Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Bindweed




Common plants can often be overlooked in the quest to make interesting photographs but they really can make some of the best subjects. Take Bindweed for instance, not only common but also regarded as a pest by many and yet I wonder how many people stop to look at it in detail, taking the time to really see what this plant has to offer.

I spent half a day within a 20 metre stretch really looking at the bindweed growing there and trying to make photographs and below are some of the images I produced during that session. They may not be a gardener’s friend but they certainly gave me a lot of pleasure. 

The pictures were made by finding subjects in good sunlight and with a dark shaded background.
























Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The stony-faced alien





OK. So I know it was only yesterday that I posted here but considering what I was talking about I thought that I should put up some images that illustrate what I was rambling on about. Also, as this is primarily a photography blog it should have pictures, right?



 


When I first noticed this scene I was attracted to the play of light and shadow with the high contrast demanding a black & white conversion. As I crouched down on all fours to find the best composition I noticed the two smaller stones also caught in the crevice which I think helped with the whole ‘between a rock & a hard place’ feeling. It was only after I downloaded the image on to the computer at home that I started to see the light toned rock as the face of an alien space traveller, the domed head narrowing down to the eye, nose and mouth.

One of those wonderful moments when I captured what I had intended to but also discovered that it had an unforeseen dimension as well.

The photographs below were made at the same location although not all on the same day, this is a place I keep returning to as there is always something new to discover on each visit, a new treasure waiting to reveal itself if I look hard enough.


























You may have seen some of these before but they are part of a set of ongoing work that I really like and enjoy making.



 

Monday, 10 July 2017

Searching for the Soul



I’ve been away from this blog and social media in general so I thought I’d better give an account of what happened and the reasoning behind deleting the posts and wanting to start again.



It’s happened before and now it’s happened again. My photography has been feeling old, stale and lacking any purpose or vision. I look through the library of images I’ve made and feel that I have wasted all that time and money I invested in those pictures, they say nothing, mean nothing, have no purpose and no soul.

Utterly meaningless. 

Maybe that’s a bit harsh but it’s very frustrating to look at my pictures and see that they say little more than ‘I was here and saw this’.

My response to this was the same as before, delete the images on my web site, blog, twitter, anywhere I had posted them, to remove any trace that I had ever taken a photograph. The problem with this is that sooner or later I feel the urge to pick up a camera once more and the whole cycle begins again. There will be a subject in good light and I’ll start clicking away without thinking of what I’m trying to record or to say other than that internal voice that whispers ‘good light, good subject, must capture’.

So where am I going to go from here? I don’t want to walk along that same old path anymore, in fact I’d rather sell all my equipment than produce any more dross in a world that’s already suffocating in it.

I believe that the answer lies in taking a path that I’ve previously avoided, accepting a way of thinking that has seemed too pious when I think of adopting it but the time for change is long overdue. David DuChemin talks about the photograph being the art, the photographer being the artist and this is something that I believe when I apply it to others but just seems conceited when I try to apply it to myself but when I make photographs I have the same feelings as a painter, I want to capture the essence, the soul, of what is in front of me and to do so in a way that makes people stop and think, to capture their imagination for a moment or two and perhaps make them feel differently about a familiar object or scene, to see it for that short time in the same way that I see it. So, it’s time to put something of myself into the pictures that I make, to open up to what really appeals to me and then try and make that personal connection show in the image. 

There is quote by Elliott Erwitt that means a lot to me and probably best describes the what and why of the pictures I try to make – “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them”.

Many Native Americans believed that everything had a soul, all things were sacred in their own way, from the animals roaming the land to the rocks in the ground and I want to capture that feeling of everything being special and unique, to photograph not just the subject but the life within it.

I just hope this doesn’t sound too pretentious. As Zack Arias said – we’re making pictures, not curing cancer, but that’s no excuse to just click and run. There must be more to it than that.

For those of you who read the previous incarnation of this blog, the focus had drifted into the world of birding and, God help me, pan-species listing, a venture that, with my very limited knowledge,  was doomed to failure before it even began. I am primarily a photographer whose subject list includes birds and not a birder who takes pictures of species seen. The main difference between these two is in the time I allocate to my interests with photography being the number one priority so if you are expecting to see more of what came before I apologise for any disappointment. But life goes on and as this blog is as much a personal diary of thoughts and feelings as anything else that’s what I need to concentrate on.