In the twenty first edition of our special features celebrating our favourite south coast based Instagram users. Today I catch up with an old friend and Portsmouth ex-pat, PJ Davy (@pjedavy).
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Hi, I’m PJ, and I like to make stuff. I’m currently in my final year studying Digital Music & Sound Arts at the University of Brighton, I produce experimental music, perform audiovisual live sets, and work on various sound related projects. I also love using a camera to take photographs of things, places and, sometimes, people.
I studied A Level photography a long time ago, which is what I loved doing, creatively, the most at the time, then I discovered synthesisers and sampling, and went down the music route.
Can you tell me more about your photographic experience; is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby that you’ve developed?
I studied A Level photography a long time ago, which is what I loved doing, creatively, the most at the time, then I discovered synthesisers and sampling, and went down the music route. I’d always kept photography in arms reach, even when I didn’t own a camera, but with the joys of technology, phones became tools for my photography outlet. I visited Iceland a few years ago and thought it’d be ridiculous to go without a camera, so I bought one at the airport on the way, and I now take my camera with me whenever I can.
Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?
I’m still using the Canon 1200D that I bought at the airport on the way to Iceland. It’s an amateur’s model, really, but I make the most of it within the budget I have. I occasionally use my phone for quick blogging type photos and videos, but the 1200D is my go-to for anything I want to try and make look decent.
I’m still using the Canon 1200D that I bought at the airport on the way to Iceland. It’s an amateur’s model, really, but I make the most of it within the budget I have.
Exploring the theme of local, the south coast has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph?
The south coast is rich with a variety of landscapes, seascapes, horizons, and architecture. It’s actually the architecture that I really get passionate about, but that and the landscape go hand in hand. Since the wind farm has been built, off the coast of Brighton, it’s quite dramatically changed the horizon. Those energy producing structures sit nicely in the gap between the sea and the clouds. Some people moan about them, but they represent something positive, and they’re pretty majestic looking things! Further inland, I always tend to look upwards at rooftops and buildings for inspiration… there’s some amazing architecture up there that sometimes gets ignored. I’ve realised recently, that I have a soft spot for staircases, and some of my favourite shots have been of stairs.
Since the wind farm has been built, off the coast of Brighton, it’s quite dramatically changed the horizon. Those energy producing structures sit nicely in the gap between the sea and the clouds.
Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?
I’ve always taken photos for myself, although recently I’ve been asked to take photos for certain events, or have photos requested for use on projects, which has been amazing. People have started buying prints of my photography in the last couple of years which is starting to gain momentum, but I’ll continue to take photos for my own enjoyment and curiosity.
You can buy my photos over at etsy.com/shop/pjedavyphotography. Prices start at £25 but rise depending on the size of the photo you are looking for.
Are there any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?
Ansel Adams is the most obvious one. It’ll always impress me how he created those images using film, and with no digital enhancement, he was a true artist in that sense, an absolute wizard, and he had the most amazing landscape on his doorstep.
There are some really amazing photographers I follow on Instagram… @connor_hicks_93 finds abandoned buildings and captures them with a really nice wide-angle lens. I don’t know where he finds these place, but they’re incredible, and he seems to be doing it non-stop. @edwardkb‘s work is of an incredibly high standard, I’d love to find out what equipment he uses. He’s a pro and manages to create really vivid vibrant images. Really beautiful stuff!
On a slight side note, PJ is currently working on an immersive audiovisual experience that brings people together to highlight social and environmental concerns titled Heads In The Cloud. You will experience the sounds of people from around the world vocalising their social media, blog, and forum posts, expressing their personal thoughts, passions and heartaches. Their voices become a chorus of digital noise as they enter the central LED matrix; a physical manifestation of the internet.
He would like your help to make the project a success. “I’m looking for voices (in any language) to be used within Heads In The Cloud. If you’ve posted onto social media, blogs, or any public internet forum to express your thoughts, then I’m looking for you. All you need to do is find something you’ve posted publicly that meant something to you, it could be positive, negative, funny, or mournful; just as long as it’s personal to you.”
“Find a quiet space to make a voice recording into your phone, your laptop, or whatever you have available to record your own voice, and read out those posts. I need about 30 seconds of your voice, so the longer the posts, the better, but you can piece together a few shorter ones if needed. Just make sure there’s as little background noise as possible.”
Your voices will be used as material within Heads In The Cloud, they will move through the space and become digitised, turning into a chorus of digital noise. Your voice will have its own lights representing its journey from human form to digital noise towards the centre.
To submit, email your recording to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title ‘Put My Head In The Cloud’, and please include the text you’ve read from. You will remain anonymous and agree to allow me to use your recording on the concept album unless you let me know you’d like to opt out. For more information visit crowdfunder.co.uk/heads-in-the-cloud.