“Walking the Dog” is an on-going project, photographing everyday objects, scenes and people, usually within a radius of about half a mile around where I live in northwest London, using an iPhone. The photographs are often taken after I’ve dropped my kids off at school, on the way to and from the Tube, as I go shopping or to a café. When I started the project, a few years ago, the iPhone camera was pretty basic, but now, for its size, it’s amazing. I have found the transition from film to digital photography difficult – I just don’t much like the cameras and still mainly use film for professional work. So, having a fairly decent camera in my iPhone has solved a lot of my problems. The project is partly a continuation – in London – of my “Paris Traces” series on abandoned objects, taken over the last 10 years or so of the 20 years I lived in Paris. It is also a kind of meditation on local life, after years spent travelling to remote parts of the world, while I hardly knew my neighbours back home. The title comes from cockney rhyming slang, where a telephone is a “dog and bone”. So my camera is my iBone.
Peter Coles has been a Visiting Fellow in CUCR since 2007. As well as carrying out research and photographic projects with colleagues in the Department (e.g. “London-Luton, a photographic study of the Lea Valley”, with Gesche Wuerfel), Peter also teaches on the Photography and Urban Cultures MA and is a tutor for the International Urban Photography Summer School. Peter originally trained as an experimental psychologist, interested in visual perception, before becoming a journalist and photographer for international science magazines and UNESCO, based in Paris. Peter currently works as consultant editor for international organisations including UNESCO, OECD and the European Commission.