An assignment I would be interested in doing would be to tell hard-hitting true stories from the perspectives of those involved. An example or chance to exercise this would be to document the real goings on within my hometown of Coventry. My project or images would act as a key hole into the city and it’s people. It would be shocking to reveal whats going on down the street where you live, to the people who serve you in the morning and so on. I’d hope to create a social document of the people of Coventry.
Similarly to August Sander I’d like to get to know and document the people of this town and the diversities within its people. Those who live a bohemian, penniless existence, those addicted to street drugs, those who are transgender, those who are faced with prejudice, those whose children are missing, those under the mental health, those who are teenage parents, the youth, the old: all of these people who are within Coventry. It would be an expose of all those who exist within Coventry in the modern day. It would reveal or at least make you think how little you know about your neighbour or people round the corner. Films, documentaries and other creative which spring to mind include ‘Alpha Dog’, ‘This is England’, ‘Snatch’, Ryan McGinley, Eugene Richards and Richard Avedon.
True stories I’d like to portray:
Coventry ‘Kids’: My older brother and his friends are all youth from the 80’s and 90’s. They’ve all wound up the same. This includes being jobless, depressed, hopeless, aimless, having children in unstable conditions, addicted to drugs, and/or alcohol. They were all born and bred in Coventry. The theme and questions I’d arouse would stem from whether a person’s upbringing and environment affects their behaviour. If these perfectly able, often intelligent and talented group of boys had been born in a more affluent place in England, would they have turned out differently? Would their decision-making been different? Would they have formed more stable relationships? Or is everything a person does down to the individual, simply exercising his or her own free will. I’d explore notions within philosophy including hard determinism, free will, soft determinism, determinism and operant conditioning to explore different ideas, leaving it open for the viewer to make up their own mind. I’d conduct interviews with those involved on their opinions on such ideas as well as their life and that period of time in England. I’d want to give people a chance to see what it’s like for these boys and what it was like as well as their opinion on drug taking and drugs in Coventry back then and today.
Coventry Youth: I’d like to document my friends who live and/or are from Coventry. Many of which take drugs but are ignorant to their dangers. Inspired by Ryan McGinley I’d like to reveal the fun and recklessness of this age in Coventry. I’d like to also conduct interviews with them to reveal why they believe they do drugs and whether they think there as bigger deal as all our elders make out. My friend Thom most recently said, ‘Life is a trip. I don’t care what they do to my body. My body is mine. It’s all about being cool and skinny. Drugs are just implicated in that.’ Coventry has recently been voted the second best place in England for young people. I’d like to reveal what some of us really get up to.
Poverty in Coventry: Poverty and lack of food is raging England and is also evident in Coventry. I don’t know a lot on the subject but found it really disturbing when my Nan told me about it. This could be something I could document in order to raise more awareness on the subject. I’d like to meet and get to know those who walk the streets begging and are homeless.
Missing Children and People from Coventry: This idea aroused from the new appeal set out by the McCann’s to find more information on their missing daughter Madeleine. It’s always been my opinion that the only reason Madeleine McCann’s disappearance is so high profile is because her parents can afford to do so. But what about parents who don’t have that privilege? What about their cries for help and appeals? According to an article by David Randall and Greg Walton of The Independent published in 2009 275,000 Britons go missing every year. I’d want to focus on Coventry people who have gone missing. The story of Nicola Payne springs to mind.
I discussed this idea with my mother who re-told a story of a women she met whose son also went missing, which furthered my interest in the idea. We were on holiday in Spain when my mother noticed a fair women crying in a restaurant alone. My mother went over to see if was ok out of general integrity. She discovered that the women had had a son, the same year my mother had me, 1993. They were on holiday in the same resort 3 years prior. Her son, Benjamin, was 2-years-old at the time. She was in the hotel communal area where there was a play area for her children. Ben was in the sand pit, a few feet away from her. She moved over to the bar area to get some drinks, whilst waiting, she turned round to check on Ben. He wasn’t there. Ben had never been found. Now she returns to the same resort every year or whenever she can afford, to try and find her son. Many years have passed and my mother and I wonder if the women still makes the same journeys every year without success.
I have a vision of creating a series of really strong portraits of people, in their environment and in a studio, all of whom reside in Coventry to show real life and tell their story.