An interview with Homer Sykes

May 27, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

 

An interview with Homer Sykes

 

HOMER SYKES PHOTOGRAPHERHOMER SYKES PHOTOGRAPHERHomer Sykes 2018 Fownhope Herefordshire photographed by Emma Drabble in her pop up studio. These images are her copyright. If you want to use please make contact with me or Emma directly at:- email: [email protected]

phone: +44 (0)7805059707

copyright Emma Drabble  

RH: Tell me a little about yourself. 

HS: I am a professional magazine and documentary photographer. My principal commissions in Britain during the 1970's - 1980's, were for what used to be called the "weekend colour supplements" such as The Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Observer, You and the Sunday Express magazines. I covered weekly news for Newsweek, Time, and the former Now! Magazine; covering conflicts in Israel, Lebanon, and Northern Ireland, as well as weekly news in the UK. Over the last fifty years I have shot numerous magazine portraits of the famous and not so famous - at home, at work and at play. I have always worked on personal photographic documentary projects along side commercial magazine assignments.  In the 1970's I started on what has become an on going career project documenting traditional British folklore customs and annual events.  In 1977 my first book was published Once a Year, Some Traditional British Customs (Gordon Fraser). In 2016 Dewi Lewis Publishing re-published this volume with over 50 'new' images from my archive.  I am the author, and co-author-photographer of nine books about Britain as well as Shanghai Odyssey (Dewi Lewis Publishing) and On the Road Again (Mansion Editions). The latter, an American project, was started in 1969, while I was at college. The photographic road trip was repeated in 1971, the work was then put away for thirty years, and in 1999 and 2001 I travelled once again by Greyhound bus criss-crossing America documenting the ‘down home’ idiosyncrasy of everyday middle America. In 2002 I set up my one-man band self-publishing concern Mansion Editions. To date Mansion Editions has published On the Road Again and Hunting with Hounds. More recently Cafe Royal Books have published 20 zines of my work.


 

 

 

Planning

Cocktail party dress younger woman dancing with older man UKCocktail party dress younger woman dancing with older man UKWoman in cocktail party dress dancing with elderly man private party disco Hampshire 2008

copyright Homer Sykes 
 

RH: What attracted and inspired you to your current documentary project?

 

HS:The prospect of the work being published in book form. 

 

RH: Can you talk us through the planning stage for your project?

 

HS: I'm reworking bodies of work completed over the last 50 years, expanding and bringing subjects matters up to date.

 

 RH: Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

No

Implementation and Completion

ARMY OFFICERS WEARING PIN STRIPPED SUITS AND CARRYING BOWLER HATS AND ROLLED UMBRELLAS UKARMY OFFICERS WEARING PIN STRIPPED SUITS AND CARRYING BOWLER HATS AND ROLLED UMBRELLAS UKCombined Cavalry Old Comrades Association and parade, Hyde Park, London UK. Young officers wearing bowlers hats carrying rolled umbrellas.

copyright Homer Sykes 
 

RH: How have you dealt with any challenges and difficulties within your project?

 

HS: Thought more about what i hope and want to say. 

 

RH: How long do your projects tend to take from start to finish?  

 

HS: Depends on the project. anything from a few days, up to many years. 

 

 

Editing and Sequencing

MIDDLE AGE MARRIED COUPLE BOREDOM SENIORS OLDER ELDERLY ON HOLIDAY SOUTHEND ON SEA UKMIDDLE AGE MARRIED COUPLE BOREDOM SENIORS OLDER ELDERLY ON HOLIDAY SOUTHEND ON SEA UKAn English "sunrise" motif in a cafe Southend on Sea, Essex. England. 2006. Baileys Fish and Chip shop.

copyright Homer Sykes 
 

RH: Do have several images to edit of one fleeting moment or do you have one well-constructed precise image that you have captured?

 

HS: I photograph ‘fleeting moments’, and usually many images are made in order to construct the precise eventual image that may in time be disregarded.

 

 

RH:Within the editing stages, have you felt the project has taken on a different narrative than first envisaged?

 

HS: Often

 

 

Tips and hints 

Sir Robin Wells the Mayor of Newham.Sir Robin Wells the Mayor of Newham.Carnival to Welcome the 2008 Beijing Olympic Flame to London Borough of Newham. Stratford. UK April 6 2008. Sir Robin Wells the Mayor of Newham.

copyright Homer Sykes 
 

RH: What would you recommend for people starting their own photographic project?

HS:

  1.  Look at what other people have done, and think about what you are interested in.
  2.  Realize it’s not about inspiration only, but it is always about application
  3.  Work harder
  4. Be visually flexible. 
  5. Read about and understand the subject, know what you want to say.

 

RH: Does the camera really matter? 

 

HS: The camera doesn’t take the photograph. it’s brain, eye, and hand coordination. 

 

 

RH:Any books you would recommend reading to get the creativity started?

 

HS: Once a year: some traditional British customs, my British archive: the way we were 1968-1983, hunting with hounds.  and of course the photo books by the great American street photographers of the 1960s and 1970s, and many hcb books. 

 

 

RH: Would you recommend attending photography workshops?

 

HS: Yes, but it depends at what level you make photographs.

Henley Royal Regatta, Abingdon School rowing team Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, England.Henley Royal Regatta, Abingdon School rowing team Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, England.Henley Royal Regatta, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire, England. Exhausted rowers throw themselves on the floor after finishing first in their race. Abingdon School.2000s

copyright Homer Sykes 
 

Peterborough Festival of hunting UKPeterborough Festival of hunting UKFestival of Hunting Peterborough Uk. Hunt staff also know as Hunt servants wearing their dress code dark suits and wearing bowler hats and girlfriends and partners. 2013.

copyright Homer Sykes 
 

HERCULES CLAY PENNY LOAF DAYHERCULES CLAY PENNY LOAF DAYHercules Clay Penny Loaf Day. The Mayor of Newark Tom Bickley and the Lady Mayoress Ondra Bickley, wait in line to receive guests in the Town Hall at the start of the reception.

Hercules Clay Penny Loaf Day. Hercules Clay a wealthy cloth merchant who was a former Newark businessman and in 1644 Royalist Mayor of the town during the English Civil War. For three nights in a row he dreampt of his house burning and he took this as an omen, moving out just before the house was indeed damaged by a ìgrenadoî, a mortar shell fired by the besieging Parliamentary forces. He died in 1645, and in his Will he left a legacy providing for an annual sermon in which the preacher was to ëexhort the people not to set their affections on things of this world but by their good works to lay Ö hold on eternal lifeí, and for bread to be distributed to the poor.

copyright Homer Sykes 
 

OLDER WEALTHY COUPLE DANCING UKOLDER WEALTHY COUPLE DANCING UKOlder couple dancing wealthy rich people private party Hampshire UK 2008,

If you want to see more work from homer.

https://homersykes.photoshelter.com
 

 

 


 

 


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