It started as a way to break out of a creative slump. Coming at the tail end of a hugely busy summer of shooting, where every single job was predominantly about getting things as sharp, as accurate, as qualitatively technically good as possible, about shooting specific moments to a specific aesthetic standard.
In other words, a normal, if exhausting summer in the normal life of a commercial photographer and film maker.
How to break out of the post-season ennui? How to care again? The answer came in the unlikely shape of a £10 ebay tilt-shift adaptor, which converted my canon lenses for my little Sony A6000.
Photographers will obsess over sharpness, over precision focus, and nothing can be harder than trying to achieve sharpness with a cheap t/s adapter and manually focussing a fast lens wide open.
But the softeness, the areas plunged into deep shallow focus, the sheer uncontrollability of it, gave the process a whole new ‘tangible’ quality. I felt like I was actually making something with my hands. I felt like a little bit of the mystery and spontaneity that photography should be, had returned.
And as the afternoon fell into night, as I walked up Shoreditch High Street, my little 50mm f1.4 twisting and straining to catch focus, so a kind of loneliness emerged in the character of the young people I captured.
This was their day off, and yet none seemed to be enjoying themselves. I felt how deeply alone they seemed, how distanced from each other and from the very process of trying to enjoy a Sunday evening amidst the bustle and colour and lights of what is so vaunted as London’s most vibrant of neighbourhoods