The Magic Boat

The Magic Boat, UK 2008
As the mornings become cooler and we move into my favorite time of year I am reminded of those frosty mornings growing up in Cumbria. The above image became part of The Flowery Room (was going to be called The Magic Boat) series based around my childhood memories. I would walk past this boat on my way to school and couldn't believe it was still there after all those years.


I remember staying at my Grannies house in Scotland eating Nips and Tatties (Turnip and Potato) before going for a walk with my AV1 Canon Camera. I was 14 years old and didn't have a care in the world. After an hour or more I ended up walking along the Solway Coast. As the sky began to bruise and as I made an image of an old boat and it's remains. I would later process the film in the cupboard under the stairs and print the image in my bedroom. After many prints and efforts to hold back the foreground and 'burn in' the sky I managed to get a good print which was later framed and hung above my Grannies fire place for many years.. After her passing at 102 the picture was stored away, but rediscovered some time later by my Mother.  Now it hangs above her fireplace, hopefully for many more years to come.

Solway Coast, Scotland. 1987


 I found this while rummaging through some old emails. It was written in 2008 to a fellow blogger in the days when I used to write more about other photographers as apposed to just showcasing myself.. 
Anyways I thought I would post it's just as relevant today.  

 I follow your blog often and enjoy your writing. I was compelled to write after reading your piece 'On Doubt ' regarding the work on Sally Mann. I have often thought that many photographers and artists have a period in their career when they produce their finest body of work. Usually this is the work that happens to bring them notoriety be it Joel Meyerowitz's Cape Light, Misrach's Desert Cantos, Robert Frank's The Americans so on and so forth. With regards to Sally Mann, I could not agree with you more and feel that her new work is thin and weak in comparison to her earlier work. I really do feel this is the case with so many photographers and always wonder if they actually know if their work is not as 'good '  as it used to be. I have debated this theory many times and often end in saying;

 "How can the work be as fresh and dynamic as it used to be. A photographer may not have the energy, the freedom, the ideas, or as clear a vision as they had when they where younger and commitments tend to take over and life gets in the way..."

This is of course only my opinion and I have yet to make it fully public but I do think its a theory worth thinking about..

M. Doyle


When I moved to America the first thing I did was buy an old van big enough to sleep in and hit the open road. It was a wonderful experience filled with all kinds of adventure and I managed to spend the next three years living what had always been a dream of mine. I was a landscape photographer with a big camera shooting big landscapes. Much has changed since those early days; My camera is a fraction of the size, I don't sleep in my car (also a fraction of the size), and I don't spend as much time on the road, foot loose and fancy free as I used to. But despite all these changes, the one thing that remains is the notion that one can get in a car and connect with the landscape. It is the one thing that brought me here and probably the one thing that will keep me here..


Limitation Triggers Creativity (It really does..)

 Sky Forest. Lake Arrowhead. 2019
Its been many bright Moons since I last used a tripod and a big camera having opted for a small 35mm for the last eighteen months. Stepping away from the confines of 'the big camera ' has been a refreshing change and I am reminded of a time when I had nothing more than a cheap 35mm Canon AV1 and a roll of black and white film. As I am now doing a small black and white photography class with my students its nice to be reminded of how it all started, and the simple pleasures of simple photography.

I love working up to the limitations of a camera and have always given myself limitations, be it a single prime lens, format size, or just limited equipment.
One fundamental change over the years has been the leap in pixel size regarding digital cameras meaning you can carry around a very small camera along with a 50 MP sensor (more than most would ever need). Add to this the many medium format cameras that now far exceed the sharpness and detail retained that a 8/10 view camera could ever achieve and at a fraction of the size and weight.

And so with all this in mind I would like to think that camera technology need go no further and that the plateau has been reached so that we can all go out and be creative. But of course it won't. The pixels and sensor size will continue to grow as cameras become faster and lighter, until like film, they will cease to exist...


9 Days. Oranges 2019