A New Year Message.

Well I went away for some sunshine to California and it rained all flaming week with the promise of a delayed flight due to London's two millimetres of snow. I also managed to have my 6/17 camera blown over in the wind so that it now looks like its been thrown off a cliff (picture made thirty seconds after the event). But safely back in the UK I feel blessed to be here (apart from AMAZON taking money out of my account for two cameras and a scanner I didn't order!!) So I thought would write a few thoughts about the past year and grant you all the best for the future which is the done thing these days..

This last year has been one of change and challenge for the freelancer and I am sure I am not the only one to have been hit ruthlessly with the economy stick. Not the best time to be a gallery based photographer for sure, I mean who in their right mind wants to spend money on a print when they could buy something worthwhile like a crappy wide screen television. Truth be told I have never found the UK art market an inspiring place to be and have often had to opt for the US galleries even with their shipping costs and a lousy exchange rate.

I have been lucky enough to find myself in some wonderfully odd places, in particular Croatia. Its nice to find places that are not often photographed instead of following the herd and I have really opened my eyes up to the rest of Europe as potential photography fodder. Having said that I have shot a lot in the UK this past year which has really been a hoot. The Coastal Project in now deep in my veins and I look forward to getting this big bugger finished next year.

My decision to continue shooting film was not an easy one for me as I have had it from all angles telling me that film is doomed and therefore so am I. But now I consider this total balls and tell myself if it works, why change it. I think we all try to predict where photography will go, but you just cannot do it. One day at a time my friends. One day at a time....

The biggest change this past year, and one I have kept to myself until now, is the part time posistion I have taken as a Photography Sessional Tutor at Canterbury University. It has been a truly and wonderfully eye opening experience and I really enjoy my time there. I will write about this more in the New Year.

And so there it is, not a bad year at all. No bones have been broken (only cameras), and no negatives have been lost. The feedback on my work has been most encouraging and I almost reached the point of peak physical fitness but my love of cream cakes got in the way.

And so may I now I wish all three of you the very best for the New Year...




Frosty Car Window 2010

Took this on my new compact camera this morning while walking the dogs.
Isn't nature wonderful...


Andrew Borowiec

Some wonderful observations over on Andrew Borowiec's website in particular The New Heartland series of which the three above are taken from..
Making these images in the middle of the day in bright sunshine works wonderfully well in this new artificial utopia. Quite brilliant...


Can ye fathom the ocean, dark and deep, where the mighty waves and the grandeur sweep?
Fanny Crosby.


Do you want to know the future..Brighton Pier

I had all the intentions of heading coastal in the last ten days. But the thought of spending the night in a trapped in a Mini on some snow deposited road while wrapped in a plastic bag was not at all that appealing. Besides I feared the sea may have frozen. So instead I used this opportunity to scan some of my work which is a job I enjoy as much as a dogs fart.. I can't bare being stuck in doors at the best of times which makes me wonder how I spent so long stuck in a darkroom printing other peoples work back in the day. I have always found that there's something oh so very final about producing a scan of ones work. In case your wondering I always scan my prints, not the neg. This is simply because I have done all the work on the print and got that just right, so the purpose of scanning is just to digitize the image and match it. And that's it.. No jiggery pokery here.


What is England..... Rural......

Check out the next wonderful instalment within the grand 'What is England' project here.
This month its Rural...


Bad weather always looks worse through a window.
Tom Lehrer

There was a time when it seemed I was at all the art fairs, wearing suits, talking utter twaddle, showing work and liaising with collectors. Not quite sure what happened, but I don't seem to do them so much these days. Actually I do know what happened and it started with me being in a bad mood and went on from there. Anyway, if you wanted to escape the sub zero temperatures of the UK, perhaps you might want to check out Art Miami. Its always a great event and easily on par with Paris Photo which was just last week (used to be in that one too!).


Alfred Seilands.

