Michael BarryPHOTO . March 12th, 2014
Interview with Michael Barry, 21 year old photographer – currently studying Fine Art in Leeds, England.
Where and when were you born? How was it to grow up out there?
I was born in Thailand in 1992 and lived in Hua-Hin until I was about 5 years old. It was a pretty typical Thai upbringing I think – it’s hard to remember. My dad moved there to teach where he met my mum and had me. When my sister was born, was when we moved to Manchester, England because I think they wanted us to be educated here. Looking back it was quite idyllic. I’ve been back there since and it has unfortunately become a hotspot for tourism because of its beautiful beaches.
What were your favourite activities when you were a child? And what are they today?
Most of my childhood memories come from playing with the other kids on my road. Every day we would knock on each other’s doors and ask “Is Sally coming out?” and we would do things like camp in our back gardens and build tree houses. I remember one time a bunch of us built a treehouse next to a train track and an official from the rail company made us dismantle it because we were trespassing – we didn’t know this at the time. We were kids and we thought that was adventurous!
Fast forward to secondary school, I became interested in photography and art and my parents nurtured that. I used my mum’s Nikon L35AF which was a fantastic camera that I broke. Now I’ve just started to see photography in a new light. I think when I began my degree, my attention shifted to sculpture and installation because I had never had access to the resources my university offered. It was all very exciting to be playing with clay, wood, metal and making these three dimensional works and it taught me new ways of seeing and thinking. I guess my renewed interest in photography comes from having that experience. It feels like I’m reconnecting with an old friend.
What camera did you use for your set, “i.“?
Various inexpensive and nasty compacts, SLRs and disposables. All of which are now broken, sold on or lost. I’ve never been attached to cameras because they are just tools to me. However, I think a lot of that set was taken with a Pentax P30n with a 50mm 1.8 and a dirt cheap Halina point & shoot from eBay. At the moment I’m shooting with a similar Halina or a Canon 5D Mk III. One thing I hate about digital cameras is the cropped sensors which is why I always shoot with one that is full-frame. It’s 35mm or nothing!
I’m fascinated by the brick suburbs of England, there is a really peculiar mood down there. What’s your thoughts on that?
I think there is a perception that English suburbs are filled with bland identikit houses that have net curtains and gnomes and people cutting their lawns and that is true but having spent most of my childhood there I can say the sense of community that comes from growing up there is much nicer. Where I live now, there must be over 150 people in my building and I don’t know any of them but when it comes to Christmas at my parents for example, they would give and receive many cards from neighbours they chat to all the time!
Thank you Michael!