Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Exercise 1 - describe a photograph

This image was taken a while ago now. I was on a days shooting in Whitstable, a small seaside town, in Kent. I'd spent the day looking for detail shots of doors, windows, anything quirky that caught my interest. Looking back a number of good images have come from this one day's shooting - I must have been in the zone.

This one was taken on the high street - outside a pub. The narrative possibilities of the red chair, folded newspaper, pen, and little toy rabbit's head caught my attention. I'd stopped to make the image and I remember placing the chair off-centre in the frame and angling the camera to tilt the ground upwards. At the time I'd been analysing the work of William Eggleston and trying to work out what it was that made his compositions of mundane objects so interesting to look at. The sun was strong that day and reflecting off the white wall making it difficult to get a good exposure. However I didn't want to exclude the wall as I liked the the combination of red, black and white colours.

When I analyse the image I imagine the person that sat in the chair:

He's taken some time out from working in the pub kitchen before the lunchtime trade comes in for lasagne and chips. He found the bright plastic chair, part of a stack, stowed in a back room and covered in dust. He likes to sit on the pavement, in the sun, tucked away in a corner just off the main street as the tide of holiday-makers and locals swarm past. The spot catches the morning light and he's sat here many times before. Only yesterday, while carrying his chair and paper in one hand, he tripped and tea splashed from his mug onto the bottom of the door. He likes to read the paper and do the crossword as he can get bored with the seasonal work but it helps to pay his university fees.

He's still on a break but a voice from inside calls him in to answer the phone. He carefully folds his paper, places it on the floor and puts down his pen. He puts the furry rabbits head that was resting in his lap to his lips and gently blows on it - feeling the synthetic fur sway and flow around. After a moments hesitation he places the toy head down too. He's sick of his OCD. It's taking over his life. He picks up his mug, tipping it to swallow the last of the tea, and steps back inside the pub. As he passes through the door he glances down at the rabbit head - secretly hoping that someone will steal it.

Because, at times, I've used a number of more prominent images from the shoot the image has languished on my hard drive. Depending where I am mentally in my courses it has either grown or diminished in my estimation. I keep coming back to it though - so it must have something. And, finally, it seems to sit fairly well with the other images in creative content and purpose of this new blog.


  1. There's certainly something quirky about this image and the red adds to this. I like the story, wanted there to be a name as well. There could be lots of different stories though - food for a competition or something to post to the OCA Creative Writers.

    1. Hi Catherine,

      Thanks, I intentionally left the name out - was getting too drawn into imagining the guy's story as it was!