16 Feb 2011

announcing the ambiguous book project!

If you arrived here via my books on Blurb then thank you for making the journey. Look around, touch what you want, don't worry it won't break. While you're here let me tell you about a chance to publish your own work as part of a new Blurb project I'm planning...

If it wasn't reward enough for choosing my book loved; life; London for their stand at Format 11,  Blurb have also kindly offered me a voucher to spend in their store. To spread that goodwill around I'm using it to fund a collaboration. Let me explain my idea.

I'd like to present a sequence of photographs in book form that reflect the experience of the street. The theme? Ambiguity. The modus operandi? A simple game of word association...but using pictures instead.
This is not a kind of Street Photography Now project that you go out and shoot. No, this is about images you've already made. The idea is to really look at those pictures again. Find something in them. Something that may have not been the original reason to take or save them. Something that you, and it need only be you, can connect with an image selected by another photographer who, in turn, has made a connection to another image...and so on and so on. The link could be the circumstances surrounding it, an otherwise insignificant element within it, a simple leap of imagination. Surprise yourself!

OK, still interested? Let me answer some questions...

How are you going to choose the participating photographers?
I'm not. I welcome anyone who's motivated to respond. I'm not fussy! I'm not looking for Flickr account links or website URLs.

So this is all about black and white, old school, urban gloom? 
You disappoint me. I love colour! I welcome any format too: digital or lomo, iPhone or pinhole.

It's a London thing, right?
Not at all. Small town America, mega city China. Anywhere in between.

How much do you want me to pay? 
Nothing. Nada. Zip. All I request is a little of your precious time, gratis. Believe me, it'll be a great investment!

OK, so how much can I make?
See answer above. Be advised this is not a path to riches. This is a non-profit exercise for all of us. The book will be sold at cost on Blurb, just for the warm glow of satisfaction of creating something unique.
This sounds too good. Where's the small print? 
I see you're a hard sell.
Believe me, I want to make this process as simple as possible.

Yes, I'll co-ordinate the exchange of images and the production of the book.
No, you don't have to sign up to Blurb. 
Yes, you will be credited as co-author of the finished book.
No, your image will not be used for any other purpose than this project without your permission. Same goes for your email address.
OK, I'm in! Where do I sign?
Wonderful. Just send me an email with the subject "I'm in!" to sean@waysofwalking.net

I'll be in touch to start the chain. 

13 Feb 2011

Museum of London street photography show - countdown begins

Well, the Museum of London's street photography exhibition opens this week and I'm really looking forward to it. Highlighting our city’s rich tradition of street photography, one that is as distinctive as Paris or New York, is long overdue. This survey, in the setting of the Museum, is a perfect place to consider what the images reveal of London's social history. It's fantastic this form of photography has risen in popularity in recent years but I hope the presentation of contemporary images alongside those of Paul Trevor’s will make us stop and think what a street photograph can actually be, as well as others by Paul Martin will serve as a reminder of its roots.
link to my Museum of London street photography show selection
As for my own work I am intrigued how it will be presented. Despite being a proud Londoner one of the characteristics of my photographs is how ambiguous they are in term of location and, to some extent, time as well. However I can testify the main image selected for the show is from 1989, taken in London's West End!
link to my Museum of London street photography show selection
There will also be some of my more recent work projected as part of a sequence of contemporary London street photography.
link to my Museum of London street photography show selection
I love how the show had broadened its appeal, curating work via The Big Issue and Metro, and stimulating debate on the merits of The Ted Heath Orchestra versus The Cheeky Girls as soundtracks to some of the show's photographs. I sincerely hope the programme of supporting events over the summer makes the most of this attention and delivers an international impact as well as one, to use a popular phrase, which establishes a legacy to Londoners.

7 Feb 2011

read all about it...man gives birth

As a break from processing my small mountain of rolls of exposed film, I've been working with Stuart Keegan on printing some recent work. Yes, I really do still take pictures!

The ritual of film processing > contact sheets > first edit > work prints > final edit > finished prints is a long journey from the moment of making the initial exposure. I've irreverently compared it to a pregnancy as some of these "new" photographs were taken over 9 months ago.
link to my new London street photography
I don't religiously document the precise date and location of my pictures, no EXIF data for me I'm afraid, let alone a more intimate account of what attracted me to take them. Consequently when I selected these new pictures to be brought back kicking and screaming into the world it was, at the risk of over-extending this metaphor (not something I could ever be accused of, naturally), on the basis of their ability to stand up on their own two feet. Inevitably this judgement is still subjective - hey, this is art after all - but I approach them with a degree of detachment comparable to anyone looking at them for the first time. I don't expect to change people's opinion of them once the title or "story behind them" is revealed. In that way I suppose the story is thrown back to the viewer to make up for themselves.
link to my new London street photography
It would be fun to record those stories in some way. This idea seems to lend itself most naturally to online sharing such as Flickr. However I'm not thinking of simply an instant comment on a website - although that might be nice - but something more considered. I'm thinking out loud here (I wonder how that translates into Korean or Chinese?) but perhaps I should investigate the collaboration approach that Blurb offers. I'll look for some examples and let you know.
Thanks for listening.