I couldn't find much of Alfred Seilands work on the web. But what I did find I really admire. The written piece here is the introduction to his book East Coast-West Coast.

In American road movies, the protagonists usually travel from East to West, or vice versa, and photography has also been inspired by the trip across “God’s own country” – one needs to think only of Stephen Shore or Robert Frank. By contrast, the Austrian photographer Alfred Seiland repeatedly traveled for several months from North to South, from South to North, along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, taking a total of 110 photos over eight years. Only 48 made the final selection for his book East Coast – West Coast. He always spends a lot of time finding the perfect place, often returning several times to capture an unusual situation – without ever staging a setting.

Seiland also quite deliberately limits himself technically: 4x5” film, always with one and the same plate camera, no filter, long exposure times, tripod, usually the same lens. He seeks out a realistic angle: “When looking through the camera, I see more or less the same thing as I would without it.” Using a fixed ratio of sides to top and bottom, he then makes enlargements and sometimes spends hours correcting in order to ensure that the colors and lighting temperature are exactly right and he has eliminated even the smallest mistake. This method brings results. But what makes his images so unique? Is it the typical buildings and landscapes? Or the people who leave a trace everywhere without ever being in the middle of things? Possibly it is the colors, the light and the shadows, the lines and surfaces. And without a doubt it is the jumps between the different levels in each image.

These jumps put size into relation, one example being when the yellow limousine in the foreground makes the white wooden house with the red roof on the other side of the street seem like a toy in terms of scale. They also offer unexpected insights, for example when the patchy reflective sun protection on the shop window mirrors only the light, whereas the narrow strip of window beneath it reflects the beach and the sea. Alfred Seiland seeks to oppose superficiality – in the East, the West and wherever else it looks as if this superficiality might gain the upper hand.


Debby Huysmans.

Simply wonderful work by Debby Huysmans, in particular the beautifully edited Sibir series.


Check out my refined website with a couple of newly added goodies here.


What are you doing..?

Frinton On Sea. 2010

North Pier. Blackpool 2010

There comes a time in every project when your just not sure. For me its usually around halfway. You start to weigh up the costs involved. You might see work by others that may be a little similar which can be off putting. The work is not edited and can seem like a right jumble of nonsense (I tend to shoot and box up the images editing when 'I think' I am finished). And of course, lets not forget, sometimes you just loose interest.
As I have mentioned before, its not the starting of a project that's hard, Its the finishing. But I think the halfway point is the most dangerous as it can still go either way.
Its always good to pull out a few images now and then, reflect a little, and maybe even show a few goodies which is precisely what I have done here.


Christopher Churchill.

Beautiful work over on Christopher Churchill's site.
Nice to see a bit of Black and White.
Be sure to turn up the volume for the American Faith series.

Nice one Roy...

In my slightly Astigmatic eye there is still no better way to have a large photographic print made than by hand.
Roy at Michael Dyer Associates is indeed one of the best regarding this slowly dying art. Always able to get the very best out of my sometimes iffy negs, I have never come away disappointed..
I know all to well the ins and outs of this once booming industry, its long hours, bad backs and ability to see a black cat in a mine shaft. But these days I tend not to print any larger than 20/24" myself..

38/48" Green Station Wagon. Utah 2008.


Found these the other day. Memories of a disastrous trip to Iceland back in 2006. Part of my ongoing Urban Sprawl theme.
Kind of like them..



My lack of postage lately may have been caused by my discovery of this years twelve photographers short listed for the Prix Picket super dooper prize on the theme 'Growth'.
Having been entered for this and not making the short list, I was too busy weeping and could not bring myself to eat or go outside.

Joking aside the Prix Picket Twelve, as they shall become known, are all of the highest calibre and deserve to be there. Having said that there are a few I personally think don't fit the theme as well as some, but that's not to say the work is not superb.

