It's not often that I compare my work publicly on a blog of justice like this. But on this instance I just had too.....
I may as well of photographed the Blackpool Tower, the Millennium Wheel, or some puppies in a basket.
That said, I should have known the quirky tree thing would get people reaching for their cameras, and who can blame them, it looks great. But it has to be said that I was probably the first to shoot this scene. How do I know this I hear you all cry. Well I was there when they where putting up the tree picture boards..
Oh yea, and mines better..... (top one if you didn't know)
For those of you that do not know I am married (sorry girls) and received a call from my wife (talented portrait photographer who chooses to photograph mostly film star types) today telling me how she has missed out on shooting a certain 'A lister' by one day as she has to fly back tomorrow for another shoot here in the UK. As she has been out in LA for more than a month now I can understand her disappointment and it will certainly go down as The One That Got Away... As most of the people she has photographed over the last month probably believe in strange Alien beings (if you know what I mean). I wont give out any names in case they come after me with a lazer gun or an I Pod...
As shallow as it may seem (certainly to me anyway) it does make a big difference as to who you shoot regarding portrait photography no matter how talented you are and people will always judge a photographers merits on who they have shot. So before you all get hoity toity with me I will stop there before I create some photo war..
Photographers always have One That Got Away, but I have a theory that most of them are big fibbers, I mean wheres the proof..
As for me. I have ones that get away all the time usually regarding the light when I fail to set up my camera in time of leave the lens cap on. But who want to know about that....
Now that the North Shores project is complete I thought I would show you these images taken from another project I have been working on for a little while now. You may be forgiven for thinking they where shot in the Middle East somewhere or a Desert in America. They are in fact part of my quarry series (mention Ed Burtynsky and there will be trouble) shot here in merry old England. This body of work plays a lot with scale so don't be upset if you didn't realise they are not mountainous terrain because thats the whole point. They are in fact the ultimate in the Manmade Landscape and very much part of my ongoing fascination with nature and the man made (along with everyone else). What I like best about this work is that the 'landscape' changes every day as the gravel, silt, sand etc. is dug up and moved around.
I chose to shoot the work on overcast days for nice soft light and also to prevent the sky interfering with the fine details of the mounds/mountains...
How very German..
I agree with most of it, but with all due respect each gallery and photographer are different and I just don't think you can even advise individuals on such big things. Also, again with respect, the never, never, never approach to walking into a gallery, without an appointment with your work under your arm, is in fact how I got my first gallery.
I do believe the biggest problem facing any photographer/artist are that galleries simply do not advertise what they want. As a matter of fact, neither do Agents or any other photographer/artist based representation. So how can you blame a photographer/ Artist for trying just about every gallery they can find. Its just not straight forward.. Lets face it, there are no set rules in this daft business. Photographers have next to no rights, get paid editorial day rates that are the same as they where ten years ago, are always asked to do things on the cheap, takes months to get paid (if at all) and as for the outlay photographers are expected to put out.... I could go on all night but I have a rather nice plate of beans in front of me. Maybe I will write more later when I am full of comedy gases..
I should point out that my Galleries and Agents kick ass and I feel very privileged to be in such a position.
I not only rock, I also rule...
- Do some honest and serious thinking about where your artwork belongs in the art market. You'd be amazed at how many emerging artists think the big galleries that only work with proven sellers would be a good fit for them. Many of those galleries have no interest in developing unknown talent. Approaching them is a waste of your time if you're not already somewhat well known. Beyond that, know exactly where your work falls within the dialog. If you're not making bleeding edge work, then don't approach the galleries known for breaking all the rules. Understand what your potential market is like and find the galleries that target that market. This takes work and research but will pay off your entire career.
- Do some serious research to find the program that best fits your artwork within that market. Generally there will be more than one gallery targeting your personal market. One very impressive artist I know spent months visiting galleries after moving to New York looking for this very fit, and gradually narrowed down the programs she felt were inline with her artwork. She chose the right one and has a gallery now. Again: work and research.
- Don't make mistakes that will discourage you. You'll encounter enough of that without bringing it on yourself. For example, we had an artist come in with his CD the other day, asking us to look at it, assuring us he was the best artist out there. We asked him, as we always do at that point, if he was familiar with our program. He said "No." We took the CD anyway, just because he insisted, but the work was nothing at all like the art we show. Even if it had been, we already didn't like him (because he didn't take the time to get to know us before asking us to consider him). He wasted his time and money, and our time. More than that he consumed a chunk of our goodwill toward other artists (experience that enough times and you begin to shut down toward the cold call approach). I know another Chelsea gallerist who (at one time) would insist an artist come and view at least three exhibitions in the space before even approaching the subject of considering the artist's own work. It might sound cruel or off-putting, but it's actually very solid advice.
