Can you tell me more about the story behind John’s Image?
Even in the early days of my photography I was interested in going beyond the façade; bringing the nature of the person to the surface. I met John, a fisherman on his boat. He’s a bit mischievous and I was able to see that characteristic within him. Although I didn’t intend to shoot his image on the day I still bought my camera along and to my surprise he agreed to have his photo taken. The image was shot on his boat where he lives, by his wooden parrot. John was chatting away and playing around.
What were you trying to capture with this image?
I wanted to highlight John’s lifestyle, his passion for the outdoors, and sense of independence. I was able to pick up on his non-conformity and that he is anti establishment. He does what he wants to do; lives where he wants to live, goes hunting for his own food and chops the wood for his fire. Although I saw a big kid, I also wanted to capture his pride.
What was the duration of the shoot from start to finish?
I recall the shoot took two hours. We spent the time talking and there was a lot of playing around. I remember it was freezing and I wanted to get out of the chill, due to the location of the boat, it was incredibly cold. John is a very knowledgeable guy on topics such as the environment and natural ways of living. I think you could drop him anywhere and he’d be fine, he could adapt.
Looking back in retrospect over the image, is there anything you would like to change or edit?
I really like the image. I’m happy with the colours and the mood of it. I didn’t know it then but the experience was the reflection of what was to come, as to this day I still approach my photography in the same way. This image reflects the development of my creativity, there are technical elements that I may have changed in hindsight but essentially this image has the stamp of Visual Marvelry all over it.
What was going on behind the scenes whilst you were shooting?
Although the boat was docked there wasn’t much around, it was late evening. The thing that stood out to me the most, were the birds. Specifically that there were so many of them around John and they all seemed to fill the frame in the background as I was about to take the image.
John’s boat is very special to him. I think it is one of two boats left in this country of it’s type; it is a military boat that is in really good condition. He has had many offers before from museums offering him a blank cheque that he has turned down many times. John’s priority is to live on the boat. He pays just pounds per year to have it moored where it is, apparently because of an old mooring law
Why is this particular image significant?
This image signified the start of me finding my own style. This was the start of me finding my preferred choice of lens, distance from the subject and the lighting style, and use of the ambient background. It features the location as much as the subject, which is something I love to do. My approach to an image is influenced by the combination of the environment, person and the feeling I get from observing the scene.