Introduction: I'm Carina and I'm currently studying BA Photography at University Centre Colchester, I will graduate in 2018. The main genres I enjoying exploring are documentary and portraiture. I feel responsible for documenting what we fail to see and I am quite prolific. For me, Martin Parr is a legend when it comes to documenting these ‘unseen sights’. A master at capturing everyday occurrences and delivering them in his unique satirical and deliberate style. I was extremely excited knowing that Parr would be coming to Colchester to exhibit Work and Leisure. He was one of the judges for the “Essence of Essex” competition, which ran alongside his exhibition. Further, on the final night, Parr was interviewed by the Firstsite gallery. It was unmissable; a chance to listen to Parr as he discussed his influences and opinions and his previous and current practices in photography.
I’ve always felt a pull towards art and photography but never thought it would be more than just a hobby. Not because I wasn't serious about it, but because it wasn't perceived as academic enough. I was always told how artistic I was but no one ever said: “You should pursue this.”
From 2004 to 2013 I worked as a Police Officer. It’s the complete opposite of anything remotely artistic, but I see it from a different perspective. Dealing with emotions, beliefs, habits, life, pain and sometimes death, you see a side of humanity that not many get to witness: the inner human psyche. This is an advantage to the photographer. As I continue to study photography, refine my process and produce work I have used my experiences in the Police as an influence to create context and narrative. I have also learnt great skills of communication for different situations: whether it’s talking to clients, peers or communicating through your photographs.
Event: My 2nd year at university began with a project called Place. A broad and subjective title that linked in nicely with Parr’s recent talk at Firstsite and the style of photographs I want to produce. My goal is to be brave enough to capture the unpolished, slightly sarcastic and critical but with a sense of nostalgia. Parr stated during the interview: “It’s incredibly difficult to be a photographer, to find your voice.” I myself feel that I’m in a constant state of refinement but I have to trust my concepts. “If you just wait to only take good photos you’d never start because how would you know if anythings good?” says Parr.
Outcome: As we came to the questions and answers section of the talk I listened to the carefully constructed and clever questions put to him by the audience. I recalled his earlier response about his current practices, “Now you have a lot of people doing selfies. I’m doing a series of people and their selfie sticks…this is how we connect to the world out there. We've got to be seen…then you know you exist.” With this in mind the only possible question I could ask Parr was, “Can I take a selfie with you?” He laughed and happily obliged. Some may have seen it as crass and cliche but what makes it different is that it was intentional. A juxtaposition of two photographers documenting the modern idiosyncrasy of the selfie. Undoubtedly the best question of the night!
Future: In the immediate future I want to develop my process and strengthen my use of narrative. To do this I try to take photos everyday and critique them. I am constantly updating blogs and writing in my notebook. I want to find my style but at the same time I think it’s imperative to not rule anything out.
Click on all the images in this post to be linked to Carina's Instagram account, or click here for her website.