SIX QUESTIONS FOR 'SIX SIX SIX'

Six Questions for 'Six Six Six'
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SIX QUESTIONS FOR 'SIX SIX SIX'



Written by Kate Kelsall
05 Monday 05th March 2012

Holy Ghost is an artistic collective and curated online space that occasionally roams out into the realm of the real for exhibitions such as Six Six Six. It was founded in 2008 by Matthew Ritson and Alexander McLuckie. Submissions come from a global network of phtographers with an leaning towards 35mm film and analog.

For their latest gallery enterprise, they teamed up with Protein pop-up exhibitions and inhabited 18 Hewett Street in Shoreditch for Six Six Six which ran for just, you guessed it, six days from the 1st March. Six young photographers were given six days to shoot 36 exposures and experiment within a structure that proved to be both limiting and liberating. 
 
 
 
Having just 36 exposures and six days must have produced a conflict of interests between savouring each frame and seizing the limited moments as they arose. How did this affect your practice? Were you more structured and restrained or did it make you spontaneous and impulsive?
 
I chose to shoot a single frame for every financial transaction I made or received within six days. Each shot represents a money exchange, whether it be with a person or with a machine. So my project was very structured and restrained.
 
I'm used to carrying my compact 35mm camera everywhere and just shooting lovely or ridiculous stuff I come across - I couldn't do that, everything had to relate back to this financial theme - so it got pretty frustrating at times.
 
I'm not one of those photographers who is constantly shooting everything, every day and my commissioned portrait sessions are always kept short and simple. So even though this project got frustrating, I quite enjoyed the restrictions - it was a good lesson in discipline and helped me believe in the methods I apply to my every day photographic work.
 
 
 
 
Six Six Six removed all editing and selection from the game. How important are these aspects within your normal practice and how did it feel to have these tools taken away?
 
Initially thinking I had only one weekend in which to shoot the roll and send it from Leeds, time was my main issue, and my photos ended up looking pretty much like my visual stream of (half) consciousness over a 24 hour period. Which goes to show that clearly most of the thinking usually comes after I’ve taken the actual photographs, not before. So yes, the selection process is very important to me in my normal practice, but it was definitely refreshing to have that taken away. Especially because I think my favourites from the roll were the six that were entirely block coloured light leaks – normally, I wouldn’t get to see those printed.
 
 
 
 
 
Given the only 'choice' you were able to make was between shooting exclusively in landscape or portrait, which did you go for and why?
 
I tried to not over think what I was going to do for the task but I had a couple of shots in my mind that were going to be in portrait so I just worked with that for the rest of the shots.
 
 
 
 
You didn't get to see the fruits of your labour until opening night - that's pretty brave! Talk us through the experience of viewing your work for the first time, surrounded by other gallery goers!
 
My original idea didn't really work as well as I'd hoped it would. The idea was to fog all the film, but it only ended up fogging the first three. So it was a bit of a disappointment, but I liked the portraits, the mix of characters sat well together. It's always nice to exhibit work, I like overhearing people criticising your work, sometimes helps you to understand it better. The more critical the better.
 
 
 
 
The aim of the exhibition was to reveal 'a complex insight into the methodology' of the photographers involved. How do you feel that your 36 exposures represent your style, method and message? 
 
My work isn't necessarily a representation of my style or message. The photographic style is relatively neutral, and I was primarily interested in the method of display; the grid. As such, I was aware of how the work would be viewed as a whole, a collection, and chose to shoot a topology, with no focus on any particular image. It's all about context.
 
 
 
 
What, if anything, has Six Six Six revealed to you about the role of 'self curation' in your work and do you think the experience will impact your approach in the future?
 
Six Six Six has definitely made me embrace more fully the inevitable failures and disappointments that every photographer encounters from day-to-day. While my initial idea for this project was an incredibly self-curated, incremental idea about representing time and how I spent my days, the circumstances I encountered definitely revealed that all the self-curation and self-editing that you can set yourself up for can all come crumbling down pretty quickly.  
 
FYI:  Lewis originally took six photos daily at 12, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 but after a drunken misadventure and destroyed camera he lost the original roll. His second attempt documents a photo a minute along a 36 minute walk, retracing his journey from finishing the original roll to the death of his camera.
 
Be sure to keep track of future projects from Holy Ghost Zine.
MAXHaving just 36 exposures and 6 days must have produced a conflict of interests between
savouring each frame and seizing the limited moments as they arose. How did this effect
your practice? Were you more structured and restrained or did it make you spontaneous and
impulsive?
 
I chose to shoot a single frame for every financial transaction I made or received within six days.
Each shot represents a money exchange, whether it be with a person or with a machine. So my
project was very structured and restrained.
 
I'm used to carrying my compact 35mm camera everywhere and just shooting lovely or ridiculous stuff
I come across - I couldn't do that, everything had to relate back to this financial theme - so it got pretty
frustrating at times.
 
I'm not one of those photographers who is constantly shooting everything, every day and my
commissioned portrait sessions are always kept short and simple. So even though this project got
frustrating, I quite enjoyed the restrictions - it was a good lesson in discipline and helped me believe in
the methods I apply to my every day photographic work. "
 
JESS 'Six, Six, Six' removed all editing and selection from the game. How important are these
aspects within your normal practice and how did it feel to have these tools taken away?
 
Initially thinking I had only one weekend in which to shoot the roll and send it from Leeds, time
was my main issue, and my photos ended up looking pretty much like my visual stream of (half)
consciousness over a 24 hour period. Which goes to show that clearly most of the thinking usually
comes after I’ve taken the actual photographs, not before. So yes, the selection process is very
important to me in my normal practice, but it was definitely refreshing to have that taken away.
Especially because I think my favourites from the roll were the 6 that were entirely block coloured light
leaks – normally, I wouldn’t get to see those printed.
 
LEWISWhat, if anything, has 'Six,Six,Six' revealed to you about the role of 'self curation' in
your work and do you think the experience will impact your approach in the future?
 
Six Six Six has definitely made me embrace more fully the inevitable failures and disappointments
that every photographer encounters from day-to-day. While my initial idea for this project was an
incredibly self-curated, incremental idea about representing time and how i spent my days, the
circumstances I encountered definitely revealed that all the self-curation and self-editing that you can
set yourself up for can all come crumbling down pretty quickly.
 
PAUL Given the only 'choice' you were able to make was between shooting exclusively in
landscape or portrait, which did you go for and why?
 
I tried to not over think what I was going to do for the task but I had a couple of shots in my mind that
were going to be in portrait so I just worked with that for the rest of the shots.
 
JAMES You didn't get to see the fruits of your labour until opening night - that's pretty brave!
Talk me through the experience of viewing your work for the first time, surrounded by other
gallery goers!
 
My original idea didn't really work as well as I'd hoped it would. The idea was to fog all the film, but it
only ended up fogging the first three. So it was a bit of a disappointment, but I liked the portraits, the
mix of characters sat well together. It's always nice to exhibit work, I like overhearing people criticising
your work, sometimes helps you to understand it better. The more critical the better.

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