Peter Dench and Night Life

DrinkUk by Peter Dench

DrinkUk by Peter Dench

Continuing my focus on images and photographers that document party goers, life, youth and their environments I went onto find British photographer Peter Dench. Dench focuses on British culture, which is exaggerated through garish colours and unusual perspectives. The bright colours and somewhat exaggerated scenarios make the imagery very entertaining yet quite sickening. It’s like Dench is making fun of British culture but at the same time showing how us British live and what we value. I love how his photographs make a laugh at us whilst showing the truth about national characteristics. His garish subject matters such as binge drinking and teenage love are ones I found particularly enjoyable and felt linked with some of the themes that have sprang from my own images. I looked at DrinkUk which shows us Brits in all our drunken grandeur!

What I like about Dench’s images is that they appear to be taken using direct flash, which puts us, as the viewer, into a perspective as if were the casual attenders to the events, documenting what’s happening. It’s a photographic feature that I think puts the subject matter into context very effectively but draws the viewer instantly into the seriousness of the matter, on a non-serious level. Because everyone knows (at least I think) that compact cameras with flashes emit this kind of flash result, this is only how I feel everyone can relate to this kind of culture. Taking this into consideration, on my nights out I have been using compact cameras to document my tribe and the evenings events. I wanted to emulate that direct flash, blue tint effect in my images which can be seen in Dench’s images and some of Nan Goldin’s work.

In terms of my Picbod project I have been documenting me and my friends on nights out and our environments. The images produced so far have created a strong sense of ‘tribe’. Whilst I liked the idea of moving past the night out and following my friends home, the nights out themselves reflect this idea of ‘tribe’ and my social setting more effectively. Me and my friends usually socialise in bars and drink, documenting the after math if one of them pulls…well I feel it wouldn’t reflect my friends and self as effectively. I want the main focus of my images to be about our social lives and drinking. Drinking too much and meeting new people is the norm and a more then regular occurrence between me and my friends in my life right now. This got me thinking about the people I used to socialise with.

As a result, I want to include images of the tribes I used to be apart of, such as nights out with my ex boyfriend or when I frequented metal bars in Birmingham quite frequently. From here I want to bring to visual terms the journey ever since: meeting people, strangers, strangers becoming a part of my tribe (Joel from my strangers task is now more of a tribe member) and current tribes I am a part of. I have documented nights out relentlessly using both compact and digital cameras as of late. However, I prefer the overall look of images taken on compact cameras. Their imperfect, over exposed and gritty. These attributes I want to reinforce throughout my whole project and will take into consideration in terms of the Picbod exhibition.

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