Armed with just one camera they set off on bicycles along the River Lea to discover not just what the landscape could offer them but also how two wandering photographers could develop an approach that could combine their singular styles into one greater whole.
Their process quickly evolved into something familiar to film makers where ideas are never owned by one person but are the result of creative discussions and the exchange of ideas. For Polly and David, what became more important than remembering who had actually pressed the button and thus "taken" the picture, was their shared understanding of what to take a picture of and how to compose it. Once the scene had been chosen and the tripod set up, each photographer would look through the viewfinder, assessing each other's framing, making suggestions of what to include and what to discard and slowly coming to a point of decision.
Taking the waterways as their guide through this forgotten district of London, Polly and David didn't have any predetermined idea of what they wanted to take a picture of. Often relying on the symbiotic relationship born out of the landscape, the weather and what presented itself to them, this series of pictures were often hard won, created from the struggle to represent the valley as somewhere beyond a cliché of urban wasteland.
Since graduating from the London College of Printing in 2002 with a Postgraduate diploma in photojournalism, Polly has collaborated with a number of writers to produce extended photographic essays on the Middle East, China and the UK, published in the Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and Icon Magazine. During her artist residency in Xiamen, China in 2007 she started her project "China Everyday" which is due to be published as a book in the spring of 2010.
Winner of the Guardian Young Photographer of the Year 2002, the Jerwood Photography Prize in 2003, and the Magenta Foundation Emerging Photographer's Award 2007, Polly has established herself as one of the most interesting photographers working in documentary photography. Her work from China has been exhibited widely including at the London Gallery West, 2009, the Noorderlicht Photogallery, Netherlands, 2008, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, 2008 and as the cover feature of Portfolio Magazine Summer Issue 2009.
Polly currently teaches photography at the London College of Communication.
David is an artist, curator, writer and reader in photography at the University of Westminster. His books include Art and Photography [Phaidon 2003] and Photography and Cinema [Reaktion 2008]. He is a regular contributor to Frieze, Aperture, Source, Photoworks and Art Review magazines.