2015 – SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER

[ Journal 2015 // Sept’ + Oct’ ]

Meanwhile, in London …

6th – Pause momentarily on,’ Hope and Glory’. Few events to the calendar. Some swear to not having a plan, allowing the random ramble. I don’t disagree with it; I started out doing this – roaming the streets of London without plan or intention; nothing there in the contours of a city. Nothing for me. My way of working changes, and since I am very goal orientated in terms of producing a finished piece of work in a very specific way, I find planning key in order for me to actually get out and photograph things. That’s just the way things have evolved for me. I like it.

7th – Was meant to go out today but I woke late. As always with the traditional things that I want to photograph, they’ll come around again in a year and I’m in no particular hurry when it comes to updating, ‘Hope and Glory’, although a missed event is a potentially nice missed chance of a decent photograph.

I’m a bit pissed off at the moment. I’m pissed off because I just haven’t the time or the the means to get around places in the UK and other parts of Europe to photograph the things that I really want to. I make lists of project ideas; some of the ideas sitting in the list for well over three years. The one that I had always wanted to do was to document the pilgrim’s of the Santiago de Compostela. I’ve always wanted to do it, to embark on and complete the way, but also to document the route and get portraits of those along it. But as it is with ideas, eventually someone else will think it up and get around to doing it. Then I see it, feel like shit, and scrub it from the list. I tell myself not to scrub. I tell myself to keep it alive and do it regardless. Just because someone else has done it doesn’t mean that it can no longer be done again.

This has now happened to three of the twelve-or-so projects on the list.

12th – Head to Hyde Park to photograph the ‘Solidarity with Refugees’ rally. I haven’t been to a rally or demonstration for some time and I think if I am to go to any more, then it will be those that seem to have prominence in the press and on the minds of many. Having said this, photographing that which no-one really knows about is what I really should be looking to get.

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Fumble about, vape, try to find a place selling coffee; always need a good strong coffee before I start shit; try to find a toilet. Find a toilet. I don’t have the 50-pence charge to use the toilet so I hold it in hoping it goes away. Pissed off that I didn’t get off at Marble Arch, so walk up. It wasn’t meant to be hot and I’ve too many layers so I fucking start to sweat. I hate to sweat. It takes my mind off the act of photographing when I have shit running down the channel of my back.

Make it to Marble Arch and there’s more of a crowd here; a lot of children and parents, old and mixed nationalities alike. I put my headphones in, my photo-head on and start taking shots. I find myself a lot more steady and patient in my snapping, taking time to line people up, taking note of all that’s within the frame and in the background. The sun is bright so I have a lot of confidence in that I don’t need to play around too much with my settings. I have the flash on the camera, but being the silly bastard that I often am, I have forgotten to get new batteries and it drains – sometimes it fires, many times it does not, but I am not too perplexed by this, as said, it’s a lovely bright and sunny day.

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At the start of the rally, I join the press and the freelancers, chat to a few, take a shot of some, and generally get to the front of the scrum and get some shots.

It feels good to walk another rally, but my feet are tired and I get to the point where I no longer want to fire off shot after shot on film of the same kind of scenario, and already I know I am about 8 rolls in – that’s enough.

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I could hang around at the end, but I don’t. There’s a specific shot that I want and I get it and decide that’s about enough for me and head home.

To see a selection of photographs I got on the day, please head here

* * *

October – Have stalled somewhat on my ‘I Love London’ project. Pausing and stalling. It’s all I ever seem to fucking do.

For part two, which will focus mainly on retail and consumerism, I have wanted things to look a little different. For part one, I pretty much took a step back from my subjects, choosing mainly to photograph people and situations from either afar, or at a relative safe distance. This was not so much out of a fear of getting close, but out of wanting to have a particular look to the photographs and also to get more of what’s surrounding the tourists, in the frame.

For part two, however, I want to get in a little closer. I also want to get some distance shots of the places I plan to visit; shopping malls and the like etc. I will be using flash and I find myself heavily influenced by the work of Lars Tunbjork who I have recently discovered.

To further push home the fact that I am approaching part two, or had done, in the completely wrong way, here are some shots that I took when I went out into London recently. It was a sunny day and I thought to get some play with shadows and shapes. However, this is not the way that I plan to go with this part of the project and although I am left feeling slightly dejected with the shots I took, it has helped me tremendously in realising what it is that I DO NOT want to take.

I’m pretty pissed off with myself actually.

23rd – Royal Horticultural Society Autumn Show

Head to the RHS Autumn Show. It’s not the one I wanted to go to. The one I wanted to photograph was the Harvest Festival Show. The reason for this was there were likely to be more people at that one and I was interested in getting a particular shot of some pumpkins. It wasn’t to be.

Walked the short distance to the RHS Halls. As usual, I Googled general directions to the venue. Wondered slowly through a pretty well-to-do area, craning my neck to look up at all the marvelous dark brown and white brickwork, the neatly trimmed bushes in the private gardens, the scale and the opulence, before getting to my destination. I always feel scruffy when I walk through such places.

The halls are big – large Victorian arches and ironwork’s, shelters of glass – but unfortunately, no real sun, else it would have radiated through and down to everyone and everything and would have possibly made for that little bit extra on top of what I wanted to photograph. But you can’t always have it the way you sometimes wish things to be. And I’m okay with that.

In total, I got through three rolls of film. There wasn’t much variance in what I could shoot – pretty much everyone there was doing the same as everyone else, which was basically looking down at plants and flowers on display, so I had to do my best to hunt out and find those little corners of difference. I found a few and I am looking forward to seeing them. There’s always one or two per roll that I am always excited to see – I know the rest are just ‘fillers’ – just me going about a place taking shots to make myself look like I’m there to photograph what’s on show, and not of the people themselves – so I fire away at the show, then turn to people I have eyed up and then get their shot. That’s how I pretty much do it. Not all the time though, but mostly that way, and to be honest, I do need to stop doing it as much as it really is a waste of film.

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24th – Comic Con’ 2015

I’m fucking tired. For some reason I feel wiped out by photographing today. Perhaps I’m just not used to running around as much as I used to.

Today I went to the Comic Con in London once again. This was going to be the last visit I make to the convention in order to get some photographs. The first time that I had attended back in 2013, I was using digital and since that time I have switched over to film. When I first attended, I was in a position with digital photography that afforded me the comfort of firing away at pretty much anyone in a costume without having to worry too much about cost, if at all – my only concerns back then were for my battery and the space on a memory card. With film however, I have had to rethink things somewhat – and this led me to taking the standard portrait.

The comic con’ was always going to be my experiment, my guinea-pig for portraits. I had always wanted my portraits to be straight; no posing, no showing off, but it soon dawned on me that the people attending the conventions had spent so much time and effort into making their costumes that it would be unfair of me to ask them not to pose in the manner that they love doing – so I let it happen.

The last time I went, I just took simple portraits and this time around, I did the same – but with the addition of actually talking to the cosplayers more and getting some questions down on audiotape, which I did.

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I’m done with this series now, and although others are making more of what’s on offer – see more shots and an interview of participants, here.

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