Today, I’m launching a mini-documentary project loosely titled “Persons, Places & Passions” celebrating people Sheffield, past or present and the surrounding areas.
Allow me to introduce the first film:
It’s 7am on this cold December morning and Ben Cherry is waiting for the sun to rise so he can photograph the famous Curbar edge, in the Peak District. I stand back and observe him as he works.
This is my quiet portrait of him as he explores that which he holds dearest; photography and nature and the tools with which he does so. There’s no message or moral to this story, it’s just an honest little slice of one part of this persons life.
This project is about observation; assuming the role of a bird watcher more than a storyteller and playing shot catcher, more than film maker. I want to stand back, set up, and let the camera breathe and the subject and the scenery present themselves. This is not some hollow babble, even if I’ve drammed it up a little bit. I think it’s a reaction to my documentary making, question asking and storytelling and is a way of going back to the days of first falling in love with the wonders of a camera. The days when it was about the simplicity of filming people doing things, like my parents drinking coffee. This project is about just that, but with the structure of treating it as a project and centring it around the theme of people and places somewhat related to Sheffield. And some other handy bits of stuff I’ve learnt since I first held a camera.
What do I hope anybody watches gains from it? Nothing really. Just the joy of seeing and hearing. Too many soapboxes and newsflashes litter our lives, so this is just something I hope to be as instinctively nice as watching snow fall or hearing crickets on a warm summer night. Not that there can be a man made thing as nice, but I mean something which is just a sensory pleasure. The beauty of drinking through the senses without any complex thoughts or reactions. And that’s where I’ll leave it before I, myself, get too complicated. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you’ll come back and watch the next ones too.