As Greater Manchester heads towards Tier 3 of the Governments new set of lockdown restriction, I find myself asking how much worse 2020 can get. I’ve also started looking forward to 2021, albeit with the same level of trepidation as a first time skydiving student, who finds themselves in that ‘arse-twitching’ moment between pulling the ripcord, and the parachute opening. Hope, it would seem, is an essential requirement during strange times that we live in.
I find myself reflecting on how 2020, and how it started with such promise; I was able to shoot the Pixies gig, and as someone who’s a fan, it was an absolute pleasure. It was one of the busiest pits I’ve been it, so you really needed your dancing shoes on, as not to get knocked over, but great fun all the same. As a photographer, I love shooting live music. It’s the energy that I feed off. The buzz that comes from the crowd behind you, and the artist in front, it’s a real adrenalin kick.
In the pit for Lewis Capaldi was great fun, as he has a great interaction with the crowd. He doesn’t just come on, sing his songs and then leave. There’s a real element of fun in his show, which is great.
Covering Morrissey at Leeds arena was a strange one, as we all thought we would be let into the pit, then suddenly we where led to the sound & lighting desk, and told that we had to shoot from there. Keeping in mind that the S&L desk is about 50 metres away from the stage, with a crowd of about 5000 people in front of you, you realise you just have to deal with it. Thankfully, I was able to stand on stand on the barrier that surrounded the desk, but I still had to crop into the image to get something from the frame. That’s one of the small mercies of using a Hi-res DSLR.
In the pit for The Stereophonics at Manchester Arena, for what was to be my last gig of the year, was an absolute blinder. We had been taken right to the end of the runway and told not to move. Just as I was worrying that I’m gonna have to shoot on a long lens, the bands tour photographer, Hans-Peter van Velthoven, leans over to me and says “Wait for chorus. That’s when the lighting really kicks in”, and he wasn’t wrong.
2020 suddenly decided to rogue, and before I knew it, it was national lockdown. During this time, as for most other working photographers, all the work disappeared. No gigs, no editorials, no fashion, no nothing.
Then, with the murder of George Floyd in America, there was this ground swell. Anger, disgust, and an overwhelming feeling that ‘enough is enough’, people from all walks of life, using social media, email, word of mouth, came together to protest. I now found myself documenting people power. Covering the first 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in Manchester started as work. It was very much a case of, get the images, file them to an agency, and then hope that they sell. This was also the case for the XR (Extinction Rebellion) protests.
Now this is where I get all a bit ‘Hippy’, but I honestly believe that 2020 as a year, is not about Covid-19, but that it’s actually about change, and that it’s an opportunity for us all to do things in a better way. The only problem is, that a lot of people don’t like change, and so they fight against it. But without change, we don’t progress, we don’t grow, we fail to learn the lessons of the past, and so subsequently, we miss a golden opportunity for something better.
By the second BLM protest, and various other protests that began to take place, I realised that something changed, and I started to feel that for me as a photographer, it was much about ‘documenting the event’, rather than just feeding the media. Don’t get me wrong, I still file images to the agencies, but that’s not the driving force behind the process. So, I started to spend more time looking for specific images, talking to people, engaging with your fellow humans, and you soon find that, it’s the interaction that lays the groundwork for getting the images. This process allows for new connections to be made, and in time this leads to other images being made, such as the portrait of Rap/spoken word artist, Jay Chambers. Which brings me back to taking photographs of musicians, going full circle if you will.
Images above taken by Naomi Lee Voss, Burnley July 2019
There was a time when I once thought failure was creativity’s kryptonite, but over the years I’ve come to understand that doubt is the secret supervillain that framed failure. Doubt often blames failure (or the thought of potential failure) for lack of progress, when in reality it’s doubt that ultimately wreaks havoc beyond all possible progress. Failure after all, is an essential part of progress; embrace it, cherish it, it’s a sign your going in the right direction. Doubt however is fear in disguise (we’ve all done it), doubting our ideas, doubting our skill and ability, doubting our place in the creative industry, until we are so full of doubt we often cease to create anything.
