Sunday, 25 November 2012

I think I've managed to stay on the bus.

Days are shorter and the harvest is in. Blogs are neglected.

How many blogs have you seen start a new post with apologies like: 'Can't believe I haven't posted anything for x weeks now!' or 'Sorry for not posting for so long', etc.?  Well, I'm not going to despite weeks having past since the last blog post. Why post something when you have nothing to say? In my case, I've just been letting myself mull over thoughts and trying to make some sense of them. Anyway...

I've been experimenting with titles for my images. Titles I find difficult. Some say you should let the viewer create their own association/story looking at the picture. I can agree with that but a title can help to hint at the atmosphere of a place.

When I visit abandoned communities and cottages, I genuinely feel that sense of isolation, hardship, abandonment and loss. As soon as I enter a property I can almost see the husband and wife going about their daily routines, trying to keep it all together against rising rents, falling prices and the growing lure of the big city or abroad. Standing at the bedroom or kitchen window I can quite easily imagine how they felt or what might have been going through their minds at various stages of their life.

So I started to give images titles which were essentially the thoughts I had at the time of the shot. The reaction was generally positive which surprised me a bit. Have a look at some of these images here, here and here. Not sure this approach has much mileage though.

Another change I'm working on is how I organise my images. Initially I organised them by location because it made sense and I believed (and still do) that many people search for images of abandoned places by the name of the property or area. That's fine. But at a Scottish Photographers' meet up in Dingwall, it was suggested I organise all the interior shots together and make a portfolio of them. So for the next meet I quickly (last minute everything!) gathered a set of interior shots of places all over Aberdeenshire. The effect of doing this was instant. I saw a theme, a story, a body of work I hadn't fully realised I was creating! Yes, I'm that dumb. In a book I'm working on, I can see me including thumbnails on a page which could have a whole set of fireplaces or windows on it for example.

With such straight forward and useful advice, my approach to my photography has moved on a bit. I just wish I could meet up with more photographers and artists on a more regular basis. Something to work on for 2013.

Conversations on twitter have helped me stay focused on what I want to do and not be swayed off course by being affected by lack of views, comments, likes, favourites etc. Thanks to Rob and Lucy I've stayed on the bus.

And finally some images of a fortunate find. To locate abandoned properties I tend to read local history books, tour the countryside on my bike or in my car and scour maps at home. Some I find by chance when looking for another place and this particular cottage I found that way but better than that, it had some of the best and weirdest graffiti and art work I've ever seen in a ruin.

If you're wondering about the post title read this

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