I am now well into the 4th year of my 365 photography project. In the time I have been doing it, I thought that I had thoroughly exhausted photographing my town. It’s a small place and even though it is classified as a city because of its cathedral, it is really just a small country town on the highway between 2 larger regional towns in South Africa.
It does have a number of things to distinguish it from other small towns though. Firstly, it hosts the annual National Arts Festival which is the biggest of its kind in Africa and which takes place for 11 days every June/July. The second thing is Rhodes University, which brings in lots of local and international students who take over the town during term time. Thirdly, it has a number of excellent schools, both private and government which attract children from around the country and further afield in Africa like Zambia and Tanzania. Finally, we were recently blessed with 8 new wind turbines to provide us with electricity and which sit on top of the hills surrounding the town like gentle giants.
As a historical town, it doesn’t offer skyscrapers or majestically tall buildings with lots of glass and metal that characterise cities elsewhere. Instead, it offers University buildings, historical prisons and forts, small cottages and some very ugly houses and buildings constructed in the 1970’s. Stone, brick and plaster are the materials I see around me.
So where am I going with this, you may ask?
In 2016, I decided to do a ‘corners’ theme for my photography project – something different with a myriad of possible interpretations. Surprisingly, by forcing myself to look for corners, I still managed to see the town with fresh eyes and I find that incredible after all this time. I looked at the buildings in a different way, looked at their corners rather than their fronts.
To my delight, when I looked at my monthly calendar, I found that 10 of the 15 shots I posted were of buildings and structures I have found in the town. Here’s a glimpse of some of them, but if you want to see the bigger photos I have posted of my town since I started, click here.
I find that I tend to think that in order to take wonderful photographs, I have to go somewhere different, somewhere exotic. But one thing I am learning from my photography project is that this is not the case. If I think out of the box, look at things with fresh eyes, I can find inspiration locally.
Elliott Erwitt says that
it’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them
I think I am beginning to agree with him and this thought links so nicely to my happiness resolutions to be observant and showcase the local!
PS: I will be starting a Distinctly Grahamstown series soon. Watch this space!
What inspiration can you find / have you found in your home town!
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment in the box below.