Last weekend was the Our Fave Places Photo-marathon. Sheffield’s amateur and pro photographers were out in force to snap the city sights. In spite of my lack of ability I attended (I resisted using the term ‘competed’ as this may be overly complimentary of my skills) and snapped some transport themed photos.
For those who haven’t heard of the Photo Marathon, it’s a competition which requires participants to take six photographs relating to six different topics. The topics are vague and open to interpretation. This gives those with a creative flair chance to do things their own way but gives amateurs like me a lack of direction or much-needed instruction. The competition is time bound too, which gives it an extra sense of urgency. Finally, the photo’s need to be taken in order. This means you have to be creative, punctual, and organised. The holy grail of personal qualities.
The whole competition was based around six vague topics. My plan was to have a theme throughout the day to give me a bit of direction. Being a transport nerd I decided to choose the theme ‘Transport Nerd’.
1. Making Shapes
The first category was making shapes. Squares, circles, rectangles, balbis, hexagrams, squircles (google them). We’ve all seen them. Just hanging around the city exuding their geometric charm. Now it was up to me to capture them in photograph form. Initially I thought road signs would make for a great transport related shape snap but I eventually settled for the rectangular bus wing mirror.
2. Making Sounds
The second category was about sounds. When I think of transport and sounds I instantly think of car engines and horns but I was concerned that where there are horns there are normally un-photogenic angry faces. I decided to go for a quieter human powered mode of transport that gives off a subtler sound. I was on the hunt for bicycle bells when I heard a clikcety clack of a skateboard on the pavement approaching from behind.
3. Making History
Transport and history was a tough to photograph. I have seen remnants of the old tram carts that used to travel all over Sheffield but I struggled to think how I could capture this in a photograph. Therefore, I decided to focus on the current incarnation of the tram network. The Supertram is quite pertinent to Sheffield’s modern history as the city was one of the first cities to install a tram network as a modern solution to public transport. The Cathedral stop is a nice contrast between gone by eras. The idea was of top quality. The photo was not. However, once I realised I wasn’t happy with it, I had already moved on and didn’t want to delete photos!
4. Making a Meal (of it)
As soon as I saw the fourth category, making a meal, I had an idea of the photo I wanted to get. ‘Making a meal’ initially conjured up images of the people of Sheffield struggling up hills and wearing an expressions that suggests they are ruing there choice of city topography. Making a reyt meal of it! This was my favourite photo of the bunch.
5. Making Connections
I am a public transport serial offender. I regularly cruise on the noble rails of the British train network. I have the glowing orange timetable LED’s emblazoned into my retina’s. Therefore, when I hear the word connections, I instantly think of trains and connecting services. It’s sad, I know. This word association led me to the bridge overlooking Sheffield station to get a proper vantage point for the shot.
6. Making Faces
The last category, making faces, instantly brought to mind the smiling faces of happy cyclists. It’s hard not to smile when the sun is shining and you are freely rolling up and down dale. The bicycle is the ultimate smile machine. It didn’t take me long to find a happy cyclist willing to be the subject of this topic’s photo.
I didn’t expect any great accolade from the above photos and I definitely think the pros are going to put my snaps to shame. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the competition. It encouraged you to explore, to take notice and to think about the ‘everyday’ in a different way. It was something completely different for me but it is something I could get into. The mentality you are forced to take is a good one to carry through to everyday life also. Taking notice of your environment gives you a stronger and broader awareness of things around you. Being aware and living in the moment improves your wellbeing and helps you understand your priorities. Taking notice improves your self-understanding and gives you the ability to make positive and informed decisions about your local surroundings. Deep, I know.
The finished product…
My photos, and many other higher quality photos, will soon be available for public viewing. All 150 entrants will have their six photos displayed in the Photo Marathon exhibition. Anyone can come down and view them for free. The exhibition opens on the 1st week of November and will be displayed in the Millennium gallery. Don’t miss it!
Thanks to Our Fave Places for putting on a great event and helping to showcase what’s great about Sheffield. Now get out, explore and discover your city! #discoveryourcity