I’ve been at home this easter. It’s the first proper break I have had where I haven’t just been sleeping after the on-call before in a while, and I guess that’s the perfect time to be introspective and try to explain a few things that make my brain tick, hopefully explaining where there are so many similar photographs on 15mins. This post is a bit of an aside, bit of an editorial and mostly an around-and-about review of what I take pictures of, why, and a photoessay at the same time!
Regular readers will have noticed that my photographs seem to fall into a few groups:
- Macro indoor photographs of small trinkets
- Lens-flare photographs
- Countryside Landscapes
- Coastal Landscapes
Hopefully I can explain a few of these with the ramblings below.
Being at home for a weekend is strange and thought-provoking. I’ve been thinking about what kind of things happened during the time I spent living at this house in England with my Sister, my Mum and Dad. We moved around a fair amount when I was little, so I only really knew one place very well, and it was this house, since I was 11 years old. I’m now 28, so I guess I can say it’s where I consider home to be, even if I’m not from the area where the house is.
I suppose that that’s where the skyscape and sunset photographs come from; when I was 8 or 9, we used to travel every weekend from a rented house to the family house we were trying to sell, and spent a lot of the weekend (or so it seemed) in transit and on the motorways. Usually in a traffic jam, usually in the dark. But every child sees in clouds some epic cartoony battle between fluffy versions of dinosaurs and aliens (I am about 90% sure that Sci-Fi authors use the “gazing into the clouds” technique of spaceship design) and in England we have a lot of clouds.
I guess spending half a life moving around before then, and most of my life after then in different places makes that happen.
I spent a lot of my free time growing up playing computer games. My best friend from secondary school (who just released his first mobile game) had pretty much every single SNES game available, whereas I struggled to convince my parents to let me get the first Playstation; I played FFVII about 7 times through, I’ve played Midgar on disc one about 17 times, getting it down to a fine 3 hour run, or up to a Regen-before-tower 19 hours. Hell, I’ve even got Aeris her level 4 limit break before… well, no spoilers…!
Midgar is an Industrial city, and the whole Final Fantasy game series seems to be a treatise on the struggle between industry and countryside, of progression vs understanding. My photographs of the patterns in the manmade is probably harking back to this, in a way. I have to say, linking imagery to action was something I was terrible at in school, although I loved English before AS level, I found English Literature to be almost chore-like when it was obvious that people were purporting to understand the musings of a Georgian writer, especially when they hadn’t got a clue.
Since those hundreds of spent hours in the land of J-RPG heaven, I got addicted to the music in those games, queuing up to get the 1st day games of FFviii and ix (which I consider to be the truly remarkable edition in the FF franchise, and wish I could get into that game again). The music is particularly wonderful, and Spotify allows me to listen to the full orchestral versions of it any time I like. This is basically the reason for Spotify – to allow me to kick back and wish my sound system is much better than it really is!
Thinking about it, most of the music of the late 1990s/early 2000′s games were particularly good: the Mission Impossible-esque score of Syphon Filter, the Matrix music of Metal Gear Solid, the pop tunes of any FIFA game; and the jewel in the crowd of the collection (not Pocket fighter) had to be Speed Freaks, which sampled Jamiroquai.
Those games must have influenced my artistic tastes. I can trace my love of lens-flare to FFVII and the use of it near Costa del Sol; My love of landscapes and sunsets to Speed Freaks and its insane last level – the pinnacle of graphics on that system. The spartan pictures of puzzles and order to Metal Gear Solid. And football? nah, I’m English, I love me my football.
Since university though, I have had little time for computer games on consoles. I still have a 360 and a PS3, but the 360 is boxed up, and the PS3 is a glorified and thankfully rather cheap blue ray player. I’m more excited about a possible FF7-redux than the latest all singing, all dancing COD clone. I have played Starcraft 2 quite a lot, and the expansion HOTS is making me rediscover RTS games again, but all in all, I seem to be watching DotA2 and SC2 games, rather than playing them. Like being at a LAN without the camping, booze, noise and not knowing whats going on!
University again made me look up to the stars, if only for something to look at on the long-ish stagger home from the union to the halls. There were some fantastic starry nights in St Andrews, and I really wish I had my camera back then to take the pictures I am beginning to take now. I really want to get better at this type of photograph!
So that’s a brief and probably incoherent run through of the types of photographs, the music that I listen to, and the 1990s upbringing I had that has led me to taking the pictures that can be found on this website. I hope it’s a little bit enlightening, although I wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t all that more clear after reading it! Feel free to leave me a comment or a tweet!