It’s not everyday you’ll see something worth talking about, and definitely not everyday you’ll stop the shameless self promotion of your own work to promote someone else’s work instead. On this rare occasion, I would like to talk about the 1000 Bedrooms Project by Margaret Ellen Burns. I’ve been following this blog for several months now, and I’ve been intrigued by the nature of this project and the quality of the work produced. I have an urge to spread the awareness of this project. So, I’ve decided to do a mini Q&A with the creator herself, showcasing some of her work along the way and giving you (and me) a little more insight.
Now, what is 1000 Bedrooms?
“A bedroom portrait project, shot on black and white film. The goal is to photograph 1000 bedroom portraits by December 31st, 2015. I aim to share one a day with you on this blog.”
Derek: Please introduce yourself?
Margaret: My name is Margaret Ellen Burns. You can call me any one, variation or combination of those names and I’m from Sydney, Australia.
Derek: How long have you been photographing?
Margaret: In a family album somewhere is a photo of my mum I took with her camera at age 3.
Derek: Why did you start photographing?
Margaret: Mainly to record moments and friends around me, but it became a little more than that.
Derek: How did you come up with the idea – 1000 bedrooms?
Margaret: I wanted to start taking portraits – it’s something I’ve always been very interested in but was always too shy to approach people. Beginning with the idea that I wanted to take a lot of portraits with a common thread running through the series, I chose the bedroom as a common location because it meant that I could photograph people anywhere, without needing to drag them to a particular place or imposing a scene on them which isn’t necessarily anything to do with them personally. The personal element of the bedroom is a really interesting backdrop, as well as prompting interesting reactions to the camera from the people who participate.
Derek: What is the goal of this project?
Margaret: I’m hoping the end result is a very diverse group of portraits of people from all over the world in their personal spaces. I just want to portray people very truthfully, through my eyes.
Derek: Where do you find all these people and how would you approach them? Do you just ask them if you can photograph them in their bedrooms? What are their initial responses?
Margaret: I usually just ask; sometimes people on the street, in shops, on the bus… A lot of responses are a little shocked, but less so now I can show examples of what I mean from the photos already taken. It was definitely a lot harder in the beginning.
Derek: Are you looking for volunteers?
Margaret: Yes, especially from countries outside of Australia.
Derek: How often do you photograph in people’s bedrooms?
Margaret: Wherever I can fit it around full time work. The most I’ve fit into a day is six. It really depends on how many people I have agreeing to pose in a certain area.
Derek: What medium and gear do you usually use?
Margaret: I use black and white 35mm film and a Asahi Pentax Spotmatic camera used to belong to my mum.
Derek: Why did you choose that medium?
Margaret: Mainly because I enjoy the process of shooting a limited number of frames, proofing, editing down to one shot and printing the final shot but also I like the aesthetic. One other thing that feels nice is using my mums camera.
Derek: Anything else you’d like to say to readers?
Margaret: If you would like to pose for a bedroom portrait please get in touch
Thank you very much Margaret. For those who would like more information on this project, please visit http://1000bedrooms.com . I’d urge everyone follow the blog, you’ll be glad you did. Besides, don’t you want to see a Spotmatic in great hands? I did my part, now you do yours – go spread the news.