I'm very proud of my connections with the British Press Photographers' Association and I always try to submit pictures for our projects. The BPPA is currently accepting work for our latest project - UK09. It's a very simple idea: the country is divided into 135 postal districts and we want images from each of them. It doesn't matter if they have come from commissioned news photography, sports matches or personal projects. What matters is that they help to paint a view of the UK in 2009.

 

As the images arrive I keep thinking "I wish I'd taken that" or "that's got to be the best from that area". A couple of days later another picture turns up and it is becoming increasingly likely that we will have a big editing job on our hands. Group edits are a very interesting thing. Dominant personalities can have a disproportionate effect on what gets chosen and on the mood of the project. Quiet people who have strong opinions can make a real difference too and the evidence from our past projects tells me that the final edit is far greater than the sum of it's constituent parts.

I remember being confused as a photography student about the phrase "body of work". It sounded dull and not something that a young photographer should worry about. I'm not a young photographer any more and I have come to appreciate the concept of a body of work. I am extremely appreciative of bodies of work with a theme and many authors. My favourite books are often collections of essays or pictures on a single topic. The best of these have a wide range of contributors and the kind of web gallery that UK09 will produce will see the work of thirty and forty year veterans with international standing sitting alongside that of very young photographers just starting out in their careers.

Yesterday afternoon I spent about three hours sorting out my contributions to the project. I haven't decided on my final ten yet but I thought that it would be cool to share some of the candidates here:

   

These six images are a kind of representation of the pictures I will be submitting. It might not be these exact frames and I might end up shooting something better in the two weeks before the deadline. I've seen some of the opposition and I have to admit that the standard is very strong.

We hope that the project has a life beyond the web gallery that we will produce. Books and gallery shows are expensive and time consuming things to do but pictures as diverse and interesting as these deserve to be shown in the best possible way. The point to projects like this is to show the world what press photographers, sports photographers, documentary photographers and editorial photographers do. Sometimes you need to shout about this kind of stuff.

©Neil Turner April 2009



 
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