Christmas Medley..

A small montage of  favourite images made in the last 12 months as well as some images from new and ongoing projects which will be published in the new year..


Above are just some snappy observations on a day out to scratch the itchy trigger finger..

 Of course I could of done these on my phone. Would of been a whole lot quicker, and probably of looked better once I added a few filters...
People have it in their heads that things need to be instant and look a certain way these days. Once upon a time imperfections and flaws where what made an image special. I've even seen photographs of decaying interiors that have been air brushed, a huge contradiction which begs the question; What are you actually trying to say.

Sadly 'photography' has become too easy and its not surprising when seasoned photographers throw hissy fits when some teenager announces his new fashion campaign or book of photographs.

Photography means 'painting with light'. If you dont know this, or do this, then don't call yourself a photographer. You are something else, I just don't know what..


The Bone Room

I was kindly granted access to a wonderful place known as The Bone Room where I will be continuing  my search for natures oddities.
I was not really looking to do anything human in terms of my Calvariam series, but this skull was too interesting to pass up..


I don't claim to be original by any stretch of the imagination. In fact I spent years, like a lot of people, trying to make original photography only to find (as my quote goes) someone has; either done it, doing it, or thinking about it..

So as well as my ongoing skull series I have also been dabbling with beetles (skeleton on the outside) and other creepy crawlies. Its a facinating subject awash with bright colours and sharp claws..

Shoot what you like and like what you shoot..


Quite Photography and Donuts.

'Donut' Mojave.

The Mojave Desert is a wonderful place, full of mystery and abandonment. I can get there in less than an hour (depending on the traffic and my mood) and it is a place I have frequented often in the search for a little bit of quite photography. I often find that places that may first appear to have very little photographic content often end up having the most as you have to look a little harder..

Although not the most striking of images I made this just before standing on a nail, an abandoned nail attached to a scrap of wood, so I thought I should post it. Having said all that, this image is a good example of the many man-made scars that litter the American landscape. The desert road, the dirty great pylons, and of course the Donut (Doughnut in English), a term, if you are not familiar, where some divvy pulls the handbrake in their car and skids around like a twit to form a 'donut' shape.
I guess the dramatic sky also adds a little something extra which makes me wonder that this may actually be quite a fine image..

"Not just of something, but about something.."
John Darwell.


Toilets of America

What shall we talk about...

When I first started talking about my work I read a lot of interviews with other photographers. I have always been interested in a photographers approach to their subject and enjoy hearing what makes them passionate about what they do and all that jazz... The best thing I ever heard was that, most photography students, and people starting out, get an idea and think they have invented the wheel or something.. That quote tickled me, and still does, every time someone tells me they have a great idea for a photography project (holds breath)...

I am pretty sure that when people photgraph their food and post it on social media they don't realize it was something Stephen Shore was doing 40 years ago except his social media was a museum. And as for selfies, folk were doing them when the camera was first invented.

On a recent Visit to the Getty Museum I seen the beautiful work of Richard Learoyd, made with a modern day camera obscura. The large scale colour prints have a fine quality to them, but its no more that a re-harsh of something done over a hundred years ago.

My point here is that nothing is new these days, just a re-run of what gone before. I don't have a problem with it, just don't tell me it's original..



Do you have anymore..?

You may have seen on last nights world news that I have revved up my website.
Its a little vast now, but easily navigated with something for eveyone. I guess you could call it my photographic hub or Doyle Center of Photography, and stuff..

I remember the days when I would take twenty five prints to show someone, and the same question always cropped up; 'Do you have anymore..' Well hopefully this should solve that problem..


Trees 15F

Its been 30 years since I was told, 'You won't make a living taking pictures of sunsets..' by some twit at the local newspaper while doing my works experience. Well he was right in that it wasn't sunsets, but it was night photography, at least for a good while anyway. The image above was one of my best sellers, made during a brief trip to France in the days when I threw caution to the wind with my symmetrical images.
I always write something like this as the nights draw in and I start making more night images, and as I had to dig this one out to make a big print, I thought I would blow my trumpet a little..


