I’m slowly settling into a more conventional existence, with fewer booms, bangs and general badness. I live with my two sons and a cat and, well, it’s nothing like the life I was living a few months ago! I welcome that, but it is a huge change on so many levels.
The area I am now living in could not be more different from Kabul! I’m in Chester, in the North West of the UK. This means I am close to North Wales, the coast, Liverpool and Manchester. The landscape lacks any obvious ‘feature’ and I am looking upon it with familiar eyes. It feels entirely ordinary, but I am finding that really exciting.
It feels open and unremarkable, but this lays down the foundations for encountering the unexpected. Like most people, I can’t resist an obvious photograph, but the ones I enjoy the most are the ones you cannot sketch out in your mind’s eye, before you set off, camera in hand. This environment makes me think of Roman Loranc and Paul Caponigro (both of whom I will be writing about shortly) and their approach to more humble surroundings. My new home ground is a great example of a place where you have to make the effort to explore and to be open to different perspectives.
Over the last few months I have begun to form the beginnings of some ideas, or rather threads to follow photographically speaking. I have no idea where they will go, or even whether they will bear out, but that does not matter. The process of getting out and exploring is hugely exciting and coming hope empty handed with an answered question is still oddly productive. With time, things crystalise and even as I am writing this, thoughts are taking shape.
So, on the subject of exploring I have decided to replace the bike the movers crushed into a pretzel shape. I went out for my first ride a few days ago and spent four hours on the saddle, having not ridden for years. Yes, you guessed, my backside’s ‘saddle bones’ are seriously bruised and will be seeking out soft furnishings until recovered. At that point I will be donning padded cycling shorts even if they do make me feel like I’m wearing a full diaper/nappy. And then I am going to ride and ride and ride (and walk) until I know my patch well.
The summer is a great time to explore too. Although sunrise and sunset are inconveniently late and everything is green to the max, the weather is good and the days are long. It’s a perfect time to prepare for the autumn and winter. Just remember the 7 p’s: prior planning and preparation prevents p1ss poor performance!
I have no idea what I will photograph, or which projects will take shape, but I will be sharing them along the way! If you’re feeling uninspired and a bit lost, maybe just get out and get bored. Wander. Snoop. Look over fences and behind trees. Walk streets that promise nothing. You never know what will happen or what may occur to you. It is never time wasted. What appears bland one minute can be transformed in one neurological blink.
See you soon!