I’ve had a few emails from people who have hit the photographers version of writers block when shooting for the Postcode Project, which is understandable if for the first time rather than just photographing what’s there, this requires you to look a little deeper into something personal, something unique about where you are. We’re not after people just passing through a place to shoot out the window at the landscape as they pass through – we’re after people to shoot the place & people that they know. We have had to push back a few submissions as they could be from anywhere & when we look at them with the words supplied there’s no relationship between what’s written and whats been photographed.
If you want to tell us about the community, shoot the community, not the local parks or rivers. If you write about the diversity, shoot the diversity. I’m reminded of the story attributed to William Eggleston, one of the greats of colour photography, who first shot colour film 50 years ago around Memphis in the USA. He complained to his mother that everything around there was ‘so damn ugly’. She replied ‘well shoot the ugly stuff’. He did, and history was made. Your place may not be ugly, but the point is a valid one, shoot where you are & what’s unique, and make it personal. We’re after an insight into your part of this country so keep the focus on what makes your part unique, not what makes it look like the rest.
I don’t pretend to be any kind of guru nor whiz, just someone who likes to have a crack. I went to Katoomba today to see if there was any snow left & say hello to a photographer I know up there. I of course, couldn’t help myself & took a bucket of shots. I’m posting some of them because they kind of, I think, touch on both my points. Firstly, go to war with the cliche, don’t be afraid of the ‘ugly’ stuff. And secondly, show us the people as well, the community – I was in Katoomba for a day & the only people from the community I got to shoot was Marty Walker who posted one of the two 2780 Katoomba galleries. It’s really hard to get inside a place you’re not from, so maybe focus on where you are.
If you’re struggling a little we’re going to start up a Facebook forum for interested parties to connect and maybe share ideas & tips. In the meantime, happy shooting!