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Print of the Month

June 2023

Shapeshifter No. 4
Photograph 2018
Manchester, UK
Print on A3 paper, Edition of 25

In 2018, a good friend (and an exceptional photographer) shared with me some images he had made of a very special place. I knew right away that I simply had to go there and create my own photographs.

Although the location (which I’m keeping secret, for now) is only a couple of hours from our home in the Midlands of the UK, the logistics proved challenging. Being in a city centre, transportation and parking were of concern. But more important was the fact that this is a very public—and very busy—area. I hadn’t been there before, and I was unsure about the conditions I would find when I arrived.

Nevertheless, I optimistically planned the day of shooting. I decided to take the train from our town to the big city, even though that meant lugging all my camera equipment. I took my full complement of gear: a large camera backpack full of various lenses and a backup camera body, and my trusty tripod. The train ride took several hours and required a change of trains at a very busy station.

The journey went as expected, with no major issues. But when I arrived at my destination, it was cold and pouring with rain. I walked through the city as quickly as I could, hoping it would all be worth it.

When I arrived at the location, there were a few people here and there, but otherwise it was relatively quiet. I spent some time walking around, standing in various places, just looking, and thinking, immersing myself in the feel of the place and getting a sense of the kinds of human activity I might expect once I got into doing some serious photography.

I enjoyed several hours in the location, shooting diligently for long periods and taking a few short breaks. I had an amazing time!! I made nearly 500 frames, representing a fantastic variety of angles and a range of focal lengths, from quite wide to very close up.

This type of situation is a perfect example of the critical importance of composition, framing and visualisation in photography. The most subtle shifts can make a huge difference in the total composition, and this relatively small space provided an infinite number of possibilities for interesting images.

It’s not every day that I have so much fun and feel so immersed in the process of photography. On my return journey home I felt the deep satisfaction of knowing I had made some images that I was very happy with and that would make incredible prints.

After later reviewing, sorting and editing the day’s images, I selected 25 which make up the final collection. I’ve given the series the title Shapeshifter, illustrating the amazing way that even a tiny shift in angle and perspective creates incredibly different pictures in this special location.

(And if you’re wondering what exactly this picture shows, it’s simply a reflection in a mirrored surface. This is exactly how it appears to the naked eye—I haven’t manipulated or altered the image in any way.)

I’ve previously produced this photograph as large format, original canvas and metal prints. Now, for the first time, I’m releasing it as a limited edition print on paper.

Read more about the Monthly Edition programme