Bristol Based wheelchair bound Photographer Jan 23, 2014 12:42:05 GMT
Post by Snappersforum on Jan 23, 2014 12:42:05 GMT
I was so keen to get started, I sold my bicycle to buy my first camera…" David Constantine's interest in photography began as a teenager in the late 1970s.
The adolescent David started to take pictures everywhere he went, soon developing into an accomplished amateur. These early years of experimentation enabled the Bristol snapper to establish strong foundations, which have proved invaluable in his 35 years of photography.
Soon, though, came a big change to both David's life and budding career.
Following a diving accident in Australia in 1982, David was paralysed from the shoulders down and left with no grip in his hands.
Unable to pick up his camera, he gave up photography for a year – but, during this enforced lay-off, realised that he was still "seeing" pictures.
"I made up my mind that being in a wheelchair should not prevent me from pursuing my passion," David explains now.
"I began to think about how I could continue – and decided that all I needed was some adaptations to my camera and wheelchair."
Exactly a year after his injury, David wrote to camera manufacturers Olympus and asked if they could help with his plans. They replied positively – and so began the next phase of David's photographic career. "The fascinating thing was that all the problems I foresaw with my photography after becoming a wheelchair user eventually turned into advantages," he says.
"I thought I had lost so much – my spontaneity and speed, the ability to photograph people without being seen, the ability to get to difficult locations and, most importantly, to start early in the morning.
"And yes, I am now slower and more obvious to my subjects… and I need help with my gear and chair. Rather than a hindrance, though, these changes have simply forced me to develop different skills."
David uses both conventional film and digital formats – film for his more personal work, digital for the images he produces on his travels for the Bristol-based charity Motivation, which supports people with mobility disabilities around the world.
A selection of his striking, revealing images are on show at the Room 212 gallery on Gloucester Road until the end of the month, and David will be talking about his methods at the gallery on Friday, January 24 (see listings).
His own work focuses mainly on people. "I tend to work mainly in the street, and often will stop and ask people for their picture. The vast majority say yes, but if they aren't keen I just move on. I occasionally get a more forthright 'no', though – and I have had the odd stone thrown at me!"
He rises early, favouring early mornings and evenings, when the light is at its best.
"My street wanderings are completely random. I just set off from wherever I'm staying and turn left or right depending on where the light is coming from.
"My aim is to portray people sensitively in their own environment, using the light to my best advantage. I always use daylight, and I still love traditional film for its sensitivity."
In fact, David believes that his street portraiture is probably enhanced by his disability.
"It means that when I approach people and sit in front of them to photograph them, they tend to stare at me. This often makes for a very engaging look in my work."
His photography has led him into many fascinating situations – and one or two difficult ones. "I often get invited into people's houses for tea or just to talk. I have broken my leg in Mexico, up a steep hill between two villages, and I've been accused by the Taliban of being a journalist during the time they controlled Afghanistan and had banned photography of the human form!"
Read more: www.bristolpost.co.uk/Wheelchair-bound-photographer-David-Constantine/story-20448258-detail/story.html#ixzz2rE0Yl8DI