California Dreaming..

I have come across the work of Amanda Friedman quite a bit in the past which is a good thing because I really like it. What intrigues me most about the images, in particular the night work, are that they are taken around the places I used to frequent with a camera myself when I lived in California. A big percentage of people find my own work appealing because it takes them to a time and place they remember with fondness which is exactly what Friedman's work does for me. I am also fascinated with her use of the vertical format, the only other photographer to use a vertical format of this style that springs to mind is the work of Todd Hido. I am not usually a fan of the upright as it just seems unnatural to me, but for Friedman (and Hido) the format works very well.

If I had never spent so much time in California I would of sworn that Friedman's night work was all taken with the help of a dry ice machine somewhere in the background as there is so much mist. But its like that most of the time late at night, especially near the sea and in the winter months, nice to see it used well to enhance my memories....



Picture if you will...

Picture the scene if you will.... The sun has set and the magical light transforms the sea to a shimmering Sapphire blue. An old wooden pier cuts into the water and awaits the arrival of creation. You've been waiting a couple of hours and all the bananas and snacks you brought along are now in your belly. As you begin to make your move a car parks up beside you. Two people get out of the imposing vehicle and grab there rucksacks from the boot. Armed with tripods and pink graduation filters (just a hunch) they move with speed and set up there cameras precisely where you had planned your shot hours earlier.. A little banana sick and a few choice words later you watch in despair as the light diminishes to a flat grey yuck.
What gave me the rage on this particular occasion was not the fact that someone had beat me to it, or that there where other photographers around, that would be silly. No, what gave me a rage rash was the fact that I was being so 'obvious' in my approach. I was going t do the same shot as everyone else...Flaming pointless...To make matters worse I moved into position as soon as the my two new enemies left only to be surrounded by the youth of the north who proceeded to hurl themselves off the very pier I was trying to photograph...But then in a moment of clarity the waters started to sparkle and for a few precious minutes I was engulfed in the most glorious light. I changed the camera angle, exposed a single sheet and captured the moment with a smile. The smile would of remained had I then not seen my dark cloth being washed out to sea.....

I'm really not the best person to be around when it comes to making pictures as I tend to get so engrossed letting nothing get in my way, and, although I am always nice to the people who knock my tripod and look into my lens while I am exposing, there will always be the wish that I had a giant pair of sponge boots on so I could gently 'kick some 'get out of my way' ass.'



I have really been enjoying Seesaw (website coming soon) is a online magazine which never fails to disappoint in terms of content and fine writing. This months issue is particularly interesting. The work of Iveta Vaivode is marvelously executed project and well worth a look, but my favorite body of work is from Liam Eyers and his Little Chef series. Nothing romantic about these images and whether intentional or not I do see an American influence in his work technique (Sternfeld, Soth etc.) which works really well with his subject matter. I have done a few images of Little Chefs as I just find them fascinating but at the same time quite vile. The foods bad, the decor is bad and its about as American as beans on toast or a fish finger sandwich.


We meet at last Mr. Darwell.

You may recall my post on the mighty John Darwell and how (being that he lives in my home town) If I met him on a Cumbrian hillside that I may have to wrestle with him in order to establish photographic dominance within the northern photographic circle of creativity.
Well to my delight I managed to meet up with John, and after a quick arm wrestle in the local Starbucks we where able to exchange a few stories and soon realised that we move in very similar circles, think in a similar way, and share some of the same frustrations within this fickle industry. A truly delightful chap who very kindly gave me a copy of his latest book Committed To Memory which I highly recommend and will take pride of place within my collection.

This post ties in nicely with what I was saying yesterday about the northern people I have met on my latest trip. Onto the list you go Mr. Darwell.....


Marcus Doyle and the mysterious Temple of Tyres..

