While walking through St James’s Park in London late one summer a number of years ago, I was drawn to the trees which line The Mall. I had been photographing the fallen leaves as well as the shadows on the Georgian buildings.
I have a fascination with trees as they often are the silent witness to the world passing by them. Like human faces, over time, tree trunks move from the smoothness of youth to the rough and wrinkly face of old age - the cracks and spaces telling the stories of bygone ages.
The particular tree that caught my attention was outside the ICA, and the light fell on the trunk through its bear branches; highlighting the texture of the trunk. The viewer can feel the image.
Using Ilford Pan-F 50 film adds to the contrast to the image – and, in the end, helps the photo to become a bit more tactile. When I recently looked at the photo, I realised that I initially hadn’t appreciated how simple and tactile the photo was. I had been drawn more to the light and shadow.
While not to take away from the light and shadows, the texture of the image adds to the image in a more subtle way. This is one of the main reasons why I have started using Ilford Pan-F 50 film again. With this slow film, the image I get is punchy and contrasty and the fine grain suites many of the subjects I photograph.
Often when I go out to take photos, I have an idea of what I want to photograph. However, in some instances, like photographing the tree on The Mall, I stumble upon photographs. I enjoy the unexpected photograph that presents itself.