Tag Archives: lifestyle

Why I Document The Little Things

Reece Pickering- 8/02/16

As photographers we’re all guilty of it, depicting ‘high-end photoshoots’ in ‘exclusive’ locations on Instagram.

Hashtag, shoot, hashtag, shoot, hashtag, stop.

Instagram channels dedicated to the premise of behind the scene shoots, #BTS #exclusive #studio #location; then we document our refined, edited and post-produced images on all platforms of social media.

I do this myself, every single day as a practicing photographer, but the one thing in learning this is that I’ve discovered this gives little relevancy or personality of the photographer to the viewer.

There is no personality, just other people or whatever might be your area of specialisation.

Yesterday I was speculated by a friend for posting pictures of rooms and anecdotes in my life, images which didn’t conform to the usual aesthetic of my Instagram feed.

But why?

“It isn’t professional”

“It doesn’t fit”

“They don’t fit within the context of your work.”

Time and time again I scour Instagram feeds to follow users with aesthetically interesting compositions, stories, and the more intricate side of their personality.

This doesn’t include selfies, drunken posts tagged from club photographers or hotdog legs taken abroad in two week piss-ups in Mallorca.

But I followe those who are able to narrate their lives visually via their Instagram feed. In a platform which is loud with shout-outs and follow-for-follow hackers; there is nothing more refreshing as a photographer to see users making beautiful compositions with fine details which give a clue as to how they see the world.

This is creating a personality on social media, and as many look past documenting the smaller things; people (more so clients) will look for this personal approach.

So regardless of whether that gum on the bin wasn’t as ‘cool’ (whatever that word means) as a Starbucks cup, shoot it, Rastafarian man stood outside of Mcdonalds? Shoot it. (I still to this day regret not taking that one).

Have a girlfriend?

Photograph her as much as you can, who else would let you do that?

 

Instagram: @reecepickering_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why it Pays To Hang With Internationals

Whether it’s ordering a beer in French, toasting ‘prost’ in German, or proceeding to flatter a Spanish woman in broken Spanish; I can luckily say that my life has been enriched with these experiences all of which with thanks to my time spent with those from other countries.

More recently internationals.

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Back in my late teens, house parties were happening two or three times a week, usually in dishevelled houses on council estates.

But for some reason that 17-year-old self felt the urge to partake in drinking a £3 crate of bitter 5 months past it’s shelf date on a gritty council estate.

FH020012Within that youthful British drinking culture were social standards which could have been emulated by chimps.

Winging it in somebody’s house party you hardly knew was social death, only last halloween did I attempt to be a plus one dressed as Jack Sparrow and got a pumpkin the size of a small child thrown at myself and a friend.

Only then did the same friend from Czech dressed as a Rastafarian pirate say ‘man let’s head to the internationals party across the street, it might be good there”, the pumpkin had snapped his polystyrene parrot in two.

Before you could shout guttentag, we were hitting the international parties every month, a society put together by the university for students studying away from home, it was a secret haven for travellers missing the road; without the need for solar powered showers, cheap goon wine and bug spray.

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I compare British house parties to these international ‘gatherings’ simply because there are no conformations to ‘fit in’. Greetings with internationals begin with a kiss on either cheek, whereas a British gathering of the same nature I’ve been closely greeted with the broken side of a Stella bottle.

Why are these greetings like this? For one reason and one reason only, these gatherings BREED diversity; one second I’m taught the running man with Saudi Arabian, the next I’m discussing politics in photojournalism with a Polish student.

Alchohol hardly enters the equation, and is often simply complimentary for gatherings; but not relied upon. As there seems to be a strict rule in British drinking culture to fill your skull to the brim with cheap liquor and proceed to salivate all over that bouncer but he’s really nice because he didn’t kick you out of the club last time when you puked up on the bartender.

What I’m trying to portray in this post is that my life has, and will continue to be influenced by brushings with those from other countries, and I believe it’s something that far too few of us don’t do.

I’ve learned to cook South American dishes from old flames, learned Spanish, French, and how to shout profanities in Urdu. Some beneficial, some delightfully pointless; non-the-less they are anecdotes which influence my proffesion, my life and my passion.