One thing I really like about working up north are the people. They are most often warm, friendly with a great sense of humour, this of course includes mt fine self..
The image you see here was taken last year, but as much as I like the image I was never 100% happy with it because I just wanted to get behind that fence. As I am not one to trespass I just had to settle for what I had. Not such a bad thing I guess. But then out from the cosmos came an email from the big boss of 'Dundee Tyres' who had happened to see this very image and liked it very much. The next thing I knew I was given full access to the tyres temple and rather enjoyed myself photographing amongst the smell of road rubber as the darkness descended (then it got a little creepy as a few tyres fell from there piles without reason).

And so a special thanks to Simon who even trusted me enough to leave me a key and lock up the rubber kingdom (was it you who pushed those tyres over...)
This is just one of the many examples of generosity I have come to expect from the fine Northern folk.

Nice one Simon, watch this space for the results...


What a Ferit....

I came across the work of Ferit Kuyas today in the BJP and also received an email notification of his latest exhibition at Photofusion starting on the 31st July (I believe thats the private view day). I wouldn't normally include more images of China, as I have mentioned before its just like images of Chernobal, Namibia, Iceland, Cuba etc. when photographers flock to these places in there droves and usually photograph all the same stuff . However I had to mention Kuyas today as I just find his images of China quite remarkable, although if I am honest a huge portion of the 'China Droves' all produce outstanding work.

Admittedly I do sometimes feel a pull towards such places as China but often feel I would exploded with excitement a shoot way too much which ties in with what I was saying in my last post.

If you are familiar with the Edward Weston day books (mentioned before somewhere on this mighty blog) you may recall a wondrous passage where he has a moan about Mexico being too photogenic (or words to that effect) and the fact that he always shot too many 'picture postcard' images, just like everyone else. It always makes me smile when I realise how angry he got with things like this. RIP Mr. Weston.
I think locations like China have a very similar danger of been 'over photographed' saturating the market once again until something new pops up. Its really not that different to Weston's Mexico.

Now who wants to come and photograph Scotland with me.....Anyone...

Guess there all in China.


What am I doing here..?

Well I am almost halfway through my trip in a land of flat caps and meat pies. Time stands still here in the north, but as primitive as things may seem, I did manage to hook up my Nephews hamster wheel to power my laptop so it ain't so bad.
After seeing old friends (see pic) and my even older Grannie I continued my coastal photographic quest.
Its a strange thing with photography projects as you are never 100% sure where they will go and what the final result will be. When I shot the Salton Sea series (see website) there was just so much material it was hard not too 'over shoot'. Having said that my final edit was from around 150 images, all of which I was more than happy with.. The Coastal project is very different and what I am attempting is probably the hardest task I have ever set myself and these are the three main reasons:
1. I don't what to produce anything 'too' similar to what has been done before (always difficult).
2. Doubts in my mind as to whether the project is any good (something I will not know until I have a body of work)
3. The Scottish coast is probably the bleakest place on earth and very difficult to create images with impact (however when zooming along the coastline with the top down and the sun burning my baldy heed, I thought I was back in California).
Having said all that, I do enjoy a challenge..

What this space for more whaffle...


North Miss Tessmarker.......

Well I'm off to the land where everything is deep fried and Delicious.
See here for some historical Scottish facts..

Who knows when I will return. More importantly, who's bothered.....Whenever it is I can only hope that I will be triumphant..


Take me back...

Long, long ago when I was a good few pounds heavier (mostly from my love of cake) and spent many long hours in a dark room wearing vinyl gloves (not latex as it gave me a rash..) surrounded by the sound of running water and radio two I would often take short trips away at weekends to places like Paris, New York and parts of Europe. My only necessity was a 35mm camera loaded with black and white film, one lens, no tripod and a constant desire to shot anything that took my fancy. Working as a printer always had it's benefits and the joy of seeing my new images was always a magical experience.
When I came across the work of Jason Langer it took me right back to those moody images I produced in the form of 5/7 prints all those years ago (ok it wasn't that long ago). I have often thought of 'digging' out all of these prints and doing something with them. But that was in the past and at a time when my direction was a bit like a spinning compass. Although I may post a few on here at some point.
Its a delight to see that Langer has made his work, well, work, and its nice to see some 'real' passionate photography with a timeless quality. I love it...

