I was recently commissioned to photograph a car raffle at a local club. You read that right, a car raffle. At a local club. A few years ago I would have scoffed at the idea of photographing such an event and in all honesty I wouldn't have taken it seriously as a photographer. This says a lot about my ego at the time, something which I have become very aware of in the last five years or so.
I was actually excited at the prospect of free reign at this event, and as well as the photos of the car raffle going off, I was asked to get a few social photos and photographs of the club while I was at it. Between the half-hourly raffle spins, I wandered around the club and did some social pics and was really surprised by how many people were really chuffed to have their picture made, and I took the opportunity to make a few single portraits of some of the patrons.
As I became more familiar with the club and the people there, I began to see something really interesting. I began to see the people there, to really see them. The crowd was broken down into small groups and then pairs and then as individuals. I was able to focus on each person and see (and more importantly feel) each of them in their own right. It was a great feeling, all to do with awareness and photography.
While we photographers can often think and look for our next 'project', racking our brains on where interesting pictures may be found, we can often overlook the very people and places that are right in front of us, the people we meet and know, and the places we are in right now. This is where we should be making our work. As the night drew on I couldn't help think of Robert Frank's 'The Americans', and how so many of us take the pictures in that book as some sort of guide as to where pictures can be found. I couldn't help think that if Frank were in Canberra on this evening, this is where he would be most interested in photographing.