I went to a screening of Martin Parr’s film ‘Turkey and Tinsel’ last week. Martin Parr makes films, but we don’t get to see them that much. There were books for sale too, but it wasn’t a photo book event as such. After the film there was food and music. As Martin busted his moves to Slade on the dancefloor I was in the back room hudled around a table looking at photo book projects. This is where I have ended up at previous Photo Book Bristol events. It’s my favourite spot, for after the main event the nurturing environment and the shared love for photo books in Bristol takes hold.
My own photo book will be self published next year and it will be a direct product of this environment. It will be ‘made in Bristol’. Akina’s book making workshop, and all the talks I have been to at IC Visual lab and Photo Book Bristol have seeped into my work. The relationships I have made with the Bristol photo book crowd have helped me to think about, edit and give me the confidence to pursue self publishing my own book. The book will be designed in Bristol by Victoria Forrest.
I’m not the only one. There are many of us working on book projects. There will be more photo books ‘Made in Bristol’ – a lot more to come. The scent hangs thickly in the air. If you come and visit, breath deep and don’t be afraid to inhale that luscious scent of the photo book.
I have neglected my blog of late and that’s mostly due to being pregnant. It’s not that my head is already full of parenting dilemmas – which pushchair to by? To swaddle or not to swaddle? My brain is still firmly focused on photography. The arrival of another member of the family looms large as a clear cut deadline for getting my work done, in particular – my book published, while I still can.
This lack of writing is due to many things, tiredness and lack of motivation in early pregnancy, concentrating on the work that really needs to get done, but I blame it mostly on a lack of caffeine. Caffeine has always been my friend when I need to write. Of course I can still write, but its not as much fun. I’m less sparky – its more like hard work.
With the role of being a new mum again on the horizon, mixed with the excitement, contentment and anticipation is a sadness. As I know that my work will stop. I know this from experience with child number 1. I know that when you care for a totally dependant human being that it is all consuming. There isn’t the space left in your brain for the creative thought necessary for making decent photographs. When my daughter was 18months old she started to go to a childminder one day a week. This gave me some thinking time and only then did I get any ideas for my work. My work gradually got stronger and more prolific as she went onto nursery and then school.
I will still be able to get on with the office based work and setting up the Photo Bristol network. That doesn’t require the same kind of thinking. But the work.. the ideas… and making photographs will go. I’ll miss that.
I’ve always disliked the phrase “Having It All”. I’m not greedy. I don’t want it all. I want two things and they are to have a family and make photographs, because if I can’t do those things I am only half of what I am. I don’t buy into this picture of perfect parenting that I see all around me. As with all the good things in life having a baby is full of mixed emotions. I already love this baby, but I will miss my work. I live in hope of a baby that sleeps and an extended 1 day a week paternity leave.