‘Every place is someone’s backyard.’ David Alan Harvey – photographer and mentor
Abandoned bear, Forest Gate, London : taken approximately 50 metres from home
They say that travel broadens the mind. And by extension, it’s supposed to be good for your photography. If you don’t believe me, browse through any book of quotations (or clichés). ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ and ‘Variety is the spice of life’ are just two examples.
But what if you can’t travel? Is your photography doomed? It can certainly be a challenge, taking interesting pictures close to home. Before moving to Zambia, I lived in one of the outer boroughs of London, a dormitory town for commuters. Heavily bombed during World War 2, it was a comfortable place to live. But I must admit that I didn’t find it inspiring. As a photographer, my backyard was the part of London where I worked.
I have a friend in California who takes nearly all her pictures at home. Give Susan dogs, flowers or dolls to photograph and be astonished. Made with skill and imagination, her pictures will transport you to an intimate, enchanting world. To visit that world, take a look at Susan’s website www.susanhayekkent.portfoliobox.net or the article that I wrote a few months ago : Susan Hayek-Kent : going with the flow.
Travel can indeed broaden the mind – and freshen your vision as a photographer. Moving to Zambia certainly gave my photography a new lease of life. But if you can’t travel – for whatever reason – don’t let that stop you from taking (and making) pictures. Travel with your imagination.
When I read David Alan Harvey’s quotation, it made me think about backyards. How big are they? And what can we find in them? My photographic backyard now has a radius of about a mile. If I can easily walk there from home, it’s in my backyard. I’m leaving you with a gallery of pictures taken within a mile of home and invite you to explore your own backyard with your camera. Let me know how you get on.