John Fredrick Anderson Part 1 of 2
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My name’s John Frederick Anderson. I’ve been a photographer since 1991 as a freelance. I’ve lived all over the world and I’ve been in Bristol for three years. I’ve been working on this project for two and a half years at the same time I was studying for a Masters Degree in Documentary Photography at Newport.
The project works on many levels: it provides a historical document revealing Bristol. Each individual person makes a historical component and I stress that when I met them and tried to explain that what they were doing was as much creating their own slice of history about their life at the time as revealing Bristol as a city as a whole.
In all, thirty five people were involved. Generally I approached community groups within Bristol; the organisers there would gather a group of five or six people and I’d show the work I’d done and ask people to be part of the project. But what really happened was people would say, “Oh my friend would like to be involved with this.” and so a whole network of people that knew each other grew into a spider’s web of revealing Bristol that way.
For each person how they chose to represent themselves was up to them. I gave them the option of choosing two locations which best represented themselves within the city. Each time we went to a location they were able to choose the camera angle and how they wanted to be presented there. Each time I set the camera up they were able to come behind the camera and look at the image we were creating together.
The most important thing for a documentary photographer is access, but access based on trust. The most important part of reveal is the whole process is up front so everyone knew what was going on. I was able to take unique pictures because of that access based on trust.