It was a very good year?

Its been an interesting year, so where better to vent and boast than here on the B Mode..

Being a student..
Becoming a student at the start of the year was far worse than I could of imagined. The first time I was at college I was twenty years younger, had a full head of hair, although perhaps a little thin and wispy, I was handsome, tall, slim and very popular. I loved being around people and making new friends. I loved life, and I loved being a student without a care in the world. I was also very naive and had no real life experience apart from a few broken bones, a failed engagement. But I did have a camera, a trusty Canon F1, and that was to take me places I could not of imagined at the time. Although three years at college gave me a little life experience, it did nothing for me in terms of a career in photography and I came to the conclusion that I was either too young to do a degree and benefit from such endeavors, or I had just been handed a piece of paper from Mickey Mouse.
That was all 22 years ago and in that time I have worked for some of the biggest names in photography via the darkroom route. From these humble beginnings I managed to begin a career as a fine art photographer using my darkroom skills to finance my trips. As the gallery sales and representation grew I ditched the darkroom never to return (apart from my own colour work). Thirty odd shows and three books later I decided the time might be right to go back to school. This time things would be different. I was after all a serious photographer with a career behind me so a masters in photography seemed like the right thing to do, especially now that I had a little taste of Lecturing on photography, something I enjoyed very much and had the idea to continue. 
The MA allowed me to finish a project I began many moons ago relating to my childhood memories, this was indeed a good thing and I finally finished the project late in October.  MA Tutors do not like such methods as mine. They believe you should experiment and step out of your comfort zone coating photographs in bodily fluids and perhaps jumping on them wearing muddy boots. Well apart from the fluids and mud, I did indeed step outside my comfort zone exploring pieces of my past which I find uncomfortable at the best of times. So to cut a long story short (and this post), I got what I needed, but will not thank my tutors or the college for it..

The highlight of the year has to be the revival of my Salton Sea series 'Thursdays by The Sea'. A body of images almost forgotten which turns out to be some of my best work. Everything about this show was right. The gallery, the final prints and presentation, the edit, even the opening night was one of the finest. But the best thing about the show is that it came at a time when I doubted myself as a photographer and it pulled me out of the Masters Mire and onto better things.
Second to this was my solo show in the Museum of Modern Art in Croatia. A series of images made in and around Croatia over a four year period. A total of fifty images graced the walls and it was a project I was really pleased with after being given free reign and spending time with the wonderful Croatian people..

This year seen me 'accidentally'  destroy two cameras, two lenses, a tripod, a light meter and a laptop. One of the cameras and a lens was borrowed from a very good friend of mine whom I am yet to repay via a big framed print. But I am pleased to say we are still very good friends. The other camera was launched from a windy cliff top in the American desert at the beginning of a photographic trip which was disastrous. However, it did give me a bit of a holiday and a nice series shot on my digital compact. Nice as long as you want nothing bigger than a 6/4" print..

2012 was probably one of the worst years for business I have encountered with the closure of my main London gallery. The closure of a gallery is often like a divorce and rarely ends well with Who gets what, and Who will be out of pocket. Although I did not have a gallery mistress, I did manage to find a new gallery very quickly and totally by chance. Like a divorce it can be hard to continue any kind of relationship.
I have never considered London the best place to sell work, (hence my move to mostly US sales) in fact its become rather pathetic over the years with this year being one of the poorest. So I have decided from now on that every time someone says; "If I win the lottery I will buy one of your prints." I will put a pound in a jar rather than giving them a good slap (something I find quite insulting) and probably be quite well off..

So thats pretty much it for 2012. I cannot say it was a bad year. No one died, I have a roof over my head and the ideas keep coming. Yes there will be miserable times and probably long gaps of nothingness, but thats the nature of the business. I won't say I am going to do this that and the other, but rather leave you with on of my favourite quotes from George Burns;

"I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate."



If theres anyone out there still reading this blog



Well if this cannot convince me to go digital, nothing will...

Remember, misery is comfortable. It's why so many people prefer it. Happiness takes effort.


My old friend, the cold night.

This week seen me venturing out into the dark abyss with what was to be my first night outing for some time. I had decided begin my new project in January realizing I need more time to think about the structure and content (and possibly free my mind of my student ways, MA done and dusted with a cherry on top, or rather on the side as I like to be awkward).

Without giving to much away the plan for the new project is basically very long exposures, with darkness and nothingness. This can only be done with film and Fuji are very kindly sponsoring the project and have given me oodles of film to play with. The sad reality here is that this may be the last major project shot on large format film as who knows what will become of it, but lets not go there just yet.

So back to the other night. Well after donning the thermals, giant boots and a woolly hat, I crunched my way through the frosty leaves looking for something worthy of a £10.00 shot. (I refer to the cost of film here) To say I was a little rusty (or maybe that should be frosty) would of been a slight understatement; pulling the slide of of its holder before putting it in the camera, thumbing with apertures and dropping my torch (happens a lot), forgetting my stopwatch, not tightening the tripod legs after having my hand stick to one of them, forgetting to wipe the lens from condensation, falling over like a pensioner (twice), and finally doing a twenty minute exposure before realizing I hadn't loaded the camera.  But I eventually prevailed and after a few hours I was a natural and back to the old ways.


Looking For Love. Alec Soth 1996

I was intrigued to hear that Alec Soth has published a book of work he had made way back in 1996. Intrigued because like my Salton work, and for whatever reason, the work has lay dormant for some time. Although Soth's work was made some sixteen years ago it has been published in the way it was originally intended. 

"Alec Soth‘s photobook „Looking for Love, 1996“, including his photo series of the same name, looks back to the time of the beginning, the time when everything is still open and exciting, when everything gently falls into place. It‘s the phase of the beginning, that forms the basis not only of a new love, but also of each new photographic project. It‘s a book about searching, about the curious and intuitive approach to people and their stories. About falling in love to a medium that opens insights to worlds that would otherwise stay hidden – intensive and haunting like an interminable night at the bar."

I love this idea and am testament to the idea that returning to images after several years can be a really wonderful thing..

Theres also a good review of the book here.

 No its not wheres Doyle, or spot the baldy, its me hosting a talk at my Thursday's by the Sea show last week. A thoroughly enjoyable event at Margaret Street, the new home for my British representation.  Being one of my favorite bodies of work its a pleasure for me to talk about it in a little more depth. Whats interesting is that talking about the work when its right in front of you far out-weighs doing a slide show which I always feels has a bit of a detachment as the work is basically a copy of the originals.
A splendid crowd and a real boast for moral at a time when I appear to be at another cross roads regarding my work.