In 2006 I returned to England, eager to get away from a claustrophobic, conservative Australia and indulge myself once again in the cultural circus of Europe. I had returned to Australia at the end of 2003 after four years away and, on doing so, never really felt completely at home. Living in Cambridge had thrown my sense of belonging and I wasn’t sure where I should be any longer. England and Europe were so much more interesting than Australia, yet the latter had a far more appealing lifestyle and climate. Which should I choose? My hatred of John Howard’s government made the decision a lot easier, but ultimately what really drove me back was an intense desire to return to Cambridge and to the life I had had while studying.
It was a chaotic, yet romantic beginning, wherein the first few months I moved around a lot – being accommodated by my old buddy, now college fellow, C, in his spare room, on his floor, and, eventually, in a splendid warren on All Saints Passage above an old-school barber shop. It is impossible to do justice to the many and various episodes – teaching South African literature in Pembroke College, hunching in a tiny garret playing World of Warcraft, meeting Prince Charles again, catching up with old acquaintances, tending the bar at the Anchor Pub once more and making various jaunts across to the continent – suffice to say, it was a splendid time full of rich experiences and intense emotion. And, all the while, I was becoming increasingly snap happy with my new Canon EOS 350D
This shot reminds me of that time especially well – not because it marks any special occasion or incident, but rather I recall being pleased with it then on account of the dynamic human subject. Prior to this, much of my photography was focussed on static objects – architecture, landscape, light and shadows – things which still greatly interest me, but have come to play second fiddle to candid human subjects. Once I realised there was so much gold to be had from shooting people doing their thing, I never looked back. There is, I feel, too much dead space to the right of the image, yet I so dig the harmony and juxtaposition of the two running man and the charging greyhound as to excuse the otherwise uninteresting context. Or perhaps the context is ideal – nothing too fussy and busy to distract from the principals – or so I like to tell myself : )