Photography student Will Slater is a young man who has realised that in his lifetime it is likely our rural communities will change forever.
He has set himself on a mission to record as much as he can on camera before it is too late.
Just 19, and in his second year studying at Nottingham Trent University, Will’s ambition is to become a photojournalist.
The Wirksworth student has an enquiring mind and a determination which has already seen him set up his own freelance photography business as well as working on documentary projects for his university course.
At last year’s Wirksworth Festival Will showcased a series of photographs capturing characters at cattle auctions and farms around the region, and this year he decided to turn his attention to people working in local shops and small businesses.
“I want to record a social documentary of the folk in the small shops and businesses that may not be around in the future,” he said.
“I want to capture the traditional butchers, bakers, mechanics, grocers and so on before they disappear.
“I have really only just started the project and am looking for more people willing to be included. I have lots of ideas, it is just a matter of persuading them to let me take the pictures. It is a matter of gaining their trust first,” he added.
The photographer prefers to use film because it makes him think more about the composition and the whole process is much slower. His family are collectors of social memorabilia and he has been brought up surrounded by objects from bygone eras so it is no surprise that Will has a collection of old cameras to hand.
After school Will chose to go to Joseph Wright College in Derby where he completed an extended diploma in photography.
“That course was brilliant and I learnt absolutely loads while I was there. Nottingham Trent treated the course as a foundation and so it’s thanks to Derby that I got to university. I really do want to become a photojournalist and travel around recording the world. I am hoping this project will help me reach that goal eventually,” he said.
In the meantime Will is available for any photography and design-related jobs so if you are interested in his work, or would like to become involved in his documentary project go to his website http://www.willslater.net where there are details about how to contact him.