Commitments – 10 June 2017

Dear friend,

I’m a photographer, but sometimes I don’t shoot when and what I want to. We both know that deadlines and targets work, but without those being enforced, they are easy to ignore. Because of that I’ve put some skin in the game.

Starting June 17th, I’ve got £30 per week (initially for 8 weeks) on the line. I’m going to post deadlines, and tasks here, and at the end of each week, I have to report on my progress. If I fail in those deadlines, by either not reporting, saying I failed myself, or, Vicky, my Referee saying I failed, that money goes to my Anti-Charity, a group I wouldn’t want a penny of my own money to go to.

This is all being done via

Those deadlines are going to focus on pushing my fears and developing three areas.

A Documentary Photography Project

An Unseen Oxford has lost its steam. Perhaps because I grew bored or frustrated with B&W. What ever the case the momentum slowed down, and I decided it would be a great idea to sell all my kit, and shake things up, with a bit of colour here and there. I’m glad I have, but I need to get back into what gets me curious: exploring things around me, and being in places I have no place to be, because I’m just interested in what is going on.

So some of these goals will be focused on researching, reading, and getting really deep into my subject choice. As David Hurn says:

The photographer must have intense curiosity, not just a passing visual interest, in the theme of the pictures. This curiosity leads to intense examination, reading, talking, researching and many, many failed attempts over a long period of time.

Bill Jay & David Hurn: On Being A Photographer

It might involve finding researchers in Oxford, giving them a ring, and trying to meet, and other things that are likely to scare the shit of me.

Overtime this will lead to some actual photography.

A Look Inside Pt2

My first body of work was a street photography series that combined black and white images with pithy commentary. Since it was made, I’ve read lots more philosophy, and realised that while I should have something to say, I should let leave the harder bit to those with writing skills, and I should focus on the artwork to go with it.

Part 2, (placeholder name for now) is going to be about creating a project that combines philosophers writings (most likely aphorisms, out of copyright) with photographs I make. This images will be across the board, from personal, to street, documentary and maybe even some landscape.

At the start (where I am now) it is about gathering the sentences up, and putting them on the wall, then I’ll be using those to guide shooting sessions. Actively going on those shooting sessions are going to be part of deadlines. As things go, I might contact some living philosophers who I happen to like and read, for their input.

Plato believed in the censorship of the arts. It’s not the paradox it seems. If artists can help us live well, they can, unfortunately, equally give prestige and glamour to unhelpful attitudes and ideas. Just being an artist doesn’t guarantee the power of art will be wisely used.

That’s why Plato believed that artists should work under the command of philosophers, who would give them the right ideas and ask them to make these convincing and popular. Art was to be a sort of propaganda – or advertising – for the good.

Great Thinkers by The School of Life

Street Notes

The final part is perhaps this most daunting, as it is about taking my photography from being quite distant, towards the type of photography I want to make, images with Soul.

This is about fearing less in street photography. Eric Kim, the creator of Street Notes says:

Street Notes is your personalized guide and journal for you to develop your photography skills and to re-inspire your creative process. Each photography assignment will help you to build your confidence, break out of your comfort zone, and explore your creative potential. This handbook is full of practical hands-on assignments that can help you get out of your “funk”–and to hit the streets with new enthusiasm.

I plan to do a single assignment each week, which will hopefully lead to producing better portraits, and becoming a bolder photographer with much more self belief.


Faithfully yours,