Came across this photo from a few years ago, a page of one of my Grandma’s notebooks which my Mum found after she died. I didn’t really know this side of her, and it was wonderful, if sad, to discover it. It’s now one of my favourite quotes.
I have had Yeondoo Jung's photos of 150-square-foot living rooms in Seoul in my mind for some time and decided to have a little fun during a shoot for Spacemakers at Brixton Village recently. I love how each stall or shopfront is individualised, and wanted to do something quite simple that shows the diverse community and range of products in the market.
Recently I worked with Danny Dorling to provide some images for his new research on the housing crisis in the UK. I’m a big fan of Danny’s work, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to work on a brief for him. Although I wasn’t taught by Danny as an undergraduate, I found it fascinating to return to the Geography department where I studied ten years ago. It was here that I was encouraged by my then tutor, John Wylie, to pursue my interests in photography.
I found this work a welcome challenge and step away from my usual practice, stylistically. I was aware that the photos needed would be more detached, and anonymous than my usual work -I was thinking more about form and function, rather than relationships and connections. In turn I felt quite detached; the work didn’t require me to communicate with anybody, and it had to be anonymous. I think in some ways my usual practice did inform this work -the similarity lies in the political and emotional connection. I suppose the images can be thought of as stark. When reflecting back to the nature of Danny’s writing I felt quite impassioned, an emotion that frequently informs my work as a documentary photographer.
Danny requested black and white images -it was a practical, rather than creative decision, and one which I feel suits the work. It was also a huge benefit as the weather was pretty unforgiving on those days I went out and about on my bike with my camera. I ended up really enjoying this way of working, thinking of the images in terms of figures and illustrations, as I thought back to the themes in Danny’s written work. Here the collaboration took form through the way his words and ideas were used as triggers for my visual representations - producing a photographic response to the research.
I have a lot of admiration for writers and academics like Danny, who are incredibly enthusiastic and inspiring to talk to, and aren’t afraid to take risks in finding new ways to visualise their work, in turn making it more accessible, more human. Here’s another piece Danny worked on last year with the brilliant Human Studio in Sheffield. I’m becoming increasingly interested in developing collaborative ways of working that are underpinned by research in areas that I feel passionate about; this work has got me thinking of ways to continue along this path. For me photography was never just about photography, it was about visualising something, it was about the idea, it was a key to understanding or challenging something bigger.
Forest 1, Padley Gorge, Derbyshire. Found some negatives which I scanned recently - maybe from 2011.