London, May 2013.
London, May 2013.
Rome in a Day (Continued)
One of my first outings with 35mm was in one of the most picturesque places in Europe. I think I was about 16 when I travelled to Rome with my mother; either a long bank holiday weekend, or a mid-term break from school meant that we had a rare chance to escape the unremarkable norm. A city break offered an ideal space for the wanderings of a mother and her son, one still learning the joy of discovery, not only from seeing the world through his own eyes, but through a 50mm Pentax lense too.
In all honesty, I remember very little of our trip, and most of the memories I can recall upon are built around the images I have taken. When I look at the pictures I can build the scene around them, and contextualise the image within, what I assume, is a true memory of the time and place it was taken. In fact, these memories might not be memories at all, but may in fact just be fabrications, scenes of fiction that I have created around the photographs that I cannot fully remember taking.
Though I can’t recall the exact course of our trip, I remember the feelings that were felt and the sense of the place as a destination. My strongest memory of Rome is that of a summery haze – a sun-lit tinge and general indistinctness to everything. Though I’m sure we didn’t venture to Rome in the summer time, every building or space or vista or person or tree or road seemed to be smothered in heat. I don’t remember being conscious of this while taking the photographs, I was more concerned with simply documenting what I was seeing at the time, though the photos do a good job of communicating that feeling.
A long time ago, in what seems like a galaxy far, far away, I spent a day in Glasgow, as I often did, wandering aimlessly with my camera. Okay, so maybe not entirely aimless in my endeavours; I had been set a challenge so use one roll of expired black and white film during the day, and then spend the afternoon developing and processing the images. What follows are not particularly thematic photographs, but they do catch Glasgow in its true state; un-pampered, yet forgiving – she won’t be angry that you photographed her straight out of bed without her make-up on. These photos just ARE Glasgow.
I was looking for some photographs I had taken a few years ago, and came across this folder – dusty and unopened, in the depths of my Macbook. Clicking through, I couldn’t help feel nostalgic about that time when I was truly discovering the possibility of photography. It was also a time when I was experimenting with developmental processes; learning to ‘create’ my own photographs, straight through from clicking the shutter, to holding the final image in my hands. It helped me to understand how the process itself has contributed so much to the medium, and the subtle differences between digital and film; the differences between the old and the new that now seem so obvious.
Hopefully, viewing these photos will give someone an insight into what it is that makes a Glasgow, Glasgow? Maybe everyone says that their home city or town is special, and we are all just guilty of bias, but I truly believe that we are in some way moulded by where we are brought up, and that the experience of home goes on to shape how you deal with your surroundings as you walk the plank of life. Or maybe I’m just feeling sentimental and rabbiting on a load of tripe – who knows?
— John Lennon
Untitled self, London, 2013.
While staying in Harrow over the last few weeks, I couldn’t help become fascinated with a huge development nearby.
Originally meant to be built as ‘luxury designer apartments’, the development itself has ended up and desolate heap, not far from Harrow-on-the-hill tube station.
For weeks, I passed this place to and from work, and looked for ways to gain entry, as there are large fences on all sides, as well as security cameras. However, I suspected that the cameras themselves were defunct, doubting there was any money left to pay for security, after the developer’s bank account ran dry.
On a wet Sunday morning, I endeavoured to leap the fence, after clearing some advertising boards at the road. Once inside I wandered around, shooting most of what I saw. But it wasn’t until I descended into the basement, or what I assume was intended to be a car-park, that I took this shot.
The more I look at this photograph, the less I recognise it as reality. Now, it now seems like a surrealist pastel drawing; a mirrored image of a doorway to another place, and not simply a darkened stairway in an abandoned building. This building has ceased to be a real and measurable attempt to create a living space, instead becoming a dreamlike structure reflecting the difficulties of developing something new.