I’ve just posted onto social media the final image in my most recent mini-series, a study of seaweed, made across two afternoons and a couple of hours with a camera. It takes the form, as do many of my small or short series, of a number of images borne out of an unplanned short term obsession with a subject matter happened upon whilst out wandering.
Whenever this happens, I invariably stumble across something which catches my eye as I’m out with the expectation of making images of something else completely. I spend half an hour or so working a composition and suddenly find myself ‘in the zone’ with the subject, and time passes by unnoticed while I begin to ‘see’ more and more images emerge in front of me. Everything else around me disappears and herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plains right behind me would go unnoticed and unphotographed.
In my recent interview with Sam Gregory on The Togcast I spoke about how during moments like this I become completely abstracted from the landscape, merely looking at shapes, form, tones etc in a frame. It is this total, complete and utter focus I was referring to where everything else around me is simply excluded from my senses and goes unnoticed. A time of inner peace, intense focus, almost meditative.
However, in the case of this particular series, the catalyst was a previous moment of wandering, with Sam, the evening before we recorded the interview. It was the rocky ledges of Portland and the desiccated strands of seaweed, crisped up and tangled as a result of the heat of the summer that led to me making this image.
That in turn got me thinking about the coast, the strand line and seaweed for the first time in a while. It was a month or two before I had the opportunity to find myself on the beach again, in the company of Greg Whitton and his bloody drone, and to bring that image back to the forefront of my mind as I found myself slipping and sliding like Bambi on ice across a much more hydrated version of the seaweed I encountered back in Dorset. I fully understand that for most people seaweed is seaweed and they wish I’d stop pointing my camera at my feet, but for me every time I look down I see harmony and beauty in the things everyone else walks by, and I enjoy that challenge of making the unseen seen. I think that’s my role as a photographer and the aim of pretty much all that I do with the camera. So yes, I look at my feet a lot and I’ll be doing so for a while yet.
Upon posting that final image, the last in a series of fifteen, Paul Kenny challenged me to edit those fifteen down to just three. That man knows how to set a challenge, and knew exactly what he was doing when he asked me to do it. I’ve spent a large part of the evening taking that challenge on and Paul knew I’d find it a tricky task, as editing ruthlessly always is…but…challenge accepted Paul…here you go, my set of three.
The whole series was shared out over social media fairly quickly so most people won’t have had the opportunity to see all the images, so I’ve brought them altogether here, along with The Beginning that started it all off. You can also get to them in the gallery here.
Right, where’s the next series…..