Photographer Nick Turpin froze his fingers off creating his excellent new book, ‘On The Night Bus’, where he took pictures of travellers journeying home through Elephant & Castle on the, erm, night bus. We thought we’d ask him about the project, which is out now on Hoxton Mini Press.
Hey Nick, how’s it going?
Great! 2016 was a great year for me with the publication of On The Night Bus and I’m excited to continue shooting my other projects in 2017.
So to create your excellent book, On The Night Bus, you had to stand outside with a tripod and camera, in the shadows in Elephant & Castle for TWO WINTERS. Why did you choose there?
Elephant & Castle has a huge dated shopping centre, which has a concrete mezzanine outside by the road with a large pink elephant, I used to stand underneath the Elephant trying to keep dry while the buses came and went. The raised platform allowed me to photograph directly into the top deck of the buses where nobody really expected to be observed. This is a major junction for buses heading to the suburbs of South London from the City so at rush hour it was busy and the buses were full. It was the perfect location for me to shoot this project.
Were there any points where you were like “What are you doing Nick? It’s freezing. Let’s go home.”
There were lots of moments of doubt while making this project, especially the days when you didn’t see anything interesting. It was hard to maintain the project over such a long period but I knew I had to put the time in to get the standard and variation of imagery that I knew was possible. I think having confidence that you are not just wasting your time and faith that your idea is a good one are almost the most important aspects of being a photographer. It gives you a huge boost when you stick with a project and it gets published and people respond well to the work and want to own the prints. I think next time I won’t choose a subject that requires wet weather clothing and hand warmers though.
What was the best scene you saw while you were doing it?
Because I was standing outside in the dark, wet and cold photographing into the warm lit bus interior, I was largely invisible to those that I photographed, however on one occasion only a young black guy saw me as I was photographing, he just happened to glance in the right direction and see my big lens pointing at him, there was a moments hesitation while we both realised what was happening and then he gave me a huge smile and we both laughed as his bus pulled away. It’s a funny photo.
On the Night Bus by Nick Turpin, £16.95 is published by Hoxton Mini Press. Available from www.hoxtonminipress.com