While looking through Langer's images there was something very familiar about them I couldn't quite put my finger on....It was something in the printing. That heavy moody feel I just love in the black and white. Then I read his Bio and it turns out he assisted Michael Kenna for a time. How about that, we even share the same influences...

Must book a trip to Paris..


Shea Luck...

Who knows how I came to behold Daniel Shea's work, and quite frankly who cares because its great. Its really nice to see a well put together website, easy to navigate, nice writing and above all beautiful work. The projects are personal without making one feel vomitous and his blog is something I visit frequently which makes my blog look like a child got on there parents computer and sent a few emails to friends...
I think the Removing Mountains project is my favorite body of work, but My Eleanor is quite moving...
I also think its a brave thing to publish work on a blog as does Shea and some readers may have noticed that I have stopped doing that very thing manly due to the fact that I want people to see a body of work rather than a few images I may discard later on. (What do you think I do all day, surf the net...)

I especially wanted to point out this particular photographers style, because simply put, there is a mountain of similar looking layouts, project outlines etc. You could probably class it as a genre of websites with blog links. But unlike so many this ones worth a look..


Thought of the week...

I read a lovely email over on Andrew Hetherington's blog today (he should be my friend but he is not, don't even know him, never met him, he is a baldy like me). Anyone feeling a little insecure about there work should read this (whats the jackanory is the blog and the title is the tonic july 8th, as I am having trouble with the link) Its a great little piece and something I am sure we all feel from time to time, I myself feel this way most days but at least I know I can always go back to my old job as an under ware model if things got really bad... Of course I am joking about the downward feelings every day, not the modeling of course, but I do question my career on a daily basis as I have mentioned before. And as I have said before the good things in photography more than make up for the cereal with water periods of a photographers life...

No one said it would be easy....
Well someone must have.


I just cant be botherd...

Fear not my friends of the B. This is not a trick or a mistake.
The above image is of course by the late Ansel Adams who needs no introduction here. Some say Moonrise Hernandez (above) is one of Adams most famous images and there is a really nice piece in his autobiography (by Ansel Adams and Mary Street Alinder) of how he nearly never got the shot. The reason there are two of the mentioned image is because I wanted to draw attention to the fact of how Adams printing (along with others like Weston, Brant and even me) changed over the years. I am afraid that the examples above are not the best I have seen in terms of print variety, but they are two different prints for sale from the same dealer and with different price tags.
The Adams at 100 exhibition at the Hayward gallery way back in 2002 (curated by the late John Szarkowski) was a Revelation to me, as here where examples of prints, in particular the Aspens, Northern New Mexico, that where printed at different times in AA's life. The first print being rich in tone and contrast, the second printed twenty years later was quite grey and a little flat.. Some say the main changes in print style over the years were mainly down to how AA felt about that particular image over a period of time. Paper choice and chemistry may also of been a factor, bit I have a different theory. Adams did not just sell a few prints in his lifetime, he sold lots, this is evident in his editions and is why I could probably get my hands on my favorite AA print tomorrow, but I have it already, all be it a poster...
I believe that when Mr Adams was in the darkroom later on in his life maybe sometimes he just wasn't in the mood to print, maybe he just couldn't be bothered, and maybe, just maybe like a small pub restaurant, he got so behind in his orders that his standards slipped just a little and the quality control stickers went in the bin.... The only reason I make these outrageous claims is that if I am honest, I have done the very same. Its late, your tired your hungry, they won't notice if its not the best print, its mine after all, who will know.....
I do believe this is a fair statement, however, I would happily have a slightly 'less good' Adams on my wall any day.....

Just to be clear to anyone thinking of purchasing one of my images. I don't print full editions and never sell an inferior print (a second) they either go in the bin or are used as reference. And don't get me started on the biggest con of all in the Gallery world, The Artists Proof, what a load of nonsense. Its hard enough convincing people about editions...

Also, theres something not quite right about hitting a button and a print appears (digital prints) this always makes way for huge editions that really devalue the work. All my prints are done by hand and can take many hours to get right which may be the reason I get so worked up by things like this...