So I have decided to give myself a prize of £60.00, which is 0.1 percent of the Prix Picket Prize, and have included my entry with the images you see here. These images are all about the 'Growth' of the tourism and leisure industry in Las Vegas and were part of my entry.
At least this way I will feel like a winner and will probably spend my prize on a nice three course meal and perhaps an Appletinie.

And if you were wondering. My favourite to win is Mitch Epstein.
Michael Eastman. Badlands.

Paris Photo

Michael Eastman image. Italy 2010

Its that special time of year again when 'l'attraction de Paris' draws near as Paris Photo opens on Wednesday.
Always worth a visit, even if its just for a day and a Crock Monsieur.

I was going to attempt a English Channel swim to keep the costs down, but apparently the French are trying to put a stop to this as the fat old ladies in there flowery swim hats keep getting in the way of fishing boats and ferries..

As for the advertisement image. I have mentioned the wonderful work of Michael Eastman on here previously. See those highlights on the marble floor and how not blown out they are, and how symmetrical and balanced the image looks. That my friends is skill... More of his work here.


Kodak: "There is a very real resurgence for film"

Oh really....


Posts and nothing to say!



Stephen Shore
Stampeder Motel, Ontario, Oregon, July 19, 1973

I was delighted to see a Stephen Shore article in this months BJP. What pleased me most is that they have not used the usual images chosen to represent SS opting instead for lesser known images, which are of course just as impressive. A nice move there I have to say.
Shore's work, in particular American Surfaces and Uncommon Places, probably carries more gravitas now than it did in the 70's. This is one photographer I always come back to time and time again.


Its almost six years to the day since I first met Lisa Holden at Paris Photo in 2004 (I think). We shared a booth under Contemporary Works Ltd while trying to sell our wares to the Parisians. Occasionally we escaped the crowds and chatted about each others work and the industry in general and although she lives in Amsterdam we have still managed to keep in touch.
Lisa is a joy to be around, energetic and full of enthusiasm and her original pieces are really quite something.

Looking forward to this one.

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Diemar Noble Photography



Please note that this Private View will take place on Thursday, 11th November 2010 from 18:30 - 10:30.

Diemar/Noble Photography presents

‘I Won’t Be Your Mirror’
Photographs by Lisa Holden

Holden’s photographic compositions combine very different types of historical, cultural and personal imagery, as well as analogue and digital techniques.
We cordially invite you the Private View at Diemar/Noble Photography, London.

Private View Thursday 11th November 18:30 - 20:30
Exhibition 12th November 2010 – 8th January 2011

Please RSVP by Monday 8th November

Tel +44 (0)20 7636 5375
email rsvp@diemarnoble.com
web www.diemarnoble.com / Twitter @DiemarNoble

Nearest Tube Oxford Circus/Tottenham Court Road

Lisa Holden will be speaking about her recent work on 12th November at Diemar/Noble Photography. To book a space, please RSVP at education@diemarnoble.com. Spaces will be limited, so please book by 5th November to avoid disappointment.

Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing


Mitch Dobrowner

I have known about the work of Mitch Dobrowner for a fair old time as we use to share the same gallery rep when I was living in the States.
I have been meaning to write about the work for a while now, but in all truthfulness I just don't know what to say about it. In fact I am not even sure if I like it. Sure its striking and very dramatic, but I cant help feeling its a lot of technique and very little content, and maybe a little too obvious, at least for me.
As is so often the case these days the luminosity of the image is lost in the final print, and as these tend to be Ink Jet, it doesn't really put the work on my collectors list.
When I first saw Dobrowner's work I was a little dumbstruck as I had never seen a technique quite like it. I just couldn't work out how he had achieved these surreal results, but I did know it wasn't film based. And there lies the problem. Once you discover how it was done, (read the article) it takes away any mystery that was left.

The art critique Brian Sewell once said (cant remember whose work it was);
"It's like an ejaculation. Your excited at first, there's a climax, and then you loose interest."
And that pretty much sums up how I feel about the work..

