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OBSESSION – Formerly an award winning photograph

I remember this as if it was only yesterday. I was in college studying photography in Cheltenham, England, and was advised to enter a competition set up by FUJI and ATHENA. The theme of the competiton was called “OBSESSION” and it could be of anything.  I chose the theme alcohol because I knew exactly what I had in mind in terms of image, pose, location and person. It wasn’t the case that alcohol is bad. I wanted to portray the effect the alcohol might have on those who take it.

I set out on a drive around Gloucester to find a pub with an old style interior or basic interior and found one. Inside I was greeted by the smell of smoke and beer, had a look around and found the room with enough light to do the photography. I asked the landlord for permission to take pictures which was granted. So I set off back to college to ask my friend to pose for me on a date.

The date arrived. I set up the equipment using my Minolta camera and black and white film and started to take pictures. Back in college I processed the film and printed the proof sheet and realised that this was not working, as I felt there was no “wow” moment and my friend was not the right kinda guy as a model. (Sorry mate!)

Back to square one I decided to go back to the pub to see if I could find anyone in particular, a regular, who would be happy to pose for me. I looked around and couldn’t find one after staying for about an hour. As I was just about to leave in walked a man in his 60s (couldn’t remember his name) who wore a stubble and had uncombed hair. In case you wonder, no he was not drunk and was happy to pose for me. I offered to buy him a drink or two and a pack of cigarettes in return. A date was set for the next evening and I asked him to come as he was including not to shave his face!

I set up the photo session in the same room, this time with empty glasses and an ash tray on the table and asked him to pose for me in certain different ways. After about an hour I gave him the cigarettes as promised along with a couple of drinks and told him that I would send him the photo.

So, here is the photo that I took being a student which won me an overall winner by ATHENA (who were going bust and were meant to print the photo to made card) and, 2nd prize winner by FUJI who supplied me with £100 worth of photo frames. I also learnt that my college won overall prize too, which was an added bonus.


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