It has been difficult to find an entry point to the new course, People and Identity, so I decided to attempt the Square Mile exercise with two series taken on a single morning at Frensham Little Pond. Series one features the people I met whilst walking around the pond and series two explores the winter landscape.
Frensham Pond has always been important to my family; my grandmother lived a hundred yards from the shore, my uncle and aunt lived literally above the pond in the old boat house and I remember my elder brother and cousin working on the boats in the days when you could hire a rowing boat here by the hour. As child I would cycle to Frensham to play on the common that surrounds the pond, as a teenager I came here with friends from college and as an adult to walk with our children and generations of dogs. Now as grandparents we bring our son’s children to the pond; the fourth generation of the family to fall in love with this unique place.
It was a simple exercise, approached in a simple way. I used two cameras, one to capture the winter landscape and one to capture the visitors. All but one of the above photographs are of complete strangers, I approached each subject explaining the project and asking for a single photograph, only one couple declined. I used a fill in flash partly to ensure I could take a quick photograph without moving the subjects and partly because I like the effect of daylight flash.
This series is out of context, it is not the result of a research project or planned. It was a bright morning, I wanted to get into the course, so I got up and went to Frensham. I have been exploring daylight flash for eighteen months, there is a more than a hint of Martin Parr about my approach; a wide angled lens and a camera mounted flash gun but my subjects are effectively self selected – the next person or couple to pass me – and I am making no particular point about them, they are just sixteen people who chose, like me, to take a walk at Frensham Little Pond.
The result is a typology of local people, a little cross section of the community and, in many cases, their dogs. The twelve photographs above are edited down from around twenty five. The five photographs below are my final selection.