There’s no real way of permanently expelling doubt, but it’s important to understand when your feeling stuck and in its grasp, how to redirect that energy into something more constructive. When I feel it creeping up on me, I find the best thing to do as a photographer is to grab my camera and walk. I started this process last year, observing and interacting with the area and people in my home town of Burnley. Some days I would take one or no images and others I would feel a type of synchronicity in the process and ask stranger after stranger that I’d encounter throughout the day if I could take their portrait, after all and this is important, so take note… the worst thing they can say is no. Of course approach is important and mindfulness of subject, situation and location are all essential but the point of these walks for me was essentially not to have a point, not to overthink and to get out of my own head.
Images above taken by Naomi Lee Voss, Burnley July 2019
The walks started to slowly give me confidence and kept the debilitating doubt monster at bay, whilst also steadily and subconsciously keeping creative output flowing, even if at the time it wasn’t for anything beyond my own enjoyment. Earlier this year, after conversations with other creatives, I began to realise most of us often have this feeling of being stuck due to being filled with doubt, not knowing where to turn or how to move away from it (many I realised were graduates like myself).
This got me actively engaging with others and putting out an open call for anyone interested in one on one photo walks based in the North West, utilising photography as a means to explore, chat and shoot. The idea was to help build on confidence, whilst also creating a safe environment when exploring areas and people out in the open with varied photographic equipment (expensive or not). This intimate set up created an atmosphere that wasn’t overwhelming for myself, the other participant or the public. Such a small way of working then became particularly important during the pandemic and when lock down eased up, keeping the walks to a one on one system made more sense for more reasons beyond a laid back un-invasive approach.
For those that have taken part in the Photo Walk Project so far, it has been a great resource for collaboration and interaction and I hope that each person I have explored with and each person that has gone on to explore with others, has taken something away from their experiences that will help them in some way. Below are a range of images (all credited accordingly), that have been taken during the Photo Walk Project so far. This project will be continuing in the future, so if you are reading this and want to join in, feel free to message me on instagram @lee.vossfor more information or make it your mission to arrange a photo walk yourself with others, either way, don’t stop creating.
‘Photo walks are a great way to mix with other creatives, I have will continue to arrange more in the future’ – Calum Haywood
‘Photography can be quite technical so it comes as a welcome change to be able to talk to people about some of its nuances, specifically film photography’ – Daniel Oyegade
The lockdown and the random waffling’s of a multitasking mother;
I think that like most life-changing events, you always remember where you were. For me I was sat watching a live bulletin on BBC on the days leading up to lockdown making sure I was up to speed on what to expect! Well, so I thought. That night we went into lockdown as a nation together “we were all in this together”. The school was shut, the university was closed, and we had to stay home.
Like so many others, I hopped straight on the internet and started finding ways of planning our lockdown together. Making a timetable of home-schooling and what we were supposed to be doing, even down to walking the dog. However, ‘the best-laid plans and all’ I think my own personal plan lasted the equivalent of two hours. The pressure that I had put on myself to be a teacher, PhD student, mother and wife were unachievable, and it made everyone in the house miserable.
This is where my creativity came in a while trying to give my son some kind of home-schooling education and I did it the only way I could by being creative. Letting my son and I just go out for walks and giving him a camera to document his lockdown. This turned into a really lovely project, using only his images we decided to frame each image like a instagram grid. He also had to experiance his 5th Birthday in lockdown, like millions of people we took to going over the top and hosted a zoom party, you can imagine the fun of a class of 30 plus, five years old on zoom!
While doing this, I also started as a PhD student full time. This began in April, in hindsight this may not have been the best way forward during a global pandemic. My research topic is predominately working with my local communities, especially the older generations and this coupled with the worldwide situation severely scuppered my plans. I must be honest my motivation and confidence therefore, took a considerable hit. Like many others, I was logging on daily try to complete tasks that in the long run, didn’t work. This was a turning point in my mental wellbeing and looking at how I work with my family.
Working on the Two Forty Four Network over lockdown helped me focus on other things like my personal practice. Having network meetings, talking about photography, creativity, projects and even just seeing and talking to others was a big help for my own emotional wellbeing.
