On the 20th April my first shoot was with a collaborator I’d been considering for some time. Mano Vadhar of Taps’, a very small shoe/bag/key repair shop next to West Croydon station. This is not the safest of areas to conduct photography in Croydon, but it was an unusually sunny day and all went well.
The second shoot of the day was with a very interesting looking bakery, ‘Shadi Bakery’, which I soon found out was Kurdish. There has been a couple of incidents in Croydon between locals and migrant Kurds, but they were happy to take part and showed no lack of expertise in their bread making.
I’d thought I’d arranged a shoot at one of West Cryodon’s very large greengrocer/Halal meet shops on the next day, Saturday 21st., but sadly the owner didn’t turn up at the time he said he would. Instead I approached two very different shops that I’d considered and wa able to arrange a time in the afternoon to shoot both. The first was with Sophia who runs a very eclectic African-ish shop in the North side of Croydon. The shoot was one of my shortest, too many customer arrivals and a second appointment to keep.
The last shoot of this period for my “Croydon Shopkeepers of Distinction” project was with Dev, who helps her brother with his very traditional family pie-mash and eels business in central Croydon. This went reasonably well. One image from each of the days’ shoots has been chosen for my portfolio.
o, to summarize my project activity during this module I’d say:
Main Project: “Researchers & Influencers”
Four shoots; two senior scientists and two scientific communicators. The introduction in the last shoot of the use of a6x6 cm film medium format camera (Hasselblad 503Cxi) on a static tripod.
Before the next module commences I need to be much more active in identifying/inviting new collaborators. I need to consider how to improve my current ‘hit’ rate. I need to be more relaxed, especially when working with my more senior collaborators. My suspicion is that I’m trying too hard to perform in their case, and not thinking enough about the visual opportunities in front of me.
I did try and take some shots with my last subject holding an object, a special award for services to Chemical Industry communication that he is deservedly proud of. This focus on an associated object could work as a new sub-theme?
New sub-project “Croydon Shopkeepers of Distinction", (initiated in week 9)
9 shoots; all in Croydon, succeeded in identifying collaborators who has shops distinctively different from those in the area. Almost all have been in that location under the same proprietor for twenty years or longer.
I may consider going back to the most recent ones and taking some additional new shots using the tripod mounted Hasselblad at a quieter time. I also need perhaps to identify new opportunities in a wider area of Croydon. So far all but one has been taken on the main road that runs through the older part of Croydon. Much depends on my feedback from the recent portfolio review submission.
The use of a medium format film camera has indeed slowed down my photography and encouraged me to take greater effort to get the best composition. Interestingly it’s also reduced my taking rate with my digital cameras, probably taking more time to get their compositions right too.
The other thought is that I’m generally taking better shots when relaxed. I’m not convinced I’m always gettig the best shot from some quite interesting people in some splendid, if difficult to shoot in, locations. The recent interview with Harry Borden on his visual approach was very helpful, maybe I should do more?
I’m much happier than I was.