“The first exercise in this project has no set subject because its subject is the search itself. It’s about intuitively wandering about in a visually alert state of mind. You’re seeking ‘pictures’ – whatever that means in that place, on that day. Don’t go to a place you’re familiar with – go somewhere new. Photograph whatever interests you, what catches your attention, what is ‘salient’.”
So, the idea was to wander around exploring, without much aim, taking shots. This is not really how I operate usually. Usually I don’t just wander. Normally I have a clear idea of why I have gone to a certain place, and the kind of shots I will return with. There is obviously flexibility within this, but the general feeling of the images is already in my mind. So it was rather out of my comfort zone to wander for a few hours with no direct plan. I went to a place I had been before – I used to go out with a girl that lived there – but hadn’t been for quite a few years. Its a seaside harbour, an actual ferry port, along with yacht clubs, and a promenade etc.
I started taking some shots just of the port, these were more typical of what I would have taken. But as I wandered, I started taking more shots not of cityscapes, seascapes, landscapes, or people, but merely shapes, tones, textures and planes. This became a really interesting ‘abstract expressionist’ project. I started to vary greatly the direction of the shots, plus my eye-line – sitting-up, standing on things, shooting just at my feet. Aiming for Rothko, Hodgkin or Kiefer abstractions I started using the varieties of stones, colours of the seaweed, even bird poo as paint.
I drove to the location, parked and wandered. I took my smaller Fuji camera, with a prime lens, so no changes – I find myself feeling less intrusive with this camera. Not all the shots were successful, obviously. But I really enjoyed the freedom of walking. I wandered over rocks, crawled under benches, leaned over ledges – so despite my initial apprehension it turned into a very enjoyable morning.