Picture of John, why is it so important?
Turn back the clocks a couple of years, I was a music photographer solely shooting musicians, no problem there but I felt there was something missing, something creative and fun, work had started to feel a little too much like work. I had started reading about ‘personal work’ from photographers, projects shot on the photographers own clock and non-commission based work, I had normally discarded it not really having time for it and never really shot much if any personal work!
The time came where I wanted more than just photographing musicians, I’d enjoyed every shoot but I didn’t want them to become formulaic and I wanted to broaden my photographic horizons! I started reading more into personal work and trying to justify the time/effort etc to do these on my clock. Until this point I’d charged for all my commissions and was busy to the point of exhaustion – a great place to be but wouldn’t it be good to go out and shoot some things that I wanted to shoot, some work that was completely off brief?
Turns out yes, it was! The reason this series of images is so important to me is that they were the first proper piece of personal work I shot. It felt fantastic to be going back to shooting photographs for fun but just with a lot more technical skill and experience than I used to have!
I contacted John, we set a date, we shot and I sent him prints (which are currently framed in his house) after the shoot I entered it into the Taylor wessing prize, it didn’t win but it did get accepted into the salon de refusé of Portrait Salon, it was a boost and I think one that I needed!
It spurred me on, it gave me a real boost and it gave me something different for my portfolio, I’m now shooting a huge amount of personal work, it keeps me thinking and it’s changed my attitude towards work commissions as well. I always loved my job but never shot for fun, now I do both and could not be happier!
I think this could be one of the most important sets of images I’ve taken, and I would strongly suggest to other artists no matter what the medium to get out and shoot more personal work, turns out what we do is great fun!
All images were taken on my old Mamiya medium format, I also used Profoto B1 lights