Monday, 9 March 2015

Pretentious? Moi?

Mesh Fence, Barton Farm © Graham Dew 2015
Mesh Fence, Barton Farm

Late on Saturday evening, I drove around to a parking space  on the edge of Barton Farm. As I pulled up a dog walker putting her pet back in the car seemed to be lingering, waiting to see what dog I had. She gave me a rather disdainful look as I lifted the hatch and rear shelf of our rather shabby motor. What sort of man would make his dog travel cramped up in the dark boot of his car? She looked somewhat surprised when the only the only things I had to get out were my Wellington boots and camera bag.

"Oh, I thought you had a dog in there!"
"No, not me," I replied. "I've come to take some photographs before the light fades." We exchanged pleasantries about the fine weather as I pulled on my boots and locked up the car.
"Are you a professional?" she asked, and I explained that no, I was here for my own pleasure. I knew what she was going to say next would raise my hackles.
"Oh, so just a hobby."

To say that I was an artist hoping to make some observations about the farm as as it gets developed in to a housing estate would be overblown and pretentious. To say that photography gives me a thrill when I can make a visual and metaphorical link between a subject and its environment is a bit weird and strong for most people. However, both statements are nearer the mark than saying photography is a pastime, something to gently fritter away precious hours of free time. I have to make time, clear other duties, prioritise and justify to be able to go out and make pictures that only a handful of people will see, because I need that creative space. But it's too difficult to explain that to others who don't know or appreciate art. 

The sun was setting fast; I needed to get a move on.
"Yes, just a hobby."


Mike C. said...

Careful, barrier mesh is addictive as a subject... I've tried to wean myself off it, but it's like giving up smoking!

You should have asked her whether she was a professional dog-owner...


Graham Dew said...

Oh dear, I've already fallen for those gateway subjects such as netting and chicken wire...