Since about 1997 I have been taking photographs of phone boxes when I travel. Why? I vaguely recall the thought that if I’m planning to see the world I should make a record of something that is common to all peoples while I’m at it. I came up with the idea of ‘communication’. Everyone loves to talk. I translated that idea into the telephone and would sometimes get friends in the shot by asking them to pretend they were making a call, although I haven’t done that for a long time.
Mobile phones were not the ubiquitous, essential item they are today. I didn’t own one and I didn’t know anyone who did. (It was also about this time that the marketing of bottled water started up. To me mobile phones and bottled water have an eternal link.) In hindsight I think made a good choice of an artefact to record. Due to the development of mobile communications, landlines & their containers may not always be with us and I’d like to think my little photographic record may be useful as a record of the past.
My idea was to photograph a phone / phone box in a relatively unique setting, alongside a view or other things that help to identify that particular place. This was mainly because I thought that would make the photo more interesting. I mean there are only so many ways a phone box can be interesting right? Not necessarily so. I am still surprised at the differences that can be found in the simple phone box.
After uploading my original collection I have added to it with screenshots from movies and tv shows. Even though the mobile phone has taken over our daily lives, and many people will never have the cause to use a phone box again, phone boxes still feature widely in film and television. There are less of them on the streets (when I visited Poland not so long ago, I couldn’t find any in the centre of Krakow, although I had photos from 20 years earlier proving they had been there) but they remain culturally relevant.