Monday, 30 May 2011

When At The Crossroads

When At The Crossroads

When you're plodding along, often times at full speed ahead, it is inevitable that you lose sight of everything in the peripheral. Everything may seem to be going right or everything may seem to be going wrong. In some cases and certainly in my own, everything may very well look the same. Each step brings the same stretch of of monotony. Imagine it, if you will, as you were walking down one of the many straight and distraction free roads in Kansas. Hundreds of miles of nothing but featureless landscape and empty concrete.

Eventually; however, you have to get somewhere and sticking with the metaphor above, that will usually be a crossroads. Do you just continue straight ahead with no thought? Do you quickly make a decision and go where the roads may take you? Or, do you sit down, have a breather and ponder what has led you here, to this grave stretch of monotony.

Clearly, nobody likes to feel they've lost their way or to feel they've gone wrong somewhere, but in my own case I feel that I have.

After much thought, I realise that this result has happened because of other people, through no fault of their own, offering their input on what I should be doing. It is I that have taken on all those advices and criticisms without flinching. It is my fault that I haven't fully considered whether each piece fits my puzzle or not. So, in taking on everything that's come to me, I became lost, muddled and clouded in judgement, following a path set out by the whims of others.

That's no good.

In doing so, I've lost sight of my own goals; of which I don't even remember if I had any. Instead, just putting one foot in front of the other in order to reach a destination that I'm truly unaware of whether or not it exists. Walking to my own grave if you will.

Now if you've read this far, I am immensely sorry that this is such a personal post; however, it is not a negative one, I promise that at least if you'll only bear with me.

So here I sit, at an intersection and I've been here for quite some time.

Do I ignore the consequences, pick myself up and keep going? Do I say "Screw it" and take a path unknown? Or do I sit here longer, pull out an atlas and plan my own journey; thorough and concise.

Two options are easy. The third, in theory, should be just as easy, yet I find it the most frightening and intimidating of the lot.

However, I am quite exhausted of this free roaming existence with no end result in sight. No goals and no purpose. In that statement alone, I believe I have my answer.

So here it is; a mandate to myself.

Don't do it to yourself anymore. I will plot my own course through this journey. I will take steps as quickly or slowly as each leg requires. But most of all, after each step, I will quantify the results and if that particular facet of the journey does not lead me closer to a goal, then it shall not be repeated.

Most of all, I will strive to enjoy and learn from every single moment on the way.

I am still at the crossroads, but now I'm sat here diligently planning my next move.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Project: Yorkshire Fashion Industry

Project: Yorkshire Fashion Industry

For one of my University assignments this semester, I have been tasked with creating a body of work that encapsulates a genre of photography. In my case, I was more or less directed to stay away from fashion and contemporary portraiture for obvious reasons. With those limitations in mind, I also thought it would behoove me to steer away from still-life and music photography as well. 

It took a few weeks of very hard thinking to conceptualise a project that would maintain my interest as well as help to further my individual pursuits. Inspiration finally came after I remembered a little snippet I read on Joe McNally's blog quite a while ago regarding how National Geographic spreads are shot. Now, I know most people associate National Geographic with wildlife and pretty landscapes, but I associate it with brilliant reportage and documentary on all manner of subjects; the article I always think of first when I think of National Geographic is one on Caffeine. In Joe's post, he reflected that it used to be 1500 rolls of film used to be shot for a single article. That single sentence provided incredible insight to the quality of photography that National Geographic is famed for. Also stuck in my brain, were that these articles were not comprised of any one genre of photography, but rather encompassed all genres.

With these two notions in my head, I proposed to my tutor that I actually prepare a documentary article on the subject of the Yorkshire based fashion industry (focusing on South and West Yorkshire) and present the final product in the form of a magazine. 

Once I had her approval, I began evolving the idea further. More inspiration for the project came from the unlikely source of Magnum photographer Martin Parr during a lecture he gave in Huddersfield. Mr. Parr is currently working on a project based on his fashion work in which his output is no other than a magazine. The inspiration comes from the fact that he is actually including advertising (produced himself) in his magazine as well as the content. 

Along with my own ideas for the project, the bits of inspiration from these two legendary documentary photographers helped me to provide a solid plan for my project as outlined below:

Goal: To create a photographic and journalistic article that documents the current state and history of the fashion industry in the region of South and West Yorkshire and produce  the final output in a magazine format with intent to exhibit the body of work at a later date.

In order to achieve this enormous task, I intend to research and document the following:

  • Independent Designers and their workspaces
  • Fashion Retail
  • Independent Boutiques
  • Street Fashion
  • Textile Industries
  • Independent Craft Fairs
  • Fashion Recycling/ Charity Shops
  • Shopping Culture
  • Beauty Industries
  • Fashion Shows and Trade shows
  • Fashion Related Advertising (Billboards, shop windows, etc)
I need to have the majority of the work done for the beginning of May in order to prepare the final output for the hand-in date, but it should be entirely possible to finish the project in that time frame.

I am open to virtually anyone getting involved in the project as long as it is fashion and beauty based (even if it's not covered in the list above). Please feel free to get in touch via the comments section, the contact forms on my website or by Facebook.

I'm very excited about undertaking a project with huge potential and I very much appreciate the time you took to read this! If you can help in anyway, please don't hesitate!