Bailey with Grains, Bailey Townley, 2019
This series is a good example of my working methods. On the day of the shoot I met up with model Katrin Dohse at an area I call Skater Park in Asheville, NC. This was the spring of 2017. At the time of the shoot it was comprised of eight of so buildings, mostly disused and covered in graffiti, adjacent a skater park. This was a morning shoot, which is unusual as I favor shooting in the hour before sunset or soon thereafter. That morning I had in mind to shoot at a roofed alcove of one building to avoid direct sunlight. Following a thirty-minute shoot there we wandered over to a nearby warehouse that had half a dozen empty semi-trailers out front. The trailers were our destination, but serendipity struck when we noticed that the warehouse was empty of people and had its largest dock door wide open.
The cavernous warehouse held piles of bundled, used paper. I found them attractive for the textures they offered and the soft indirect light from the doors and a few skylights. I used a remote radio controlled flash for photographs when we wandered too far from the doors.
The odor and sound of the place was unique. There was also the mild thrill of trespassing on an active business. I trespass regularly, but usually on abandoned properties. This was an ongoing business, but then, who tries to steal giant bundles of dirty paper? If caught our story would be taken at face value. The space was unique on many fronts, which supported a playful shoot and playful post-production.
When I work my planning is minimal; I am more a primitive hunter-gatherer than a modern urban agrarian. I expect, and depend upon, serendipity. My shoots are relatively short and I shoot promiscuously. Over the course of an hour at the warehouse I took 254 photographs. While the length of my shooting sessions is dwarfed by the amount of time I devote to post-production, the photos I take are the vital seeds of the final images. I tire from the intensity and focus of each shoot and seldom devote more than 90 minutes to a single outing with the camera.
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