Gordon spooner [@gordon.spooner]... i’ve always taken photographs. my earliest photo album is from when i was around 10 years old. photos of places we’d been, the pet tortoise and steam trains. holiday snaps in black and white taken with a kodak instamatic. i learned to develop black and white film aged around 16.
my parents didn’t consider photography to be a ‘proper job’ so i adapted. i studied cartography, it was close, it had the suffix ‘-graphy’ in the title. and there was a photography section. i watched european movies alone at the essential on wardour street. i discovered nicolas roeg, luis buñuel, french cinema.
i realised very quickly cartography wasn’t going to keep me interested for very long. i picked up a job filling in for someone in the theatre. i worked for the royal shakespeare company; they gave me a follow spot to operate. something clicked into place there. their production of richard iii is where i got my first insight into a possible future. a story. actors. lights. all working together.
i moved to paris. i picked up cinematography quickly. i wanted to make the movies that had inspired me. i took a lot of photos of models for their portfolios, i wasn't very successful at it. agencies thought my pictures weren't happy enough. i took portraits of my friends.
films influenced my photography; photography influenced the way i shot films. i’ve never been able to choose which i’m closer to.
photographs are capable of stopping time for as long as you choose to look.
the common thread in everything i’ve ever done is the suggestion of a narrative. photographs, like cinema, are also about what is outside the frame. i want viewers to imagine what isn't shown. who are the subjects interacting with? what’s the story ?
i’m interested in a present, a moment, that suggests a before and an after, that forces the viewer to invent the story that the image belongs to.
Od news: there is a fascinating new post on our website investigating the images that influence us and go on to represent a generation... is that possible in the instagram era we live in? what is your key image? dm us or leave your thoughts in the comments below. 'unconsciously' by gordon spooner
i took this photo of my father looking out across the rolling hills aged probably around 10 years old. my father was a gruff northener, though he did have a talent for photography. i found it clearing out the house i grew up in earlier this year.
one of my father’s recurrent techniques in his photographs was, on seeing a landscape that attracted him, he’d put any available family members in front of the camera, but facing the landscape. consequently, i have a lot of photos from my childhood of my back.
i’m not sure who his influences were. i’m also not sure if his photographs influenced me when i took this.
i like to think now, though, in retrospect, that something about his posture and the view behind him was an unconscious attempt at that early age to capture something about that moment that became a desire to capture so many other things in my life.