his weekend I spent twenty-five hours roaming the streets of Newport. I laid in the park, walked country lanes, got strange looks in the centre of town. I am totally exhausted. And it was so much fun.
On Saturday around 150 photographers took to the streets to participate in the Newport Photomarathon. As a new and unique event running in the city, I really wanted to get involved, despite my rather mediocre photography skills. I love taking photos, but my images are definitely more family scrapbook than fine art.
My first experience of a photomarathon was an emotional rollercoaster which tested my creativity, resilience and taste for adventure. I explored new locations, saw the world from different angles, and appreciated the hidden beauty of our city. Keep reading to find out how I got on.
The first stop on Saturday was Holbrook Studio to register my device; my smartphone. Everyone else at registration seemed to have SLR cameras and tripods at the ready, but I was not put off. My motivation for entering was always to have an adventure and not to win prizes.
High noon marked the release of the first six topics. My eagerness was paused when I realised that these were serious topics, and things weren’t going to be as easy as I thought.
Strike a Pose
Old and New
Day & Night
With the first topic, ‘my name’, I was already stuck. My mind was blank and I could only think of lame clichés about how to use my name. In fact, this first topic continued to be a challenge for me, and it would end up being one of the final photos I took.
Things started slow, and I didn’t enjoy the first couple hours of photo hunting. Instead of finding images that I liked, and which inspired me, I was becoming too entangled in the topic titles and ended up totally overthinking. I was grumpy. I was cold. I was not having fun…
Not long after this, I decided just to roam and explore Newport, taking photos as and when I found them. This is where the adventure began.
By three o’clock I had captured a couple of photos and I was beginning to feel more confident. Then it happened... the next six topics were released early! I wasn’t even halfway through the first list, and now I had six more to grapple with.
Bridging the Gap
After spending some time cursing whoever came up with the topics I was on the road again. I had no idea what to photograph, but the adventure continued.
By Saturday night, Newport was feeling very large. I had explored town centre, the cathedral and a graveyard. I had driven by the Tata steelworks, stood at the foot of a wind turbine and I saw the sunset over the Transporter Bridge.
With light fading, and still six topics to photograph I succumbed to exhaustion and called it a night.
Sunday came and I was out and about early enough to benefit from the morning light. I captured reflections of the rising sun in Fourteen Locks and morning light shining through the trees at Belle Vue Park.
Much of Sunday was spent searching for the topic ‘exchange’. Newport has a rich industrial and trade history which I knew I wanted to honour, but how? I took images of the old Cattle Market, cargo lorries and shipping containers, but finally opted for an image of the docks, including the South Lock Centenary mosaic.
A quick trip back to Photomarathon HQ to submit my images, and my photomarathon adventure was complete.
In the lead up to the photomarathon, I billed it as a true urban adventure, and it definitely was. I’ve lived in Newport for several years but this weekend I feel like I really experienced the city. I have a new appreciation for how large and diverse this city really is.
An exhibition of all the photos submitted this weekend will be open at Holbrook Studios in Maindee from the 11th to the 19th November. The winning photographs will then be exhibited at the Riverfront Theatre later in the month.