as Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, in New Zealand’s case. In Britain it usually starts with London and fans out from there. I have three directions that could steer the project at the moment – an ‘alternative’ Britain which shows contrasting pictures of the touristic views they want you to see versus the views they don’t; a view that shows the less visited places that are not on the tourist map; or (my personal favourite at the moment) a view which shows more of the actual cultural and geographical diversity that is in place in Britain rather than the narrow view of pretty landscapes, red buses, phone boxes and smiley people! However, this one is so broad it may be completely unmanageable!
What I have decided though is to shoot the project from start to finish on medium format film or above. I love the colours and tonality of Kodak Portra (400). Check our Rob Hornstra’s Sochi images, they were shot on Portra. One thing I would like to do this year is try to get a few big prints off it and see how much description I can get in the images. I would love to add in some large format photography as well, but that involves buying a camera, learning how to use it and parting with about £9 a shot (ouch!!!!) – the Mamiya is relatively frugal £2 a shot ;). I could shoot digital, but at the end of the day regardless of the kit the only thing that actually matters is what the photograph looks like – and at the moment for me, medium format Portra gives a look I like the most.
A project in 5 photographs. This my second idea for a project – to document a place or event and illustrate the story in 5 photographs. Again, I am working on the theme that ‘less is more’. This means making the shots work together to tell a story in a very limited way. I could either do this sort of project over some time or even in a day. My intention is to purposely leave people with the feeling that they want to know more. So, I don’t want to tell the whole story but enough to get people thinking. One of the reasons that led me to think of this idea is that with millions of photographs being taken each day – and it being so easy to view them via Facebook, Flickr, Blipfoto, etc. you get massively desensitised. Looking at images in an exhibition or even a photo book is very different to the internet where you can flip through without really looking – in fact the images that seem to work on the internet need to have an immediate and obvious impact – subtle pictures that require exploring or thinking about don’t seem to work well in my view. So, I would like to do projects where the number of images involved is very limited. I am not sure how this one will work, it might be a bit of a nightmare to do, but in the spirit of adventure (admittedly a tiny one…) it’s got to be worth a go!