John House

Portfolio site for contemporary photographer and artist John House

The Shot I Never Forgot

‘The Shot I Never Forgot’ is an Arts Council funded project in which participating artists were invited to share a photograph that has remained in their mind since they shot it along with the story behind its creation. Most of the artists instinctively knew which image they should share, sometimes because it was poignant, sometimes because of its personal significance or simply because it is a great photograph.

As photographers, we shoot many more images than ever see the light of day, often including fabulous stand alone pictures – shot on instinct – whilst making work for another project. Because these single images do not fit the brief, they sit gathering dust in an ever-growing archive. The Shot I Never Forgot is a chance for some of these images to be presented in their own right, for others to enjoy; a platform to enable some of these memorable photographs to be seen for the first time.

This project began in February 2013 and culminated in an exhibition and publication, held during the Brighton photo Fringe 2014. Since then, it has been lying dormant, ocassionally being dusted off to receive some new submissions!

John House, February 2018

John House

Image 36 of 36

"‘Contemplation’ This is the photograph that first inspired this project. It was taken over a decade ago, I think in 2001 and it has always stayed with me. I was on a train journey to Hamble-le-Rice (near Southampton) with a close friend. We were meant to be visiting a friend in Glasgow for the weekend, but severe snow stopped us being able to fly, so we decided to go on a random road trip and see where the weekend took us. At the time, we were both processing a lot of personal issues and the weekend turned into a 3 day long debate about the meaning and philosophies of life, which acted as a sort of therapy for the both of us. The weekend remains with me as one of the most poignant in my life. I took this portrait on a whim, during a brief period of silence after a particularly hard and heavy discussion (about spirituality – if my memory serves correctly). For me, the picture captures the essence of this moment perfectly and the mood of the trip in general. I never take portraits and it rarely occurs to me to photograph people. However, in this moment, my friends face was so full of expression and meaning, I fired the shot off as he pondered the world out of the scratched and grubby train window. I love the stillness and depth of his expression, and the glimpse of the landscape passing him by and often wondered if he saw his own expression in the reflection. I find the image beautiful and troubling because of the memories I associate with it so I have always kept a copy of it next to my desk to act as a memory of my very dear friend and a life affirming trip. Whilst looking at the portrait one day, I began to reflect on the number of significant pictures that Photographers take for their own satisfaction and never think about sharing with others. I began to contact artists and asked them if they would be prepared to share a shot they never forgot."