As a PhD student, I found that I wasn’t running at the capacity expected of me and with the approch to my first significant deadline, I got a fear of not making my upcomingdeadlines. This, for me, was a defeat I never wanted to come across, especially at the begging of my PhD journey. I have now had to change to Part-time studies and push back my deadlines until December. This has though it felt like a defeat in my progression but it has been a blessing. I have now accepted that I was holding myself to unachievable standards. I think we all do this at some point in our lives and this only came to the forefront of my my mind during the lockdown.
This post, as you can probably tell by now, is not about a particular project but more a personal account of my lockdown. I have worked with my newest addiction, a Mamyia RB67 and Cyanotypes processes. This kept me enjoying my photography practice and be more creative rather than working solely academically. Learning how to use cyanotypes on fabrics, making connections and sharing a lot more of my work and method. So, the point of this post (no it’s, not just the waffling’s of a multitasking mother) is that the lockdow,n as terrible as it has been for people’s livelihoods, families and health, I’d like to think that we have all learnt something about ourselves. Whether it be that we put too much pressure on ourselves, don’t spend enough time with family or even just the need to be kind to ourselves. We should use this reflection time that we have been given to learn these things and progress through them productively.
At Two Forty Four we have tried to be there for our members not only professionally but personally. Please remember that Alistair and I are here. As we are looking at more lockdowns and a confusing and insecure future our doors are always open with the kettle already brewing.
From me and my crazy family I hope this little read makes you feel a bit more human and helps you realise whatever you are doing you are doing a cracking job!
What it seems the family album does is to tell the story from the adults’ point of view, particularly from a patriarchal point of view… it’s telling the story in that way, all the highlights and ideal parts, that creates a whole set of gaps and absences, that you can’t fill the rest in.’
It seems fitting to discuss this project of Lockdown as we teeter on the edge of a similar circumstance. I myself have found myself having to suddenly had to juggle a self isolating child due to a school Covid positive within his ‘bubble’.
This adapted ‘counter’ photography series looks inward at us as a family during the covid-19 pandemic, using the couch as an anchor. The series portrays re-photography in linear time and highlights newly forming identity, new rituals merged with old, along with the narrative and performance of everyday family life. Reflecting on the adaptability of this new normal way of forced domestic family living. A concept of three chosen images of a possible five that were taken was soon decided and to carry on, until life regained some normality. Little did I know how massive this undertaking was to become. Starting on Thursday the 19th of mach and carried on until Thursday the 3rd of September, equating to 504 final images.
The final large collection shows the highs and the lows of family life. The title idea ‘Limited Focus’ struck almost immediately into the project. I was setting the camera and tripod and taking test shots, and struggling to find the best way to keep everything in focus. Furthermore, discovering that I liked the accidental effects of the sporadic blurry images. The parallel of the blur and limited focus of the camera, along my own limited hazy focus of the unknown seemed apt.
People/families always have a level of habit and rituals in life, but after 24 weeks of the severe and enforced restrictions to life, these rituals are undisturbed and ever so more apparent. Somedays they are totally to be in-braced and relished, other times it feels like you are trapped in arut of our own making. A surreal mixture of the films Groundhog Day, 28 Days Later and Rear Window. As Dr Katrin Joost suggests ‘The shrinking of our space and the forcing of people being together, but also the taring of people being apart globally’.
‘My entire life seems to have been founded on conflict. Both within my family and through wider social contexts, it felt as if there were a continual war going on just beneath the surface, threatening to break out if certain rituals were not observed.’
‘to better understand how, through visual forms of representation, our subjective views of selves, and others, are structured and held across the institutions of media, and through hierarchical social relationships.’
Conceptually and theoretically the work has been underpinned with Jo Spence’s foundation of what she coined, ‘counter photography’. Looking into the idea of the family album being non representative of realistic family life. Family albums do indeed show the good and posed side of the domestic setting, but omits the realities. The same could be true for peoples social media feeds today. The final out come of the project was to address this, showing both the highs and lows of this pandemic. The banality of life, sometimes in performance. The image of me hoovering, it suddenly struck me to say ‘feet up’, something I have never said before, but my own mother has in the past, and I assume My husbands mother had, as he did exactly what I hoped he would do.
