Slight return by Jacqui Booth

I've been gone this past year.  I've had things to do. Fortunately until recently the Inside the Outside Collective and Tim Andrews kept things ticking over with exhibitions of my photos in London and Brighton, but at home in Leicester I lost weight and stopped going out.  I found out some pretty bad things about my new spread-way-too-thin self and actually some good things too.  I now have sole care of two other human beings and so I cope.

This has meant that I've not been able to dwell on taking photos. I remember at the early stages one person saying that I would have to give up such 'frivolities'. I already had in effect, but I was angry.  This was something that meant so much to me. Why should I be a drudge, a cook, a mother*, a worker, a cleaner and nothing else?  In reality as I sit here listening to the washer, with food that needs to be put away in the kitchen and hair that needed dying a month ago it's really not viable, but there's not one day that has passed that I don't remember that there was something more.

So, time to step into the way back machine. Back when I still had an almost reckless sense of adventure that I'm hoping will still be there when I regain some freedom both physically and mentally. During my first solo holiday with kids, I had to be coaxed up Snowdon by my eldest child, but I'm getting stronger.

This is Denmark, from July 2016.  I've already posted some film shots of this trip, but this is what I found and chose to record digitally.  Thanks to John Blakemore and Joseph Wright for a hand with the sequencing, whilst on a Bookmaking course at the Photo Parlour in Nottingham, though admittedly the raw materials were seriously lacking.  I watched the other photographers sets coalesce into something meaningful, but mine just wouldn't.  So, let's get rid and move on at last!




* I could actually argue that being a mother is pretty fucking important, but it's still not really seen that way, is it?

Last summer by Jacqui Booth

 

So...where to begin?  It's perhaps best not to even think about it too much. So much has changed since the last time I blogged about any photos, mainly because so much has happened personally.  It's okay, I've still had a smile on my face sometimes, but hell, it's been stressful and will continue to be for the time being.

It's difficult to place how I feel about a lot of my photos that have remained stockpiled.  It's not only because I'm so tired at the moment that my elbows keep slipping off the desk.  They're just from another time.

This lot are already nearly a year old and I think they were taken to test the AGFA, which seemed very reluctant to give me a good photo on my trip to Denmark.  There's still something going on with it that I'll suss out another time. Since then I've taken almost sole responsibilty on a day to day basis for my two teenage lads and (fortunately) for now I have the family home to look after.  The lads and I are grappling with shopping, cooking, cleaning, GCSE's and all the emotional stuff they feel when their parents royally fuck up the nuclear family thing and quite suddenly start seeing new people.

 
 

On this day the sun shone, my youngest protested strongly about getting out of the car at all and a most likely autistic lad laid in a ditch for a whilst his parents patiently waited for him to settle.  A regular day out but I knew when we came here as a four that it was for the last time we'd be such a unit at Sherwood Pines. It was almost bittersweet.  I drove, the kids eventually played happily together in a place full of happy memories and I took some photos...

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

52 Rolls:21 Denmark. Holga Meg Diana+ by Jacqui Booth

My family is very varied.  Some folk never venture far from home.  Others decide that they’re going to get as far away from it as possible.  I was talking to perhaps the most wayward member of my family in my Grandma’s flat one afternoon when I said “Well, next time you’re in Europe, give me a yell and I’ll hop on a plane”.  And she yelled.  And I did.

So it came to pass that after a hastily rejigged departure following a flight cancellation, I left the newly bolted together house mamil still sweating off post operative drugs in the care of my laziest youngest offspring, and got into a cab, caught a train to Luton, an airport bus, a plane to Denmark (the Teenagers’s first flight and only my third), took the Metro into Copenhagen, and another train out to Odense.  Heather was located at the top of an elevator, and we all got on the bus to her digs.

The main aim was to catch up with digital photos – so there’s only one from Odense here.  The whole country is so utterly tidy and there are safe cycle lanes right out into the middle of nowhere.  And they’re not kidding when they say it’s flat.  Seriously, even I can ride a bike there for miles and miles.  You’ve got to be a maniac to ride one in the UK in comparison.  I did when I got back – that’s been filed under Not Fun.

This flat, well kept country was potentially quite uninteresting for me as I like the slightly messier asides – but with the help of the Uni staff we did find some run down areas.  However, this was spotted by my son just metres from Heather’s extremely pleasant Ikea infested digs.  We spent a lovely time in the drizzle with the wild horses getting this snap.

