Portrait Salon

I sometimes question myself and my reasoning when I am out and about shooting personal work (that’s work I shoot just for myself with no third party brief and, no pay). It usually involves people I’ve met or approached who I think would make for an interesting portrait. My self doubt arises, usually when it’s cold, dark, wet and miserable and I’m lugging my gear around on my own (which I do for most of my personal work – it keeps me grounded by reminding me what it’s like to be an assistant again). It’s often further exacerbated when my subject asks me why I want to take their photo and what am I going to do with it? The very lovely Mrs Griffiths even went as far as to say that I couldn’t be a very busy photographer as nobody would want to buy her picture!

Portrait of Mrs Griffiths, who was part of my 28 Days In February project.

But every now and then something happens that make me feel it’s all been worth it. This time it was an email from the Portrait Salon to say that one of my images had been selected for their exhibitions at the Royal Photographic Society in Bristol and at the Photo North Festival in Harrogate.

It’s not the first time I’ve been in the Portrait Salon as last year the image below of Trevor got in, and what made it even more satisfying is that it was voted for by the public, and anyone with an eye on my social media following will now that I wasn’t able to call on thousands of followers to vote for mine!

Portrait of Trevor in his workshop, voted for by the public for Portrait Salon 2018

This year though I had my portrait of a bell ringer chosen by renowned photographer Peter Dench, who was curating this years awards, and Peter is a photographer whose work I have long admired and enjoyed as his work has a real sense of humour. It is always very reassuring when your work is selected by your peers.

Portrait of Roger, Tower Captain which was selected for Portrait Salon 2019

After a pause, I am about to recommence my bell ringers project and fresh from this success, and filled with enthusiasm I will now tackle the narrow spiral steps that lead up to most ringing chambers with a renewed sense of vigour and optimism!