Simon Peacock is fifty-one year old Londoner who communicate to the outside world using Ricoh GR camera
Please tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a fifty-one year old Londoner. I have a family and a full-time job. I’ve been taking photographs seriously for about eight years.
I have a need to create. It gives me a strong sense of purpose, I like to be moving forward, to always be learning and growing. As I get older I try to make productive use of my free time, so I’ll take photographs whenever I can.
I don’t find it easy to talk about my photography. If I wrote a poem, I wouldn’t be asked to explain its meaning by drawing a picture. The image is the image. A photo speaks for itself. I want people to view my work to make up their own minds about what they see, and what the photograph means. It’s the reason I never give my photographs titles.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
I grew up reading magazines like the NME and The Face. The photographs of Anton Corbijn, Kevin Cummins, and other music industry photographers. They were mainly working in black and white, taking grainy images of the musicians I loved at the time. The images left an indelible mark on me.
The first purely photography exhibition I saw was a Yousuf Karsh retrospective. I was struck by the beauty of the large portraits. I immersed myself in the work or great artists, musicians and photographers. I suck up lots of influences. I go to as many exhibitions as I can. These people have all influenced and inspired me: Francis Bacon, Curtis Mayfield, Daido Moriyama, Gil Scott-Heron, Lucien Freud, Elliott Erwitt, Marvin Gaye, Picasso, Stevie Wonder, Cartier-Bresson, Garry Winogrand, Saul Leiter, Brassai, and many more!
Whats inspires your photography? I love people. I am attracted to the underdog, the unseen, and the overlooked. I like to show beauty – of every kind. I have my own rules about what I won’t photograph; People eating, homeless people, etc. My intentions are pure, and I want to do good! I try to honour my subjects!
What does it mean to you?
Photography is how I have chosen to communicate to the outside world.
How did the project start?
‘Get Me Home’ began by accident. I was out making street photographs, when I turned away from the pavement towards the road as a bus was slowly working it’s way through traffic. I was struck by the passengers, who appeared to me as portrait subjects, framed by the windows of the bus. I took a photograph or two.
It was only later on when I processed the photos that I saw that they contained reflections and abstractions, little fragments of other stories. So I went back out and spent many days, just looking for interesting people sitting on buses. I began to think about their stories, the way they appeared to be observing their surroundings or just day dreaming, and then it was about what other elements I could get in the frame. The abstraction was very different to my street work. Bus travel is often mundane. I wanted to make it beautiful.
How did you approach the subject matter? I just get out of my house and shoot. Making photographs in the street should be spontaneous. I like to work with what I have; the light, the surroundings, the people. I don’t like things to be too contrived.
What cameras did you shoot with and why?
All of the ‘Get Me Home’ photos were made with my Ricoh GR. The GR is an obvious choice for street based photography. I prefer to use a 28mm (equivalent in the case of the GR) lens. I like to be close up, in the scene, sometimes literally in the scene!
Any anecdotes you can share?
When it comes to words, I’m not a great story teller. I prefer to tell stories through images.
What are you looking for in street photography? I’ve always been a searcher, a questioner. I’m out there making pictures, looking for something. Looking to be moved emotionally, I think that every singer has one song, and perhaps every photographer makes one photograph. I think that every photo I make is part of my story – it’s the same photograph, and I think there is something in the quote ‘every photograph is a self-portrait’. I think about that a lot.
Get Me Home
Rushing fast through the city, facing the human tide. No time to plan. No time to think; only a fraction of a second to see. To see people like me; wrapped up in their worlds, their troubles, their senses. Blink and they’re gone forever.
We are lost in time. Spending our lives travelling backwards and forwards. Unnerved by the lingering scent of past loves. Immersed in half forgotten dreams. Attempting to process memories, triggered by lights flashing in our eyes. Pointlessly trying to finish the story. Never engaging with the people pushed up close against us. Passively accepting the impersonal, unwanted violation of our space.
I am drawn to the energy, the rhythm and the claustrophobic force of city streets. In these monochrome photographs, highlights and reflections ricochet off the camera lens to complete the scenes. My subjects are anonymous bus passengers. I name them, though they’re all beautiful strangers, just trying to get home.
Camera: Ricoh GR, lens 18.3mm (28mm/35equiv.)
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