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Personal Work: Sestieri

Updated: Mar 22

This is a simple series but it did get me thinking. I spent four days walking around the quieter corners of Venice with no particular plan. It was really just an exercise in looking. No message or meaning, just the simple act of placing elements within the frame and seeing how they perform. In many ways this approach takes me back to my earliest days as an amateur photographer with no clients to satisfy and no defined projects as such. Back then it was just photography for its own sake.

However, if I look at the photographs in this series I recognise that certain 'rules' have been applied, even if I set out with no rules in mind. They are mostly frontal, mostly of walls, mostly playing with textures and graphic elements. They are quite dark. There's almost no sky and no people. I wasn't aware of making these decisions at the time but the images all seem to share the same characteristics.

I guess over the years I've developed what could be described as a 'strategic' approach to photography. It's very much of my generation. You find a visual strategy and you repeat it to make up a series. If you look through the personal work on my website you'll find plenty of strategy-based projects. Sometimes it's hard to break away from this kind of formality, even in a situation with total freedom, as in this case.

It's a limitation, but hey, I am who I am.

Younger photographers, I notice, have a much more fluid approach; mixing formats and styles within the same body of work. It's a different visual language, sometimes overwhelming and difficult to read (at least for me) but I find it compelling. In any case, for now if I'm wondering around Venice with nothing particular in mind, these are the photographs I come home with. I'm open to change though and I'd be curious to break the rhythm, trying a different way of looking, or at least a different way of putting images together.

You can view more from this series here.

All Images © Colin Dutton, 2024. Not to be used without permission.


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