Neil Bedford’s new project sees him publish two series of images in one publication to create Goodboys | Jacob. The first study, Goodboys is a portrait study of Balinese surfers, which is paired with Jacob a documentation of Jacob Pollard – a horse farrier and amateur boxer from Bradford.
The project began with Jacob, who Neil was introduced to years ago and felt instantly drawn to him. “At that time I was shooting mostly fashion stuff and knew he wouldn’t model but I kept in touch and eventually started photographing him in early 2016,” explains Neil. “Initially I just wanted to take his portrait as I’d become more interested in portraiture but became a bit obsessed with him and his stories, so I decided to invest time into visiting him and shooting more regularly.”
In stark contrast is Goodboys, which was borne out of the photographer’s desire to “shoot something on surf for years”. While visiting Bali, Neil contacted his friend Dan Mitchell, who put him in touch with a bunch of surfers during the three weeks he was out there. “Essentially both projects are good photographs of good people, which despite them being literally miles apart, seemed to work as one thing. I then took the idea to Ollie Shaw at Catalogue and we started talking,” says Neil.
By putting the two projects together Neil creates an interesting and unexpected dialogue. “I think what draws the two seemingly disparate portraits together it the reliance of them to their surroundings. Jacob’s life is deeply rooted within the Yorkshire landscape with his laborious work a reflection of the land he makes his living from,” says Neil. “The Balinese surfers are inherently tired to their location, the wild Indian Ocean dictating their beloved practice. I guess it’s the landscape, which defines and engulfs both of my subjects.”
The publication has been printed as a double front cover newspaper and Neil and Catalogue worked together to create something that allowed both series to work together but also stand apart. “Ollie came back with the idea of running both projects with slightly different layouts, for example the full-bleed images of Jacob versus the inset images in Goodboys,” explains Neil. “The type treatment was also simple, we wanted to juxtapose the initial Goodboys title with something softer for Jacob, but that felt part of the same family and again playing to the images without overshadowing them.”