A few weeks ago I hopped on a bus after work and headed towards the local university to meet with fellow flickrite Matt Morton. I'm back from uni for the summer, but Matt had some time left on campus before he heads home - so for a few days our stars were aligned, and we jumped at the chance to shoot together. Quite literally.
Yep, we lugged that box of props, two tripods, two camera bags - and the umbrella! - across campus and into the park, and set up next to the river and the willow tree. Matt recently posted a photograph on flickr which described his feelings about his first year of university. He's had a much tougher year than me, and while we talked a little about why that was - grief and gap years - I wanted to come up with a concept which showed that 'Big Kids' feeling all students struggle with as Freshers.
It seems to me that I spent my Sixth Form and Gap years growing up. I plunged into academia, fell head-first into love, experienced heart-rot, went to Africa. And then I turned up at my new house on campus with saucepans and detergent and coasters, and I felt like a little kid again. Here I was, thinking I was world-wise, when I couldn't even turn on our oven. I think you'd be hard-pushed to find a teenage Fresher on any campus who, if they told the truth, hadn't had a moment in their first year when all they wanted to do was go home to their mum.
So there was Matt and I, on the riverbank with a box of board games, rubber ducks, sweet jars, and teddy bears, ready to embrace our inner child - the lost little kid who hides inside lonely campus bedrooms or "wild" party nights. And boy did we have a fun shoot!
The light was dreary but it wasn't raining, so we set up Matt's shots first and put his impressive collection of rubber ducks to good use (here). Two sprightly terriers found them interesting, too, and they got a little chewed... Then we swapped tripods and I put Linden (and Matt, and teddy) under the tree. As we were sitting there the clouds suddenly parted, and the most beautiful golden light shone through the willow branches.
I shot as fast as I could, so Matt could have his share of the light! Once I was done we raced back to our camp and set up Matt's shot with the cookie jars. He took pictures intermittently as the clouds moved across the sun, and we ate biscuits while we waited for the light to come back.
Matt shot portraits of me with Linden, and I snuck cheeky pictures of him and his camera while he told me not to move in case I upset the light. (Spot the cheeky mosquito in the middle one!)
As the light was leaving I wanted a shot of the two of us together. Matt chomped happily away on the Sainsbury's candy while I rushed backwards and forwards between my camera and the cookie jar. (No remote for Linden yet...)
This is a compilation of three different images. It's a bit of a rushed edit, and I might re-do it, but you can see the before-and-after below.
Golden "hour" still had thirty minutes to go, but in reality there was no more light, so we packed up and dragged our things back through the park. (Luckily my mum was there to pick me up, so we caught a lift the rest of the way back to Matt's!) I came home and curled up in bed with a laptop and Photoshop, but a full day at work and all that jumping with excitement had knocked it out of me, and I was asleep in minutes. I was so tired it wasn't until the next day that I found these!
Thanks for twenty-seven-and-a-half bug bites, enough cookies to make me feel sick, and a whole heap of fun, Matt! I hope we get to meet up again; I love having a fellow flickrite just up the road. (Well, in Norfolk terms anyway!)