24in24 | St Albans Film Festival 2021

Updated: Sep 6

So when my friend John suggested I take part in the fun 24in24 competition I had no idea what it was. It turns out it's an annual event run by St Albans Film Festival and you have 24 hours to take 24 photos. It sounds simple right? But you are given a list of 24 items at 11am and you have to be creative and find images of all 24 items, edit and email your entry by 11am the next day.

I set off with full confidence, but when I reviewed the list I realised it wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. The theme this year was Food & Drink, so each of the 24 items had something do with either eating or food itself. I didn't want to just go to a food shop and take photos of all the items, so spent quite a while wandering around the town centre, getting inspiration, before I started taking my photos.

I'd like to say thank you to all the lovely people I met along the way. I would also like to shout out to Wes, a homeless guy who I ended up chatting to. I asked him if there was anything he needed, he said [very politely] some wet wipes. I looked a little curious, but said of course. He then said he wanted to clean himself. By the time I'd walked up to Superdrug and back to the corner of The Maltings, where he was sitting, he'd already gone or been moved on. I did keep an eye out for him for the rest of the day, but no luck. It put my day in perspective and I'm sorry if the council have a policy of moving people on, I'm not sure that is the answer to homelessness.....

The list items 1-8 were as follows:

1. FARM: Considering I didn't have time to visit an actual farm, the only place I knew that had anything related to farm or farming was of course the iconic Neon Sheep that has a pink neon sheep welcoming customers into the store.

2. HUNGER: By about 3pm I hadn't stopped and was feeling tired and hungry. I stopped at a super stall on the market "Chrissy's Cupcakes" selling brownies and cupcakes. I knew I wanted to take an image of me eating something, and to be honest, the brownies looked [and tasted] incredible! I met two other 24in24 photographers there too, I think they were taking photos of cupcakes for one of their entries......

3. TAKEAWAY: Walking up into the town from the Cathedral is the Verdun Tree, a horse chestnut tree towering over a commemorative war memorial bench. The beginnings of this tree hold a.truly memorable story. The Battle of Verdum was one of the bloodiest battles of WW1 when 250,000 French and German troops were killed. In 1976, an 87 year old WW1 veteran planted a conker collected from the only tree to survive the tragic battle. It acts as a living memorial to all those who lost their lives. Underneath this incredible tree, stands a war memorial bench. As I walked passed, I thought the couple sitting eating their takeaway lunch seemed so relaxed in their environment and peacefully away from the hustle and bustle of the town. Thanks to Simon and Sue for letting me take their photo.

4. BREAKFAST: This was the last shot of the session, taken the morning before hand-in. We had only three eggs left for breakfast so it was a make or break shot - we broke one out of the three eggs, so not too bad an effort!

5. GREED: This was a tricky one to take for me, so I sat in the market for a while just to watch people and how they were consuming everything around them. It made me question so many things. How many clothes do we need to buy for ourselves? How much food to we eat versus what we throw away? Does our greed create waste? How greedy are we? How much waste do we throw out? Hence, my image of greed is a pile of rubbish.

6. CELEBRATION: This was one of my first photographs. I'd just walked up to the Cathedral and chatted to a few people about what was happening. Graduation Day. I totally loved the colours of these gowns against the Cathedral stone, what a very happy celebratory day for everyone involved.

7. DAIRY: This is one of my favourite images, I loved this couple just enjoying the peace and the delicious ice creams at Darlish, but what I loved the most was the giant ice cream cone in soft grey. Normally these sort of props are bright and garish.

8. TREAT: This was an easy one, in theory, to photograph, but I just didn't want to take a photo of a cake. I was drawn in by one particular shop, Cositas. Down the side of the store was an alleyway [The Village Arcade] decorated with lots of bunting. On the windows down the side of the alley, Cositas had written lovely messages on the window. "Treat yourself" was a lovely treat message....