I GAVE a talk this week to a group of photography enthusiasts and the theme was taking photographs of people and places within a five minute radius of home.
Week Sixty Seven
Often we completely take for granted the area where we live that we almost no longer notice it (unless we happen to live next to Niagara Falls).
As a child I knew the immediate area around my home like the back of my hand – every alleyway, shortcut, climbing tree, loose paving stone, hiding place/ambush place etc. As you get older and spend less time in your immediate surroundings, other than to pass through them to get to somewhere else, all the little everyday things that you as a child would know intimately now seem invisible.
So I wanted to take a fresh look at my immediate environment and try and see it as if I had never been there before. It takes a while to get into the right frame of mind to see things afresh, but before long I was able to see things in a fresh light and try to look at them as if I was seeing them for the first time.
When I go elsewhere I find taking photographs of where I am incredibly easy, but find it far harder to get inspired to photograph what lies just beyond my doorstop. Familiarity breeds contempt, and I’m not exempt.
It was an interesting exercise to do and this week’s photos are the result of my own attempt to rediscover my local area. I discovered lots of little details that I had never noticed before because, simple as this may sound, I was actually looking around and consciously examining the places near to where I live. I won’t ever know my local area with the depth of knowledge that I had for my neighbourhood as a kid, because then the immediate vicinity of my home was virtually my entire universe.
These images, all taken within a few minutes of my front door include dog walkers on disused railway lines, canoeists in the Firth of Forth, modern office buildings, graffiti with a message, a girl applying her make-up on a bus and a frankly very creepy doll, lodged high in a tree on a nearby cycle path.
It was a great way to try and reignite interest in what can so easily become mundane and taken for granted. Furthermore, I would be a liar if I didn’t also admit that, for once, it was quite pleasant not having to spend hours in the car to come up with photographs for the week.
I wonder if, for next week, anyone might be interested in an in-depth exposé of my garden shed...
• Alan McCredie began the ‘100 weeks of Scotland’ website in October last year, and it will conclude in Autumn 2014. McCredie’s goal is to chronicle two years of Scottish life in the run-up to the independence referendum.
Alan says ‘one hundred weeks...’ is intended to show all sides of the country over the next two years. On the site, he says: “Whatever the result of the vote Scotland will be a different country afterward. These images will show a snapshot of the country in the run up to the referendum.
“The photos will be of all aspects of Scottish culture - politics, art, social issues, sport and anything else that catches the eye.”
• All pictures (c) Alan McCredie/100 weeks of Scotland