The time has come for me to make my second visit to my home town, Workington. After my first visit I wasn't particularly happy with a lot of the images a got post edit. Due to the weather I was getting really flat images and of course, the weather this time around..
Miserable and wet. Part of me hoped that would add to images, as I don't really want bright and positive ensuing images as that is not how I see Workington. I guess this is, but it doesn't make for a strong image. For now I'll focus on getting some shots indoors. Inside my family home which has a different feel to the town.. For me, anyway.
In case I hadn't mentioned it earlier.. I'm not sure what's going on with my work! So I've been doing a little research to contextualise my work, or at least see what other people are doing to see where my work fits in the grand scheme of things.
I remembered buying a book a while back, Chris Harrison's I Belong Jarrow. It happens to be a project in which Harrison has returned to his home town of Jarrow in the North East of England.
"I never wanted to leave Jarrow. I always imagined that one day I would make it my home. I realise now that I can never return. Somehow I traded knowledge of the outside world for some vital piece of me. With this realisation, I have returned home in order to try to establish how much of where I am from determines who I am, and to begin to understand why I can't seem to let go."
Below are a small number of Harrison's work from the project.
The work is obviously a personal journey for Harrison, but again I am faced by someone who likes where they come from. Frequently people tell me they miss home and that even though they left for whatever reason's they did, they want to be back there.
I am the complete opposite to this. My home town of Workington in Cumbria - I can't imagine anything worse than having to move back there. Granted without it I wouldn't be who I am today, but is that really such a good thing? I wouldn't say I like who I have become and I do blame where I come from for that. Perhaps home just means something different to me as it does for everyone else. Or maybe there's just something wrong with me.
Back to Harrison - who's work is very much similar to the work I have began making in subject matter and partly in style. What makes this book a little more special is that opposite particular images he has included handwritten text, giving a bit of background to the opposite image and his memories. Maybe this is something I could do with my work?
"Hopefully, by photographing places I know intimately I can show something we all instinctively recognise; that as L.P. Hartley said so eloquently "The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there"." - Chris Harrison
I've finally gotten around to looking at the recent photograph's taken in Workington. And honestly, I'm not too impressed - definitely not my greatest work. However it is early days and I am working in a genre that is somewhat new to me. There is one photograph I took that stood out
Portraiture is where I feel most comfortable so I wanted to try putting myself into the landscape. I wanted the image to be super crisp, and so was shooting at ISO 100, f22 with my 50mm lens. This of course made for a long exposure. The shot was set up, I got into position and with my remote took the shot. I of course foolishly forgot that the exposure would be long and so moved during. Hence blurred portrait.
I'm pretty happy with this image. In this project I'm thinking about my hometown and my disconnect to it and everything within the town. I wasn't sure how I wanted to represent this in my work but I may have (through my own idiocy) found a way of representing that. Or at least I have came across something worth investigating further.
I've been in Workington for a couple of days now and been out and about shooting anything that takes interest to me really. I've been looking around places that hold something with me whether it be memories or places that mean something to me. Things feel different this time though. Places that used to mean something now mean little or nothing - but this is interesting in itself. I've changed and so has the places that meant something to me. Now they're just a distant memory.
Below are some images taken on my phone of some of the locations I visited.
I'm not 100% sure where this work is going. Nor is it my sort of work to make therefore I'm unsure as to whether it's any good, but hopefully the editing process will help show me the way.
So, I'm not one for doing something like (keeping a blog and what not) so bare with me.
I recently got on to a mentoring programme called the New Photographers Guild based in Glasgow and we have been advised to keep a blog or a journal of our goings on and what not so I'm doing just that.
The first session ended with suggesting I go back home to Workington in Cumbria and start there on a project based on Migration. And today I have done just that and will shooting over the next couple of days.
I'm struggling to keep motivated after such a deflating three years of uni and juggling photography with working part time in a gallery gift shop. Just from talking about my potential project during the first session has me thinking about home and where we come from. I have reached a pivotal point in my life which currently for me lacks purpose and meaning. I think it's important to consider how far we have come and our background from time to time. Maybe now is the time to do that, with the NPG giving me the opportunity.
Fingers crossed for a positive few months!