Photographer Greg Holland’s career spans across genres, mediums and countries. Originally from the north of England, at school he chose to study music and in fact, it was through playing in bands — as well as a girlfriend who introduced him to Martin Parr — that he eventually ended up putting down instruments and picking up cameras instead.
At first, music and photography intertwined naturally as Greg shot hardcore, punk and metal shows in Manchester and Leeds as a teen. Post being introduced to Parr, Greg started to slow down “and observed quiet moments that you only see if you’re patient and curious”. The pace of photography soon became more appealing during the gruelling schedule of touring where he “always spent my time off-stage wandering around cities with a camera in hand,” he tells us. “The chaos and violence of the live hardcore music I once photographed was replaced with more thoughtfully composed images that reflected something more calming and intriguing. I tired of the music life but the wandering and the camera stuck.”
It’s at this point Greg’s career steers off into a completely different direction as, “through a strange of turn events,” he ended up moving to Myanmar in 2013. “I shot for NGO’s, worked as a photo editor for The Myanmar Times and shot many personal projects.” From there he headed to Australia, “working on farms, in bars and in fashion studios, always documenting my everyday surroundings with great curiosity.” But, our favourite series of Greg’s isn’t in England, Australia or even Myanmar, but Mexico.
Speaking frankly, Greg explains that he travelled to Mexico at a point in his life where he “was going through a massive personal crisis and having mental health issues,” he explains. “I was living in Australia and trying to settle there long term, my VISA ended up being denied, I was running out of money and had no discernible purpose in life. So, I blindly moved to Mexico to buy myself time, and tried to make some kind of life for myself.”
In deciding to travel to yet another corner of the world while stuck in a visa-related limbo, Greg “drifted away from everyone I knew and was completely lost at sea,” he says. In the end, the photographer stayed in Mexico for 19 weeks, setting himself rules for an ongoing photography project. Each day he began by walking, “structuring my photography into a daily routine as if it were some kind of therapy”. The routine was always the same, but the photographer made a particular effort to explore as much as possible, making sure he never walked down the same street twice but noting “some scenes to go back to when the sun had changed,” he says.
As a result, the photographer has produced a series which is leisurely paced. Greg’s work sticks out among other Mexico-based photography projects which are loud and bustling with noise, colour and charm; instead, his work appears as if a local had taken it, perhaps because, at the time, he kind of was. Now – far removed from teenage Greg who photographed sweaty shoving rock shows – he’s used his contemplative eye to create a distinct portrait of Mexico, capturing details you only notice after staying somewhere for an extended period of time, and time spent trying to figure it out a little.
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