Andrew Mellor is a young British photographer from Blackpool, Lancashire, England. His landscapes and environmental images explore changes and effects taking place and shape in natural and built spaces. The monochrome images of this feature belong to his new series ‘53.9230° N, 3.0150° W’ (these are coordinates) about Fleetwood, a prominent deep-sea fishing port and town north of Blackpool). Currently facing economic difficulties due to declining fishing industry, Fleetwood drew attention of Andrew for its deserted look and people.
Other images of the feature are from his projects ‘The Docks’ and ‘On The Fringe’ – shot in and around Fleetwood and Benidorm, respectively. Here, Andrew takes up the issues of deindustrialisation and effects of all-inclusive package tourism on our surroundings. His photography is an attempt to document social, political and psychological impacts taking place through altering landscapes. A short Q&A with Andrew Mellor:
I was born in Blackpool in 1980 where I still reside. I started with photography in 2011. I then went to university in 2012 to study photography and graduated with a first class BA Honours degree in 2015.
Photography has become a compulsion. A day doesn’t go by without me doing something related to photography. That may be just going for a walk with a camera or researching a new project or just generally reading about photography.
My photography explores both natural and man-made environments, and the interaction between the two, with concerns over how we use the landscape and the social and political issues surrounding it, often exploring change and human impact. I tend to be drawn to ordinary places, seeking to find interest in everyday spaces. My work is spontaneous and involves a process of walking and investigation, which plays a significant factor in the creation of the work.
The human interactions with the landscape can influence the people and the surrounding community. I have become increasingly interested in industrial areas and the impact they can have on the identity of a place and the people. These themes can have far reaching political, social and psychological effects. I don’t specifically look for anything in a location I get more motivated and interested by the political issues surrounding the landscape whether it be an urban space or a natural environment.
Usually I will visit a place many times and do lots of walking and exploring usually over a period of several months this allows me to get to really know the place. I will also do lots of visual research and writing to gain inspiration and mainly to concentrate my ideas on what I am doing. I also find that the method of walking is essential as it creates an opportunity for the unexpected. Sometimes just reacting to my environment can really help to move a project along because it is unplanned it can create an additional thought process.
I think the photograph is a cultural expression and it can tell us a lot about various different cultures around the world. What may be familiar to me is not to someone else so it can become a cultural expression. Within my own work I think the themes are something that happens in many different places and the reaction can be different based on the culture so with that in mind you can learn how other cultures react to a similar circumstance.
Generally I use a medium format Yashicamat for my personal work. I prefer this camera because its basic and has a fixed lens so I find I don’t fixate on technical aspects. I also think it helps me concentrate on the image and the subject more. I scan with an Epson scanner and make general contrast and colour corrections in Photoshop.
I think one of my most significant memories was of my Dad while growing up. He had a Pentax K1000 and he was constantly shooting with it especially on family holidays. I really wanted to play with that camera but I wasn’t allowed because “it wasn’t a toy”. I was about 14 before he let me use it for the first time. I have had an obsession with that camera ever since.
Contemporary photography is heading in a really interesting direction. There are lots of photographers using photography in so many different ways right now. The various different tools we now have at our disposal creates a wealth of new artistic expression and ways of sharing work and connecting.
I am working on a couple of different projects that are still based around 53.9230° N, 3.0150° W and also doing something that’s a little more personal. I have also just filled the forms out for the Luma Rencontres Dummy Book Award. It is certainly my ambition to have a photo book published.
My favourite photographers are: Christian Patterson, John Darwell, Simon Norfolk and Petros Koublis. I also watch quite a lot of films and read quite a lot which sometimes can have an influence on my work.
Something to say to our readers or aspiring photographers:
I would just say keep going and always shoot the themes/subjects you care the most about.