- Work toward a short list. And Be Very Honest with yourself. There's no point in doing this if you're not honest about it...if I had a dollar for every artist who told me they thought they belonged in the hottest gallery out there (when they clearly didn't), I'd buy you all a drink (and I mean you ALL). Once you have a short list of galleries that are a good match strike up a conversation with those galleries. You may not gain initial access to the dealers, but in some galleries you can. In these conversation, be generous and insightful. Demonstrate that you understand what the gallery is doing and that you like it. Do all of this before you broach the subject of your own work. Consider doing it and leaving it at that for a while. Seriously (this goes back to being generous...let that be the impression you leave). You're looking for a short cut through the defenses the gallery puts up to screen out artists who don't understand the gallery's program. Demonstrate that you do. That might mean offering an insightful comment about the current exhibition or asking about an artist in the program you like. As I've noted before, if you can't honestly say something positive about the current show or other artists in the gallery, this is most definitely NOT the gallery for you.
- Once you have an "in," so to speak, then let the gallery know you're interested in having them consider your work. Again, don't expect this to happen all in one day. It can, but if you don't read the signs on a day the gallerist is too busy or recovering from a hangover or whatever, all your work up to this point might be for nothing. I'd recommend following up a good impression later with an email, noting that you enjoyed the conversation (remind them of something you noted about the program to jog their memory) and that you'd be interested in their opinion about your work. Send them a few jpgs and/or point to your website. The key at this point is to tie it all together: 1) demonstrate that you understand the gallery program; 2) make clear that you enjoyed the dialog; and 3) THEN suggest that your work seems like a good match to you.
I can never tell if this particular topic is more discouraging than helpful (I've discussed it in lectures and usually it seems to deflate folks more than anything). I don't mean it to be discouraging...I'm seriously offering the best advice I know to give here. I seriously hope it helps.
As a photographer I am lucky enough to have pretty much achieved everything I set out to do. A book, a few nice exhibitions and a little recognition. I have never asked for much, never expected much and can look back without regret. All I would like for the future is to be able to keep on shooting and always have a passion for photography.
I was talking with someone at the show of the year last week and they told me that when they were studying photography one of their Tutors used several of my images (including the one above) and spoke with reference about my work. In my opinion this is one of the greatest compliments a photographer can have. It means your work has a little more status, and perhaps a little place in peoples minds.. This got me thinking of how great it must be to create a body of work that is remembered long after you are gone. How this will work in a future of pixels I do not know. I would like to think that at some point we are all given a break from the Adams, Westons, Steichen's etc..Because as wonderful as these images are, I'm getting a little bored of the same old oldies.
Stand aside please..
As much as I like to think of myself as a giver, for example this blog written solely for my few followers bringing them joy and hope, there are times when one has to feel like they are the center of the universe. For a lot of women (and perhaps a few men) this might be their wedding day, for a man this might be taking a bullet for a friend and then being on TV and in the Daily Sport. But for a photographer, not unlike myself, it has to be a big fat solo show in the center of London with champagne, sausages on sticks, and women so beautiful they make married men weep.
To produce these images I felt like a Vietnam veteran. I ignored pain, ignored weather, lived off the land and eat things that would make a billy goat puke (scotch eggs). But my friends of the painted light it was all worth it for these few hours. To suck in the comments, the flattery, and create a sense of well being that in child terms can only be described as ACE. This is something we must all experience once in a while, Why? Why bloody not.....
A splendid turn out on both nights (see above) and may what a fine display.
I plan to bore my readers (and fans) with more pitures later in the week. But for now these will have to do..
Well my friends of the B Mode its finally here. The North Shores show begins tomorrow. You were here at the beginning and now you are here at the end. My most personal body of work to date, I've gone through one tent, one 90mm lens, two dark slides, one hundred sheets of film, one large fishing umbrella, lots of petrol, one car tire, put nine thousand miles on my car, and ate an awful lot of crap.
May be I will see you there, and if you quote B Mode you might get a discount...
Marcus Doyle - North Shores 18th March - 11th April
This latest body of work explores the Scottish coastline from east to west. From ghost ships to man-made
beaches, Marcus has captured the impact man has had on this landscape.