Although my husband is very hands on in the house and we have a very equal domestic ground, I felt being torn as the dynamics changed to me being the one working from home. Therefore leaving most things up to Andy. I felt ‘conflicted’ a ‘bad’ mother and wife, that working was utterly selfish. Unlike Andy my work has always had to fit into my domain of motherhood and this switch even as a ‘feminist’ was difficult because of as suggested in Spences quote above ‘ through hierarchical social relationships’. Society has drummed it into me that this was not acceptable.
‘Home is where the heart is’ explores the efficacy of the pursuit of the ownership of land, specifically homes. The project asks why we seem so preoccupied with private land at the cost of community. Whereas, earlier humans lived communally and shared recourses, it seems as though people are retreating more and more into their own separate social bubbles. Until around 10,000 years ago, there were few, if any, permanent homes or villages. People constantly moved around from place to place. The nomadic life of a traveler meant that the people had few possessions. They only took what they could carry. With the proliferation in agriculture, humans traded the life of a hunter-gatherer in favor of growing crops. As time progressed, amassing land became a priority since the amount of land one owned was proportional to their standard of living.
Rather than living communally as humans had done previously, we developed concepts such as private property, further excluding ourselves from others. The project asks if our attachment to the ownership of homes is irrational. There is not necessarily a need for private property perhaps it would make more sense to live communally sharing resources rather than working for years to own a home. As the recent and ongoing lockdown has shown many of us, catharsis is found not found in maintaining one’s own personal bubble but rather, in venturing out and connecting with others.
The project is in essence, a thought experiment, illustrating how life might be if we were to take the preoccupation with privacy to its absurd conclusion. The project consists of twelve images and a short film, using visual storytelling to start a conversation about the way in which the lust for privacy may be increasing instances of loneliness and other such emotions.
I decided to use the familiar backdrop of isolation to frame the ideas. The central character remains dissatisfied with her surroundings, despite her adornment in numerous luxury garments. Her pretence of being content with this lifestyle is gradual shattered through the introspection that comes writing notes to herself.
We asked Nathan Cox to go through what it has been like for him juggling being a teacher and an Masters student;
On the eve of what looks like another full lockdown I’ve been asked to write about my experiences of the first lockdown, although I know my situation wasn’t completely unique it wasn’t the norm. I came at lockdown education from two angles, first being a tutor teaching a module to Level 4 degree students and the second being an MA student completing my modules and final major project.
My lockdown started in stages, I knew that it was coming but it seemed like an age before it was confirmed and it culminated, like for most people on March the 23rd when Uni, college and schools went into full lockdown.
Thinking back now is a strange contemplation; it is a cliché but it does seem like such a long time ago, the complete unknown and May that became such a long year.
I juggled the teaching of the module, which was mercifully coming to an end of specific taught practices, but still had the handing in and assessment stages to complete. Part of that was final printed matter and a certain physicality that could not be enabled through a screen, but all of this would be considered and the students did very well. It was great to see them tackle this adversity and overcome it. Great life lessons for all concerned and the situation presented some new opportunities that I intend to carry forward into teaching further modules and independent practices in future.
My MA modules followed a similar learning path; the use of Microsoft Teams from the other angle was an invaluable experience and one the MA has taught me throughout; seeing teaching from a student angle in real time rather than from my last educational experience, 25 years ago. This situation has taught me to look for things to be grateful for and the things I’m most grateful for in this scenario are that I’m so glad I started my “Socially Engaged” module when I did – before lockdown! This gave me a foundation of work to draw upon so even though it didn’t reach completion, as in I didn’t have chance to do the exhibition with the groups and that I couldn’t start my big “This is Stockport” idea off in ideal circumstances, I still got it to a desired outcome. My other module was the “New Media” which was slightly more affected the imagery produced as the idea and adaptations changed form week to week.