Aaron Mitchell Adventurer..

On a recent trip in the Santa Monica Mountains I met Aaron Mitchell. A fascinating chap who is currently making his way across the planet on his motorbike. We had a very pleasant evening sat around a camp fire sipping whisky and sharing our travel stories. Of course my tales of adventure did not quite compare to this explorer who had been on the road for six months. 
I was not surprised to hear Aaron carried no camera, but instead used his phone to record parts of his trip along with a journal. I understood when he told me that memories were enough and taking pictures can very often 'spoil' the moment.
Having said that, how often do you here people say; 'I wish I brought a camera..'
Anyway, what a nice fella.



A small vehicular..

Still plugging away at the Vehicular Landscape series after all these years. Finding them is not something you can rush, or plan.


Ojai. CA 2016


I am not a writer..

A broken chair and a little ball. 2016

There are parts of Los Angeles that always made me feel like a writer. Of course these are usually the parts of LA where a lot of writers reside and take up all the seating in the local cafes.
I should quickly point out that I would never profess, try, or even think of myself as being able to write well. I just like the idea of it, starting with nothing but a blank sheet, just like photograph. But sitting here at my friends desk looking out into a mystical garden of peace (that's the best I got) I feel like I could write something, hence this dizzy posting.

Of course we all know that a photograph can tell a story, but whether that story is true of what the viewer sees is vastly debatable and too intelligent a subject to discuss here on the B.

I have always left my imagery open to interpretation and try not to 'add ideas later' which is so often the case in photography or any other art form for that matter. I do this because I'm still not sure why I make most of my images, I just do. Sound odd, well just ask any other photographer.


Me and the Pigster..

It's been six months since I landed here in the States. As the memories from the misty mountains of my homeland begin to fade the time has come to contemplate new ideas and travels within this new land. The first time I tried this I attempted to photograph the whole of America in one go travelling from state to state like the littlest hobo with my trusty Bulldog side-kick Piglet. Well that was all a bit fruitless and I learnt a big lesson in photography; 'You cannot photograph everything..'
Things feel very different this time around and I am much more relaxed about venturing out. The desperate need most photographers feel early to go out and shoot (and shoot)  on has gone and the galleries have stop asking for new work (probably because they are all closed). Despite this the deserts and ghost towns are calling. As for my side-kick Piglet, well he's grey and old now and not going anywhere, or is he....

Me and Pigster 2006

Me and Pigster 2016 (still up for it)


Don't you just hate those self portraits photographers do. Well at least it's not a selfie... Or a Belfie!



 Live View © Artur Urbanski 

Today, what we do when we are confronted with overwhelming beauty? Again and again, our first inclination is to raise a camera (or phone) to "capture" the moment, hopefully for ever.

But if we spend all of our time taking pictures—what will finally be remembered? Feelings from the moment; an amazing view; or just a technically recorded image? And if we choose to photograph the scene—how long will we remember the original experience? Does the act of photographing even cause us to forget?
The project "Live View" raises questions about how photography, as a medium, is being used to expand (replace? diminish?) our memory. The title refers to the function in digital cameras and phones which instantly displays reality on their screens. In this moment, we are confronted with a paradox—a "live" view as seen through a digital intermediary.
Visually, photographs—especially of the landscape—have always juxtaposed the romantic idea of the sublime with a more quotidian, touristic "must see before you die" urge. But with the ubiquity of cameras nowadays, this contrast is only growing more striking. For example, show up at Angkor Wat at 5 AM on an unsuspecting morning and you'll find over 300 photographers who were likewise advised by their guidebook to take "the sunrise picture of a lifetime." The same at Macchu Picchu, the Grand Canyon, Santorini—anywhere that has found its way onto a top 10 (or top 1000) list...
"Live View" was photographed at sites around the world: Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Cambodia, France, India, Switzerland.



