I started to take a keen interest in photography again around 2007 and wanted to develop my skills a little further. At the time all I had was a little Fujifilm FinePix F31fd which was an incredible camera for its compact size and sensor. I soon upgraded to a second hand Nikon D70 and got quite obsessed with learning how to use it. I had also got quite obsessed with Flickr and sharing of images and the community based around it.
I’m not quite sure how I found out about the idea but I ended up starting a 365 project in 2009. The idea being that you take a photo every single day for an entire year in the hope that you get better at taking / making photos or just a nice way of reflecting on what happened that year. My images were all uploaded to Flickr at the time and remain there. What started off as a fairly lame set of pictures quickly improved resulting in a complete obsession with photography. It also resulted in purchasing all sorts of cameras and equipment as well as going on a course to learn all about MTB photography. I also learnt how to use my tools – Lightroom, Bridge and Photoshop, although I’ve since toned down the processing by some considerable margin.
One of the nicest things about the process was looking back and seeing themes develop – these included angles, shadows, night photography, some architecture, more abstract shapes, street photography, riding shots and also the occasional portrait once I’d begun to understand off camera flash.
There were also some pretty desperate times running around trying to find something interesting to take a picture of at 11.45pm after getting back late from work. Can I make this towel rail into an abstract image? More often than not, yes!
At the end of all of this I made a book with Blurb and have a copy of it at home still. I use it once a year to show students at Bath University why you should consider a photo project.
Fast forward ten or so years and I’m still taking lots of photos and have a successful Architectural Photography business. When I say I take loads of photos I mean with a phone (iPhone X as of writing) and the chances or reasons to take a compact camera are reduced. Most of these photos find their way to Instagram after a quick edit in VSCO on the phone. Other photography is often work related and I felt I needed a reason to pick up the camera again and have it with me all the time and be more creative with photography and experiment a bit more.
As with all these things I’ve made some rules to consider:
It’s got to be taken on the day – obviously. No cheating.
No iPhone! Must be shot with a proper camera, currently a Ricoh GR II or Nikon D700 / D810 + various film cameras.
No work photos or commissioned work.
Minimal cropping or editing. I have an astigmatism in one eye so all my pics come out wonky by 2 degrees. I’m allowing myself some straightening and cropping.
No wholesale image manipulation. The only one I’m going to allow is stitching two images together with a shift lens. But no comping of people / birds / cloning etc.
Upload them all to Flickr each day to an album.
Post a weekly summary to Instagram and this blog.
And then there’s the things I want to start looking at:
People, friends, candid shots.
More street photos – be braver and more confident!
Documenting my local environment, the things everyone else walks by and misses. The oddities and wonderful things around Camberwell and Peckham.
Go to new places on the way to work / home from work. Break out of that bubble.
Use it as an excuse to shoot new and interesting Architecture on spec in and around London.
Documenting more interesting buildings, Brutalist, Art Deco, PoMo.
Low key / high key shooting / processing.
Shadows / form / texture / angles – the favourites!
And of course recording more cycling imagery but better than ever before.
And here’s image number one taken at the early hours of this morning of another photographer capturing the fireworks over London. Just got to try and not forget a day and get this back into my daily routine…