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Phil Deschamp AAPS

 My photos are Rubbish

While completing the AAPS I became increasingly disturbed by the growing pile of returned photographs that had completed their trips to club, state, national, and international exhibitions. Apart from a few that I had on my wall they ended up in boxes in a storeroom. I began to feel increasingly disturbed about spending money to buy a decent camera and time to learn how to use it to produce things that are then packed in boxes in my storeroom to vegetate. (Image 1)

I was also increasingly disturbed by the realisation that a significant part of my motivation for wanting to take a particular image was that it was the sort that might do well in a competition. (see ) I believe that it is obvious that entering competitions helps one grown photographically, however I also believe that it channels the way one grows! If you go into competitions you want to do well and part of this requires analysing the sorts of images that judges like and trying to produce those sorts of images. Accordingly, to break the cycle I stopped entering competitions. Well did that break the cycle! Now I had nothing to shoot! Before that there were monthly club competition topics, national digital club topics and now nothing! So I quite meandered looking for a purpose.

A small group of us decided to make our photography socially useful. We began taking images to promote a positive view of people with disabilities. We took pictures of wheelchair athletics, disabled swimmers, wheelchair rugby, electric wheelchair rugby, electric wheelchair soccer, blow darts, archery, and so forth. (Image 2) While this was useful to the organisations concerned, and lots of the participants received free photos it was very curious to see that only straight photographs were appreciated. As soon as any of us tried to do something at all creative it left their ballpark. (Image 3) Increasingly I found that while I enjoyed enriching people with images of their activities I was not getting much creative satisfaction from producing the sorts of images.

I began searching for something new. I guess we are all always searching for something new, but now I was trying even harder and more consciously. I gave myself the task of trying to shoot images that I have not seen before. This was of course extremely challenging! I've tried all manners of topics, styles and subject matter. Almost by accident, although really by thoroughly combing through my local environment I started taking pictures of the scratches, rust, paint spots and other weird things found on the dumpsters mostly used when building or renovating houses.

The images look like nothing I had created before and to my delight I quite liked them. (Image 4 & 5) So I began being a dumpster chaser! When I'm driving around I notice dumpsters and go back to them when I have time and a camera. I now know which types of dumpster and which colours are likely to offer more interesting images. Many of the images defy interpretation and can be appreciated only as a sensation of colour and shape. They are very much Abstract Expressionist. It has been fun, but also, a funny thing has started happening. Instead of ending up in boxes in my storeroom these images are leaving home mounted on canvas and bound for somebody’s wall. (see )








Abstract 05


Abstract 09


 Live Shoot