Lee Naylor on Instagram you can find under the name of @leenayl has nothing to do with the English footballer flag of Wolverhapton Wandereres, it is just a case of coincidence. Moreover each cultivates his passions and Lee that interests us has a strong photography.
Read more of his activity and his the projects I put a few questions.
Lee, to know the history of your namesake just consult wikipedia and appear to statistics of his football career, for you speak the shots you've done around the world, tell us about your passion for photography and how did?
“Photography has always been in my life in one form or another: whether it was sat with my father as youngling in our garden on a summer’s evening doing long exposures on his Olympus OM; or clutching a crappy old range finder on family holidays as a child. However, taking photography seriously, and actually learning the technical side of things, has been a relatively recent obsession. My real interest has never really been photography per se, but has evolved as a consequence of becoming obsessed with culture, people, humanity, and the fleeting passage of time - all stemmed from many years of prolonged and immersive travelling. No matter if it is my earlier photographs on a point and shoot, or my more contemprory shots on my manual DSLRs or range finders (or even my phone) I always try to capture things that invoked the spirit of the places I visit; rarely buildings or monuments, but rather of people or moments, which conjure forth emotion, humanity or channels the transient nature of life.”
In your gallery on Instagram people are always in the foreground. Often you portrait poor and homeless, and sometimes children, sometimes even testimonies of joy and friendship. What is the common thread that binds all these shots?
“It is often difficult to answer this sort of question without sounding clichéd or unoriginal but, for me, a photograph is little more than a moment frozen in time. I rarely see photography as art, but as something to document the fleeting existence, and especially that of human life. I find that many people, especially in the West, are so self-involved and so oblivious to the things that are going on around them; eyes forever cast towards some future, some past, not only ignoring the ephemeral nature of time and the temporary nature of existence, but, perhaps more importantly, missing the moments of love, friendship, hope, sorrow, sadness, joy, which surround us at every moment of every day. We live in a time where photographs are often little more than a series of contrived “selfies” or distorted realities – a thousand pictures taken and only one kept as this particular image casts us in a flattering light. The common thread, as such, is merely an aspiration to be a photographer that is the antithesis to the way society is: to document reality as is; capturing moments with imperfections but beauty; to document the fleeting nature of life and the things that people all too often choose to ignore or deny.”
Why did you choose to photograph exclusively in black and white?
“Although my Instagram page is in black and white, I do sometimes work in colour when the time calls for it. However, black and white photography for me offers unique opportunities not afforded by colour. Firstly, there is a timelessness to black and white photography... you take a photograph of woman dressed in some sort of traditional attire, stood against a nondescript wall and it could have been taken at any point in time. It forces you to look for the clues – the purse in her hand, the type of bag she is carrying etc to make sense of when the photo was taken. Furthermore, I often find black and white less distracting, it is merely lightness and darkness in which your subject resides, defined by nothing more than illumination or shadow; nothing else invades your senses. I find that nothing conveys real emotion better than black and white, devoid of colours that all to often have sentimental or emotional attachments to them, which can all too often contradict the image’s spirit. Furthermore, Black and white to me is romanticism and nostalgia, often they feel as if they were a memory plucked forth from the recesses of someone’s mind; a memory from a forgotten time, a distant place, or another life.”
Many of your photos have been taken around the world, there is a country in addition to the United Kingdom in which you are most fond of?
“This question is by far the most difficult to answer. I have been to so many countries that I cannot begin to pick one, and as such tend to think more in regions. But when I’m thinking of embarking on a new adventure my thoughts often turn to the Middle East, as despite the myriad of bullshit you hear on the news about the region the reality often stand in stark contrast to any media depiction. For instance, one recent trip to Lebanon had me arrive in Beirut in November of 2015, two days after a bomb had detonated in the south of city. Despite Western media depicting the place in what seemed to be disarray I was confronted with a very different reality; normality. Visiting such places as Tripoli in the North (associated with such groups as Daesh and al Nusra), the border regions near Syria (were refugees wandered the sidewalks and military helicopters could be heard in the distance) or Shatila refugee camp (were a displaced community still resided decades on from their original plight), all I found time and again was the same things that I find in any part of the world: normality; hope and fear; love and loss; joy and sorrow; and the myriad of other emotions that make humanity what it is in this fleeting existence that is life.”