After three days it was time to let Heather do some work and for her partner, Mark, to head off on even wilder travels with the tiniest lightest camping kit ever, so we headed to Copenhagen for a day and a bit, staying with a 20-something over tall volleyball enthusiast named Rasmus, who rented out a painfully cool room on Air BnB.  We wandered out on the first day to explore…you’ll notice from the overlapped photos that the Holga was set to the wrong exposure option.  16, rather than 12.  I suspect Teenager involvement (I borrowed his Holga later and it was set wrong), but I don’t have a film mask for this camera so I guess it doesn’t really matter.

The second day was spent in the National Museum of Photography, the Design Museum, and the National Gallery of Denmark so there wasn’t much time for photos.  Besides, the Teenager’s patience was stretched enough as it was by the time we hit the modern art that he staged a sit in (I may have left him in front of one of the more out-there exhibits on purpose) and I had to call in an emergency all you can eat buffet stop at Riz Raz.  He was a bit rancid during the refuelling process but we survived.

We both really liked Denmark, despite us still coming quite seriously unstuck with two cancelled trains along the way and we were rather naffed off to be back in the UK.  But we headed out to the ‘the pits’ for a wander soon afterwards – well, we needed to finish the film, catch pokemon and eat ice cream.  I think we’ve adapted again now to our comparatively under funded over populated environment.  It’s a lot less relaxing, bit infinitely more varied.

And we’re planning our next trip. California/Nevada/Utah, I’m told…2019. I hope we do it.

Technical shit:

I really have very little idea.  It was ages ago.  Bear with me!  I know I used Digibase C-41 Ready to use pre diluted softpacks.  The temp was 25 as it was such a hot weekend and after I following the 21 temp instructions earlier in the day I followed the instructions for the 25 temp…but I’m not sure it was the best idea.  Another film in the same canister was less than impressive – but it was probably just way too out of date.

Week 21: The Holga and Naked Tim by Jacqui Booth

Hmm, where to start with this one?  Well, I’ll try from the beginning and keep it brief.  At some point nearly two years ago, I was browsing through Twitter and Tim Andrews (who happens to have Parkinsons and was well into his Over the Hill project at the time) had posted something interesting from another photographer, which I ‘liked’ and might even have commented on.  I knew of him through a mate, but wasn’t going to slavishly follow for that reason, because I was awkward back then.  Fortunately, Tim followed me. ‘Did I take photos?’ he said.  Yes, I said, and sent him a link to flickr and instagram.  ‘Would I like to photograph him?’ he said.

“Oh my shitty christ” I thought.

BUT – I was on a mission to do the very things that scared me. And this did scare me.  I was nervous.  I didn’t really take photos of people. But my mate Al badgered me until I’d set a date (this took a while) and encouraged the heck out of me.  We went for walks and talked.  It would be okay.

Al and I, by Tim Andrews. I’m the taller one.

Al and I, by Tim Andrews. I’m the taller one.

Meanwhile, I went through Al’s big book of photos which he’d foolishly lent out a year or two back.  I still had it and was devouring every page.  Notes were made.  You see, everyone seemed to photograph Tim naked and I thought it was a cop out.  I wanted to just take a bloody good photo of him without the “Ooo, he’s got his willy out” shock value.  But, to be fair, as we settled into the studio, started to talk and I began to wrap his hands in yarn, the clothes…well, they just had to go.  They were in the way.

And so, my family and friends learnt of Naked Tim, so called because I know too many Tim’s and it became hard to differentiate.  Though as it happened, the photo we chose from the first day was clothed and was shown at Goldsmiths College in November 2015.  I wasn’t there.  I was watching a baby emerge from my sister.

Anyway, the moment Tim learnt that I knew the legendary Al Brydon (aka my twit of a mate) he decided that a joint shoot should occur.  Hence more wandering through the hills and valleys of the Peak District with Al whilst we decided what the hell we were going to do.  At the time, second ‘Tim shoots’ were rare, so we were a bit chuffed.  Little did we know that this would lead to shoot three.  This is the fourth and was almost wholly on film in honour of 52rolls.  Tim posed, Al and I bickered happily, we both bought along equipment, I developed the film and Al proved that he was better at processing it in Lightroom or whatever than me.

Pocket Al and Pocket Tim, perched on a Holga

It became a terribly soggy and wet day in the Peaks, and for me it had started off quite stressfully, but it was so comfortable and absorbing just making the photos together that I forgot to be worried and just enjoyed their company.  That kind of thing is important to me.

Outtakes:

Previous Tim pics on my website

Tim’s version of events…
I can help you out

The first time:
My time has come

The second time
Three is not a crowd
Special Offering
Helpless

The third time
Silent Song

This blog was first published on 52rolls.net