Marc, congratulations on your Street Photo of The Year win!
Can you tell us a little about you?
Sure, I am a professional photographer and teacher of photography working in the London and Essex areas of the UK. I graduated with an honours degree in Fine Art Photography in 2000 from the London Guildhall University. My work has ranged from social documentary projects to landscapes to portraits and more recently to pinhole photography. I have exhibited much of my art around London and the UK but since the mid 00’s the teaching part of my career took over. It’s only within the last year I’ve started to get back into photography with the aim being to get work recognized and exhibited more.
How does it feel to win this quite fantastic award?
It’s great! I’m really proud of the achievement and to me it just proves that I should never of let my photography take a back step in my life for so many years. It’s a great accolade to have hanging over you ‘Street photograph of the year’!
The one above is your winning photo. What was your thought process when choosing which photo to enter and can you tell us a little about the photograph? It's pretty grim, depressing, a typical grey day by the sea!
Southend on Sea in Essex is somewhere that’s familiar to me as it reminds of what the east end used to be like when I was growing up. I like it because it seems to incorporate a wide variety of what would be called England. You have the kitsch of the English seaside alongside the eclectic working class that this government seems to think don’t exist or at least don’t want to think exist. ‘Let’s get everybody into line’ seems to be the ethos of this new government that’s run by these rich Eton school boys. Well I’m afraid that is not how life is, society and wealth play a huge part in the people these places produce. I try to find the people that represent these places and bring them to light in photography. Southend seems a great place to document today’s society in all its glory or not as the case may be.
On different note, I was looking at your website and you have some excellent stuff on there, in particular the beer can project. Can you tell us how that came about?
I can tell you Nico, and any photographer out there, that there is no greater fun to be had than taking a picture with a beer can, sweet tin, box etc. Pinhole photography is great! It’s also a real challenge as you have to think about the science of photography. The capture of light. The only light meter here is in your head! Plus you don’t know what you’re going to get until you process the shots in the darkroom, that’s the excitement of it. It’s for all these reasons that I got into it. At the moment I’ve just turned a horse trailer into a massive pinhole camera! I’ve got some 52 inch photographic paper to use to capture an image, how I’m going to process that is another matter, any suggestions please send them my way!
Other photos you take seem to have a very social documentary feel to them?
Well the term ‘street photography’ has only really become popular over the last couple of years or so. When I started doing this work during the late 90’s it was called documentary photography. You would create a project that was a social document of the people in that place at that time. Taking pictures in the street has a surface value but if you want depth to your work you should really get stuck into a project. At the end of the day you are documenting society so have some message in your work and try to get that across in photographs. That’s what I try to do anyway.
All photographs © Marc Newton