The headless bird and a life of optimisim..

Its a cruel old world, but even a decapitated bird can look quite beautiful, or maybe thats just me..
I have no idea what happen here, but I am guessing a cat was the reason and not some miniture bird guillotine. Or maybe it was the bird of prey I keep seeing circling my house..

On another note, but still relevant, I have always been an optimist and remember being told this story at school.

An optimist boy and his pessimist brother wake up on Christmas morning. Each are given the same present, a bag of manure.

The pessimistic brother cries out to his parents;

"A bag of manure! Why do you hate me so!"

But the optimist brother is over the moon;

"How great, now where's my horse.."


Keep on shooting..

More juicey bites added to my LA River Stories. This ongoing project is still in the early phase but has oodles of possibilities. At the moment I am fixated with disgarded objects (always have been). The, 'What is it and why is it there' is something I enjoy exploring. 

I have been contemplating a few portraits to add to the pie, but still not sure as it may change the dynamics of the project, besides I have a terrible habit of meeting people and chitty chatting for far too long and forgetting to make a photograph. I have even done this at a couple weddings and forgot to photograph the bride and groom, but they don't talk to me anymore..


An image made without thought will create no thought..

From the LA River series August 2016
In a world of 'phone photography' with instant gratification, filters, and auto everything (that phone does all the work, not you), its nice to go old school and do a long exposure to soften water and bring out the colour of an abandoned red trolly. 
I used the same long exposure on water technique on my By Coastal series way back when I braved hurricanes and sheer cold wetness for months as I dragged myself around the Scottish coast. But despite being in a mood for a month, I made what I would consider to be some of my best work.

An image made without thought will create no thought..


Past, Future, Present..

 August 2016
My love of abandoned vehicals and cars in strange places has seen me photographing all kinds of makes and models. However, I never make photographs of new or very common modern cars. The reason is simple, it dates the photograph. I have never been a fan of dating any of my work. I like to think of it as timeless which is not surprising to me, as I dislike anything that is out of date and will not read old newspapers, or magazines for example. Its a strange phenomenon that if you photograph something old, it doesn't look outdated, but thinking about it just gives me a headache..

August 2016

 I have always said that if you want to make a film that will not look outdated, set it in the past and not the future..


Life and death along the LA River..

The LA River project I have been working on is conjuring up all kind of melancholy objects (I am not sure what the above is, but it has one set of nashers).

There is always a certain sadness with dead decaying animals, but also a strange kind of beauty which I find quite fascinating. This does not mean I am about to seek out magot infested little beasties, that would be vile, rather I look for peaceful looking dead animals after they have been savaged and half eaten by a bird of prey..

World Elephant Day

As its World Elephant Day today I thought I would post this. Probably one of the most haunting images I have made. There are no tusks because, yes you guessed it, there were taken by poachers..


Where is everybody going..

It is my opinion that the exclusiveness that was once in fine art photography has been in a steady decline for a while now. Personally I blame i-phones, instagram, digital photography and those millennial folk.

But times change and theres no point in being a sentimental-old-hand-printing-fart.

But the one thing that sums up all my fears is that of all the blogs I used to follow (ten in total) have all gone and I really do believe its because people have nothing worth writing about anymore.. Just look at me, I have gone from writing a little about other photographers to writing soley about me, myself and I...


Oh that dirty old cafe..

Wagon Wheel Cafe July 2016
Ohh the old Wagon wheel Cafe. It was a place I would always visit on my way back to LA from the salton Sea area. The place was always open, always a bit dirty, with awful food and coffee which tasted of egg. But there was just something about the place. Maybe it was the fact that the staff wore Barney Rubble outfits (no joke), or maybe I'm just being sentimental.
 I was sad to see it close about two years ago, but was even more sad to see there were still table settings and and menues on the tables years later..

The place is for sale if you are interested. Just of the I-10 in Cazabon.