The big thing that loomed large on the horizon was my final project. I had intended it to be a large piece of work exploring themes and ideas surrounding the notion of photographic practices. This was eventually, either by the situation, or just generally shaped into a New Topographical theme based on a trip to get my mum a new microwave. Some of the images can be viewed on my instagram feed (link at the bottom of this post).
The production of the work and the words was a solitary endeavour, with much outside critical evaluation, partly from necessity, by design, timely needs and the situation. I’m sure this approach will affect the final grade but it is what it is.
So thinking about the purpose of this piece, which I think, would be to pass on my experiences and therefore advice:
Keep trying to produce the work, no matter what that is. Make an image out of what you have to hand, set small projects, make time, look through your archives. Sometimes it’s just the act of making time for any aspect of your work that spurs you on to other things. Art is seemingly the one way out of this mess; you can see evidence that it is, with the current government’s persecution of it. The establishment hates it, so make more of it, have fun with it, take it seriously, share it especially in arenas like the Two Forty Four Network, or keep it to yourself, whatever you can – just keep making it and be kind to yourself in that process. It’s ok if you don’t produce anything today, sometimes the sheer act of trying is enough and if that’s not possible then recharge for when you can.
So with all the above in mind, during this situation I have managed to produce some images that have no real home within a project, apart from the Covid diaries format of imagery that I fear is now so populated as to render it indiscernible and invalid from assessment. So here I present 8 images from the last 8 months.
Like many other creatives the national lockdown which began in March affected me greatly; As a photographer that studies the landscape, works on projects hundreds of miles from home and commutes over an hour to study at University, this brought my whole world to a sudden and abrupt end.
At the time of the lockdown down I was still a Master’s student at the University of Central Lancashire and commuting from my home in Stoke-On-Trent. As by some cruel twist of fate, the Lockdown perfectly coincided with a darkroom based module to perfect physical analogue skills in the darkroom, something covid could not allow to continue. Following a hasty change of course and the practical abandonment of the analogue side of the module, I was forced to look at how to be a landscape documentary photographer while stuck in my own home. What follows is a summary of an article written for part of that module.
With no possibility to continue my projects in Cumbria, visit the darkroom in Preston or even meet with friends and colleagues to discuss what on earth I was gonna do to complete this module. But there was still work to be made and study assessments to be completed so I began to work out how to work in isolation. We have all had to explore new ways of working which we would have perhaps never explored before. For me at least, this was no easy task, though moving out of one’s comfort zone is a great way to enhance and forward your practice, it is a very different thing to be forced into that way of working with no alternative. This took quite some time and experimentation to realise what I was going to do with what I had before me. Like many other visual artists, I initially took to the streets to document their emptiness, the long queues for toilet roll or people on their doorsteps unilaterally clapping for the NHS. I soon however, felt very detached from this way of working as if I was merely reacting to the situation rather than creating something fresh or useful from this new world being born before my eyes.
After much of this trial and error, I finally settled on the concept of limited scope study, not limited in the way the virus had (by removing what I would normally do to create a body of work) but by imposing restrictions upon myself that reduced my scope of visual exploration down to a manageable scale. This helped not only focus my work on something steadfast and what, at first, I believed to be unchanging during a time when the larger narrative was so confused, dangerous and continuously changing. I opened up to exploring the method of a project itself as the interesting part of the work, not just how aesthetic the visuals of said project turned out to be, and thus Rear Window; A Study of Creative Practice in Isolation was born. Over the next few weeks I would focus all of my energy onto a frame of just one and a half metres wide by one metre tall, looking roughly 30 degrees north and nothing else. This was my view of the world, my window into the epidemic and in many ways, my tormentor as this project went on.
Named after, and following the premise of, the unforgettable 1954 Hitchcock classic; Rear Window. This work was born from necessity but gave me a greater understanding of the role of our methodology in the production of our work and holding it in as much regard as a project’s final output. The film for those that don’t know, and if you don’t you need to watch it, I cannot do it justice in these short lines. The film’s story follows a photographer who is suddenly rendered incapacitated due to an accident and finds himself isolated to his apartment which faces directly onto another set of apartments. Over the course of the film he observes and photographs the limited view of people’s lives that he can observe from through their windows. Eventually he witnesses what he believes may well be a murder and thus a classic thriller is born.
