In March of 2012 I had my gallbladder removed after two years of suffering with gallstones, two years in which I also discovered I had a knack for film photography. In the final week of my recovery I was well enough to drive over to the coast near Fleetwood in the North West UK and have a long stroll with my cameras. The sun shone and it was a beautiful day, and probably one of the happiest days I’d had in the two years of suffering with gallstones. My pain was definitely at an end.
I returned to work a couple of days later and discovered staff had been asked to go on a three-month secondment to our office in Fleetwood. Not particularly enjoying my job in Bolton, I jumped at the chance. It seemed quite serendipitous, having only been there a couple of days before. Besides all of my career concerns I realised that it was a chance to start a new photography project.
My Tumblr blog, Nine Months In Fleetwood, are the result of that project. The three months got extended to six, then nine and finally another twelve on top of that. So what you see on the blog is the result of nine months of shooting nothing but black and white film on an old Zeiss Nettax camera I bought for £20 from a local collector. I didn’t manage every week, or even every month, as was originally my intention. Life got in the way as it so often does and so it seems I actually only shot ten rolls of film. Sometimes a roll would sit in the camera for weeks as I only shot a couple of frames before deciding there was nothing grabbing me that day. Other times I’d whizz through a roll of twelve frames like it was the easiest thing in the world. Every frame was a joy to shoot though, no matter how long it took to find the shot I wanted.
I’d like to think my photos show Fleetwood in a light not often seen by the rest of the world, or even it’s inhabitants. It’s a lovely little town, not without it’s problems but certainly with plenty of good points. Working so close to the sea everyday was, and is, a complete joy. To be so close to nature is an absolute pleasure and a world away from the sanitised, impersonal atmosphere of the purpose-built office complex that my Bolton-based job was in. Every photo I took is a reminder of how lucky I am to work in such a place.
I hope you like the photos. Next year I’m moving on to full colour panoramic shots. Hopefully you look forward to seeing them as much as I do.