Roy Botterell won series Silver with his ethereal set of images focusing on children. The series was shot at his friend’s yard, which has “so many interesting hidden corners”.
The theme of My Back Yard 5 excited Roy and he set out to shoot a series to enter into the contest. “The yard I featured is my friend’s farmyard,” he explains. “There are lots of buildings dotted around, and a workshop where my friend has been restoring an old tractor. Next to the workshop someone from the village has his Schnapps distillery. In these buildings one can find old cars, motorcycles and architectural salvage. I’ve spent so much time in this yard over the years and therefore have snippets of memories which formed the idea for the shoot. I always thought the yard was an exciting place for kids to play and rummage around, cut off as it is from the rest of the village.”
Roy has spent a great deal of time adapting his camera so it can take high-end digital images using the simplest optics. His ideas are influenced by fine art, and he is searching for a way of reducing the detail in his images. One reason for entering My Back Yard 5 was to get some feedback on this new approach, so he is delighted with the result.
Roy recalls one of his most interesting commercial commissions: “I was commissioned by an ad agency to take a close up picture of a tiger’s eyes for an Esso poster. I had a cage built in a hire studio and then a truck reversed into the studio next to the cage and out walked the tiger. I spent the day unprotected in that cage photographing his eyes - they were about 80cms in front of me. There were a few nervous moments that day but firm instructions from the handler left me in no doubt as to how to behave. The images were first used on posters and then appeared on every Esso petrol station for the next 6+ years.”
Roy is now most interested in art photography. He lives near Basle, which hosts a huge annual Art Fair. Roy finds the interest in photography encouraging: “There is a lot of interest out there in photographic imagery and I feel that, as one door closes, another opens.”