I was jealous of friends busking round Spain, sleeping on the steps of churches and under the stars, playing in squares for payment in kind from the owners of local establishments, learning the form of new songs, getting tanned and shedding the need for the usual objects we think we need.
I imagined myself a photohobo hitching or riding a bike between street scenes and paper negatives flapping on a line to dry in time to make the contact print for the walk-up trade, parting with €5 for a brief exposure to an older time in photography, a different mode of making, a picture or themselves in the past as if they had also come from the past.
I tried it at a waterless festival in Aragón, and it just about worked, but wasn’t slick, or honed and business-like, like the guys with their adapted Graflexes on the Capitolio steps in Havana. Nor like Snappy Snaps.
I did it in a protest squat in freezing January Birmingham, boarded up windows blocking out the no-light, like being in a Siberian mine, if you weren’t there.
And on a project working with primary-age kids on the streets and in the schools of Aston, Birmingham, having them illustrate their own portraits in an aspirational fashion, sometimes shooting the passers-by with the MPP mark 2 5×4 field camera.
And at a festival, a sideshow, eventually paying people to not have their picture taken, to not contribute to the fix-stained mayhem of our tent, not to make us shadow puppet again in the dark-bag, fiddling with sweaty paper and international dark slides.
And for a 48 Sheet commission, for display in Highgate, on JC Decaux hoardings, working with a women’s community group
And at Supernormal festival: The Analogue Photographer’s Magic Show, a heady cocktail of photographic surprises and divination.
And in Brazil as part of the Espirito Brum cultural exchange.
And for you. A commissioned instant-ish photo on your wall: £35 for a 5″x4″ image on 10″x8″ photographic paper.