Start a sentence with ‘I remember...’ see where that takes you. I recently went to show Gina Glover ( www.ginaglover.com & www.artinhospitals.co.uk ) my photographs from the past 3 years at Photofusion (http://www.photofusion.org/) in Brixton.I’ve been shooting seriously now for long enough to know that I need some direction. I’ve never really thought about what I have been photographing, only whether each image, on it’s own merits, pleased me visually and I thought was technically good enough to go into the portfolio. The subject matter, or rather, the motivation behind why I stopped and took that shot was always second. Or not at all.
Gina started by separating my images into three sets, 1. a couple of images she didn’t really care for, 2. my big landscapes and 3. my curiosity shots which are a mixture of street and ad hoc shots that visually appeal to me.
The first thing she said, and something I had come realise over the past few months was that I am a colour photographer, she recommended I stop working in Black and White, which was a great confirmation to something I had already had an inkling of. I have even gone back and switched a couple of pictures back into colour.
‘This is you!’ pointing to the pile of curiosity shots, ‘This are the interesting ones, the pictures that give a view into your visual eye’.
She went on to say I need to write more about my work, because by writing I will discover why I like taking the images I do and be able to progress my style. It makes complete sense, I’ve always shied away from writing, even though I don’t think I’m at all bad at it, I just never have had much to say, thinking that my work should speak for itself. But clearly the writing Gina wants me to do it not for you, it’s for me and that appeals far more as it’s delving into the Id.
This suddenly is a fascinating idea, going back to early memories and thinking about what types of images I liked as a child and as a teenager and then into my career as a Graphic Designer. Visual imagery has always been important but I don’t think I’ve ever actually stopped to think why do I like what I like.
So Gina recommended writing down memories, ‘Start with “I remember...” and see where that takes you’
So here we go, of my first ever memories I remember being 3 years old and cradled out to the green Vauxhall Viva estate at 4am just as it was getting light for a long car journey to Scotland. During that holiday the images I can still visualise are a dark old gypsy caravan we were staying in with ornate fittings and lacy curtains. It was there I decided to throw away my dummies and watched the men take them away in a large grey dustbin lorry. Also I have images of being on the beach and having a tantrum over not wanting to go on a donkey (still legendary in my family).
Was this embryonic in my visual style? I don’t know but it’s these types of memories I shall be investigating to see where my motivation is and I’m very much looking forward to it.