The work was produced over a twelve month period in order to obtain the best light, tides and seasonal
activity. These images are unique in that Marcus has chosen to ‘look out’ from the landscape and its
borders as opposed to looking within at the urban sprawl which formed the basis for his earlier work.
For many years Marcus had considered this project as he was greatly influenced by his Grandfather
who painted the coastlines he has chosen to photograph. However, it has only been in the last year that
his knowledge of these areas and technical approach have been realized.
Getty Images Gallery
30 x 40” C-Type Prints available in edition of 7.
Portfolio of all 16 prints, 20 x 24” C-Type Prints available in edition of 10 (1-10).
20 x 24” C-Type Prints available in edition of 10 (11-20).
Prices available on application.
You can see all the images here, but the prints are a thousand times better...
But today I discovered a filter which may be the the creme de la creme of crap; The Foggilizer.
'A unique filter that creates a soft-focus effect quickly and easily to highlight the subtle play of colours'.
Any one seen using this filter (or any like it) may need a bit of a slap although I am curious to see some results as I can't even imagine what kind of 'mess' it would make. But I guess its no different to the array of crazy effects you get from photo shop. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against enhancing an image, far from it, I'm just against devices that serve no purpose other than to create pure naff-ness....
Heres one for you; 'The Plagiarizer,' makes your images look just like someone elses...
After editing a some of my Salton Sea project for a gallery consignment today I was surprised to see I had two rather nice comments from two fine photographers regarding the very same project. A bit strange, but indeed very nice as its a project I do hold dear after spending many a sweaty smelly month looking for that certain something and waiting for the golden light..
The Salton Sea project is certainly the one I get the most comments on, but sadly is a body of work few galleries seem to be interested in, but hey, what do they know..
I'll bloody show them..
I have just looked through Noah Kalina's website and its one of the most enjoyable bodies of work I have had the pleasure to view. Theres something for everyone in this orgy of fine images and I really think this guy has opened up more than most regarding his personal view of the world. Its cinematic, quirky, and in parts fun, with no fear of pushing those boundaries and stepping away from the norm. But enough from me, check it out..
Some stunning work over on Benoit Vollmer's website. I particularly like his Liminaire series which looks at sea resorts out of season. Take a look, you might like it too...
I have to say I have a friend who is doing this very same thing and although I have not seen any of the images It will be nice to see his own take on this fine idea....
Theres not really any way of avoiding things like this happening as I have mentioned many times but lets face it if five photographers where put in a room with a ball, one would kick it, one would bounce it, one would stick it up their jumper, one would try and balance on it and maybe one would photograph it. Hopefully you will get what I am trying to say...
Mitch Epstein's latest body of work American Power is really taking shape. I put him right up there with the best of them ever since I seen his show Family Business back in 2004 (I think) in New York.
Heres some info on the fella.
Mitch Epstein, American. Born 1952 in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Mitch Epstein’s photographic work, which he has complemented with sporadic incursions into film and video art, is partly responsible for the New Color movement in the U.S. His early American photographs, Joanna Lehan writes, “bridge the gap between Winogrand’s street and Sternfeld and Shore’s big picture.” Epstein’s photography is conceived as projects for exhibition that are later recontextualized through their publication as artist’s books.
In 1972, Epstein began making pictures as a student at Cooper Union. He quickly subverted the tradition of 35 mm photography by using color at a time when it was considered a tacky tool of advertising. In the wake of William Eggleston, Epstein was instrumental in redefining color photography as art. His individual pictures are known for their layering of details and meaning within a both elegant and complex composition.
In 1996, he photographed his father’s failing fortunes in his seminal project, Family Business. When he realized that large-format photography would not be enough to tell his father’s complex, dynamic story, he added video to the project. The book Family Business received wide acclaim for expanding the limits of the photography book. Epstein organized a plethora of materials into a highly structured, non-linear narrative. The book, which includes still photographs, film stills, archival material, original text and interview dialogues, suggests a postmodern visual novel; and won the 2000 Krazna-Kraus Best Photography Book of the Year award.
Since 2004, Epstein has been working on “American Power,” a series of large-format photographs made on road trips to energy sites in the United States—what the artist calls “energy tourism.” These pictures investigate not just energy sites themselves, but how people live alongside them. Fossil fuels, nuclear, hydro-electric, wind and solar power are all explored. Epstein has taken up the challenge to make art that is political, but not didactic. American Power prints are very large at 70x92 inch (178x234 cm), both because the landscape imagery calls for it and because the bigness symbolizes the supersize-me culture that Epstein is questioning.
Epstein has exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. In spring 2007, FOAM museum in Amsterdam exhibited a selection from Family Business and American Power.
