Following my most recent trip to the Caucasus in September to Georgia, I have been thinking a lot more about the region and my numerous trips from a photographic perspective. I am still awaiting the outcome of my series work from my latest trip (I will talk more of this when I publish the images) but for now have begun to think again about my most memorable trip to Azerbaijan. This trip was without any doubt the most memorable and most challenging in terms of my photographic perspective of a region when travelling. The series resulted in a book of images titled 'Azərbaycan' which I self published during the summer of 2010 - a whole year after I went on the trip to Azerbaijan. One whole year it took me to work out a series I was happy with, I am always so surprised how the longer you leave your images to 'sit' the more you become indecisive about what fits and what doesn't.
Below are examples of my editing process...discarded images, original contact sheets and laid-out edits. I have so much work which is just sitting there somewhere in my room, and I need to start this all again, for I know I have some amazing work just sitting there...but eventually it will happen!
Images never included in the final series...
Caspian Sea - Lənkəran, Azerbaijan
Stage 1: Original contact sheets...
Contact Sheet Example 1: Batumi, Georgia. 16 August 2009
Contact Sheet Example 1: Zaqatala, Azerbaijan. 17 August 2009
Stage 2: Adding and subtracting(time and time again!)
This shows that when your knowledge and admiration of a region grows so distinctly...one's photographic outlook becomes much more genuine and succinct over time.
Take my previous work, now over two years old and after several visits to the region again I'm sure this now defeats the meaning of some of my previous work, where perhaps I merely searched for scenes to validate cliched preconceptions...?
Give me time to explain in full to you about these fantastic workshops that I have been conducting...this may take a few days, so just let start with some images which I have been promising to myself I would post soon. Taken by James, an inspirational community worker within the Wokingham borough, they are of yours truly during a workshop in Winnersh (near Reading) sharing ideas, delivering a brief and giving guidance on 'what your neighborhood means to you'...SO MUCH more to follow...;)
I mentioned briefly in my last post that during my most recent trip away...to Paris, I had photographed very little, infact, pretty much nothing...I need to question this on my part, during my dominative creative-thinking period at university, the photograph's I could have taken on this trip would have been something I could just dream of back then, so why now did I not make any work? What happened? I even had a roll of slide film which I never knew about, that would have been perfect. It worked very well in Turkey, Georgia and Armenia, why was I not even aware of my spare, luxurious film supply? I need to think about this in the future, after everything...the last thing I want to lose is my creativity...
In light of this, I decided to scan the very few remnants of the trip: tickets, small booklets/cards and the famous 'hitchhiker's' sign...over the years I have battled with the reasoning behind photographing/scanning 'objects' but this time, I couldn't think of anything more apt.
Well, sorry for another long wait for a post (although I imagine I am just apologising to myself due to lack of readers!) for I have been incredibly busy as usual, rushing around trying to do far too many things at one. But I have some treats in store coming very soon, images from my workshops, some more of my own work to show, new ideas; progression progression...
This weekend I had a very interesting adventure, and I am proposing of writing about this as a piece, due to also my severe lack of photography on the trip. But yes...I hitchhiked to Paris! Not alone of course but with a friend of mine Jadwiga. We thought it would be quick and simple to hitchhike to Paris from Reading/London, but ofcourse this turned out to be one hell of an ordeal! But that's life, ups and downs, and this trip certainly had many, oh how many tales I can cram into one weekend? :)
Our lifts from Reading - Paris & Paris - London....
Reading Services (West) - Reading Services (East) (Faux-pas mix up of services directions!)
Reading Services (East) - Borehamwood Services
Borehamwood Services - Maidstone Services
Maidstone Services - Saint-Quentin Services (This lift took us through the channel via the Dover - Calais ferry)
Saint-Quentin Services - Reims
Reims - Paris
Porte de la Chapelle - Saint-Denis Petrol Station (on A1)
Saint-Denis Petrol Station - Compiègne Services
Compiègne Services - Péronne Services
Péronne Services - Arras Services
Arras Services - Dunquerke Services (On E40)
Dunquerke Services - Calais P&O Ferry
Dover Port - Thurrock Services
Thurrock Services - Walthamstow Central
14 lifts in total! I am to write about each one...now time to get my storytelling hat on.