Love it or loath it, Crufts is a British staple and some might even say, eccentric, gathering of thousands every year to compete with their dogs at the NEC in Birmingham.
The characters that attend sat in their small wooden booths with their picnic tables and flasks of tea, waiting with their dogs to be judged, for me as a photographer is fascinating to observe.
If you’ve been to the halls at the NEC you’ll know that the lighting can be harsh sodium affairs which aren’t exactly ideal to photograph in, but there are shafts of light from high up skylights to take advantage of, so sometimes it’s a waiting game for the right subject to enter them. I’m not a street photographer by nature so I wanted to challenge myself with this, getting in close to subjects and keeping kit to a bare minimum using just a Fuji X-Pro 2 and 23mm f1.4 lens.
Most folk were so in the zone grooming or bonding or sleeping that I largely went unnoticed.
I’ve learnt a lot over the years about how important doing personal projects are and strive to do a good handful every year, especially in genres I don’t normally do a lot of. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone with photography on a regular basis otherwise it’s all too easy to stop shooting for yourself.
Photographing people and in particular British life I find really interesting, particularly Martin Parr‘s work, so it’s something I’d like to do more of in the future, and you don’t have to venture far from your home to find interesting photography projects to get stuck into.