Well, I've started on my photo essay. I spent all day Saturday on the Glosey Road observing, thinking and note taking. It was such a lovely Autumnal day that the weather brought masses of people out onto the road. It was exciting and I saw lots of interesting things. One of the side affects of this project is that it is making me slow down and take more notice of things around me.
For this project I've decided to try and combine my pictures with some poetry. I see great synergy between both. Indeed, some of my favourite photographs are poetic to me. By this, I mean that they tell me a lyrical story. It's not just an image, it's what happened before and after the picture was taken. It's the situation and all of the elements of the picture that speak to me. It's difficult for me to explain without sounding pretentious. Just take a look at at the humour in Elliott Erwitt's pictures and the melancholy in W Eugene Smith.
I have recently received some positive feedback from various people with regards to my poetry, which has motivated me to develop this interest. Interestingly, people have been more responsive to my pictures when I present a narrative as well. This may seem a totally obvious statement to some people, but it's new to me, and I'm in discovery mode at the moment and totally sensitive to peoples' reactions and behaviour towards my work. I guess I'm looking for clues all the time as to whether I can be a success as a Photographer and/or Poet; we all need a clap on the back sometimes and to be told we are doing well. But on the other hand, I'm trying to balance this with the need to just do this for me and not worry about what others think. Stephen Fry says that people with a passion are naturally motivated to share that passion with others and I think that is true of me.
This project is stimulating me like nothing else at the moment. I just hope I can see it through and produce good work. I don't want it to become just another half finished piece of work; I've done more than my fair share of these over time.
My knowledge of poetry is extremely rudimentary; I know how to make things ryhme at best. With this in mind, I've decided to read a book by Stephen Fry called The Ode Less Travelled. I hope this will help me develop my skills as a Poet. In the meantime, I'll be getting out with my camera and notepad and trying to do my project justice.
For a while now I've been toying with an idea for a photo essay. The subject is Life on the Gloucester Road in Bristol. I was walking along this road yesterday on my way into the city centre and the idea came to me again. The area really is alive with all kinds of people going about their daily business. It has a lot of independent shops such as butchers, fruit and vegetable stores, hardware and record stores as well as the usual charity shops. It also has a large number of popular pubs and restaurants with a couple of nice parks adjacent to the road.
The people who use the amenities in the area are fiercely loyal and proud of their stubborn stance against the influx of the big corporate shops and supermarkets that dominate the surrounding areas.
As a contrast, part of my walk yesterday also took in Clifton which is a wealthy suburb of Bristol. This area has some of the more mainstream shops and some of the best restaurants in Bristol. However, it was alarming in a way to see how many of them have closed down recently. Maybe it's due to the economic situation we find ourselves in at the moment or maybe it's due to the brand new £500 million shopping centre that has recently opened in the city centre.
Seeing this contrast got me thinking about the merits of having a largely independent shopping area on my doorstep. This is something I want to celebrate, publicise and try and understand better which is why I want to use the Gloucester road as the subject of my photo essay.
Hannah is my lovely niece. She has had so many pictures taken of her in her short life, that picking up her toy camera is like second nature. I like this picture a lot for a number of reasons but one of which is because her eye can just be seen through the lens of the camera focussing on me. I saw the opportunity to take a nice impulsive portrait with my new Leica and as soon as I put my camera to my eye, she instinctively picked her camera up and photographed me photographing her. I think the picture captures her playful nature. It also shows off her nice new cardigan knitted by Nanna Brenda.