We picked up some very useful tips on using photography as a research tool at our workshop with photographer Jonathan Bean yesterday.
Jonathan suggested we use photography during the project to:
Ask ourselves questions
If you see something intriguing, photograph it as a way of asking why it’s there and what it means, and then use this as a starting point for research.
Take photographs of buildings or areas linked to your research, even if a particular building is no longer there. Look for historic illustrations or photographs and compare them with the way a place looks now.
To spark creativity
Being out with a camera encourages you to see familiar things in a new way. You could photograph particular features like windows, doors or gateways and use these to inspire your writing.
When we headed out with our cameras, Jonathan asked us to really slow down and look at the world differently. He recommended we try viewing things from different angles, including from the ground, and that we look for details close up and step right back.
All who took part were enthused by the fact they suddenly saw things they’d never noticed before. We discovered all kinds of intriguing architectural features that people had walked past unknowingly countless times. These details hinted at stories of others’ lives and gave us lots to go off and investigate.