I will conclude with some lovely links to a few audio interviews with Adams right here.

I feel like a nap now....


Nothing to post....

Well its all doom and gloom these days. The economy, the government, the weather, the new 50 mega pixel Hassablad (you know that even if you stole this camera there would be a new one out next week with 80 mega pixels and a free car..). But what I find most bothersome is that I cant find any suitable images for today's post and I don't think I can face another poem. I did think of putting up one of the millions of China images that are around at the moment. Admittedly there are some remarkable images, but China is flaming everywhere I look, so wheres the fun in that.... I would of liked to mention something from the BJP this week, but all thats in there is some whaffle on 'Where Are All The Women' regarding advertising photography, complete nonsense as all the best photographers (in my smelly male opinion) are female. Always have been. Sally Mann, Annie Leibovitz, Eve Arnold, Mary Ellen Mark etc, etc......
So then heres one of my images to cheer up the world (see above) Its a little green tricycle in a green field. After taking this shot I proceeded to ride the bike through the long grass which I ended up eating as I toppled forwards leaving grass stains on my head and soil in my briefs...

I hear its going to be sunny tomorrow..


Northwards Mr Doyle..

As I am venturing Northward again next week I thought I would be a little different today and include a poem by the great Scottish poet Robert (Rabbie) Burns. It just so happens that I am heading along the very coastline where Rabbie was born and first inspired. For those of you with Scottish blood I am sure this will come as a bit of a delight, and for those of you who do not have a clue who he is or what I am on about, well anyone who has celebrated new year and slurred Auld Lang Syne take heed here......

Ye flowery banks o' bonie Doon,
How can ye blume sae fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae fu' o' care?

Thou'll break my heart, thou bonie bird,
That sings upon the bough;
Thou minds me o' the happy days,
When my fause luve was true.
Thou'll break my heart, thou bonie bird,
That sings beside thy mate;
For sae I sat, and sae I sang,
And wist na o' my fate.

Aft hae I roved by bonie Doon
To see the woodbine twine,
And ilka bird sang o' its luve,
And sae did I o' mine.

Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose
Frae aff its thorny tree;
And my fause luver staw my rose
But left the thorn wi' me.

Robert Burns


Bye Bye Bill.

I was sad to hear that Bill Rowlinson, probably the finest Black and White printer of his time, died this week. There is a really nice piece on him in the BJP which you can read here.
I met Bill a fair few years ago when I first started printing when my former black and White mentor introduced me at an AOP event (Ilford printer of the year I think). He was not only a wizard in the darkroom, he also looked liked a wizard resembling Gandolf from Lord of the rings, an image most people imagine when they think of someone who spends long hours in the dark surrounded by bottles of mysterious chemicals...
Without getting misty eyed and writing of how things where better back in the day I will simply just mention that its always sad when a piece of the past is gone. A craftsman's skill has almost vanished completely and Bill's death really brings this home. 150 years of craftsmanship gone like an instant Polaroid.

Although I was glad to get out of the black and white world before the bubble burst I do remember those crazy, dark smelly days of moisture and backache with a fondness few understand, unlike dear old Bill....

The best piece of advice Bill gave me was how NOT to make Cyanide gas by mixing various chemistry which could be found in most black and white darkrooms. Now that was a clever man. Didn't stop me though, no wonder I have no hair....


Thought of the week..

Every photographer thinks they are great...But only a great photographer knows it.


No Ordinary Land..

