Getting Back Into Photography

It’s probably fairly egoistical and arrogant to write an entire blog post dedicated to my own photography, but I don’t particularly care.

In July 2014, I bought my camera so that I could start making films. Of course, making a film takes a long time and requires a fair bit of effort, so in the meantime I used it for YouTube videos. However, those also require a fair bit of commitment, and I wasn’t particularly good, so I turned my attention to something which was relatively straight-forward and simple: photography.

Back then I had a lot more time than I do now, so I got to experiment with my camera almost every day. I went for long walks and tried out different angles; focal lengths; light levels; testing what happened when I changed the settings which-I-didn’t-know-how-to-properly-use on the camera itself. I enjoyed long walks anyway (as I detailed before) because I like, and don’t mind, my own company, but this added a whole extra dimension to an evening walk.

And I ended up taking lots of photos. Photos which I still consider some of my best.

Those are all from 2014/early 2015, and they’re all edited I believe – the originals have been lost to time (the second is a screenshot from my Instagram…)

And those are all from across 2015 – again, mostly edited. But I don’t think the originals were too different!

However, for some reason my eye for photography lapsed during 2016. The year started out with some decent photos, but as time went on they became increasingly standard and generic. I stopped taking my camera out as much, whereas it used to be another limb. Most of my photos were from parties/meeting up with friends/various other social events, but I didn’t manage to capture any kind of personality in them. The first half of the year was also dominated by AS Exams, which understandably took up a good portion of my time.

It may be partly down to 2016 being a year of filmmaking for me. I made The Three Little Pigs (which is one year old today!) and Unstuck, two films I’m immensely proud of, as well as dozens of YouTube videos which helped me finesse my voice and style of content. Photography and filmmaking, are, of course, two sides of the same coin – creating meaning through the visual medium – and there are plenty of beautiful shots in both films, but directing meant I had to channel much of my energy into getting the best performances out of the actors, and making sure the story flowed.

Post-Unstuck, I’ve suffered from a massive creative drought, which meant photography continued to be neglected. New film ideas and YouTube videos fizzled away into nothingness. Combined, it all meant that photography was no longer a top priority. Even though I started a photography Instagram during the summer – although this was largely down to me wanting to get back into it.

Recently, however, I’ve made a considerable effort to reverse this – as I spoke about two weeks ago in A Walk Back in Time. With only six months left before university, I don’t want to end up regretting anything from the last of my time in picturesque Winchester. It also seems that the general drought has cleared: my creativity is back (for now).

Not only that, but I’m quite happy with the photos I’ve been taking – two in particular.

This is my girlfriend, Heather.

I really like this photo for a number of reasons (none of them being the fact that she is present, of course). It’s fairly symmetrical, for starters; it’s so easy to take lop-sided photos, and so many ones which seem good turn out that way, so I was very glad that this didn’t. Her feet are planted straight on the grass, and she’s in line with the broken, rusted fencing and the shabby bushes. About those – I quite like them. Time is one of my big creative loves, both in a thematic and aesthetic sense, so I love taking photos which show the effects of time. A long time ago, the barbed wire fencing was likely strong and could thwart trespassers. Now, it’s old and weathered, dotted with tears and gaps where people have come and gone over the years.

Beyond the broken barriers are the woods – grand, sweeping sentinels, etched in a murky, mysterious darkness. That’s the main thing I love about this: the sense of scale, something which I’ve never quite managed to capture before, but also something I admire in photography and cinematography. Not only that, but her body language is inquisitive; she’s looking around, as if she’s curious. Like a classic coming-of-age 80’s movie, where the friends ride out on their bikes to discover what’s lurking in the forest. Add all of those qualities up and you get a photo which is quite aesthetically pleasing, but one which also gives off a sense of exploration and abandonment. We were crossing over time.

This is one of my many daughters, Sae (I am the dad of my group).

Yesterday, a few of us went up to Bournemouth Beach to celebrate her’s (as well as my friend Will’s) birthday. Of course, my primary reason for going was waiting until dusk so I could take some Moonlight-esque shots. While the photo is edited, the original isn’t too different.

I love the openness of this shot. I never go to the beach, so I only have a handful of photos which contain an utterly open frame; the sea goes on for miles and miles, as does the overcast sky. Again, there’s a sense of scale, but it’s different to last time. Possibility? Discovery? Or perhaps something more contemplative. Whereas the previous photo has a sense of adventure, this reflects the daunting nature of unmitigated possibility. It’s melancholic.

The composition also feels kinda interesting. Her stillness juxtaposes against the incoming, ravaging tide, which itself juxtaposes with the calm, foaming water in the foreground, and the dark, calm waters in the background. Tumultuous.

I also just really like the colours, tbh. A black silhouette cast against blue ocean. Grain, both natural and edited, giving it a vintage quality.

Fuck it. I just like Moonlight.

In moonlight, black boys shine blue. You blue.

That’s all today. I’ll take more photos soon. Ciao.

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