Reflections: freak weather and fighting anxiety

This post is a reflection on a session I had on Monday 30th April.

I’ve felt pretty disheartened about my project over the past week or so. The 50mm lens I had been using just didn’t do the job, and my anxieties about taking photographs in such intimate places had rocketed three-fold. I was struggling to capture interesting images and felt a sense of clumsiness fumbling through different f stops and ISOs. All of this, combined with the inadequacy I felt as some of my classmates presented their beautiful photos in our mid-term presentations, led to an inevitable slump. After seeking some advice, I switched to a 35mm lens to combat some of the difficulties I’ve been having.

Waking up to a downpour of rain yesterday , I knew I had been granted the perfect opportunity to snap some more pictures. The weather meant that parts of the wider city were practically abandoned, facilitating a bit more experimentation on my part. Feeling grateful for having a car, I went exploring; my destinations included Norton Road Car Park (Hove) and Brighton Marina.

Norton Road Car Park

Norton Road was an adventure in itself. After finally finding a parking space, I grabbed my kit and got going. It took me about ten minutes to actually find the toilet facilities, and when I did, a large metal gate told me I was unwelcome. The gate was locked; the toilet is not open on weekdays. The notion that nature only calls on weekends and bank holidays is a humorous one; the fact that I didn’t even notice this until looking at the images afterwards is even more so.

Nonetheless, I managed to snap a couple of photographs of the exterior. This was my first time trying out the 35mm; I worked on a higher ISO and lower f/ stop with a wide aperture. This was a quick endeavour since my raincoat was failing at keeping me dry, but I felt pleasantly surprised by the few images I did capture. I feel they embody the themes of my project; power, vulnerability, exclusivity.

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Brighton Marina

A quick drive down the coast brought me to Brighton Marina which, when abandoned by tourists avoiding the rain and unceasing wind, feels like something out of a dystopian novel. I had already been here before for this project, so I wasted no time getting to work.

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This is perhaps my most interesting photograph from Brighton Marina. The lack of life meant I had a bit more time to look around, to explore different angles and more unusual perspectives. Up until now, I had timidly locked myself in and limited myself to what I could make interesting from the safety of a cubicle. This was, of course, mostly my own anxiety playing a part, but my experience yesterday was a new one.

I sat on a toilet and snapped this image, with the door open. I find the image aesthetically pleasing, the symmetry and angles interrupted with the burst of yellow from the wet floor sign. It feels rather clinical and, although it may not look like it, this image was a formative one for me. The risk of someone walking in and seeing me perched on a toilet seat with my camera would have previously crippled me, and this photography wouldn’t have been possible. This time, though, I didn’t let my anxieties command my work; I think it paid off.

I want to continue taking these kinds of images; confident, commanding, and different. This session definitely helped encourage me to keep practising and to keep pushing my boundaries.

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