A picture tells a thousand words... and we are here to tell you a few more in our ongoing series A Thousand Words where we dig through the vault of talented photographers at Aperture Tours and get them to open up a little about some of their favourite images.
Untitled: Holga Experiment
Hanoi, Vietnam, by Dominic Blewett
I took this image when using a Holga to experiment with multiple exposures. I'd shot a couple of double exposures before, but never more than that, and I wanted to see how the images would look if I layered an unlimited amount of shots over one another in-camera. Would the picture be completely black? White? Would anything poke its head above the surface? So like any curious photographer, I tried. Some turned out well; others were too odd; for me, this was the one that worked best.
At the time I took this shot I was working as Staff Photographer on a magazine in Vietnam. I wanted to loosen up a bit, get away from the digital work I was doing predominantly at the time, and would take my Holga with me on magazine shoots to mess around with in quiet moments. It was one such moment that inspired this image.
I was in Hanoi's Old Quarter. It was summer, baking hot, and I'd stopped at a cafe in the shade for a break. As I looked around, I took in the jumble I'd grown used to, and that I had already photographed many times before; ancient facades, air conditioners protruding; goods spilling out of storefronts over the pavements; leafy trees; thick, unruly plaits of electrical cables between the posts, thin tendrils of disused wire hanging down; motorbikes and conical-hatted vendors on bicycles; the claustrophobic, crushed together-ness of the city, the heat too.
To capture and match this multi-faceted chaos, I shot quickly, instinctively, and chaotically. I didn't really know what I was doing, and I think I felt a little crazed as I was doing it. I don't know how many frames I took, but I remember knowing when to stop. The end result is something I'm still happy with. I took it to the print shop recently, and the owner said 'Wow' when he saw it. I'm not sure if that meant, 'wow, that's great', or 'wow, that's a mess', and I didn't ask. The fact it got a reaction was good enough for me.
NAME: Dominic Blewett
BORN: Crawley, United Kingdom
CURRENT LOCATION: Berlin, Germany
PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE: Photojournalism, Documentary
INFLUENCES: Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, George Saunders, Alice Munro, Jung Chang, Emilio Morenatti, Espen Rasmussen, Richard Mosse, Ren Hang, Sebastiao Salgado
FAVOURITE PLACE TO SHOOT: Recently, Lisbon
HIGH POINT: Whenever I can immerse myself in a narrative. For example, when I'm working on personal projects, or shooting in-depth features.
LOW POINT: At the beginning of my career - starting a shoot and realising there was no memory card in the camera, and I had none with me.
TOP PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: Remember your memory card. And look behind you, the photo you want might be there.