Have you ever thought about stepping into a picture?

Photographer and Scenario Host Jessica McDermott on the first year of the Scenario podcast and the launch of our brand new blog.


For Christmas we got Bandersnatch, the latest instalment from Black Mirror, the first Netflix Choose Your Own Adventure story and we, the audience, went crazy for it. And why wouldn’t we? When you find something you love, that inspires or intrigues you, there’s nothing you want more than to be able to get even closer to the action and to feel like you’re a part of it.

When I tell people about my year making the first series of Scenario, I love watching them get just as excited about the stories as I am. I like to imagine the podcast a bit like the music video for A-ha’s Take Me On - with each episode pulling you into the photographs, so you can dive on in and see what’s happening from every angle, especially behind the camera.

I have been delighted by the response to Scenario from photographers and people who have barely ever picked up a camera. What seems to draw people in is the story at the heart of the work and finding out what drives the photographers to go to the lengths that they do.

When I met Clare Hewitt and discovered her project collaborating with her penfriend on death row, as much I wanted to look at the beautiful images she has made, I desperately wanted to know what it was like taking on this emotionally charged project and friendship. Every time I meet someone with an interesting project or who works differently to me, I get nosy and want to be a fly on the wall when they’re making their work.

As someone who takes staged photographs, predominantly of myself, I’ve always wondered what doing street photography is like - how ballsy do you need to be? How confrontational does it get? And when I followed photographer Dan Gaba around on the streets of Brixton, I got to find out the answers to my questions. And in putting out the podcast, our listeners got those answers too, even if you hadn’t asked the questions! Photographers approach their work in a thousand different ways and for a myriad of reasons and even if you didn’t think you cared about what drives them to do what they do, once you hear about an interesting project, it’s hard not to get sucked in.

What I really wanted to do this year is to share many more stories from the countless talented photographers that I know, and the ones I am still to meet, with you. However, the podcast is a real labour of love and following each photographer and fine-tuning each episode takes a lot of time. So while we gear up for Season 2, we are launching the Scenario blog - here you will find regular pieces from photographers giving you a behind the scenes look into their work and their mindsets, sharing the highs and lows, and all of the exciting goings on from behind the camera.

Look out for our first piece from photojournalist James Hopkirk about his powerful photo essay The Blood of a Woman tomorrow.

Image and Words by Jessica McDermott.

Follow her on Instagram @jessmcfilm and the new blog @podcastscenario.

Jessica McDermott