The Garden started when I moved from London to Kent in June. For the last three years I have been studying Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. Living and working in London as a freelance press photographer, I experienced a culture shock when I moved back to Whitstable, a small seaside town I grew up in on the Kent Coast. I don't think I ever particularly felt at home here and being away so long made me feel even more detached.
I have always used photography as a way to explore the world. As a press photographer I was covering newsworthy events, such as protests, but I found this never really caught my imagination, what really interests me is everyday life. You can find amazing moments in the most mundane situations if you learn to observe.
The Garden was born out of the desire for me to try and understand where I had come from. Whitstable seemed so monotonous when I was growing up that I barely wanted to photograph it. As soon as I returned I saw it in a whole new light and wanted to understand it as much as I could. To me, it could be considered a quintessentially 'English' place. Many of its towns have seen their heyday in the past with the rise and fall of tourism in Britain, so they seem in an awkward purgatory between the past and the present. The idea of society has always interested me greatly and I often face my lens to the most traditional places of English social customs such as the pub or the beach. Places such as this hold a timeless tradition for the English and are a place where people truly show their eccentricities and I love that you can gain an insight into their lives only using a camera.
I interact very little, if at all with my subjects, which goes against my normal method of working. If I am honest I don't want to interact with them at all, as I don’t want this to influence them in any way. In my head, I create narratives for these people and they become someone completely different entirely. I feel if I do get to know them in some way this will change the way I photograph them. To me, they are everyday people just living their lives and this is the most interesting entity of all. I don't know the subjects in my photographs, I probably never will know them, but when I print their images to me they become more than just a stranger I photographed.
To me, it's a collaboration.