Black and white image of a man stood at the top of a countryside hill looking down it

Earlier in the year we launched a call out to our Redeye Members for the opportunity to be interviewed about either their photographic practice or a body of work. These interviews have formed a short series of blog posts called ‘Method of Making’. Discover details about the photographers’ processes, ideas and intentions – have a read through to get inspired!

First up, we have Nigel Walker discussing his work-in-progress project: View From The Hill.

Redeye: Why did you make this body of work?

Nigel: Following retirement, I realised that many men seemed to lose identity and friendships as their work had often identified who they were and relationships outside the family were connected to this too. Asking someone you meet what they do often elicits a great deal of information in their reply from their status to their wealth. Saying you are retired gives little clue to this and without purpose and status, many men seemed rudderless. I decided to interview men to see if this were true, starting with close friends and expanding through their friendship circles.

Photo credit: ‘Where to’, Nigel Walker

Redeye: What was (or is) your biggest inspiration for this work?

Nigel: The inspiration were the men I found and talked to. They ranged across all walks of life and had many different stories to tell; some had successfully found another purpose whilst others felt they had little value. I wanted to both illustrate those feelings I was told about but also provide a commentary on everyone being valued.

Redeye: Are there any environmental or sustainable factors you considered when making this work?

Nigel: This was not specifically a factor, although, the recognition of the need to sustain the human spirit and value both an individual’s skills and their future contributions seem to me an important element of both longevity and good health, mentally and physically.

Redeye: What was (or is) your most difficult challenge whilst making the work?

Nigel: It was not difficult to find people to talk to but then assessing and interpreting the information across the range of views and deciding how to communicate that both through visual metaphors and using a variety of photographic techniques, has taken time. Covid also delayed the work. I used myself as the model which meant that I could work when able, re-take work that I could improve and travel when convenient. In a couple of cases, I have used other photographers to “press the button” when necessary. I am now arranging to finish the photographs and write the accompanying notes.

Redeye: What are you most proud of in making this work?

Nigel: It feels like an area that’s yet to be explored and a contribution to helping men understand and take responsibility for themselves through recognising their feelings, finding ways to express them and using interests and skills to make future contributions to society and assist their development of friendships, feelings of self-worth following retirement and learning new skills.

Redeye: Did you make (or are making) this work with somewhere in mind for it to live once it’s been completed?

Nigel: Not specifically, although The Hull Independent Photographic Gallery expressed an interest in showing the work early on but has since been forced into closure. I usually turn projects like this into self-published monographs and/or YouTube presentations. I do know a number of outlets that have shown my work in the past in the Yorkshire region and will talk to them when it is nearer completion. However, any other interested parties would, of course, be welcome.

You can find out more about the other organisations linked to Nigel’s work below: (HIP Hull Independent Photography’s Facebook page)

You can find out more about Nigel and his work below:
Redeye Portfolio
Nigel’s website – View From The Hill
Nigel’s Instagram
Nigel’s Facebook
Nigel’s YouTube

Photo credit: Nigel Walker

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