I currently have three photo projects in progress, I had only really planned to have two ongoing projects at any given time but one ran over, incomplete from last year so three it is.
Project one, and the longest standing project is ‘Los Anglesey’ – a playful and tongue-in-cheek look at how the Welsh island of Anglesey is in no way comparable to the US city of LA, despite sharing a few similarities, surfing/water-sport culture, drug problems, modified/tuned cars and sunshine… ok, I’m kidding about the sunshine but definitely the other three… I’ve been collecting images for this project for some time now and it’s starting to become a decent body of work – ‘hurray for Holyhead!’. Los Anglesey is the beginning of a series of similarly themed projects, the next of which is entitled Rhyl de Janero… I’m sure you get the idea.
Project two is ‘Ghost Type’. In these austere times with the economy in downturn, more and more businesses are failing, leading to their branded and liveried assets, shop-fronts and vehicles to be sold to new owners and re-branded with new signage and typography. What sparked my interest in this was that when new graphics are being applied, especially to vehicles, very little care seems to be given to removing the evidence of the previous lettering, leaving ‘Ghost Type’. On vehicles, this seems to take the form of either unfaded paint where lettering once protected it from sunshine or simply residue from adhesive, either way, the previous wording is often still visible beneath the new. The same applies to shop-fronts, with vinyl cut lettering often not removed at all but simply painted over, still legible as light catches the subtly thicker vinyl edges.
Project three is ‘Shots Fired’. This is a collection of images which explores the way in which street photography is a form of hunting, with street photographers often stalking their prey before ‘shooting’ them. Although a sweeping generalisation, most good street photography is taken with a wide lens at close quarters, the photographer getting very near to their subjects, in amongst the scene and taking personal and candid images but there are also very successful images created a little further away, where the subject of the shot is blissfully unaware they’ve been photographed or that the shooter was even there – these are the images that form Shots Fired.
At the beginning of this post, I maybe wasn’t being entirely honest… I'm slightly embarrassed but there is a fourth project too which is a real long term effort – its called ‘Toys’ and it looks at the inexplicable practice of attaching discarded toys to the grills and bumpers of commercial vehicles. This practice has fascinated me since the mid 70’s when I first saw my local bin-lorry proudly displaying a stuffed felt Kermit the Frog on its front grill. I would always look out for the lorry on rubbish collection day, just to catch a glimpse of Kermit, his once green ‘skin’ turning ever more grey with each sighting as UV light and road grime turned his once vibrant exterior into a pale and ghoulish complexion.
The act of adorning council or commercial vehicles with found toys shows no sign of abating even today and this series of images is a study of this practice. I’ve often tried to figure the rationale for this trend, is it simply considered amusing, is it funny and I just don’t get it? or is there something deeper going on? Does the driver feel sympathetic toward the once so loved but now discarded toy, is it a rescue? I did wonder if to the driver, it was a mournful reminder of simpler times as a child, times of hopeful childhood dreams, before the mundanity and responsibility of adult working life took over, especially doing something repetitive and possibly unfulfilling like rubbish collection. Whatever the reason, I love to see the toys on vehicles and try to shoot them when I do. More on this project soon...