It’s strange being away from you’re hometown/city, especially as a photographer, so many little details change, development happens, new markets, new buildings, new coach stations, new faces.
The changes here in Preston for a change seem to be heading in the right direction, some inspiring design/architecture, (I for one thankful that the town planners didn’t stick with the un-imaginative designers of crystal house or the monstrosity that stands beside the old east cliff hotel) some people have absolutely no creative imagination, and what might have looked good in the eastern block certainly doesn’t look good next to the former park hotel, anyway I digress…
Back to Photography – living away from Preston has made me look at the architecture, the people, the movement the rhythm of the city in a whole different light, seeing things from a different perspective, a new me, I’m developing my photographic style.
I’ve seen some fantastic photography being produced in Preston of iconic buildings such as the bus station, in the early days of my photography career I might have just imitated the styles of photography I had previously seen before, not realising that I, just like a cover band copies a song that has already been written, was just imitating somebody else’s photography, copying an image that was already taken! I now strive to find new perspectives, developing a photographic style that makes my photography look like mine and not anyone else’s photography;-
Developing a new photographic language can be a difficult task, the aim is to communicate clearly, say something which can be read and understood by many. having your own voice, In a way that can be identified as being an image taken by a certain photographer, for example looking at a Henri Cartier-Bresson image, if you know a bit about photography you’ll know you’re looking at a photograph produced by Cartier-Bresson, his choice in composition, the way he waits for the right moment to unfold. makes his style unique.
In the modern digital age, we are now communicating more and more by the language of photography, taking pictures of our dog’s dinner, a day out at the beach, drinks with friends, all become moments we archive online for all to see! while we get to share these experiences through Instagram or Facebook, do we get to really connect with that moment? do we even care? We continue to scroll down and look at the next person’s vegan dish, we soon forget the images we’ve seen. lost forever in the digital soup!
Hand me a photo book, a postcard or show me the printed photo in a gallery I’ll pay more attention, spend more time looking a little deeper into the image, read all the signs, begin to digest image before me, immortalised for me to see and be transported to a place, a time, I may have never seen or been. A thought may pop into my head, that prior to that moment; I’d never had! a whole new perspective can be presented, an expression I’ve never seen can be seen on a face I’ve never seen! this is the joy of photography, these instants that happen every day before us all.
These are exciting times for photography and for Preston. A community of great photographers exists here! lots of great photography of the city is being produced and can be seen shared on sites such as Blog Preston or in the facebook group Preston past and present, which is a great way to connect to people who love photography like the recent event that took place at the Harris Museum; ‘Insta meet’ held by the Harris, was an event that I, unfortunately, couldn’t make, it brought people interested in photography together. which inspired me to write this blog, to think about connecting the photographic community.
I’m starting a new photographic collective soon which I’ll be looking to recruit some members to help develop our photographic community, create conversations around photography, put on new exciting exhibitions support photographers, help promote their work.
The Aim ultimately is to stop the talent leaving Preston for the ‘gravy train’ to go and work away in places such as Manchester, there’s currently a culture that exists in Preston in which the photographer works for exposure, very little money or free in some cases.
The creative industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy and if local businesses, media outlets, institutions of the city don’t start to recognise the value in what the creative person does, they inevitably will move to a city that already has an established industry where the photographer gets paid for his or her work. I’m passionate about photography and my city and want to help develop the creative community here in Preston.