Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A bit 'Blairwitch'?Anyway I very mch

I've only ever seen a part of it but my wife says that the current crop of images are a bit 'Blairwitch'. I steer clear of horror flicks myself and 'The Blairwitch Project' with its archly arty handheld handy cam technique was particularly dreary to me so it's not a connection I'm especially keen to foster as regards my project! Anyway I very much doubt I shall 'blog' again in 2009 so if you do happen along here's a picture of a nice half of lager on top the Simplon pass a couple months back...cheers and here's to 2010!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Just Getting On With It

Today is rather a good day as far as I'm concerned - I've nothing against the Christmas break but four days of it ought to be enough for anyone. So today, a reasonably 'normal' working day, is better for me now. I'm reviewing my images and deciding on the final form of the submission that has to comprise circa 12-15 'original' photographs. Whilst I still have real doubts about the validity of the work I'm just getting on with it for now - and plotting what I think will be the way forward over the coming months.

What exactly will be made of the pictures that will go into the portfolio (and that too at this point is moot) I cannot imagine - I doubt there will be a great deal of excitement - but maybe it's best just to do it and see. At this point it would, in any case, be rather difficult to justify a complete change of direction and/or subject matter, not least as all my 'academic' endeavour (the reading I've been undertaking) would become superfluous and create a real headache in terms of the text that has to accompany the portfolio.

So the process of selection, post-production and printing begins in earnest over the next couple of days.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Post Christmas Blues

It must be something to do with what a dear friend of mine (sadly no longer with us) called 'the festive jollities' but I find myself back at the computer with horrifically deep doubts about the project I am working on. Maybe I just need to push on with it rather than spending too great a time reflecting on the material, then again maybe I need to junk it all and start over. Whatever I do always seems to end up in this quandary - I suspect my perverse inability to see through a body of work, to be so dissatisfied with it that it doesn't achieve completion, accounts for my total failure to create anything worthwhile!

On another tack entirely - isn't wildlife photography really rather hard? I don't think I'd given it a great deal of thought until I met up with Simon but since meeting someone who is very committed to it I have started to give it more attention. Not least as I spend a fair amount of time out in the great outdoors and just occasionally I catch a glimpse of something as it darts from view - a fox the other day and a few weeks back a creature (not sure what) that slipped off the bank and into the brook running through the Dimminsdale site. But I'm never fast enought to get a shot of it. On the other hand sometimes it is really under your nose - like this robin...but I doubt Simon or any other wildlife photographer has anything to fear just yet!!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Woodland Afternoon

Another chance to get some good shots yesterday (today too for that matter except I am busy pretty much the whole day). I now probably have enough RAW material to work with (upwards of 1200 shots!) and really need to get down to post production and selection. I'm really pleased with the newer 'abstract' most of the final submission of 12 to 15 prints will come from the later material...and maybe, if we keep getting light like this, from shoots yet to happen over the festive period. As my friend Simon says, a good time to work in these outdoor locations whilst others are tucked up indoors!

Thursday, 17 December 2009


On the crit yesterday. It was encouraging to see that there was a fair bit of work floating around and the atmosphere had picked up a little. A sense of gritty determination to pull something worthwhile out of the bag was evident and some of the results were quite startling. I showed a number of contact sheets with a wide variety of pictures on them from half a dozen sessions on site and quite a lot of post production work. Inevitably the more recent efforts seemed to attract the most interest and they are the most 'abstract' of the work to date. I'm mildly resistant to this - I started out wanting to engage the medium in a 'purer' form but on one level it makes sense to use what I know so I'm putting aside my initial thinking and trying to work with, rather than against, the grain.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Anyone Out There?

I occasionally wonder...however as it's getting on towards Christmas...I'm posting the ecard here that I'm sending out to one and all. Professor Paul Hill, our Course leader reckons it was taken in Alsop en le Dale and if anyone should know he should. I don't think anyone can have tramped the Peak around there more than Paul. Off in a moment to the last crit before Xmas and, more significantly in terms of this blog, the hand in point for the first semester of this second year.

I think, I hope, that I am making some progress towards something coherent in terms of a submission. I'm pretty settled on format and draft contents - I even have chosen at least three of the images for inclusion. Beyond that I simply need to focus, visually and conceptually, to ensure I can present something both visually intriguing and intellectually clear. Simple! or not...

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

If in doubt prevaricate...

I'm struggling to put together a coherent text to accompany the pictures I have been making since September (well actually before that even...) so today I have been prevaricating. At least it was sort of to a purpose...a mail arrived requesting 'hard copy' for next week's final crit of that is what I have been doing. However at our last session it was recommended that I produce some contact sheets so that is what I have done.

And glory be it's been something of a revelation! Normally I select down to individual pictures and print them off, I guess I'm something of a secretive bugger really (years of working alone in the studio), but this is helpful and shows a little more of the process going on. In fact it shows a real sense of the development of the idea and maybe, just maybe, will feed into the commentary in a very positive manner. So now I have no excuses left and will reluctantly leave this forum and address the blank screen that is currently the commentary... Here's one of the 'try out' images...a long exposure at twilight...that looks way too much like so many other current photographer's so thats a direction ruled out!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Start Making Sense

Is it good or bad that everyone seemed just a tad in the doldrums at yesterday's session? I guess that this point in the semester, the calendar year and the season it might be expected. It certainly isn't a particularly enervating time to be shooting in the great outdoors - which is precisely what a number of us are doing. Even the guest speaker - our first of this year - the inestimable Brian Griffin, who usually does a pretty lively, rather funny and scatological gig seemed to have taken a rather wistful turn of mind for the occasion (I think it might have been the 'academic' context!).

It's also getting to that time when you really do have to decide what you are trying to do with the work for the first hand in time only a few days into 2010. And I guess that is weighing on all our minds. Reflecting on it afterwards I feel it's a measure of the quality within the cohort that there is such a strong sense of want amongst us in terms of saying something distinctive, if not (whisper it), original, that is keeping us from resolution. A long winded way of saying we are not easily pleased. Given the number of young students I've seen over the years who seem very happy to run with their first, slightest idea this is actually pretty healthy!

So; time to knuckle down and get stuck into some serious thinking, action and revisionism...