Sunday, 24 February 2013

A Further Introduction

I feel like it's bad blogger decorum to start a blog and then not post for several months, or however long it's been. For that reason, I thought I'd share with you today a little project I worked on a while ago which involved a few shots of my hometown. I'll call it an extended introduction to myself as I have lived in the same house for the whole of my life, so therefore feel like the place in which I live has contributed a little bit to me becoming... well, me.

I have lived in the town of Ramsgate, Kent for all of my 17 years on this planet, and have therefore come to know it well. Living in the same postcode for all my life has cast a shadow over my perception of the area, and the negatives stand out far more than the positives. So when I was shooting a series of photos that portrayed how I felt about my hometown, images that popped into my mind where those taken by the likes of Don McCullin and James Natchwey. Of course, I do not live in a place of quite so much war and conflict as those which were captured in there documentaries, however I am often confronted with poverty, hardship and youths with criminal tendencies in my day to day life. This is what I imagine when I think of the place I grew up in.

I, at first felt that to shoot in black and white would say more about my personal view, as when I think of black and white photography I imagine the moody works of photographers past. For example, Robert Capa’s dark war photography would always be without colour and this contributed to how his photos where perceived. His photo’s where hard-hitting, and showed the worst of a bad situation. I felt inspired by the style of his photos, with most looking like they had been shot at a moment’s notice whilst some looked so perfect and so dramatic that others have questioned there authenticity. However even when photos such as ‘The Fallen Soldier’ where proven to be staged, they still told the truth about what was happening in the world.

I wanted my photos to capture the same tone, to put my town in an extremely negative light, with black and white symbolising the lack of colour I personally see in how Ramsgate’s population behaves and the way it’s presented. But when it came to taking the photos, I realised the colours also added to the stories behind each image. It was when wondering around the Harbour and Highstreet I noticed how lonely the people of Ramsgate are. From a man in dirty clothes, rushing to his destination whilst the world stood still around him, to a bedraggled woman enjoying a moments peace whilst the world sped past, all my photos have an element of reality that would not be there if  it were not for the colours in them. James Natchwey would use colours in many of his photographs, and in his 9/11 series, the colour of the smoke contrasting with the clear blue sky and the orange flames tells a story of earth shattering catastrophe in a word where, unlike in the movies, nature doesn’t replicate man’s own destruction. I felt that in my photographs, whatever the dank, monotonous subject was, it would stand out against an ironic pop of colour. Ramsgate is a town where its appearance is everything, and you could almost say its shop fronts and quaint street signs make it appear as if it is trying to be something it is not.

My series of images depicts a town that is not cared for in a way that it should be, a town that has been left to struggle through. However what makes my home the place it is, isn’t the litter on the floor or the endless rows of estate agents. It is the people that walk the streets that remind me of the reality that is living here, and this is what I hope my photos portray.  

PS. It says 'Punk'

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