This November will see the launch of a new exciting project created by the photographer Rick Davy. I was lucky enough to talk to him about what the ‘A Day in the Life of a . . .’ archive means to him. And he even allowed me to have a little sneak preview of some of the wonderful content he has been compiling.
A Living Archive
Our coastal towns and villages that once revolved solely around the fishing industry are now diverse communities, supporting all kinds of businesses and enriching all kinds of lives. This online archive is a wonderful celebration of that.
The human race is endlessly fascinating, and increasingly society is choosing to celebrate individualism as a positive force in society. Each of us has our own niche, our own special creative force and our own way of experiencing the world. It is this passionate individualism, but importantly also what binds us all together, that is the inspiration behind a new living archive of photographs.
The Day in the Life Collection
The collection created, curated and compiled by the photographer Rick Davy aims to draw together, in one place, as many fascinating Cornish lives as he can. And this project is pretty diverse.
A quick glance at the archive so far reveals an eclectic list of subjects already photographed. Blacksmith, surfboard shaper, potter, crab fisherman, mushroom farmer and firefighter.
‘In essence it is all about individuals.’ Rick tells me. ‘Individuals from all walks of life but all with one thing in common, they live and work on the coast and they love what they do for a living.’
I ask him how he chooses who to photograph, how he knows they will be right for the project.
‘I am drawn to their lives.’
Vintage car collector, distiller, serpentine turner, forager, carpenter and designer.
Each thoughtfully photographed at work. Moments of their day, their lives, revealed.
A Man of Mystery
However, Rick Davy gives little away about himself. He is a bit of man of mystery and wants it to stay that way. When I ask for a photograph of him to go with this article he tells me there’s a problem, there isn’t one. But immediately I know that that’s ok, his work speaks for him.
‘I am really passionate about what I do. . . This is a “for the love it” project. . . I am constantly looking and thinking of ideas and projects I’d like to put together. Some of those ideas just come to me, maybe whilst I’m out shooting or just one of those brain waves that just come to me.’
There is a real art to photographing people. The subjects of ‘A day in the life of a . . .’ are not professional models, they are real, everyday people. Capturing that moment when they are just them, their essence, is a fabulous skill. As someone who spends their day trying (and often failing) to put the world in words, there is something so perfect and so liberating about Rick’s images. They grab the moment with what seems like simple ease.
Capturing the moment
There is nothing contrived about Rick’s work or the methods he uses.
‘I don’t use Photoshop or Lightroom. I shoot it as it is and if I get it wrong, I shoot it again.’ He explains, ‘ In the past the projects I have worked on have been mostly shot on digi, this project is different. I’m shooting it on film, with some digi, medium format and 35mm . . . All shot on Leica and Hasselbald. The reasons behind that, simple. Film will bring an organic feel and offer different tone variations.’
Many of the images in the project have an almost timeless feel, perhaps partly because of the individuals themselves. They nearly all have one thing in common, a raw hands-on creativeness.
The ‘A Day in the Life of a . . .’ website is set of go live in a matter of days and Rick is excited to share what he has created with a wider audience.
“I am now at the stage where the project is beginning to take shape. I have shot and documented many lives over the last few months and now it is time to bring them together.”
And Rick is always on the look out for more people to shoot.
‘This project is endless in terms of lifespan and will continue to grow as long as I find interesting individuals to commit to it”
Listening to Rick talk I am reminded of the work of early Cornish photographer Lewis Harding. Harding spent the last 30 years of his life photographing the people of Polperro. His 80 individual portraits of the villagers are, put simply, an artistic triumph.
Harding’s archive remains to this day a unique and fascinating snapshot of a moment in history but perhaps more importantly it also records the faces and the lives ordinary working class people.
What a legacy to leave.
Be a part of it:
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You can also follow the project on Instagram @coastallives
If you, or someone you know, would be interested in being part of Rick’s project you can contact him HERE