Once again I am pleased to present this years ’24 Mobile Photographers Til Christmas’. It is a series that has been run throughout December for the last couple of years and has always been successfully received. In part, it is to celebrate the forthcoming festive season but also to celebrate another year in the timeline of Mobiography.
In the series I ask 24 hand picked mobile photographers to offer an insight into their work, to reflect on their year gone by or plans for the coming year ahead. Each featured photographer is someone who has inspired or supported me in one way or another during the course of the past year. One photographer will be showcased each day until Christmas Eve in a sort of online advent calendar so to speak.
Today’s featured photographer is Albion Harrison-Naish.
My biggest takeaway about mobile photography this year is…
The aspect of the past year that I learnt the most from was the experience of getting my photography off the screen and into the real world. Earlier this year I was part of a three photographer show and its success and positive reception from the local photographic and gallery community was both rewarding and also encouraging.
It spurred me to think more broadly, if lightly, about my photography, photographic practice and what I wanted to achieve with it.
For a variety of unrelated reasons I also haven’t been shooting much this past year, and shooting on many fewer occasions. Apart from life and family commitments getting in the way, one reason for my relative lack of output is that I still have mountains of images I’m yet to sort through along with only a very loose idea of what I’m trying to achieve with the street images I’ve been taking the past few years, aside from my photographic blog on Sydney.
So taking that time away from shooting and spending more time sorting and pondering my photos, I have come to realise a few things. Firstly I’ve gotten to the point where I increasingly want to be engaged on a specific project as opposed to simply walking around the world with an open eye. The latter is still a rewarding and exciting thing to do, but doing it with a more specific purpose, however generalised, gives it an extra dimension and satisfaction. It also gives structure to your pursuit and subtly alters what you consider to be a successful photo.
I’ve also realised more intimately what it is that draws me to taking an image when wandering around the world. Those familiar with some of the photography I share online will know I am drawn to light and shadows, the shapes they form and the drama they can create. I’ve also long realised that I am drawn to trying to capture moments from the hurly burly of the street, that suggest a story, a fictive story that is only loosely related, if at all, to what is actually happening.
But I’ve also come to realise that more than that, I am drawn to capturing mood. Sometimes that is the mood that I see, or rather feel, in the space I’m photographing. But often it is a mood that is not present, but that I can see within the scene and by freezing that right moment, using light in the right way, can create.
In the accompanying photo you can see these elements clearly, especially with a little extra context. Despite the slightly unsettled and chilly mood, this was shot on a warm day during a busy lunchtime in the middle of the city. Neither the woman nor myself were stationary but walking (she was just walking slowly and with small steps!) and yet the image really draws on a sense of stillness.
So all in all, I suppose I’ve learnt that it is important to take the time away from shooting and viewing others’ photos, to consider and assess what it is you are photographing and why.