Irony is the word of the week... I was honoured to be asked by BJP to talk at their Vision event this year alongside the prestigious Chole Dewe Mathews and Guy martin. After a great chin wag ( blinded in one eye by a contact lens infection that was a distraction beyond words)we escaped to the cafe. I was greeted by an eager and characteristic student who asked my advice..:
: I struggle with university projects..commissions are easy, I don't find fulfilling a brief hard but to come up with a theme, a project, I just can't do it...what can I do?.."
I responded with a confident spiel on how it's hard to find something that defines a project but ultimately you need to be interested in what you are capturing and that through exploration, images and concept will form...try not to overthink it...enjoy it..chill out..look at what you like and hate..question it..take pictures ..dont think too much .. i departed feeling as though I had half calmed his anxiety but wished I could have given him a more experienced solution ...but I did feel a sense of relief that I was free of the university deadlines and pressure...fate arrives in it's cruel ironic form....
At the pub a few hours later a lovely surprise email asking if I d like an assignment pings my inbox from Le Monde...why of course ..I'd love to..what are the details?
(It's Friday 8pm ish..)
Deadline Monday 1pm
Must be shot this weekend
..ok...great so what is it?
...what do you mean anything?
REalllllly???? Is there a theme..a word? A subject?
To cut a ranting story short I spent all of Saturday FORCING myself to trek the streets of Stamford Hill..shooting well into 2 am on a night bus riders idea..only to briefly hit the sack with disappointment, frustration and depression swarming my mind...but JOY!.... fog filled the 7am sky Sunday and I literally ran out grabbing my box on the way. In my haste forgetting that I am definitely not immune to cold weather..
I spent a few hours in the park meeting dog walkers, joggers and roamers as they magically entered my path through dense fog..fit. It felt fun.
So what did I learn?
That forcing imagery serves a different purpose to taking pictures. It all helps me learn but the joy of image making comes from an innate desire to venture out. I have huge respect for the tactics of the mag.. they enabled me to experience the true pressures of a commission and my working methods. Yes I was lucky fog hit and that morning was like falling in love all over again after the most challenging Saturday i can re call for a while...