London, UK | Melbourne, Australia
Canon Sure Shot Max | Canon AE-1
Taking a semester of studies on the other side of the planet, do you think it has given you a different perspective on life?
Yes, I would say that it has. First of all, any time that I travel, whether it’s to another country, a different continent or just down the road from where I live, I will inevitably compare it to what I’m used to, or what I’ve seen before. In many ways Melbourne reminds me of London and other big cities that I’ve spent time in throughout the “West”, which is not surprising considering the history of these places (sometimes it can seem like all that changes is the accent and the side of the road that they drive on). But every place has at least a touch of individuality, something that makes it memorable and for me it was Melbourne’s architecture which stood out — the city was full of crazy looking buildings. I found them quite inspiring actually, and often found myself walking the streets staring straight up. But in a more general way, living in Australia influenced my perspective too, as I became more aware of similarities and differences between Australians and Brits, and their respective cultures, so by extension it drove me to think about myself, and where (or how) I fitted in on either side.
Has the time away made any changes to the way you take photographs?
As I mentioned above, Melbourne was architecturally very interesting, so I think that engendered a slight shift in focus in terms of my photographs; whereas before I was perhaps more interested in rural landscapes, during my time in Melbourne I turned increasingly towards the urban, which was probably inevitable. During my time at the university there, I studied some new and interesting subjects, and read some fantastic writers, which itself has contributed to a change in the way I see things — and for me that’s what photography is, a way of seeing, or of looking. So a piece or writing that affects my way of thinking, or stays with me personally, also finds it way into my photographs, I think — I don’t really separate photography from other parts of my life. Also, I’ve always learnt photography as I went along, I’ve never had any kind of formal guidance or spent any time studying it, other than by initially imitating photographers I liked, I guess. So in that way too I think the way I take photographs has evolved during my time in Melbourne, as I learned from my mistakes or came across new inspirations.