Beloved former Badger and Journalism Student currently doing a year abroad in Vancouver, British Colombia.
“This photo series is reflective of my time living and studying abroad in Vancouver. Most weekends we drive to national parks, lakes, and the surrounding mountains – across British Columbia, Alberta, and Washington State – in an old Volkswagen that we picked up second hand. It’s documentary photography in its purest form; the pictures very much speak for themselves. I’ve felt very lucky to be living in such an awe-inspiring location – it has motivated me to get outside more and enjoy photography as a hobby as well as a profession.
I first started getting interested in photography when I was in primary school. I asked my mum to buy me a disposable camera one Christmas, and ever since have had a special relationship with film and digital photography. My first proper camera was a Holga 120mm, a plastic Hong-Kongese pinhole film camera, very similar to the Diana F. The film was a fortune to get processed and developed, but it produced these dream-like photos due to its low-fi aesthetics, which made breaking the bank oh-so-worth-it.
I’ve only in the last few years, venture over to the other side – of digital. When I was younger, I didn’t have the patience to learn the technicalities of digital photography. I enjoyed the chaos and unpredictability of shooting film, and the excitement, anticipation, and often disappointment when finally getting them developed. Film photography is more dislocated and romantic – which was more in line with my teenage years, while digital is more immediate and in the present.
My photography up to this point as been mostly non-human, travel- based – such nature (this series), or architecture, and the colours and patterns you can produce from it. Last summer, I covered a festival in the Bulgarian mountains – walking around talking and taking photos of the punters, I would love to do more people-orientated photography, yet surround by nature. I want to do more street photography too, and of people in general – friends, family, strangers. My ambition for this year is to work more with models in curating artistic content – staging and putting together a shoot, maybe even a portrait series.
I’ve been lucky with the opportunities university has provided me, last summer I was in China, Beijing working for a travel app, and did a placement with the BBC. This year I’ve been in and around Vancouver, Canada – travelling, and obviously doing a bit of studying. British Columbia is beautiful – and Vancouver is an amazing city, I would highly recommend it – as you get the best of both of city and outdoorsy life. Strangely my time abroad has influenced me to travel and take photos closer to home. When I come back for my final year, I want to explore the surrounding sites on the weekends. After driving for hours on end to reach the next nearest city or national park here in North America, distances back in the UK seem much more manageable. There’s no real excuse why you can’t drive up the Scottish Highlands for the weekend – plus road trips are fun, and you always travel your country in the cheapest way.”
Rhys is finalising a new music and visual culture website so stay tuned and don’t hesitate to contact him on Facebook (Rhys Baker) if you want to get involved !