Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Assignment 4 - underway again

Assignment 4 - a critical review, has suffered a number of stops and starts due in part to my circumstances requiring a short deferment, and if I am truthful my hesitancy at doing this work. The human being when faced with decisions, will out of human nature take the easiest route and provide the required excuses to justify the why and wherefore as a defense. In general, within photography I will have a go at almost anything (that is legal) and produce an image to look at. Its what photographers do, we enjoy the process of taking images, the traveling, the equipment selection, the light measuring, the moment we select the shot, the taking and the later processing of the images into photographs. Its a comfortable place to be and we like it. I am not adverse to writing. In the past I wrote for Motoring News (a weekly motor sport newspaper) on something that was factual. At work now I write reports and technical output, but this whole essay business has got me hiding behind the settee. A few weeks ago I decided to try and face the demons and analyse  why was this so difficult. The answer became clear as soon as I was honest with myself about how much I understood of the subject that I was to write about. The essay is "The life and works of Edward Weston" and while I had read a biography, plenty on the Internet and a superb book on his last years in Carmel, I still didn't have original thoughts to write anything meaningful. The only way forward was to re read as much as possible and get a legitimate understanding so that I could justify to myself the authenticity of my words. I am not naive enough to think of course that when complete it will be the essay everyone has been waiting for (in fact it is likely to be the only bit of this course that doesn't get published here) but I am feeling happier now the writing is underway that I will rely less on quotations from outside sources. All of this should not of course be a surprise. "No Pain, No Gain" has been with me for many years. Sanding wood before varnishing, exercising to loose weight etc etc and now read before you write. My tutor and the assessment will of course be the judge of whether I have succeeded.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Textile photography continues with simple kit.

In July I made an entry detailing the photography of Altar frontals for a book that I was involved with  to be published at an exhibition at Alexandra Palace in October. This led to more work for the book in Chelmsford Cathedral ( a banner) and the culmination was a shoot of The Jubilee Cope at St Pauls Cathedral last week. The techniques learned in Kings Lynn were helpful although the Jubilee Cope had to be photographed flat on the floor. The only place in St Pauls that I could find was in the library, shooting from a gallery looking straight down. The space was limited and the studio lights were really too close to the item and the exposure was not even. Being a pessimist I had anticipated some kind of "problem" but didnt know where or what it would be, so I had again taken everything with me.90% of the extra kit is never used but it did include 2 panels of 25mm thick polystyrene about 4x2 feet. These simple reflectors (hand held in place by my two assistants) made all the difference and bounced some light back into the under lit areas of the fabric. So, the simplest and cheapest bit of kit saved the day. The Cope image was the last to be inserted into the book and it is now with the printers and we are all looking forward to the first print run.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Website -

My photography website is work in progress and needs further content and some minor changes to design. There will probably be fewer images in the future when I get around to the editing. For now however I am uploading regularly as I find hidden images, due largely to a folder system that needs an overhaul.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Washing Line with Chair

West Norfolk Artists Association

It is clear to me that if my ambition is to be fulfilled, i.e. that if my photography is to break away from its current subject based style and er towards conceptual, that I need to see more Art and mix with a few artists. I am clear that I find no benefit from camera clubs. I did that years ago and did quite well in the various competitions and "Battles" (what a curious word they use for competition) with other clubs, but found the institutionalised world of rules and the RPS to be so restrictive. Even though I have an LRPS I never use it as I think it says too many wrong things rather than right.

The West Norfolk Artists Association is a group of artists and a few photographers who seem to me to have moved away from the club culture and (to my untrained eye) making some interesting work. I know its not like joining the Royal Academy but I am keen to mix a bit. I will write again about these people when I have met them more. I did look at their summer exhibition a few weeks ago and they were very warm people, full of charm and enthusiasm. I will write again on this later in the year.

Monday, 8 August 2011

More Books

I love the moment new books arrive. The anticipation of how they will feel, their weight, the paper type and the smell of new ink. It reminds me of the smell when opening new film packs.

Although not particular to Landscape I am becoming engaged with the history of photography and how it will help my understanding of how image making has evolved and how that will influence my own work in the future.

So, two books.

Each Wild Idea by Geoffrey Batchen.

From the back cover " Batchen explores widely ranging aspects of photography, from the timing of photography's invention to the various implications of cyberculture." Batchen is Associate Professor of Art and Art History, at the University of New Mexico.

Looking at Photographs by John Szarkowski.

100 pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.