The most confusingly written round up yet
We (all years of the photography department) have been given the job to create work for a new building just built opposite the Manchester Royal Infirmary Hospital by the Ronald McDonald (RMcD) charity group. The building is designed to provide a friendly, easy and almost home like environment for the families who have younger members staying in the hospital for a period of time.
We were briefed in on the requirements, and expectations, with the general attitude to it being to ‘just create work!’. Due to my other commitments such as my own projects and the time involved in our London exhibition planning/organising I wasn’t really able to get my hands fully on to something worthwhile.
So I found myself trolling through old work (like you do) to hope something will almost suffice.
It was only a day or two ago though did an idea or shall I say an idea with an actual motor drive underneath it surfaced. An idea that I will pitch right here shortly.
This idea came along side another piece of work I have mentioned before on this blog but at the time it was so stagnant, with not a promise on how it would be created. Fortunately, now there is some structure to how it will work. With a title still in the making (Polish-Britain, maybe) I aim to shoot a portrait documentary typed work with one or two still life frames of various friends with Polish backgrounds.
Back to Ronald McDonald Charities work!
There are six areas to work around with this all based around one large theme that is Manchester.
So, you have
- City Firsts (the first creations that happened in Manchester)
- City Explored
- Tree of Life
The two areas that interested me the most was City Explored and Culture. City Explored, more for the fact I could have used a lot of old archived work! However, with Culture I thought it would be interesting to do something for it. When a lot of people think of culture and especially culture in Manchester, the first association is the ethnic culture in Manchester, which is very rich.
As great as that is, the word culture means many things. One of those things is how we live, our lifestyles. I wanted to produce something more portrait based. It may be liked, it may not be liked.
These portraits would take a look in to the residents of Manchester, and the workers of Manchester out and about doing their daily jobs. Almost inspired by Greg Thorpe’s interviews of Manchester Residents which I myself was apart of - Manchester: In Residents … #6: Matthew - but mine would be a visual piece of work only.
Once I have this collection of portraits I would set them up in the view of a grid. They could work individually spaced out through different rooms, but I think they might work very well gridded up on say a corridor wall, 5 images across, 5 images down.
Tuesday 13th March
Tuesday 13th March! Well, yesterday! Yesterday the plan was to combine a few of these projects onto my list and get out and make some images. Now remember I am still working on The Dog Walkers, and these happen along the Fallowfield Loop. I had also begun to brainstorm ideas around photographing mundane things with symbolic representations (flowers, dense shrubs, roads, paths, roundabouts) and I knew of a couple of roundabouts that visually might work, depending on how it was photographed. This I suppose can only make sense once I show you and myself. And to top if off, beginning this portrait series for the McDonald charities.
I have to say now, it was one of the most productive days as a photographer I have had in a very long while. I had my 35mm Nikon F80 with me and the 120mm 6x7 Mamiya RB67. I shot all RMcD work on the 67 with Fujichrome Provia400X professional. Throughout the day, I managed to photograph Mike the Postman, Steven, Terry and Graham, who are all retired Manchester residents.
I have almost made friends with Terry and Graham who have seen me quite regularly up and down the Fallowfield Loop over the past year and a half. I stopped for around twenty minutes each with them both talking about things. Graham who already stars in my Dog Walkers was more than happy to pose again this time for a self portrait minus Chalky White (his dog). And I got into a lengthy conversation with Terry discussing hikes and travel trips to Scandinavia and a great location not far from us in Manchester called Hayfield.
The one concern with the portraiture work I have embarked on is the need to have model release forms. I suppose for my own safety I will produce a couple of forms explaining of what the images will be used for, however, I do discuss these things with each person before I go ahead and snap the photograph and all previous participants have been more than willing to take part, so we shall see.