This time next week I’m heading back to the Northwest Territories of Canada to continue shooting a long-term project I’m working on in the area. I’ll be spending most of my time based in Yellowknife, but I’ll also be visiting Hay River, a 40 minute flight South from YK in a DC3 aeroplane that’s older than my dad. I’ll also be heading north, hopefully on a more modern plane, to the town of Inuvik, which is situated on the frozen Arctic Sea coast.
For this second trip I’ll be travelling alone. Last autumn I worked with writer, Trevor Gibbs, but he has very selfishly organised to do some charity work in Nepal, so can’t come…but seriously, it would have been great to have Trevor with me, apart from being a very good friend, he can also organise the unorganisable. Trevor is also very good with money, he had the project budget planned down to the last cent on the last day. I’m not good with money and will probably end-up having to sell a kidney to fund my return flights home.
I’m still not quite sure where my Yellowknife project is going, or what it actually is? I returned last September, after a three-week visit, with 120 rolls of film, that’s about 1200 separate images, but they are separate images, there’s absolutely no narrative to them, I can’t find 20 individual shots that I could put together to make a remotely interesting story! This is not to say that the images are unusable, far from it, a lot of them are selling very well, individually, and neither am I suggesting that Yellowknife is uninteresting. Far from it. However, last September I did what I said I wasn’t going to do, I fell into the trap of photographing the obvious, the cliché. I stayed well within my comfort zone. So, I’m going back to get uncomfortable.
Something I learned from my last trip is that less is indeed more – I took too much camera equipment, too many different formats and too many different film types. During any one day I was shooting on 6x7cm, 6×4.5, 35mm and instant film, on 5 different cameras using two types of colour film and three types of black & white…I’m crap at maths, but that’s a lot of possible combinations!
So, is this my second trip to Yellowknife, or my last? Let’s find out over the next few weeks…