There's an interesting interview with Mitch here.


The Solway Firth Spaceman

I always enjoyed the story of the Solway Spaceman, especially when the photograph was taken so close to where I grew up. Of course if an image like this was made today there wouldn't even be a story thanks to the joys of Photo Shop. Nowadays its all images of the Virgin Mary in butter, weight lifting toddlers, and paintings in galleries by three year olds. Shame really.

I did make a photograph in the very same spot as the Solway Firth Spaceman a few years ago (see pic), but sadly no men in space suits, or alien beasties.


Oh Greg...

I have mentioned the epic talents of Gregory Crewdson on here several times, and why wouldn't I, the works just fabulous. I never understood peoples gripe with Crewdson and the fact he uses a huge production crew of 90 plus people to create what is basically a film still in a lot of peoples eyes. I just enjoy the work and tend not to think of how much time and money he has spent.

So what if you took all this away. The film crew, the budget, the colour, In fact the whole working process. Well I tell you what you get his latest body of work Sanctuary, that's what.

Personally I think its way off the mark and although I can understand why someone would go from such big production and back to basics I think its a pretty poor show from Crewdson. Its not bad work, its just dull boring work.

Maybe I am missing something, oh yea, the colours and the atmosphere.


The more opinions you have, the less you see. Wim Wenders


Something to watch..

No one does Landscape Photography quite like the multi pocketed vest wearing Thespian that is Charlie Waite. Although a thousand miles from what I would personally do, I still enjoying his teachings and I think we could all learn a thing or two.
I came across these videos on the You Tube and they are quite delightful. The first one talks about light, but admittedly I thought it was a Hitchcockian spoof at first.

I especially liked the way Charlie talks about setting up a shot and waiting for the sun to set with lots of lovely deep reds, but instead takes a few frames on a bright sunny day and then goes home.

This is very interesting and worth reading if you are involved with galleries, be it a collector or producer...




"The only happy artist is a dead artist, because only then you can't change. After I die, I'll probably come back as a paintbrush."
Sylvester Stallone


This thing has been going for eleven years now and I remember selling one of my first BIG prints (a 30/40"may be not so big by today's standards) in that October of 1999. It was a beautiful print (see image) made into a Diasec frame, a technique I wouldn't do these days as I question its archival qualities as the front of the print is stuck to the perspex using some clear glue.
I have some work in the AAF knocking around somewhere this year and only realised after receiving an invite this morning. Only small prints this time and no glue anywhere.

May be I will pop down and buy something then cycle off with it under my arm as the adverts would suggest. Bit stupid that.


I was talking with some work colleagues a few weeks ago about the machine that is Nadav Kander. Two of the photographers were from advertising backgrounds and so could only marvel at the achievements one such as Kander has made (and perhaps envy his table of trophies from every photographic award imaginable). They also assumed that NK has had as much success in the Fine Art Market as the world of advertising, and why wouldn't they. After all here is one of few photographers on the planet who is able to merge the line between so called fine art photography and advertising (remember those Marlborough ads in the early nineties) producing bodies of work one can only dribble over. But this has been far from true. Nadav has often struggled to be taken seriously in the Art world for the simple fact that he had dominated the Advertising world for so long that serious collectors and indeed galleries have not taken him on board.
Many do claim that its a lot easier for a Fine Art Photographer (hate this title so much) to enter the world of commercial photography than it is for a Commercial Photographer to enter the fine art market, as the commercial approach does not often transfer well to the purism that is Fine Art. Its not enough that a FAP (fine art photographer) should spend months in the desert living off a bit of bread and some salty water in order to create something pure and beautiful. They also have to make no money and lay in wait only to be discovered by a big gallery and perhaps become a little famous in the circle of photography. So is it any wonder that when a hugely successful commercial photographer with plenty of money for projects comes along the Art World is a bit of a snob..
When I first seen Nadav's Yantze River, I knew things would change. Its not just the beauty of the work and the fact that they really are Fine Art images (assuming that fine art means they only serve one purpose which is to be looked at), its the volume of the project. This is a project shot over time in a place revisited with commitment and passion. Its the bread and salty water in the desert, the pure and the beautiful. Ok, he may not of struggled to do it financially, but thats irrelevant. To put it another way, If Nadav had not spent the last twenty years as a successful commercial photographer he would never have got around to do the Yantze River project, let alone afford to do it.
This book (The Yantze River) deserves a lot of respect and is certainly one of the best, and most consistent, bodies of work I have seen in the last decade.


