BY: PATRICK BROWN
I never set out to start a new project. It came to life all on its own when one night I woke from a terrible dream and took a portrait of myself in a mirror. At that very moment a line from the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song Darker With The Day came into my mind. The line was: As I search, in and out, above, about, below.
I started Darker With The Day because I was starting to resent photography. In the last 10 years I gave everything I had and a lot more to produce Trading to Extinction. However I still had to dig deeper than I ever thought I would to make the Trading to Extinction book possible. After the book, I was quite simply sick of photography—the business of photography is a very fickle world indeed. Here I am fighting to show the world about the illegal animal trade in Asia— Time Magazine voted Trading to Extinction the 6th most important book on the illegal animal trade, and the book had only been out a month—yet where were the NGOs to help make this book a reality? In fact only one person helped me finically, besides my family. My point being, what’s the point if after spending a decade documenting this evil trade, the NGOs don’t even care.
So for a year or so I have been trying to find my feet again in the world of documentary photography, but all I was doing was taking photos. I wasn’t feeling excited about it, and the more incredible the journey I went on, the further away the excitement of taking photos got. I started to feel as if I had been burnt out. Then resentment started to creep in. I didn’t resent photography, but I did resent the orbit I was in—the same one that I had worked my entire photographic career to be in. I started to hate the business of photography.
So why did I start Darker With The Day? For no other reason than I wanted to play with the image, but more importantly, I wanted to strip right back to the ascent of photography, the process of the image making. Go right back to basics—why I got into photography, what attracted me, and what it was at the age of 14 that got me so intrigued and inquisitive about making a photo.
I set some basic guild lines for Darker With The Day: all the images have to be taken in or from the building I live in, for no other reason than I like the graphic elements within the frame. For me it was finding the one thing that I had lost and that was fun: seeing the world through camera.