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1-100 photo project: Andy, 16 and 30
Sheffield photographer Chris Saunders is photographing 100 people - one person for every year of age.
I was born in Sheffield in 1966 and grew up around Walkley. I've always lived in Sheffield apart from three years in Manchester in the 1990s where I went to university to study photography.
Reverend and the Makers - © Chris Saunders
Living there made me appreciate how great a city Sheffield is, and after finishing university I soon came back. A flat, grey, concrete city will lose out to a hilly, green city on the edge of the Peak District any time for me - no matter how good the nightlife may have been in the former!
Photographing famous people is very exciting. I've met some people - such as the film director David Lynch and the author James Ellroy, whose work I've admired tremendously for much of my adult life.
But the idea for the 1-100 project came as a reaction to that though; I was keen to photograph more 'regular' people (for want of a better expression) without the time constraints (sometimes I only have a couple of minutes to photograph the well-known people and it can be quite nerve-wracking at times) and all the hassle with the lights etc.
So I decided I'd embark on a project that did away with all that and photograph regular people, in natural light.
As I'm primarily a people photographer I'm fascinated with people's faces and often when I'm walking around I'll see someone who I'd love to photograph but without having a reason to photograph them I'd be reluctant to ask them, for fear of being thought of as a weirdo, which could've happened if I'd have approached someone off the cuff in the street!
1-100 photo project: Pam, 20 and 70
I was stuck for an idea for a while but the initial basic one just popped into my head one day: photograph one hundred people, one person for every year of age.
David Lynch, © Chris Saunders
At the time I had just photographed the aforementioned film director David Lynch, and as I'd pretty much grown up with his work and seen numerous photographs of him over the years I found it fascinating how his appearance had changed.
His hair had stayed the same but I loved the way his face had transformed. That gave me the idea to incorporate a photograph of the subject's own taken when they were younger together with the photograph I took of them.
Then I decided to make it a Sheffield-area-specific project and a reflection of all the different races, cultures etc that make up the city's population. I did an initial call for subjects on the Sheffield Forum website and an interview on Radio Sheffield and got plenty of interest from this, but I'm still looking for volunteers of all ethnicity and background for some of the ages which I haven't filled - so if you are interested in being photographed, contact me via my website on the right of the page.
I don't look for anything in the subjects apart from their willingness to take part and that they have a clear photograph of themselves taken when they were younger. Unfortunately I can't include every single photo in the final selection (and already I have had to leave out a few subjects because there wasn't a clear enough photo available of when they were younger.)
1-100 photo project: Andy, 16 and 30
But everyone who takes part gets a print of the photo. When the project is finally finished I hope it will be an exhibition somewhere in Sheffield with all the people I've photographed. I'd also like to make a book - but all this depends on funding.
I will be including myself in the project too - I have a frightful younger picture of myself! - but I've not done the self-portrait yet...
1-100 photo project: Marilyn, 24 and 64
I wasn't always a photographer, I suppose I came to it later than a lot of professionals do. I played guitar in bands around Sheffield until my early 20s and it wasn't until I borrowed a friend's camera to take some photographs of a really great cat that I had at the time that I got the bug for it. I soon lost interest in the bands, went to Norton College in Sheffield to study photography, and then on to Manchester for university.
I've photographed many people in the public eye - authors, film directors, actors, playwrights, comedians and musicians etc, along with more regular work like PR, commercial, advertising, and the occasional wedding.
What's next? Well once I finish this project I very much want to go back to New York and photograph the underground music scene there... Watch this space.
1-100 photo project: Sidney, 14 and 81
Chris Saunders, January 2009
last updated: 16/01/2009 at 15:17