I recently watched Kenneth Branner's Shackleton which I would recommend to anyone, a very enjoyable snowy epic. It got me thinking of how important Photography can be. Shackleton's journey to the pole would of been fruitless had it not being recorded onto film (or in this case glass plates). Not only was it proof of his endeavors, it has since become a valuable record of the time.
Any past achievement has always been recorded using photography be it the fake moon landings, conquering Everest, the birth of a child etc...But without writing a book on the subject I just thought it would be nice to mention Shackleton and the photography of Frank Hurley, especially considering how difficult it would of been producing such images in such bad conditions, something I am familiar with on a smaller scale.
As my Scotland trip now draws to a close I would like to make some time for reflection as I so often do after my travels.
So often in the past I would chose to travel to far off places in search of new imagery, but in the past few years (since my return to the UK from the States) I have tried to look at my project ideas with fresh eyes. Usually there is a project right under your nose you just have to know its there, a bit like a bogey. This latest project of Scotland's coast I am working on is a prime example of something that was always there on my door step, I just needed to move the foot mat.
The Scottish coastline is quite remarkable and rivals the likes of Iceland in its dramatic outer worldly rock formations. Although I put up with some almighty weather, it all added to the drama within the landscape and I truly believe that this project will be some of my best work. It has certainly been my most challenging in terms of bad weather, access, trying not to do the obvious, and sticking to my brief (following the steps of my Grandfather when I just wanted to point the camera the other way..). So in brief I will end by saying its all out there my friends and probably closer than you think, you just have to find it...
Haste Ye Back.
Well I thought I better mention the 'Take a view/ jump' photography competition seeing though the winners have been announced.
All very pretty and clean and the kind of images your grandma may like on her flowery wall. This may be a little harsh but the competitions hardly ground breaking is it.... Cant say I like the competition, can't say I wouldn't like the prize, but I do like being able to say that winning shot is completely pants... See above and become 'inspired'
Met up with my good friend John Darwell today who I have mentioned a few times here on the blog. He is one of the few British photograpers I have great respect for and was doing the fine art photography thing when I was still in nappies and sucking on chicken bones (we were very poor).
Always a joy to talk with John and share thoughts and feelings about photography over froffy coffee.
In his search for the more original project his Shit Bags series is a real hoot. Its looks at enviromental issues, human nature, and makes you ponder something you probably see every day but think nothing of which is more than can be said for a huge percentage of floaty photography on the web today.
You can see more of Johns work here.
Nice one John. Until next time.......
Here in the North I am surrounded by humour. My father in particular told me this today.
'Well son, I was out fishing the other day and I snagged a real big un. I was reeling it in and I said to myself that beast must weigh fifteen pounds five ounces'
'But how could you be so precise Pappa Doyle' I replied.
'Easy number one son, It had scales on its back....'
Pause, lots of laughter.
From the moment I embarked on my voyage to the northern most parts of Scotland things never really went according to plan (when do they ever). It all started with an announcement on one of Richard Bransons phallic transporters that the train had lost power somewhere near Crewe, famous for its station and boarded up housing. Almost eight hours later and more changes than I care to mention I arrived at my first port of call which also happened to be my birthplace Carlisle, the Great Border City (apparently).. It wasn't long before I realised I had left my almighty carbon fiber Gitzo tripod on the train destined for Glasgow. Quicker than a tail-less squirrel I stole/borrowed my fathers car and made for Glasgow. Approximately two hours later I had reached my destination with the realisation I had no clue where the train station was. After exploring every nook and cranny of this historic town I eventually found the station, located the mighty Gitzo and made my escape for the border...
A few days later I loaded up the hire car and made my way North. I had decided on this occasion to be totally self sufficient and camp my way around the un-explored (for me) coast of Scotland in all its autumnal glory. A beautiful drive through Loch Lomond down to the Mull of Kintyre where I crossed over on the ferry to Isle of Islay (pronounced eye la)..... Upon arrival to the baron wasteland I was greeted by a vast wet darkness and was reminded of the scene from Withnal And I when they where trying to find there holiday cottage, only I had to find somewhere to camp.. I would like to think of myself as being quite experienced in the art of Bushcraft and Survival but trying to put up a tent in a hurricane on a night as dark as an espresso would test the patience of any calm soul, such as moi... But alas, an hour or so later I was inside my sleeping bag with my camera beside me (and tripod) looking up at my orange emergency glow light and listening to the rain on the canvas of my tent which sounded more like falling gravel... After several hours of semi consciousness I noticed the interior of my tent, complete with emergency orange glow stick, had a thine layer of mist hovering above my sleeping bag. Upon further examination I realised although quite warm, I was also quite wet, in fact I was soaked thanks to the rain seeping through the bottom of my tent, and no I am not a bed wetter... And so there I lay in my own little puddle waiting for day break and wishing I had never been born (very dramatic I know)... After the worlds longest night I arose from my watery grave the next morning to a bleak, dark lifeless landscape. My fears of a scene from The Wicker Man where nothing compared to what confronted me. The large format photographers three worst enemies Wind, Heavy Rain, And Bugger All To Photograph...... I had to move on, and so I made my way to the ferry port the dried cured sausage for breakfast repeating on every road bump.... Wipers on full I raced to the port, but the misery was only to get worse when I was told the ferries where all cancelled until Monday due to severe weather. Now this wouldn't of been so bad had it been a little dry and not been WEDNESDAY. Safe to say that this was one of the longest, wettest and most miserable five days of my life. BUT, on the fifth day the clouds parted and the sun came a shining, everything was glorious once again and the Island seemed strangely beautiful. ...Twenty minutes later the happy sun disappeared followed by lots of shouting with words like 'stupid Island' and 'I hate Scotland cause the foods crap...' But my friends that's not the full story because what happened in those twenty minutes more than made up for the five days of soggy pants and nights of asking myself why....
