This book has been in progress for a while now, over a year in fact. As soon as I got the job as a nightclub photographer I knew I was going to see some funny stuff as i’m used to clubs and love going to them. I had a vague idea to capture all the bad things that revolve around a casual Saturday night out in Cheltenham. The place I work at isn’t even that bad, its very high class compared to some of the others that are in Cheltenham. The age range of people who attend the club i was photographing is usually 20 upwards, with snazzy clothes and proper shoes. Not like other clubs where you can get in with a hoodie and trainers. So it’s not like these aren’t respectful people, this is Cheltenham… But their attitude completely changes when they step foot into the club. As shown by the photographs.
So what’s the book about? I think it’s pretty self-explanatory if I’m honest. But even so I felt the need to add some descriptive text at the start of the book which reads: “Indecent is a comment about current British Society, clubbers to be exact. The way we dress, the alcoholic beverage of choice to get ‘wasted’ on and the inevitable vomiting in the taxi on the way home. With the rise of current TV culture, the UK nightlife industry is booming. However it’s not all sunshine and roses, this book shows the unavoidable, explicit and downright hilarious situations that revolve around a ‘casual’ Saturday night out.” The pictures do the talking in my eyes. I didn’t want to dive deep into the hidden contextual meaning of the photographs as I just want to book to speak for itself, make the viewer make any assumptions that they want (to a degree, I still want them to know roughly what it’s about). Although you could argue that there are deeper hidden meanings behind this body of work. Ofcouse there is, there’s the argument of how alcohol is effecting these people and their behaviours, there’s the argument that the current culture has made nightclubbing more presentable for the younger generation by the use of TV programs like Geordie Shore, The Only Way Is Essex and the countless BBC Three documentaries. All of these programs appeal to younger people who then want to go out to a club as it looks like fun. It’s basically advertising. So yes there is the speculation that the book does address some of the above issues, but that wasn’t the plan.
Target audience? The target audience is people around my age and upwards, obviously I can’t say it’s for teenagers as there’s explicit content in the book which just isn’t allowed. It is intended for anyone who’s ever been to a club and thought ‘I wonder what really goes on here’. It can be for anyone who’s intrigued by clubs and nightlife. What I’m trying to say is there is no target audience. However the way I have laid the book out and the style of writing I have chosen is aiming at the younger generation around my age 18-25. I aimed it to this age group as they are most relevant to understand what’s going on and they can relate to it if they are avid clubbers (which most people of this age are).
So I work at the club, I turn up with my camera and flashgun and take photographs on behalf of the club to use on their Facebook page then get paid at the end of the night. I don’t set out to capture images like the ones I have used here as it doesn’t happen as often as you’d think. I try to do my job. It just so happens that these things begin to happen before me. I choose not to upload them to help save some dignity of the subjects, the club and me as a photographer. Most of the time I have to be quick in order to capture whats going on in front of me. Which is why some of the images are not perfectly exposed, sharp or framed correctly as I just don’t have time. Its like I have to pop my camera up take a snap and carry on. Although I like the way they aren’t perfect, it adds more personality and character to the images. They share properties to that of Tom Wood, Richard Billingham and Gary Winnogrand in some cases. As all of the mentioned photographers don’t really strive for technical brilliance, but want the subject matter and context to take paramount importance. Tom Wood’s book Looking for Love has massively influenced my photography. I love the photographs, book layout and context. As mentioned I also love the fact that it doesn’t matter if they’re all perfectly exposed, in Wood’s case most of them are spot on. Which just shows how good he is!
I decided to make the book on Lightroom as it’s the program I feel most comfortable in, know how to use it and have all my images imported onto it’s library. So all my images are on here. InDesign I don’t get on with, it’s just too confusing, yes it is more customisable and you can do a lot more, but Lightoom can match it easily. Why did I not stick with one style for the photos throughout the book? I wanted to mix up the layouts of the pages to create more interest and drama, some of the images are stronger than the others so I wanted to reinforce this with the layout. I chose to use 27 images for my book. Not because I don’t have more, but these are the funniest and most impactful. Also I didn’t want to go overboard on the use of pictures. The aim was to keep it clean, concise and looking good. I feel like I’ve achieved this.
I got a lot of feedback from the class from Jake, Luke, Lily, Becky and Jess. Thanks to them I feel like my book is a lot better and a lot stronger. They helped me decide on multiple things, such as the font, the text, the layouts and more importantly the flow of the images. Jake suggested to put the most shocking images at the front for maximum effect and to make the book instantly recognizable. I liked this idea and ran with it, as a result to this feedback I completely changed the book layouts and made them a lot punchier. Which in turn improves the book tenfold.
Overall I am happy with the book I’ve produced, I feel that it does convey the conventions that I set out to achieve and I feel that it does comment on the current British culture. I like the layouts and the flow and everyone I’ve showed the book to has laughed or turned their head away which is the exact emotions that I was after which is a good sign as that was the aim of the book from the outset, to draw some sort of emotion out of the viewer. I could have improved some of the photographs and possibly taken more, but it’s not something that I can plan or control so its all a case of being quick and getting the shot. Overall I’m happy with it and I am glad I made the decision to change ideas half way through the project as the motorsports crew was a dead end project that I couldn’t elaborate. This however is wide open and open for interpretation.