What Happened When I swiped Right For The First Time #GirlBoss

Reece Pickering- 20/07/15

Photography had brought me to a commission in Vancouver, Canada on March 22nd. With a meetup with a stranger so random, I hadn’t yet developed the photographs to prove it, until now.

The first thing you might think is that I headed straight to a Canucks game, drank copious amounts of maple syrup; or wander along photographing portraits of residents on the most dangerous street in North America (all of which I did).

But the rain had kept our lenses indoors, little time was spent in the sun; most time was spent hiding in the hotel room researching projects or eating as many $1 wedges from 7-Eleven whilst waiting to be called to the commission. Our room did have a great view of the BC Stadium though.

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I had shared a hotel room at the YWCA with four of my colleagues for ten days, and then discovered this wondrous app known to west yet not to me; it was called ‘Tinder’.

For those not in the know like myself at the time, Tinder is a dating application which drags 20-somethings from all around your location into a convenient sorting system in which you swipe left to ‘dislike’ and right to ‘like’.

I have never felt inclined to use the app, nor have I ever intended to, as my preferences were to speak face to face with people, who weren’t likely to be serial killers or have fetishes for piercing my nipples for me (you would be surprised what goes on); but that stack of 7-Eleven wedges in the hotel bin were beginning to decay and nobody had tipped the maid, so I start swiping.

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Filtering left through the foundation-clad clutter in Vancouver, I notice a friendly looking Asian woman named Michelle; ‘dictionary definition of friends’ says her bio; so I swipe right.

This is perfect for me as my whole concept of a photographer is to keep making new friends, one could say it’s a necessity in my skill set.

Before I knew it, I was stood at the apartment door within the building that Michelle had given me only hours before when we had started chatting. I had my disposable Fujifilm Finepix colour film camera with me, taking shots of the building almost prepping myself for forensics to develop the photographs and discover the place I had been lured into; after they discovered my mangled body. The hallway looked like the same dank, dark corridor in The Watchmen, right before the Joker is thrown out the window of the complex. Furnished but freaky. FH030006

But when I wrapped my knuckles on the door and primed my Fuji ready to strike, Michelle answered with an excited smile and invited me in. After that, she became known as ‘Girlboss’ after seeing a copy of the book by Sophia Amoruso when I first walked in.

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Michelle has that Zen-like state, of freedom and all things cultural. I realised this when I was only one of three meet-ups via Tinder that day alone. She had pencilled me in between her 2:30pm coffee and her 6pm dinner. I felt privileged.

Our day involved all things alternative to a regular hangout with a stranger, like Tarot cards (to which I was dealt the worst three), then Yoga (to which she described I wasn’t very flexible, prompting the proceeding months to be filled with morning Yoga until the day a woman would deem me flexible again) finishing with her soloing the guitar; of course it wouldn’t be a hipster meet-up without a guitar solo.

That was when I began to learn just how generous Canadians were.

After I had told her about the insane week’s shooting in Vancouver, I told her about my even more hectic living arrangements with four other guys. ‘Sounds mad’, she said ‘would you like a bath?’ This strange request would prompt anything but friendship in British culture (or rom my personal experiences at least).

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So I did the right thing, and kindly agreed.

Before I could ask for a towel, Michelle had taken the liberty to plaster me a mint face mask on; cooked me gluten free banana bread, and fashioned up a kale smoothie for me.

Michelle had confirmed every healthy lifestyle cliché box that I had expected from a city like Vancouver; and I was loving it.

I laid in the lukewarm water for the best part of half an hour, accompanied by Michelle’s relaxation playlist she had played under the door with her IPhone.

Not once did I protest, and as I laid there; eyes covered in mint scrub and feeling relaxed from my everyday grind of a routine I laughed at the notion that I had earned all of this, just by swiping right.

Of course by telling my room mates that days events, I ran the risk of being portrayed as some serial-healthy lifestyle freak who would break into strangers apartments to pamper myself.

So, that night I took them all for sushi.

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I hadn’t ran the risk of meeting a friend like Michelle again, for safety reasons within the UK and have ever since swiped left; and proceeded to delete Tinder.

For now I will stick to mundane dates in restaurants or cinemas, the generic stuff…