Last winter I did a project on photographing life on the streets of Salisbury at night, which I exhibited in the town over the summer. Taking photographs on the streets at night is one of my favourite things in photography. Being outside in the dark, watching life (admittedly not much on some occasions) and photographing it has been useful. Particularly when I am working in the day and only really have a few hours spare to shoot things.
Last year I focused on art documentary black and white photographs. I like the work that I produced then, but I don’t want to go over the same old ground again this year. That’s a bit boring. So, this year I thought I might focus on colours, patterns and things that imply the presence of people – rather than straight people portraits per se. I am not sure where it will go this project over the winter, but it will be interesting to see what I end up with.
For the last couple of years I have really focused primarily on black and white images, but since working on the Swanage project over the summer (I am due to go down there again very soon to start shooting the winter work) I have shifted my view to really enjoy working in colour. This year’s night walks project is probably just an extension of that line of thinking. The thing with photography, for me at least, is that if I work in black and white I tend to ‘see’ the world in black and white. If I work in colour I tend to ‘see’ the world in colour – digital colour at the moment (which is a bit clinical and cold for my liking). I think that’s probably my mind trying to pre visualise what a photograph will look like once it is taken!
P.S. I was out shooting in the town last weekend to add some more images to the “Town to let” blog I recently posted. However, I haven’t had the time this week to sit down, process the work, and write a more in-depth article on the story. Hopefully, I will get that one done in the next week or so.
Check out the Kickstarter website if you are into film photography. Cinestill are attempting to raise the cash to develop their lovely 800 tungsten film into medium format size. Rather than the usual sad stories about all the films disappearing, it would be great to see a new one hit the market!
The most difficult thing about photography is trying to take a universal medium that just about everyone has access to and stamp your unique ‘voice’ on it. Everyone’s images can look the same, unless you try different techniques and approaches to make your shots stand out as your own. My work looks much like anyone else’s really. The work by photographers like Anders Petersen and Jacob Aue Sobol have their voice strongly stamped on to their images. How I would love to be able to create work that stands out as being uniquely mine.
My recent exhibition, Salisbury: Night Walks, is the closest I have got to finding my voice. The art documentary approach, strong blacks with graphic composition certainly reflects my work. However, whilst I love a lot of the shots in the project, there is still something missing from the work. For me, the missing ingredient is probably about getting a stronger emotional reaction from the viewer. Getting images with more emotive / emotional content seems to be the order of the day here. Making people stop and think sounds like a good next step in this photographic journey that I am on…
I was scanning some film shots from the recent Swanage trips. So far, the project is primarily about colour. I was quite impressed by the colours that were coming off the digital camera until I scanned a few film shots. Now, I am thinking should I shoot this project with film rather than digital. I prefer using the film camera, but as usual digital is so much more convenient. But, at the end of the day, the film shots look so much better to me. I am still testing out ideas with the project at the moment, so I don’t feel totally committed to one medium or the other. However, if colours continues to be a major organising theme for the work then it is likely that I will continue to work with colour film (Kodak Portra). Here’s a couple of comparison shots to show you what I mean:
As promised, some of the initial shots from the new Swanage project have now gone up on the site. I also took the opportunity to revise the layout of the galleries so that they are now more easy to view.
I love film, it’s such a nice medium to use. However, unlike digital it takes me forever to get anything processed, scanned / printed. The pros of using film are about the experience of using the stuff and the look of the shots when they, finally, get sorted out. Let’s not talk about the cost difference… I have recently got about 30 films processed, I say recently about a month ago, I have managed to scan about four images so far. I still have another 40+ films to process, so at least I am saving up some work for some distant day in the future where I have the magic combination of time and motivation to face the film mountain. You would think with this hassle, I would just pick up the digital camera and dump the old stuff. However, I find myself shooting more film as time goes on. So, why do I shoot a lot of film if I am going to take an aeon to develop and actually see the results? The only real answer I can give to that question at the moment is that film gives me a difference felt experience to digital – both are great mediums for capturing images – but focusing, clicking, winding and reloading is just so nice to do!