On the occasion of the FOAM exhibition, art historian Rachel Esner wrote: “Much of Mitch Epstein’s work is…a reflection on America, on American values and ideology, on America’s place in the world today. It is the formal and associative elements in Epstein’s images that lift them to a higher plane. These are not documents in the strict sense, because they transcend and reinvent the objects photographed and in the process invest them with symbolic meaning.”
Among Epstein’s many books are Recreation: American Photographs 1973-1988, Vietnam: A Book of Changes, Family Business, and the recent retrospective monograph, WORK. He has won several awards. Epstein was a Guna S. Mundheim Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany, in spring 2008.
Epstein is represented by Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.
What happened next was not unlike thinking you are as fit as you were when you were eighteen and could out run your nephew, fight five big youths and may be wrestle a lion , all of which twenty years later you cannot. Ok maybe I could wrestle the lion if it had no teeth or claws and a lame paw... As I slipped on the jacket with its flawless stitching and impeccable cut, I began to think it didn't feel like it did when I first bought it. The sleeves were a little tighter, as were the shoulders and as for around the chest, well it felt like a heart attack. I couldn't even fasten the two shinny buttons.. My first thoughts (apart from you fat bastard), where a mixture of disbelief and anger as I breathed in as much as I could to try and make those dammed buttons connect... But before you all start to think that Doyle has become lazy and referred back to his days of champion pie eater, let me shed a little light on this very serious matter..
I've been working out, working out like I was Daniel Craig. In fact I heard he had the same problem with his Bond suits. I tried to tell this to Tina, my tailor, but shes heard it all before apparently. "More like too many pies" she said "And in a recession too...!" It was the last bit which made me laugh out loud, as did Tina and reminded me that she has no front teeth.
Just to make things clear my waist is the same size as it was at 18, I am 6 feet 1 and 185 pounds with 10 percent body fat. And although not super human I am handsome and now the proud owner of a nice new suit...
Now all I need to do is sell some work to pay for that dam suit (and all the working out).
This is not a dating website.
When God created the world, on the sixth day just after molding man from some earth he found some dirt under his finger nail. Upon removing the dirt he flicked it towards the South East coast and created....Dungeness.
This was the first time I had heard about Dungeness some 18 years ago when I was spending my college summer in Kent. My girlfriend at the time had invited me to spend the summer at her families home in Ashford. It would be wonderful rolling in the cornfields and swimming in the rivers of the garden of England. Little did I know I would be put to work on her fathers farm digging drainage for the lower field, herding sheep and driving tractors without a clue on how to stop them...
I had been given access to a car, a red mini metro known as the tomato which was actually so I could drive to my night job as a waiter (never worked so hard in my life). But this precious tomato was to be my escape as I headed for Dungeness one sunny afternoon in August when I was supposed to be mucking out the barn..
A lot of my photography back then consisted of very little landscape photography, although the interest was always there. I had been experimenting with Kodak infrared film, (you young ones won't even know what that is), so where better to finish off my roll than the forgotten land of Dungeness....
As I crossed the mini train track (I remember mini railways where all the rage once, but why?) I was surrounded by sea breeze and humble shacks. There were old washed up fishing boats on the gravel beach along side rusty anchors and heaps of trawlers nets. A photographers paradise for sure... I drove as far as the old black and white striped light house, did a five point turn and headed back towards Kent unimpressed and in a bit of a mood. It was such a disappointment for this young punk who fancied himself as a photographer. But the thought of Dungeness never left me, It occupied my mind while I fed the cows and galloped across the fields on a black stallion (not really). I couldn't get the place out of my mind for some reason. And so one week later I returned to the land of Gods fingernail dirt. Maybe it was the light that day, maybe it was my breakfast, but something clicked and I fell in love, not only with Dungeness, but with Landscape photography. The fact that my roll of infrared film was fogged didn't matter and I visited the Dungen another four times before leaving the farm and starting back at college.
Today Dungeness is much the same as it was all those years ago although the locals seem to be a little less tolerant of people photographing the nearby land (well you moved there!) and it may have become a little trendy with all its fancy big black Chelsea tractors. But the atmosphere is still there and its well worth a visit (perhaps not in the winter).
Over the years I have made a point of taking a trip to The Ness whenever I get a new camera and yesterday was no exception, you may have seen me there wielding a almighty 6/17 panoramic and swearing at people getting in my view (not hard with such a wide format).
