It all began innocently enough.
On January 1, 2016, YEP photographer Tony Johnson was experimenting with a new camera.
The result was a black and white portrait of his son, carrying the skateboard he had got for Christmas. Another time, it might have become just another family photograph to go with the hundreds of others Tony had taken. Instead, it was the start of a year-long project which is about to be published in a coffee table photographic book called 366 (2016 being a leap year).
“At the time Mike Tipping, an old photographer friend, was about halfway through his own 365 project, where he had been taking one image for every day of the year. I looked at the portrait of my lad and I started thinking that I would quite like to do a project of my own. I knew if I didn’t do something the camera I’d bought would end up in the back of a drawer and besides I thought it would be a bit of a doddle.” It turned out to be anything but. While Tony, who has worked at Yorkshire Post Newspapers since 2001, was sent out on dozen of assignments each week, he was determined that all the pictures for his new project should be standalone images.
There were some days when Tony admits he was running short of ideas, but inspiration would always strike and often from the most unlikeliest of places. “One day it was getting to late afternoon and I hadn’t taken anything,” he says. “I had to drop my wife in Leeds and on the way there I noticed a tattoo parlour. On the way back I stopped and asked the woman in the shop whether she would mind posing for a picture.
“A lot of people are camera shy, but when you explain what you are doing, more often than not they are happy to help.”
The collection is predominantly, if not exclusively, shot in Yorkshire. “I wanted to show the harsh realities of life. That’s why many of the final images are in black and white.”, because it often makes for a much more striking statement.
While Tony has been working as a photographer for more than two decades, he says he has learnt a lot from the last 12 months. “It definitely does make you look at the world differently.”
Even as a photographer you often find that you don’t stop and pause and look around enough.”
All 366 of Tony’s photographs are being compiled into a book by Great Northern which is available for pre-order before it hits the shelves this spring.
Order before February 20 and receive your copy with the name of your choice printed in the book and signed by Tony for £40 or buy two copies for £60 including delivery. For orders call 01274 735056 or online at ypbookoffer.co.uk.