The mystery continues.
Once a year American Photo magazine publish there list of top emerging photographers...'In The World...' I don't know where they get these lists from but imagine its a similar process to selecting something like GQ magazines 'Man Of The Year' or 'The Women Men Would Most Like To Marry And The Men Women Would Most Like To Marry Best List In The World'. Or may be I am being a little harsh. Anyway there is some good stuff on there but I could easily think of another ten photographers that should be on it....
It would seem that I cannot get enough of Annie Leibowitz these days. May be I want to be her friend or baby sit her children, or may be she just happens to be all over the place at the moment with her touring exhibition.
As it happens, I went to the opening of the show here in London last night, as you do, (thanks to my wife's contacts, not mine) and my, what a show. Overwhelming to say the least. The whole show oozes class and like all best work is just so simple and unpretentious. It actually reminded me of the Averdon show all those years ago also at the National Portrait Gallery.
I guess I should not be surprised at the quality and sheer weight of the show, afterall shes right at the top in her proffession, but I will say again, its a great show and well worth a visit. Theres even some big fat landscapes there (not as many as the NY show I am told) and although not my favorite images at the exhibition the text that went with the images of the Monument Valley shots made me chuckle and is just great (you will have to go see the show as I cant remember it word for word)..
The only thing I didn't like about the show were the Beechwood frames that looked like they where purchased from Habitat. But hey, what do I know about frames....I also didn't like spilling my fruity drink all down my pink/salmon shirt, but theres always one of those twits at a show..
I came across the work of Joshua Dudley Greer today and enjoyed patrolling through his work very much. The Fiction series was what drew me to his sight but his American Histories is quite wonderful and very well researched besides fascinating. The work is uncomplicated and unpretentious, unlike other bodies of work similar in vain I have come across in the past...
As we are in the throws of Photo Month (I shall not pretend I knew anything about this, in fact I only discovered it this morning when I read the BJP) I thought I should mention something here as I would like to think of this blog as the small dirt road to whats going on in the photography world.. Photomonth basically looks like lots of juicy photography going on in the East End which may be worth a visit. Apparently this has been going on since 2002...
I particularly like the look of Kate Peters work. She has a very well thought out website and some very interesting work which although not the most original of content (who's is), her images of Chernobyl, America and dusty interiors are exceptionally well executed.
The work of Toby Smith also caught my eye in particular the Light After Dark series but I did not care for the lenghty text explaining the subject matter which really isn't necessary and perhaps a little overboard as the work speaks for itself. I would hate to say that Michael Kenna would never worded such things, but he did not...(see for yourself) but thats enough waffle from me, although I may come back to Smiths work some other time...
So theres lots to see this month photographically speaking, just wish someone told me sooner. Even my local village fate and 'Bake a Cake' Fridays had more press than this.....
After reading about some new Leica DSLR with 37 million thousand pixels and thinking may be this is the start of the kind of pixalidge I would need if I where to go a bit digital I turned the page and saw this. With tears in my eyes and spilled coffee in my lap I was over joyed to see a new practical FILM camera that could replace the Mamiya 7 I foolishly traded for a few lenses. The fact that it folds up with a lens is simply brilliant and I have already started saving...
My wife found this photograph today and insisted I post it because I look happy. It was taken way back on my first trip out to the Salt Flats in Utah, such wonderful days and hot, it was 118 degrees at the time..! If you can take your gaze from my handsomeness and look at the image above you will see the American flag in tatters. Quite fitting for these times and worthy of a post.
I have always liked this shot (the landscape, not me) because it reminds me of the Apollo Moon landing and how easy it was /could of been to fake. It was also taken on the 4th July...Could this be my first iconic photograph...I do hope so.
Have you seen how skinny that tripod is...
I came across the work of Uta Kogelsberger today and have to say I rather like it in particular her Night Vision series (Night Vision, rings a bell). Her website is full of little goodies including an interview with a slide show..
I believe she is having a show at Photo Fusion from the 3rd October.
Hope those prints are huge....
Although I am not one of those people who wrap themselves in a blanket, turn off all the lights and hide in the corner whilst worrying about the economy, I have been on the edge a little since I started my accounts a few days ago. My own little economy is forever getting into trouble with expenses usually far exceeding my profit margins at which point I have to question why I took the artist route, especially when the cost of prints and shipping, plus 50% percent commission from the gallery (how did this ever happen) leaves me with barely enough to buy an espresso. The days of having an exhibition just for the thrill of it are long gone and like everything else in the world money has become the key factor...But my friends there is hope with the prospect of a new solo show in the spring I am rising up from the rubble despair. There has been much interest in my coastal project and its not even finished, so now the heat is on, and my ginger beard almost ready for the North....
As always stay tuned for more info.....
As always stay tuned for more info.....