FullBleed is a new channel producing beautifully shot documentaries about photographic culture from around the world. Through a regular series of original short films, FullBleed takes the viewer behind the images, unearthing the stories at the heart of photographers’ projects and the photographs they produce.
FullBleed chooses its subjects with a completely genre-unspecific agenda, meaning their films run the gamut from the grittiest, most in-your-face street photographers to gentle, contemplative work. FullBleed hopes to broaden its audience’s understanding of how photographers work, looking as much at the person behind the lens as the subjects in front of it.
Below, we have featured one of FullBleed’s first (and finest) films. In addition, read on for a profile about the channel’s founder, Jude Edginton.
Paddy Summerfield: Mother & Father
This film focuses on the work of British photographer Paddy Summerfield. Despite some exposure in the late 60s, Summerfield spent much of his career in obscurity. In his photo essay, “Mother & Father,” Summerfield produced a touching, profound masterpiece about the ever-present nature of own mortality.
Profile: Jude Edginton
Before anything else, FullBleed founder Jude Edginton is a photographer. Growing up in London in the 1970s, Edginton had the distinct (but not uncommon at the time) privilege of having a darkroom in his primary school. Indeed, at the tender age of seven, every student in the school was taught how to print and process film.
From there, Edginton continued to follow his passion. Like many people from that era, Don McCullin had an outsize impact on how Edginton saw the world. As he said, “The black and white images that McCullin captured of London in the 60’s and 70’s were the same things I was seeing through the bus window on my way to school. He captured the same kind of desperate characters who I saw walking or lying around on my streets every day. To me, at that time, photography was about the images that were published in the weekend magazines and McCullin’s work dominated those pages.”
At the age of 18, Edginton struck out as a freelance photographer. His first commissions, shot in the 90s, were shot with a wide angle lens and grainy black and white film. In short, “Everything looked like Don McCullin had shot it.” Later, a niche in photographing figures from the video game industry took Edginton to California, Japan and around the world. His career was launched.
Today, Edginton is well established professionally, photographing about 100 shoots a year for a mix of commercial and editorial clients. But alongside his thriving practice, Edginton always pushed himself to produce feature stories, even though many were never published: glue sniffers in Moscow, rickshaw drivers in Mumbai, the Air Guitar Championships in Finland, cattle branders in Texas and so on.
When Edginton became interested in the FullBleed project, his storytelling background served as a core to the project’s concept. Thanks to his own experience of producing long-term projects, Edginton learned how “photographers are able to tell whole stories in one image.” He continued, “In some ways, photographers have been making the ultimate “shorts” for years. So who better to stretch out that work into a short film than photographers?”
In the same spirit, Edginton collaborates widely with other image-makers in the production of each film. Many of the shorts have their own directors, brought on specifically for the subject at hand. But the common point that everyone shares is that “we are all essentially photographers making films about photographers. That helps us understand what’s important, from both sides.”
As a result of these intense photographic sessions—with both the film-makers and the film-subjects—Edginton has noticed an unexpected positive outcome from the work so far: he finds himself reconnecting with his own photographic passion. “Working on the films (and with all these subjects) has reminded me what I was so obsessed about with photography in the first place.”
As a larger ambition, Edginton imagines that online short films could be an important home for showcasing photography in the future. As he sees it, “Print publishing is in decline and budgets are dwindling while online audiences are growing constantly. Every year, nearly 100,000 people travel to Paris Photo; the World Press Photo Awards exhibit travels the world and is seen by 3.5 million visitors; Photo London and Photoville (in New York) are newly established but flourishing in two of the world’s great capitals. And yet, while there is a channel on every other hobby—music, food, film, skateboarding, video games, you name it—there seemed to be something lacking that focused on photographers and their work.”
In the year since the effort started, Edginton says his best experience was producing the first film, on Paddy Summerfield (shown above). Summerfield was someone who Edginton remembered as a guy who used to print in a community darkroom in Oxford. After Googling his name, Edginton discovered that his recent work, Mother & Father, had been named one of the best books of 2014. In Edginton’s words, “It was a powerful experience to hear his story and visit the actual house from the project and use it as the location for filming. Summerfield is able to use his parents’ life to tell a universal story that means something to everyone. And I’m glad to know that thousands of people have seen the film already and thus know a bit more about Paddy’s touching work.”
Editors’ Note: You can find more of FullBleed’s feature films on their thriving Youtube channel. Also keep your eyes out in the coming weeks for more films from their archive.
You can also see some of Jude Edginton’s professional work on his website.