About a year ago, I had a fight with my husband and, I went off to the park with the polaroid back, my hasselblad and a pack of fuji instant film. In the course of an hour I shot the pack, screwed up two in the process and felt pleased enough with the results do some more. So, in the last 12 months i have done a little set in some properly unrelated places including my mother’s kitchen, speakers corner and a tiny town at the end of a small gage steam railway in Brazil.
If you asked me why I was doing it in the first place, I would have said something unuseful like because I want to. And it is true, that’s why I shoot all the stuff I shoot. Is there a better reason? However, with a little more thought, and being at Open School East is making me think a lot about the whys and wherefores of work, I realise that I am making decisions about the content.
Strewth Tina, you might say, after all these years I would have thought that you knew why you have been spending all this money on cameras and associated balix. Well yes I would reply, I know why I do it, and it is the difference between liking cake and knowing how to bake the actual cake you personally like most of all that turns out the way you expect it to every time.
Is that vain? I am not saying I make the best cake in the history of cakes, or even that this particualr cake is the photographic equalivant of a cronut. It is just the cake I want to make. The whole cake metaphor is apposite because I had every intention of using a wide angle pinhole and a couple of off camera flashes with Tim Andrews for a particular effet before I met him but when he walked into my studio I realised that he isn’t the sort of person who should be summed up in a single shot, he needed a few angles. So out came the polaroid back 10 shots happened between chatting about stuff which informed the shots I took.
I do think about photographs a lot, I spend time thinking about the composition I want and the subject, Tim was the first person I had photographed in a proper formal (kinda) sitting. I hadn’t met Tim so it was difficult to imagine taking a photograph of him, to work out a place that he belonged in the frame. I had looked at the work of other photographers in his project and there was a wealth of different interpretations of him as a human and as a canvas. They didn’t really help because they are all so different. Just talking to him made me drop the one idea and persue the other.