Working with a gallery can only ever bring 50% happiness..


Now thats what I'm talking about.....

160 megapixel digital camera


"Seitz’s camera is sort of expensive (over $45,000) but it comes with a tablet PC. Including a tablet PC is a very good idea as a single image taken in the highest quality an resolution saved as a raw file takes 307 MB and 922 as uncompressed 48-bit tiff. The camera takes a whole second to save a full-resolution 7,500×21,500 image, but there can be no question about the quality."

With a single 10 sheet box of film now costing as much as someone gets a week on the Dole (providing you can find some), along with the rising lab costs and persecution that comes from shooting film, Is it any wonder I almost swallowed my Espresso cup when I seen this.

Maybe its time to switch. And perhaps kidnap someone...


Never fear shadows. They simply mean there is a light shining somewhere nearby.


That Brighton thing..

To be honest I never really paid too much attention to the whole Brighton Biennial thing this year organised by Mr Parr. When I first heard that Alec Soth was going to do his thing in Brighton I was intrigued and eager to see just how well he could pull off shooting in the UK and had come to the conclusion in my mind that he simply wouldn't abe able to pull it off. After all its one thing shooting in your own country and having an understanding of the place, but I have yet to see an American photographer cross the Atlantic and do work as good as they produce back home. Think Eggleston with those dreadful Paris images or Sternfeld's crazy i-Dubai and you will see what I mean without me going into the whole American photographers only working in the States thing.

Basically Soth was told at on arrival to the UK that as he had no work visa he was not allowed to take pictures or he would go to jail (daft isn't it). And so Soth gave his camera to his seven year old daughter so she could take pictures and in turn exhibit them at the Biennial. Full story here.

At first I thought the whole thing was a real gimmick. But you know what, the photographs are brilliant. Just don't tell the authorities...


Put that fire out..

Malibu Fire California 2008

Its not often I photograph disaster areas, or disaster porn sites as its often referred to. But there have been times when this kind of work has a place within the vernacular of my photography.

As part of my BCB Project (By Coastal Borders to give it's full title) I drove down to Hastings and the site of the recent fire which engulfed the its Pier a few days ago. I felt It was important to at least make a record of such an event especially with this project of mine fast becoming a documentation of the UK, all be it a slightly pretty one. Now I know most people would not view such a thing as a burnt out old pier as a disaster, I personal thought the thing was a disaster before the fire, It was closed to the public, a total eye sore with its horrid yellow paint job and vulgar bright adverts, and to add to that, the thing was falling to bits and a total death trap. But to people living in the town, it was as if someone had died. Locals gathered round the site like the tomb of a fallen soldier. I was astonished how effected people had become and it even reminded me of the death of Lady Di when people camped near the palace and laid flowers for the women none of them knew.
What fascinated me the most, and always does in these circumstances, was that everyone was taking pictures. A photo of the wreckage, a photo with a child stood in front of the wreckage, a photo with a fireman, a photo of me making a photo of the wreckage, so on and so on. People wanted evidence. They wanted to look back and say I was there, look at this, look at that sexy bald photographer with a big camera.

Without harping on too much, it reminded me once again of the importance of photography and visual media. Its certainly hard to imagine a life without it.

I will be first to tell you that the camera always lies, but it also tells the truth and reminds us were we have been..