Stormtroopers, ghostly figures and runaway hens … a new book of photos by Edward Thompson examines the peculiarities of Kent and beyond
Photo: Miss Faversham. Margate, Kent. (2018) (cropped. full image below)
22 September 2021 | The Guardian
All photographs: Edward Thompson
For 20 years I’ve worked as a documentary photographer. I’ve photographed everyday life in England, predominantly in Kent, but also around the country. His forthcoming book, In-A-Gadda-Da-England, is crowdfunding via Kickstarter until 13 October.
Certain themes have revealed themselves within the work: nostalgia, the rise of nationalism, the bizarre, protest, moments of serendipity with strangers and the sublime of the everyday
In photographing the everyday I believe there is a surrealistic realism at work. To show reality, but at the same time subvert it.
When I photograph I am imbuing significance into everyday life. I look intently. This is what, I believe, conjures the serendipity that I’ve glimpsed over the years. Meeting a stranger can be like meeting yourself.
All the photographs in the book were shot on 120 medium format film cameras. This isn’t an affectation, it’s the way I began working 20 years ago and one of the reasons why pictures taken over such a long period work together aesthetically.
As well as photographing everyday life I made photo essays on things that interested me.
There’s a psychological shift that happens when you photograph everyday life, as opposed to a more traditional organised ‘photoshoot’. You end up in a heightened state for an extended period of time.
At heart, I am a photographer who tries to capture moments. The tough thing with film is not knowing what you’ve got until the film’s developed. It’s like Schrödinger’s film camera – the photographs are both amazing and terrible, and you won’t know until you can look at them.
The late great Henri Cartier-Bresson once said: ‘You just have to live and life will give you pictures’.
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