Ones shot interview with Paul Russell
one shot interview with Paul Russell
Title: judging pigs at the Melplash Show, August 2017
What made you push the shutter button to capture this image?
This photo was taken at the Melplash Show in Dorset in August 2017. Many of my best photos are quite simple, but here I tried to capture the energy of the unfolding chaotic scene, while still keeping everything in the right place. Of course, the more elements you include in a picture, the harder it gets to keep the composition under control.
Is this image part of a wider project, if so what is the project’s focus?
Yes, it’s part of my Country Show series. I’ve been taking photos at country shows near to my home for over a decade. There’s all sorts going on at these shows – the larger ones have expanded to become like small town centres where you can even buy a car or double glazing, but early on I decided to focus on the traditional elements that the shows originally grew up around. In particular, I’m interested in the spectrum of relationships between humans and animals, which range from controlling huge, violent cattle to affection towards the docile farm dog. A selection of photos from the series can be seen at http://www.paulrussell.info/galleryshow/galleryshow.html
Why is this image special to you?
I’ve been shooting the shows for a long time now but a few years ago I became aware that I had plenty of good pictures of cattle and sheep but not many decent pig photos, so I made an effort to record some quality porcine action. The image is special to me because it’s one of the most complex shots that I’ve taken that works all the way from front to back. For example, at the very back of the scene, there’s a girl in a striped top looking through from the other side of the tent. Definitely not a shot for Instagram viewing! If there is a punctum, for me it’s the two judges deep in conversation to the right.
Melplash is a one-day country show in August, usually blessed with good weather, and a great day out but unfortunately it’s already been cancelled this year due to covid-19.
Are there any photography books that inspired you to capture this image?
Any book by a photographer making complex tableaux – so maybe one of the Tony Ray-Jones compilations.
What camera are you currently using?
I had to go and get my camera and peel off the black tape to see what it’s called – it’s a Canon 2000D. I use a kit lens for my seaside and event work like the country shows, and the Canon pancake 24mm for more “streety” type scenarios. I also used a FujiFilm X100 extensively for street work until it sadly died a few years ago.
Please tell us about yourself
After using film cameras for many years, I bought a digital camera in 2003, and started taking photography a bit more seriously. Around 2010 I was featured in the landmark Street Photography New book and the Museum of London’s history of street photography exhibition. More recently, I was included in Prestel’s “Street Photography: a History in 100 Iconic Images”, a selection by David Gibson.
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