Though the Hitchcock classic had given me my frame to work with, it was unable to give me a subject matter to visualise. Unlike Jeff, the film’s protagonist, I do not live in central New York and thus do not have the same, uninterrupted view into people’s lives through their windows. Instead, I was presented with a view of a small portion of my neighbours’ backyard and a little of our own, a considerable amount of greenery in the form of trees and bushes separating the view of the street and a scattering of distant houses forming the rest of the housing estate. The question then became; what is it that creates visual interest in this frame, and why should it be photographed?
Working with inspiration from David Moore’s fantastic series ‘The Commons’ and John Baldessari’s visually fascinating series ‘Throwing Four Balls in the Air to Get a Square’, I began working with the idea of documenting the world as I was living in it via a limited scope but while still being able to tell an interesting, but perhaps not obvious, story of the Coronavirus epidemic as I saw it. This led me to combine ideas from both works into one; a study of aspects of the greater view from my window while simultaneously limiting what was visually included in each set of images and avoiding images of the full landscape.
‘Rear Window’ therefore became an amalgamation of ideas and concepts on how to study the worst national emergency the United Kingdom has faced since the Second World War but by doing so in a unique and arguably abstract way. This work, focusing on a view from a bedroom window doesn’t show the empty streets, queues for food or Governmental breakdown. It instead shows parts of our local landscape, often overlooked in the day to day rush of modern life, until our local landscape became the centre point of our current lives. Denied the distractions of the modern life that we were accustomed to, we looked at the landscape outside our windows with a mixture of longing and intrigued at how we had never truly seen it before. This work takes the idea of our local landscape (the view from our homes) that we see every day and, for perhaps the first time, allows our separation from it to open our eyes to the smallest details that makes up our world.
Much like Jeff in Hitchcock’s Rear Window I always had my camera on standby to take photos of whatever struck my interest through my limited frame. As I did so, I began to think more deeply about what I found interesting, why and how that told a story of the new world we found ourselves in. On one occasion I watched, a neighbour across the street take a phone call staring out of the window, a clear reflection of how physically separated we were from one another even with the modern means of communication we possess, he and whoever he was speaking to were separated by an invisible barrier that neither could cross, in a different time they may have been sitting in his front room together.
Beyond just observing the human inhabitants of my micro-landscape, I also turned my lens to its other aspects, mainly the sky and the ground. Over a period of four hours, broken by hourly interjections, I photographed a specific area of the sky and the clouds moving through it. The movement of the clouds and their complexity is often lost to our general observations during daily life, many of us do not have the time to sit and watch the atmospheric ballet play out. During the night I created observations of the unnatural lights that transformed the landscape into something totally different to that during the day. Following observations of shapes and colours at night I began to look at similar themes during the day, noting how green and colourful the foliage had become as the mark of winter had all but vanished. One observation led to another until I had stitched together a portrait of the view from my window, from the comings and goings of my neighbours to the movement of clouds.
Together this range of seemingly unrelated images with little to no visual or contextual connection to one another, bar the frame of which they exist within, come together to tell a story of life in isolation. This is not by far my best work, nor my most interesting to date but it documents one of the most difficult times we have faced in generations. It explores forced change, creative development and growth in a way personal to myself but with themes that all creatives who experienced working during the lockdown encountered. This experience has changed the way I work as a creative, inspired me to continue to grow creatively and has influenced all my work that has come since. Though the Corona Crisis and the national lockdown was so damaging to the creative community it oddly inspired me, pushed me to consider creative avenues I have never thought to journey down before and I have become a better artist as a result. I hope that many creatives will have had similar experiences, or at least they will be able to look back on their work over lockdown as a way to forward their creative thinking and challenge what we all know as contemporary photographic theory.
