On a university course trip to various cities in Germany and Italy during their summer (it was winter mid-year break at home), we were tasked with an assignment, to take photographs thoughtfully as we travelled. Though the notion – taking photos on holidays – seemed self-evident, the objective was rather more to be conscious of the new and different that travel exposed us to.
We each devised an approach before setting out. Very like the idea behind the Biohazard Man project, this was essentially an exploration of different methods of documentation. Some approaches were photojournalistic, others topological. The conceptual approach I chose was to zoom in and capture the details, textures and patterns. By the end of our three weeks, I had amassed a collection of macro cropped-in photographs depicting the details that comprised this foreign everyday, but that stood out to my fresh eyes as a traveller. Not necessarily notable, but notable to me in that they were absent from my own everyday on the opposite side of the globe.
The final work was presented in-gallery as a grid of 110 photos, edited to remove colour and add a blue tint. This was to unify the work and magnify the patterns and textures. Conceptually I strived to capture a sense of place through those details, without feeding the viewer whole images. When we move through an unfamiliar space we can derive a sense of the place from the tiny details – doorknobs, manhole covers, street lights, railings and the like – tangible, tactile elements that we come physically into contact with. To this day I still remember how I felt, what it felt like to be in those spaces when those images were captured. So I guess it worked.