Most of the portraits I am making right now, including these four above, are not conceived spontaneously within the process of taking the photograph. They are born over time. Some of them many months before I actually take the shot. Many of them start off as something I notice when I am not photographing. Some of them come from the days I am out with my camera, but have missed the shot, usually from hesitation. That is when the idea is born and it then becomes a case of hunting it down.
These ideas form a list of possible photographs that float around in my head, some come out later in the process of photographing, but I have already identified them, so I recognise it when I see it.
Other ideas I have to pursue, like these photographs above. All of these images began from noticing and searching for a way to express a point. They made it onto my list of possible photographs to make, capture and hunt down. All of these pictures were born in the same way and now as I approach the end of this project my list get s smaller.
I have often found it helpful to just get up and go somewhere else, to take photographs. The slight differences of other cities, the people, the pace and atmosphere all help to excite and inspire me to take photographs. The newness and difference seems to spark other areas of my brain into seeing clearly, and grasping other photo opportunities. I have found this a very productive way to make pictures.
I am also using this approach in my portraits. I have been contacting families from different backgrounds and set ups to my own. When I go to their homes any differences immediately draw me in, excite my brain and help me see different possibilities. I am a people lover – I want to get to know people and understand them. This approach to making portraits opens my eyes wide and helps me to be more open with my picture making.
This first photograph above, was taken on a trip to Cardiff, where I especially love to photograph. I now have a close connection to Cardiff from doing my Pop up Portrait Studio there last year. I find the people to be very open and there is less anxiety when I ask to photograph their children.
The second photograph was taken last week in Bristol. I contacted the local Rabi to see if he might be able to put me in touch with a Jewsish family, that would participate in my book project. He has a daughter and two sons and they were interested in my work. They were such a lovely interesting family and I had a lot for fun working with all three children to make the pictures. This image is a little different for me, a bit less controlled, more open maybe. Working with the children went really well and I felt comfortable enough and absorbed in the process to let them guide me. I am really enjoying meeting new people and seeing that reflected in my photographs.