This year kicks off with a great project that comes from Stuart Pilkington of whom first got interested in photography after buying his first camera with his first pay cheque. His work was originally inspired by the aesthetic of photography magazines, it was a little later that Stuart came across the work of William Eggleston, Alec Soth and Stephen Shore which opened his eyes to a deadpan way of shooting. Becoming more aware of his image making stuart started to draw inspiration from their work.
“…it opened my eyes up to a deadpan, mindful, colour, art style of image making. I knew I wanted to emulate these photographers and so I started buying more and more equipment including a 5x4 large format camera and a Hasselblad. “
Hit the jump to see the rest of the project.
This project began in April last year (2014) when stuart committed to shooting more frequently. Naturally without many willing subjects Stuart took to the streets. Starting in a nearby park Stuart gained his first willing subject and from that he knew the project had begun. With photographers like Joel Sternfelt, August Sander, Niall McDiarmid and Kate Hutchinson in mind, Stuart’s project was starting to unfold as he crawled the streets.
Conscious of the attitude the public has towards cameras and strangers, Stuart had a strong censorship over who he approached with his camera for fear of frightening them. He didn't approach women on their own, children, the elderly or families with children, a hesitation most photographers can understand. As a photographer you become aware of peoples attitudes towards cameras and its a shame that this can then influence your ability to produce work.
The projects name, Strangers In Paradise came from a Tony Bennet song he had listened to a lot over the week he was in Blackpool. Stuart had gone to Blackpool to produce work for the Lenscratch Instagram account. It was during this week that he started to lose his inhibitions about who he photographed which is evident in the work produced, his subject matter started to vary.
Throughout the process Stuart’s project evolved in may ways but it was when he was asked to join a collective called Documenting Britain that he realised that he wanted his work to be about the people of the north west of England, with this in mind Stuart is trying to build a picture of the social economic and ethnic mix of this part of Britain.