PhotoJ

Favourite Photogs: Jessica Hilltout

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I first saw Jessica Hilltout‘s work in National Geographic, which is a recommendation in and of itself. And, if we’re going to be honest here, I was just wondering how football got included in NatGeo and then I read further and saw her pictures and well, here we are. Then I looked her up and saw the rest of her photographs from the project and was hooked. I mean, we knew that was inevitable, but this was away from the football part of it. This was on her photography and her vision and it stuck. 

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Even though you might not be able to tell around here, I like organized things. With everything in their place and a place for everything and Hilltout’s projects are just so. Three main projects are then broken down into parts. Faces and Places is broken into…well, Faces and Spaces. Her Amen project is split into five different parts: Balls, Boots, Goals, Players and Footie Fever. Imperfection is also composed of five different sections: Malagasy Architecture, Malagasy Hands, Malagasy Moda, Malagasy People, Malagasy Basics. I like that. Then of course, for this blog post, I jumbled them all together. I know, I’m sorry. But, I like it. It shows a clear vision of wanting to get a whole picture, to lean back and zoom in. There’s trust being built through these images and being let into people’s homes and their lives and seeing all these things that make up their lives. It’s making sure you haven’t missed anything.

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The thing with following a theme is that it’s then much easier to see the differences in all these similarities. Each ball is different. Each set of feet, covered or uncovered, is different. The playing surfaces are smooth or rough or grassy or dirt packed. The goals are short or tall, fat, thin, notched, smooth, painted. There is a unification among all these differences and it’s pointed out by the separation of all the different parts. Her real gems, however, are when people are in the frame. Either single or in groups. I especially love the shots of everyone playing football. The photos are taken from a bit of a distance but they’re sharp and she takes note of what’s around her. The elements, the blowing dust or sand, they are part of the photo, they don’t distract or obscure. The first and third photos are my favourite because of that.

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The Amen series got me thinking about how universal the desire to play is. Maybe not to every detail, of course, but if you were to walk around where I am now, you’d see water bottles and flip flops stuck in the sand to denote goal posts. My brothers have constructed goals out of whatever’s handy and figured alternatives if we’ve lost the street hockey puck for the upteenth time.  Winter time sees snow packed to make posts and a crease created by dragging a toe through the snow. I’ve seen lines scratched out on various surfaces for badminton or tennis, sans net. There is this universal desire to play, to participate and while the circumstances are not all the same and the backgrounds reside on opposite sides of the spectrum, there is something to be said about being united through something. Whether or not Hilltout ever thought about that, I can’t say for sure, but that’s what happens: you shoot for one purpose and to present one message and someone gets something else from it.

 

Things I’m Loving:

+ This Morning I Yelled – (I didn’t cry.)
+ City Gym Shorts – (Yes and yes and yes.)
+ Raspberry Peach Sorbet – (I want an entire container to myself please.)
+ Map of my heart – (Or rather, an introvert’s. Which is the same thing.)

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