Notes and thoughts on my current project
For over a year now, I’ve been interested in doing a long-term portrait-based project on the Turkish Cypriot community in London (my ethnic background). Now that I’ve made a start, the initial idea has evolved into a slightly different format but one which I really like and believe is well-suited to the actual ‘story’ (or stories) I’m exploring. With my deadline just over two weeks away, I’m treating this as a really good opportunity to make a mini version of a project I plan to expand, and realise more fully, at a later date. It’s a project that for me is both personal and interesting, that involves the kind of portraiture I enjoy as well as elements of the type of photo story work which I also really like shooting.
The most challenging (and in some ways frustrating) element is the current time restriction I have. As I write this blog, I feel like I should be making phone-calls, writing e-mails and chasing my next subject. Finding the people to take part and allow me access to their lives – sometimes for two hours, sometimes for a day, sometimes for two days – has been difficult. The generational or age-based narrative also means that these people must fall into particular age brackets, which makes the job of finding people even more specific. The aim for this initial version of the project is to work through six or seven people from different generations or of different age groups, starting with a first generation migrant (most of the movement from Cyprus to Western Europe took place in the 50s, 60s and 70s) and spanning through to a child under 5. For each person, I’ve decided to use a short paragraph of writing and three images. The pictures fall under the following: first, a portrait (usually eyes to camera), preferably in an environment that helps to convey some information about them; second, a picture of them either ‘doing’ / involved in some kind of work or interacting with other people; third, a detail shot which says something about them, but where they aren’t in frame. One idea (that I’m not sure about at the moment) is to use myself as one of the subjects. If I were to do this, it’d be the interaction/doing shot that I’d have to think about somehow resolving (as it’d be difficult to shoot this myself).
To give an idea of what I’m aiming for with each person, below are the images I’ve chosen for a 17 year old boy named Ahmed who I met and spent the day with on Friday. He was relaxed, open and really enjoyable to work with. After reviewing what I had shot, I felt certain about which portrait and detail pictures to use, but am not sure about which interaction/at work image I prefer (which is why I’ve included three). Thoughts are welcome…
Portrait (eyes to camera) at the train station he uses:
Detail from his bedroom wall:
At work/interaction shots (from which I’ll choose one) of his weekend job at his dad’s fish and chips restaurant: