I applied for funding from the Arts Council which emphasizes public engagement heavily. Crafting answers to those questions in the application form was painful. But I did it with a help of a friend. However my application didn’t even get past the first round because it was found to be lacking in some financial details as well as plans for engaging the public, in the way they want it. I was disappointed, obviously, but what can I do. (I will apply again but only after I have figured out which approach to take) Applying and being rejected did however clarify what this project has to be and what it cannot be, for me. Having said that I am unable to put it all into words. Only within myself I know.
London Archive. What is it? What is a ‘London photograph’? I sometimes become a victim of my own assignment. Or rather, the literal reading of it. Blasted Art School. It has been 8 years but its influence still lingers. I envy and admire artists of bygone years who despite their struggles were capable of exploring. They were not cynical about art or about their role or purpose as an artist. We were poisoned with cynicism in Art School, unnoticeably and despite efforts to find our own ‘thing.’ Our, at least my, creativity was eroded by having to constantly show my work to tutors who could only understand literal art and who repeatedly asked me to ‘really push my ideas.’ They seemed incapable of wonder. But I am rather bored of talking about it. I bore myself. I try to waste as little energy and time on it but like I wrote, its influence still lingers. I have to fight for my freedom on many levels. I often come to this point where I sense many sharp arrows, questions, pointing at me. I find myself feeling uncomfortable, tense and a dialogue of questions and defense starts playing in my mind. Maybe it is a small wonder that I still photograph or pursue art at all, as they say. Whatever ‘pursue art’ means anyway.
I am very grateful to people who have given money for the project via the crowdfunding site. I realised that if I send my films to be processed outside of London it will be half the price and therefore the funds I have raised will stretch for much further than I initially thought. All that £280 that has been given to date will go towards the purchase Velvia 100 120ml films and E6 film processing.
London is an incredible city. I am often overwhelmed by it but I am also driven by the hunger to explore and to see. In the end I hope to present London as she presents herself to me.
Preamble to the London Archive Essays
I asked a few friends and members of family to choose a photograph from the London Archive they would like to know more about. As this premise is my own devising, I have taken the artistic liberties necessary in answering this question. Bar a few exceptions, the result is a series of short essays combining a brief outline of historical information, consideration of photography as a medium as well as an account on how I ended up taking each particular photograph.