A frequent refrain among photographers is that the area around their home is just too boring to photograph. Here are a couple of ideas to help you find engaging and meaningful photographic projects in locations that feel completely uninspiring.
Contemporary landscape photographer Kyle McDougall has compiled a series of points to help you see your local area with a different mode of understanding. It’s worth noting that several of these ideas share something: they engage with people or document the changes that people have imposed upon the landscape, and McDougall seems keen to prompt viewers to take a more socially thoughtful approach to what we see around us.
For me, this video is also a useful reminder that ideas tend not to come when you're sitting on the sofa, waiting for them; they arrive when you're out exploring and being curious about the world.
This idea of how a space is defined by how it is used — i.e., how it becomes “a place” rather than just “a space” by the different ways that people bring meaning to it — is a regular subject of study in human geography and sociology. If you’re interested to learn more, I’d strongly recommend reading Place: A Short Introduction by acclaimed geographer and poet Tim Cresswell. The paperback seems to be listed new at around $100, but note that there are used editions available for less than $6.
For more reflections on finding subjects of interest on your own doorstep, be sure to check out this excellent short video.
Let us know your projects undertaken in otherwise boring locations in the comments below. sv