Last autumn I did a photography project that lasted just one hour. I shoot digitally these days, but what I wanted to do was to make pictures mindfully, as you would with film.
As a photographer, it’s important to keep it fresh, to step outside your comfort zone from time to time and attempt new things.
I’ve become accustomed to shooting nature: the natural world enthrals me, and always will. However, I’ve been pondering an alternative trajectory for a while now, and figured it was about time I actually started it (life happens when you’re making other plans!).
I visited Manchester in late 2012 and was inspired by the Royal Exchange Theatre: an amazing combination of Victorian civic architecture and modern installation. Since then I’ve wanted to do something completely different visually.
So, the two-hour project. Today I set out, again, to shoot with awareness: few images, make them count.
I started off in the centre of my city, shooting a brutalist building.
My city is historic and internationally known – which is wonderful, but most of what is here has been shot to death. Still, I spotted an art deco gate tucked away on a side street, and was struck by its classic grey, curvaceous form.
Then I decamped to a location just out of town to shoot this amazing, RIBA award-winning building.
The exterior is cladded in alternating yellow and white strips of metal, twisted and floating like sails. I loved it.
This is the beginning of a new direction in photography for me. I plan to visit other cities to shoot urban architecture, and am pretty excited about it.
And the kicker? All of these pictures – including the Manchester shot – were made on a basic Nikon compact without manual modes.
Yes, gear can be important, and I will be going back with my dSLR – but ultimately it’s about your eye as a photographer, and what you do with it. I’m really looking forward to exploring more.