21 Jun 2018

always first steps

I'm really enjoying my participation in the my local London Independent Photography group. I'm in my second year which feels like a (small) achievement after previous failures to commit to group photography projects.
As well as showing and discussing photography the group is actively involved in local exhibitions. Last year's group show had a really interesting theme and this year's is just as good. So good I've ended up in the team organising it!
Oblique Strategies is an approach that Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt evolved in the 70s to overcome creative blocks. I remember interviews with David Bowie talking about his writing technique of cutting up words so it was fascinating to see how this had been formalised, industrialised even, into a process and used on his Berlin albums produced by, guess who, Brian Eno.
Each of the group were drawn a statement from the set of Oblique Strategies to respond to with a photograph. Always First Steps was mine. Well how easy was that going to be? Despite an aspiration to try different techniques by joining the group I do find myself back in my safety zone. So how about a blur of shoes on Waterloo Station's Odessa Steps? Perhaps a crowd crossing Oxford Circus Shibuya-style? Over complicating it? OK then, a kid on reins. Job done.
Well not quite. 
To do justice to the project - and Brian and David too - I felt I needed to dig a little deeper. One of the many exciting aspects of talking photographs on the street is, one of my favourite words, serendipity. That moment when two, or more if you're especially fortunate, elements come together. They are rare but incredibly rewarding
So what did I come up with? 
link to Venice images
The reason why I don't title any of my pictures is just to let people read whatever they want into them. It was one of the motivations for The Ambiguous Project!
It's fascinating showing this image to people, revealing the "title" and listening to their interpretation. I'm sure there's some psychological process at work here. The same way perhaps we make connections between images and soundtracks we need to rationalise what we're seeing, no matter how arbitrary. To achieve dissonance is a real challenge. Aha. 
I feel another project coming on...