To begin, this project started as a study of landscape development and local gentrification through exploration of how the UK was moving forward with power and energy, with the rise of green energy and subsequent decrease and removal of traditional power stations. The aim was to explore the effects this was having on a local level by visiting and documenting the towns and local areas which had been affected and how the landscape changed as a result of the now absent landmarks which had become a part of the community. I photographed the demolition of Ironbridge Power Station in Telford to document this change in landscape, with the hope of revisiting this site and others to re-photograph them and document the change in landscape over time. I was forced to abandon this project due to the national lockdown last spring as I could no longer travel further than my immediate home. Although I will still be working on this theme once everything returns to normal, the project then morphed into a documentation of the 2020 UK lockdown through capturing portraits of people living in the North West of England.
The basis of the project was to create a connection between the subject and the viewer through a socially distanced environmental portrait. Each photograph in this series shows the subjects in their home environment, whether quite literally outside the front door or within an environment the subject would call home such as a garden. I wanted each photograph to show the viewer something about the subject in a subtle way so that the information was there for the viewer to unpack, either who the person is or where they are. I also wanted to explore the idea that everyone had lived through the same event during the 2020 lockdown but in vastly different ways through individual experiences and different geographical areas. I wanted each shot to feel unique and to show the subjects space with a personal feel to each image as if using the photograph as a window into peoples’ personal spaces or the home environment during a time of forced isolation.
This project has changed and adapted with the everchanging rules of Britain’s lockdown, meaning that each stage had allowed me to explore the project in different ways as the restrictions changed. I started incorporating photo walks into the project to work with other creatives and shoot in different locations and situations, which by virtue expanded the projects visual material and cultural coverage.
A major theme of this work that I want to explore in the next six days worth of posts here on Two Forty Four’s blog is the connections between the people I have met and interacted with since the start of the lockdown in March 2020. Each day I will be posting a new portrait and a bit about the person, my connection to them and why I decided to photograph them.
To start off this week I’m going to share where this work started with some initial portraits of my family. Like many, I started lockdown stuck at home and decided to use the time to document my time during isolation. I also had a large amount of Kodak film, which I bulk bought in case the Kodak factories shut down production over the lockdown, so I wanted to test it out. My family try to live a sustainable lifestyle with a lot of work outdoors growing food, looking after animals and self-maintaining our home. So, it was interesting to photograph and become involved in this environment and in a way reconnect with that aspect of home life through photography, adding a personal element of nostalgia to the project. Included are images of my parents and sister, taken during this initial exploration of working in lockdown.
Iain Sarjeant and his press are busy producing high quality yet affordable photobooks around the theme of space and landscape.
From the high peaks of the Scottish Highlands Iain Sarjeant, a photographer specialising in work that explores both natural and human environments, has built a small but fascinating independent publisher and press. Another Place Press specialises in publishing high quality yet affordable photobooks exploring contemporary landscape photography and “themes which include land, place, journey, city and environment – from the remotest corners of the globe to the centre of the largest cities.”
Another Place Press is a haven of high-quality work from both small and well establish photographic practitioners. The renowned Magnum photographer Mark Power published his series Icebreaker with Another Place Press,which explored the work of Finnish icebreaking ships in the arctic circle in his now iconic documentary style. Another Place Press designed and printed an exceptional book that perfectly presents the loneliness of life in the far north with the strong white tones of the images bleeding into the crisp white paper.
However, this is not only a platform for the established, Another Place Press is also a starting point for first time publications such as emerging photographer Robert Darch’s The Moor. A first book yet produced to an incredibly high quality by Iain Sarjeant and his Press. The Moor, a fictional dystopia future features a beautifully minimalistic cover that drags you into the fascinating narrative told by the dark, almost gothic images inside.
Both of these books were sold at less than £20 each, almost a rarity in a market that sees most photobooks starting at £40. Another Place Press produces small, affordable yet high quality publications. I have personally purchased a dozen excellent photobooks from Iain and Another Place Press and have never been disappointed with the quality of both the work and publications. If you are a lover of photobooks like myself these books are always a great addition to any collection, they often find themselves rubbing up against some of the biggest photographic publications in my collection and easily hold there own.