2014 – MAY TO AUGUST

12th May 2014
When I got to Venice, I didn’t take anything initially. I wanted to step away from the photographer’s eye for a while and take it all in, although of course, by day 5, I was itching to get something and although I had shot off about 15 rolls of tourist / family stuff for prints for the photo album, my lady gave me two hours on my own. Did I get the soul of the place? Nah. I got about five frames out of a few rolls that I’d already told Charlie was the amount I was expecting to come home with.

London however, am I capturing its soul? Not at all, and I don’t seek to, and although I’m on my own path and agenda with regards to what I want to achieve in street photography, I think chasing the ‘soul’ is problematic and an oversight, as said before, place and people constantly evolve.

Having said this, I believe you can capture the heartbeat of a city, and it is within that heartbeat of a place that infinite possibilities exist; the heartbeat is the people, professions, class systems, attitudes, excitement happiness despair and so-on, and they are there on every street and in every place, be it exciting to you or not; moving along to their own pulse for you to document … The soul perhaps doesn’t exist, and if you’re trying to get to it, you’re possibly missing all the stuff that really matters.

17th May 2014
Decided to come offline. Tired of all the talk and bullshit. Knowledge is a great thing, but more often than not, given to us wrapped in the dark veils of arrogance and self.

1st June 2014
In a bit of a slump right now. What changes haha. The job interviews aren’t going very well and it’s beginning to get to me. Not much, but a little. Some days give birth to frustration, others I wake, born defeated and it takes a lot of energy to shake the feeling of hopelessness and keep myself up and optimistic. No, not even that, just up. I tell myself to start the animation project that I have boiling over in my mind now for something close to a couple of years; I create it all in my head but fail to get it out. The entire process is so long-winded and expensive to me right now that I stall. I hate stalling. I’m getting older and I feel I cannot afford to stall as much as I did when I was young. I don’t want to get into the position of kicking myself into gear and then realising that I’m fucking fifty years old.

Sold the last of my 35mm film rolls. I had an interview and they required me to wear a black shirt. I already needed new trousers and shoes so the money I got from the film went on the new interview clothes. I didn’t get the job on this particular occasion. Next time. Just got to keep at it.

What to do with the animation? I think it’s best to get on with the project when I’m more comfortable. Perhaps that’s just another excuse not to start. And of photography? I could not have stalled more on something if I tried. It’ll all come back one day though, I hope. And when it does, I think I want to take things up a little, to up my game and produce a more professional, consistent and tidier body of work. The street will always pull me, but I just want more. I just want more. Series and stories. I think that’s where I’ll be most happy.

6:20pm – Meanwhile, in London…

Take out the Pentax Espio for a test run with some Kodak 200 on my way to see Chris Killip at Tate Britain, which was fab. Exit through the gift-shop and decide my one book purchase for the month will be Seacoal … ace. Negs come back and the AF on the Pentax works fine so I’m happy. Get some expired rolls from ebay and head out. The hole in the wall kidnaps my card although there’s £250 on it and I go mental at the bewildered staff inside Phones4u although they have nothing to do with it; and the lady in the shop lets me have my negs anyway as I’m a regular. Play out another track on repeat as I snap London. I think Germany will win the whole thing. Rearrange my little flat and tell the missus I’m stealing the flat-screen to use as my main laptop screen, she doesn’t mind, as long as I fix things … fix this fix that, get sweaty rearranging the flat and find a Yashica Electro 35 in it’s case, hidden, under books and under dust. I am delighted, and wonder if I’ll keep the XA that’s on the way, the one to replace the XA I left on a train by mistake. It’s been one month on the vapor thing and no smokes. Fixated on a Mamiya 7 although I wonder if it’s needed for this project. That will start. One day. I ought to email Charlie Ginz and see if he’s still alive. My neighbours are Spanish. I was hoping they’d play better music.

21st August 2014
I have decided to concentrate on the larger picture when it comes to imagery. I no longer desire taking singles. I need a project. I need to research. The process of it makes me happy and no matter what shit happens in-between, I tend to have the end product in my mind and it makes the shit in the middle more bearable. So I’m following Tony Ray-Jones and a few others. I branch out from the tree and different ideas that connect themselves to the larger body of work begin to come to me. I filled with new energy. I have a shitty new medium format camera. I head to the airport.

This branch will be called, ‘Avocations’, and on my way home I get a call with an offer of a job and after a four and a half month slog with applications, interviews and diminishing hopes, I find myself back boarding close to actually being happy lol It’s going to help me considerably in all ways.

24th August 2014
When it comes to camera’s, I’m still, after all this time, trying to find a decent point-and-shoot camera that fits my way of working. I wanted something that would auto-focus, be pretty quiet (although nothing comes close to the silence that is taking a shot on the Olympus XA) and is consistent in its operation. Although the XA was pretty much an all-round manual camera, I don’t mind the noise of the focus of auto-focus cameras, but am aware of the sound of the shutter, and that too, has to remain pretty quiet for me. I have a few small point-and shoot camera’s at the moment, and have run a few rolls through each. I just need to send the rolls out to see how the camera’s themselves are performing for me. Sometimes I don’t test a camera out on the street, but will test its flash inside the flat and the general operation out the window and into the garden on a relatively bright day. I know from just those kind of shots how the camera is performing and if it will be right for me. I don’t really need to go chasing people around London to check that shit.

It’s been nearly three months without a cigarette. Big pat on the back for me.

In terms of photographic content, I am starting to deviate away form the streets in the manner that I wandered them before, looking for an opportunity. As much as I love street photography and follow many of them and enjoy their work, I want more for myself than what the streets can offer, and although they are unlimited in their offering, personally I want something else and something more. I have taken a great liking to Tony Ray-Jones, John Bulmer and Chris Killip, and I have decided to follow their example in documenting life in Britain as a whole, than just wondering London’s street for moments. I’m not knocking the streets, they’re my education in part and have provided me with much, but I seek more now, things with a bit of substance, possibly a story, and a little more required on my part. It’s something that makes me happy to pursue and I am looking forward to the years ahead and hoping I do to those I admire and whom inspire me, justice.

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