When you go outside, move around, walk somewhere, ride a bike, stand in the street, what do you see? I know, essentially, that you see plenty of things. You see people, cars, litter, tourists, shops, the weather. In York we’re constantly shown an entire range of historical, aesthetic, cultural and commercial affairs and, happily, these are a large part of what makes the city so interesting. But how much do we take in? How often are we able to remove ourselves from the flow of life around us in order that we might just pause and look at things? To take a step back from the routine and habitual paths that usually control our day to day lives; to observe the finer detail of existence and our place within it?
You don’t need a camera in order to do this, you don’t need any kind of equipment at all. As John Stilgoe, master of the acute observation of everyday things, suggests in his wonderful book Outside Lies Magic, all you need do is “get out now…go outside, move deliberately, then relax, slow down, look around… enjoy the best kept secret around – the ordinary landscape that rewards any explorer, that touches any explorer with magic… take it, take it in, take in more every weekend, every day, and quickly it becomes the theatre that intrigues, relaxes, fascinates, seduces.”
My photographic practice has long been concerned with this kind of observation. Photography, for me, is a process of exploration, or, rather, it is a chance to document the explorations I make in the world; exploring my surroundings in search of images. I am constantly amazed by the beauty and perfection that can result from arbitrary arrangements of random things in space. True, I could just have easily made these explorations and observations without having recourse to raise a camera to my eye, but being a photographer gives me the opportunity to share an element of my life with a wider range of people than I could possibly do otherwise.
Throughout this series, I hope to do exactly that, to share with you the interest I have and the beauty I hope I have found in the place that I am lucky enough to call home.