It may be popular (too popular), and there may be images of this quirky hole all over the place, but theres a reason for that. Its one of the few places you can park pretty much anywhere, walk pretty much anywhere, and, photograph pretty much anything. Something which is a bit of a rarity in the UK these days..
Before you all flock to my show in a few weeks you may want to check out the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea (AFF) running from the 12th March until the 15th. With everything under £3000.00 (It used to be £2000.00) its a good place to begin before you perhaps stretch for a Gursky or perhaps a Doyley....
Yes its far too busy, and yes its in Battersea and an arse to get to, and yes it may be full of twits getting lost in the maze like set up and spilling red wine everywhere. But I do have a slight soft spot for this event because its where I made my first big (for me) sale. The image above was printed 30/40" on metallic paper and Die- Bond mounted to perspex which although not something I wouldn't do these days, it really did look fabulous. Although I felt quite attached to the thing I felt a little different when just one hour into the fair I had sold the image to a Swiss couple and the thought of spending filled my mind like butterflies. I would like to say I invested the money into my photography, or perhaps an Icelandic bank, but I spent it on rent and a packet of Minstrels..
I had sold my first big print, something I will always remember and it made me like one thousand four hundred and ten dollars..
As this universal blog is not just about me (or may be it is) I thought I would share this The 50 States Project. As the name suggests its basically fifty photographers who have produced a photographic project within one of the fifty States. I imagine you could do something similar here in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) but obviously on a much smaller scale, unless you did counties, or Cities...
Doesn't that sound crap..
So now let us put yellow tales and cupboard adventures aside and talk about something a bit more 'on topic'.
Its the run up to my first London solo show in six years and if you have been a regular to this blog of truth you will have followed the progress of it from the very start. Or there abouts...
From being stranded on remote Scottish Island, to fighting the weather and having small fits of photographic rage. Everything is almost in place.
As this whole event has been like planning a wedding there are a few people without whom, this show would never have left the darkroom. Anthony Parkin at Orchard who has produced this show and done far more than his jobs worth, has been passionate from the beginning and got the wheels turning while I was wondering in fields and writing poetry.. Also Nick Barnett at Bayeux Photographic Lab who has produced the most wonderful prints. I should also state that Bayeux services are second to none. I shall thank the rest on the night, besides I still have a couple of weeks...
If you would like to come to the private view, please send your proposal in blood, or email me for details.
Well I was all full of the joys of spring today. The sun was shining, which always makes me feel more handsome (impossible I hear you cry), and all seemed good in the world, even though its far from it....
So after my mornings workout, phone calls and realizing I hadn't attached the 90mm lens properly to my new 6/17 camera (thats right now I have it..) I thought I would check my photographic paper supplies before my next printing session.
I keep all my printing and camera gear in a small cupboard under the stairs and so without a second thought I squeezed into the hobbits den and pulled the door shut hoping it would be light tight. Sure enough I was in complete darkness and I opened the paper box in question and counted my precious sheets. It was at that moment that I realized there was no handle on the inside of the cupboard as the outside was a chub lock, and so I remained hunched over in the dark with just my thoughts for company and a sinking feeling of being a bit stupid. As in any survival situation the first rule is to sit down and think....Well I couldn't sit so I just had a think instead. After five minutes of hard thinking I was reminded of what a tit I am, then I remembered my wife was in Los Angeles for another two weeks and the cleaner wouldn't be round for another week. There was no room for me to barge the door down as I was pretty wedged in, and neither of my dogs could turn the door knob due to them not having any thumbs, but they did bark and taunt me like a rabbit. There was also the realization that the cupboard was light tight with not a lot of air and I was getting a right sweat on.
As my camera bag was in there with me I reached for a torch (very valuble for my night work), but this did nothing except tell me I was in a cupboard. I felt like Harry bloody Potter, he lived under the stairs, but at least he had a bed......I am guessing about an hour had passed before I had an idea. There in the corner was a dusty box of Kodak readyload film. I opened the box with my sweaty hands and pulled out a single sheet. Slipping the film between the door frame and the lock I was able to release the catch, a bit like the way they use a credit card in the movies, after a few attempts the door made way and I was free to go.
And so I stepped out into the light of the world, sweaty, dusty but feeling triumphant with the realization that if I had gone digital I would still be in there now smelly and afraid..
I came across this wonderful French phrase the other day. Translated it means 'between dog and wolf' and is often used by photographers and the like when taking about that magical light at dusk when the landscape is transformed (something I have mentioned on here many times).
Just thought I would share this little gem with you all..
Heres another from my neck of the woods:
'Oh ehh, thats smart..'