By Nigel Javis
Exploring my local area recently with my trusty camera phone was most enjoyable; exercising my physical and creative needs. Although you do get odd looks when taking pictures of everyday things, a rubbish bin, the back of a road sign or a post box but after a while you get used to it.
The walks started with me leaving home in a different direction each time, keeping the time to just over an hour to limit the area which I was exploring. Thankfully the weather during this project was good, the area a mixture of different types of housing surrounded by fields and farmland.
My approach is very simple. Walk and capture anything that catches my eye. I suppose the type of images I am drawn to is what you would call my individual style which has been influenced by the photographers I have been exposed to.
I am sure I am not alone in having gigabytes of photos sitting on multiple hard drives. In the old days we would have prints made but now it is more tailored to social media and sharing on various platforms, so having something physical you can hold and flick through has become less common.
The App. (Popsa) has a good selection of layout templates. The first decision to make: overall layout colour, I keep it simple with white as it looks good with my black and white images. Next layout decision: what spreads do I go for, as all the images are square in format, in the end I went for two images per page.
Now for the hard bit, editing and putting the images into the spreads. I had an idea for the first and last image, the rest were trial and error. Moving the spreads and changing images is very easy and I must confess I didn't agonise over the choice of layout or images, I am a believer in, if it looks good it’s ok.
Upload and order.
The images in the zine are varied, as the intention was to discover and document my local area. Whether I achieved this, who knows, but I have something I can hold, flick though. Most importantly I now have the confidence to take this forward into a much larger project.
By Emily Jarvis (No 4)
Absorbing the surroundings
We set off without an agenda. It's not about collecting another summit or doing a route by a certain time. The route itself is not crucial. There is usually an area we intend to cover. However, we may drift off it occasionally, if the mood takes us.
Camera in hand. Walking slower than we normally do gives us more time to take in the landscape and evaluate its photographic potential. Individually, we are all drawn to different things and work at different paces. Generally, we are walking within eyesight of each other, but not taking much notice of the other person.
Taking pictures where quantity no longer a consideration because we have more or less infinite digital space, no film to consider. The routine of doing this repeatedly, unconsciously trains you to know when it is or isn't worth taking a shot. This is valuable when you come to the processing and selection of shots for publication. Do I really want to troll through ten images that are virtually identical to pick out 'the one'. Confidence in knowing increases with practice.
What to take
Sometimes, it doesn't look much at first glance, but the ordinary can develop into something special. It's often abstract. We're looking for something to draw the eye in, so it's not a random shot in the dark that we're just hoping will become a picture. You can point your camera and click, but that doesn't make it a thing anybody is going to want to view. Instead, it'll be something they saw too, but didn't see it that way. It's been imagined. Pre - visualised.
It is necessary to have some idea of what you want to achieve. Random shots don't often come to much. Although accidental blurry shots often appeal more than they should!
Composition and framing are key. Too much of any one component unbalances the finished item. Lack of detail in a prominent place. Or the focal point not being pin sharp.
When it's good, you know. It's an “OH, that's good” moment. It's also personal. Do not expect this as a universal reaction, and you won't be too gutted about it. We are all our own best critics, to some extent. Interaction with other photographers is super useful. Any college course I have ever done has led to me thinking I have gained so much from my fellow students. The instruction alone is almost without value. It's how you interpret that counts.