KIRK TRUMAN ON 'GIVE ME SOMETHING' AND LIFE DURING LOCKDOWN
WORDS FILIPE PHITZGERARD - IMAGES COURTESY OF KIRK TRUMAN
London-based photographer and visual artist, Kirk Truman, has developed a style of portraiture and street photography which depicts the world surrounding him in a whimsical yet sobering way. Kirk's approach to photography is to document life as it is happening in a raw and real form without compromising the integrity of that which he is capturing through his lenses. Originally from Leicestershire, Truman's film and digital photography are focused on geometry, high contrast, fashion and surrealism.
While the world has been learning to deal and adapt to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Kirk began to capture the changes seen throughout the Capital as the daily norm changed from unrestrained freedom into the overwhelming social distancing lifestyle. The city - and the world - began to function in a new and unprecedented way while putting life as we knew it on hold. Truman, however, continued to do what was natural to him; he went out and documented the world around him while making sure to capture even the small subtle changes in human behaviour and the landscape surrounding him. The multifaceted creative tells us that as the lockdown neared he "spent day and night photographing Central London while the shock of the "new normal" set in." From neighbourhood to neighbourhood, Kirk was hit by the desolation and emptiness in the streets of the once called "one of the most fast-passed cities in the world." The new norm was sobering and daunting, yet, beauty was hidden within it.
Kirk shares that for him "it has indeed been quite a time to be alive, even if at times the nature of reality was hardest to bear and not for the faint-hearted" and that he found "whimsical sights in the daylight and the after-hours." For him, the days were strange and melancholia became an integral part of human existence which was followed by the important realisation that this is a time for each individual to look inside, to rethink life and realise what makes us human. He continues by saying; "as the weeks passed, there was patriotism like I had never witnessed before in my life in our capital. So many of us have become united in our spirit as Londoners to keep calm and carry on (back towards reality)."
As the images from the streets begun to surface on Truman's Instagram, singer-songwriter and one of F Word's beloved friends, Sam Way reached out to Kirk to discuss a fresh new project that would combine both of their unique journeys of self-discovery and adaptation. The pair discussed the idea of beginning to capture video footage of the scenes from the city which would accompany Sam's latest and timely single 'Give Me Something' which is out tomorrow. The final product for the collaboration is presented in a raw, honest portrayal of the first seven weeks of London’s lockdown and a social document of the times we live in.
Ahead of the launch tomorrow, we spoke to Kirk to find out what life feels and looks like right now as well as his thoughts on the current pandemic, the racial and social issues we are facing in a global scale and his thoughts on the collaboration with Sam Way.
Filipe Phitzgerard: Can you tell us what life consists of for you right now? Kirk Truman: Dare I say I feel better than ever; I feel like a little child. I think maybe in nearing 30 I’ve started to think backwards in some ways, and instead of being so focused on being an adult, I’ve remembered that really I’m a child at heart. My work has become more humorous and whimsical.
F.P: That's a very interesting way of putting it. How has the pandemic and social distancing in general changed your day-to-day life? Has it in any way influenced your creative process as well? K.T: I tend to think with the glass half full. Solidarity has reshaped me, that's for sure. I live alone but I’m rarely alone in my work as it is so heavily focused on people. I love and thrive being in my own company. It’s been an opportunity to rethink the way of the wheel and rethink all elements of my life. My work especially has evolved during this period. I’ve begun to focus furthermore on fine art photography and interiors and rethought the philosophy of my art. Now more than I ever I feel like I know what I want from life.
F.P: And you have been working on a new project with Sam Way during this time, correct? How has it been working with Sam in this particular project? K.T: Yes, we have been working together. Sam and I have regularly collaborated for several years now and work well together. This time around was spent over the phone laughing, thinking hard and locking horns while producing a music video. It was a real pleasure to work with Sam as ever who spent lockdown in Devon. The result is a documentary led music video which gives an accurate portrayal of our capital at the height of the lockdown in our capital. As ever, it was a pleasure to collaborate with a good friend.
F.P: In your own words; how did the collaboration come about? K.T: I had begun to photograph London as the changes unfolded day by day. The images I shared via my Instagram account were well received and soon being used by the media. Soon after, Sam and I discussed the idea of collaborating on a video project shot in the same photographic style which would work as a music video for 'Give Me Something'. For about two months, we spoke daily to bring together the finalised film.
F.P: I have seen the video documentary for 'Give Me Something' and I found it to be fresh and sobering at the same time. The black and white approach make a visual impact. The images created are also absolutely stunning and with so much personality and depth. Tell us about the process of creating these images. K.T: It was a difficult time in our capital. There were some whimsical moments during this project, moments of sadness and shock too. It is a time in history which is far from over, and it felt important to document this moment in time accurately in its raw format. Overall, my photography and the film is the product of working day and night for around 6/7 weeks which I count as one of the most surreal periods of my life to date.
F.P: How would you define documentary photography? K.T: Documentary photography is about presenting the raw facts. In this particular project, it was a period for me to tell the story of London in crisis which is very timely.
F.P: If you could summarise the whole project in one word; what would that be? K.T: Raw.
F.P: How important is this particular project right now considering the issues we are facing? K.T: In terms of the pandemic, the project highlights the solidarity some in our capital experienced on a widespread scale, as well as the togetherness which arose from the events which unfolded. The key message from the project is to look into yourself, reflect and rethink it all.
F.P: Along with the pandemic we have recently been watching as the world wakes up to stands against racial and social injustice. How do you think artists of all media can contribute to a change in social and racial issues? K.T: We must be open, diverse and selective in our work as artists. It is important to also educate ourselves and others of the issues which still exist surrounding racism in the industry and society today. Change is coming, but we still have a long way to go.
F.P: What are your thoughts and feelings about the current global pandemic and the other issues which have surfaced during this time? K.T: The start of this new decade feels like a force for change. I had this feeling at the beginning of the year that this year wasn’t going to be like any of the others gone past. It feels like togetherness and change has become key. Though, still, I admit there is doubt within me whether some people will learn from all that is going on in the world right now. But we can only hope for the best.
F.P: A hopeful statement for the future ahead. K.T: Do what you love every day.
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