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Reader Excerpts: Views from the Porcelain Throne

Today’s feature comes from Jack Allan. Jack showcases a point of view piece from no other place than the toilet.  The uniqueness is not only in the subject matter and where the series is shot, but the beauty lies in the limitations of the series, both in process and final production.

Reader Excerpts allow those who read Now Developing to become part of the collective by sharing a written piece alongside their images on a topic of their choice.  If you have any ideas for a piece and would like to have it featured here, feel free to contact me!

Views from the Porcelain Throne, shot and written by Jack Allan (Website)

The View From the Porcelain throne was a project that I think I had been musing about for quite a while before making the work. I’ve always loved the imprint that people leave, and interior design taste levels are something from this I feel there’s a large amount of people who make thoughtless choices.

On the flip side, there’s some very well considered spaces, but maybe they’re executed in a way that seems a little bit off. Take framed artwork for example. How is it framed? What have they chosen to be framed? How is it placed on the wall/shelf/other surface? This is what I looked for in toilet cubicles. Little details that make the space unique.

These cubicles are familiar to a very large portion of the world, and they’re a space that everybody is equipped to occupy and ultimately you’re forced to see from a set viewpoint. What I was looking for was a collection of these views, but with quite heavy limitations on what equipment I was to use.

I had just finished my university course in photography, and having spent the last 2.5 years photographing in quite a formal way (re shooting, showing progress in work, building a large body of work etc) and with a Rolleiflex, it just felt natural to grab a disposable camera for this project. What better than a camera with a basic set of features for a project about toilets.

Equipped with a viewfinder, film advance, flash, lens, film counter and what loaded with FujiFilm Superia 400, this little guy had 27 shots ready to go. The entire project was shot on this one camera as it gave me a crappy limitation on shots I could take, and the inability to edit the photos afterwards. Except this crappy camera only gave me 26 frames in total, limiting me a tiny bit more!

Working with a 35mm lens in these small spaces was entertaining, and even more so when the flash would go off, and another patron of the bathroom would make audible surprise noises. I quite enjoyed this little quirk amongst all of the strange spaces I found myself in.

There’s a green monstrosity of tile that was in a hotel of cool blues and grey tones everywhere but this toilet, a frowning frog in a frame watching you and a stall with what felt like a white stable door keeping you safe. These spaces became more and more entertaining as I pressed on!

The final result consists of 26 6×4 prints from Boots (a drugstore photo lab) which are limited to this run as another level of limitation for this project. This very sudden impulsive project is probably one of the favourite pieces of work I’ve made, and I think I’ll always have a soft spot for it!

 

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