Let me start by saying that I am a photographer – not a professional but perhaps an experienced amateur. After almost 2.5 years of doing a 365 photography project, I take my camera everywhere with me. In the time that I have been doing the project, I thought that I had thoroughly exhausted photographing my town. Its a small place and even though it is classified as a city because of it’s cathedral, it is really just a small country town on the highway between 2 larger regional towns in South Africa.
It does have a number of things to distinguish it from other small towns though. Firstly, it hosts the annual National Arts Festival, or 11 Days of Amazing which is the biggest of its kind in Africa, taking place for 11 days every June/July. The second thing is Rhodes University, which brings in lots of local, regional and international students who take over the town’s restaurants and drinking spots during term time. Thirdly, it has a number of excellent schools, both private and government which attract children from around the country and further afield in Africa like Zambia and Tanzania. Finally, we were recently blessed with 8 new wind turbines to provide us with electricity and which sit on top of the hills surrounding the town like gentle giants.
As an historical town, it doesn’t offer skyscrapers or majestically tall buildings with lots of glass and metal that characterize cities elsewhere. Instead it offers University buildings, historical prisons and forts, small cottages and some very ugly houses and buildings constructed in the 1970’s. Stone, brick and plaster are the materials I see around me.
So where am I going with this, you may ask? Well this month I decided to do a ‘corners’ theme for my photography project – something different with a myriad of possible interpretations. Surprisingly, by forcing myself to look for corners, I am still managing to see the town with fresh eyes and I find that incredible after all this time. I am looking at the buildings in a different way, looking at their corners rather then their fronts. To my delight, I find when I look at my monthly calendar that 10 of the 15 shots I have posted are of buildings and structures I have found in the town. The two pictures in this post are part of this seeing with fresh eyes but if you would like to see how much inspiration my town has provided since I started my project in 2014, click here. http://365project.org/dibzgreasley/tags/grahamstown
This has made me stop and think. In the past I have thought that in order to take wonderful and interesting photographs, I have to go somewhere different, somewhere exotic, somewhere that isn’t here. But one thing I am learning from my ongoing photography project is that this is not the case. If I think out of the box, look at things with fresh eyes, I can find inspiration locally. Elliott Erwitt says that “it’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them”. I think I am beginning to agree with him.
Images © Debbie Stott
Guest Author Bio
Debbie Stott I live in a small town in the Eastern Cape, South Africa and I have been taking photos since 1997 when I bought my first film SLR. Photography is such a passion and with digital it is even more fun! I also love to write. I started my blog as part of my 2015 100 Happy Days challenge as a way of combining my two passions. When I finished the challenge, I felt quite a sense of achievement along with some insight into how the last 3 months of 2015 panned out for me. In fact, it was quite enlightening to read what I had written. So, I decided that I would continue as a way to balance the doing of daily life and just being.
My favourite photographs generated from both my 365 and 100 Happy Days projects is for sale at http://debbie-stott.fineartamerica.com