To be honest I have not come across many collaborations regarding photography. I guess its a bit like boy bands (or girl bands) singing there hearts out on stage (although there is always a friend who cant sing and just pretends) but all they really want to do is form a solo career and get all the glory for themselves (and money I guess). People often ask why I don't do a combined project with my wife who is also a photographer, but the truth is whenever we so much are in the same room as each other when one has a camera, there is conflict... These thoughts aside, I wanted to draw attention to the work of Virginia Beahan and Laura McPhee. Both exceptional photographers using large format and the joint authors of No Ordinary Land. Published by Aperture, this really is a remarkable book with a diverse selection of landscapes from the likes of Iceland to Hawaii.
Although there is a little information on there shooting technique within the book there is nothing to say who shot what, and even though someone had to release the shutter (maybe they held hands or something) whichever one of the dynamite duo did take the picture it is of little significance here.
The only criticism I do have regarding the book is that the reproduction, in particular the image sharpness and colour separation, its not the best I have seen, which is a shame considering most of the work is was shot on 10/8 (to the best of my knowledge). It also doesn't help that I bought a tatty ex display copy which I suggest you never do, its always regrettable.

Wonderful work and well worth a look...


Something a little different...

Early on in my photography during my black and white nude studies, or should I say 'nude faze', there was one photographer who probably influenced me the most. Arno Rafael Minnkkinen's work was, and still is remarkable. What struck me the most, and still does, was the amount of sheer effort that went into the work. Maybe its just as well that they are all 'self portraits' I mean who would hold there body under water while fighting the current (see above), or bury themselves in snow for the sake of someone else's artistic vision.
I do find the early work of Minnkkinen (70's) the most interesting and I think its fair to say that its the most abstract in content within his body of work.

I would earge you to check out the work of this fine artist here.


Small correction and a bit of reflection...

I thought I would point out that I made a big fat mistake regarding my mini piece on Lynne Cohen (23/06. Getting Hard, wish I never made up that title) claiming that she was the author of The Omega Suites which was in fact by Lucinda Devlin.
This was pointed out to me today in a very kind email (so people do read my blog after all..)

I have learnt my lesson and will no longer blog in my garden on the laptop and rely on memory. The section in question has been edited and sent into the abyss...Quite fitting that I had forgotten a certain wedding anniversary today, but so did my wife..

My blog may be light hearted, but It also contains hard facts (most of the time)...

Look at the size of that...

For those of you that don't know (well you should..) one of my top photographers happens to be Joel Meyerorwitz. I love his landscape work and the sound of his voice, however I shaved my hair off before he did (in case you think I want to be like him), I am also a bit more robust looking..

I found this very interesting piece on the You Tube regarding large format printing.
Now my friends I would like to think that an inject printer 'would' make prints that last 200 years as Meyerowitz's claims (I guess he has to if he is advertising the product) but I think this may be a little optimistic... I would love nothing more that one of those big fat printers in my office/work space/spare room. I just need some kind of proof (as do my clients) that the prints would last longer than a few years (how do they test it anyway, shine a torch on it for a month) The C Type print process has been around since the 70's (a little faded I know) This new HP printer and its fancy inks has been around a few weeks...
Besides this there is the cost of the inks (twelve in all) which along with the paper cost is more than I pay for the trusty 'C Type'. However If I was to be given one of these 'wide ass' printers I will tell you what ever you want to hear.....

Is this is Doyle stirring up trouble..?

Long live the 'c Type'

JP Jespersen...

I have known about JP's work for some time now and have to say that its quite remarkable (yes, my last post may have been a little lazy..). This is the first body of work based around long exposure/ night work shot digitally that I think is of any merit, in fact its exceptional (this being my opinion only as always).
I really don't care how it was shot even though to me it seems very digital but this is of little relevance because they really do work well. I am not against any form of photographic process (you may think otherwise of me) I am just against any process done badly, usually trying to cover up a weak idea.
JP also has an excellent blog sharing all his experiments and new work which is really insightful. (although I have a feeling he may be stopping it, I do hope not) . When someone tests cameras like this it is far better than any 'Practical Photography ' nonsense of people taking pictures of church steeples and enlarging it to infinity... This guy (JP) notes the camera used and all the info you could ever need. He has even gone back to a location shot on film, shot it digitally and compared the images (I always prefer the film ones as I find the digi ones a little too perfect, but thats just me.)
We really need more people like this that are willing to share there creative talents and not just store them on a hard drive.
This guy is well worth checking out...

As for myself, well what do you want to know.