the good, the bad and the ugly (of framing)

OK, so I’ll leave “the good” for another day… Let’s concentrate on “the bad and the ugly” for now…

The trouble with framing is, the benefits of a quality job are not always immediately apparent, so it’s easy to see why some folks baulk at the cost of a bespoke frame and instead, choose something mass-produced. That’s not to say that a mass-produced frame won’t look entirely acceptable, as long as it’s selected wisely and inspected closely. I’m frequently asked to cut a window mount to fit a budget frame, and will happily do so (all customers are good customers, and there’s always the chance of future conversion to bespoke options) and often have to strengthen the corners or the hangers, and always have to add extra flexi-tabs to keep the back flat.  Continue reading “the good, the bad and the ugly (of framing)”

the tale of the taking of a photograph

First published on www.filmwasters.com forum – 20/07/2016

“’Ere, Tone,” said Emma the hairdresser (friend of Mrs S), interrupting the snippety-snip-snipping of her tonsorial attentions as I sat in her kitchen one sunny Sunday morning in June. “You’re the best person to ask.”
“Surely not,” thought I, “there must be millions more qualified than me, in every conceivable subject.”
“I’ve taken a picture of my fruitbowl.” She continued.
“Steady on, girl,” I spluttered, “children present!”
But it turned out she was actually talking about an actual fruitbowl, not some bizarre euphemism… I breathed a sigh of relief.

Continue reading “the tale of the taking of a photograph”

it’s a date…

Edited and updated historical post from www.steers-gallery.co.uk

Some years ago, when I had delusions of being an adequate photographer, I was given the opportunity to shoot a corporate calendar for my employer. You see, I’d made such a fuss about the quality of the previous year’s effort that I think they decided it was the only way to shut me up. Late 2003 it was. My deadline was very tight, but I managed to deliver a dozen nicely exposed 6×6 slides of moderately interesting views, and even got involved with the graphic designer on the layout. In truth, the print quality of the final calendar didn’t do me any favours, but that was well beyond my control, and having sold a number of the images as framed cibachrome prints, I’m happy in the knowledge that my personal quality control was up to standard. It was a fun project, and I wrote an article describing the experience and speculatively sent it off to Amateur Photographer magazine. Joy of joys, it was published, and only slightly edited. Surely I was now set… the big league beckoned… a stellar career in calendar photography, or journalism, or both, was a certainty…

 

Continue reading “it’s a date…”

the lifeboat station project

There are some places whose names become inextricably linked in our memory to events (usually disasters) that happened there:


ABERFAN
DUNBLANE
PENLEE
ZEBRUGGE
LOCKERBIE
WORLD TRADE CENTRE
GRENFELL TOWER
HEYSEL STADIUM


All appalling disasters which resulted in tragic loss of life. All are entrenched in our collective memory, even though we may not have a personal memory. The Aberfan tragedy, for example, happened exactly one year before I was born. There is no possible way I can have a “real” memory of it. Memories of my own childhood up to the age of around 5 or 6 are hazy at best yet Aberfan is etched on my mind, to the extent that on mention of the name, I “see” the old black and white news footage and photographs.
Continue reading “the lifeboat station project”

On-demand publishing

Edited and updated historical post from www.steers-gallery.co.uk Originally published 30/12/12

Have you tried “on-demand publishing” yet?

It’s an oft-quoted fact that people no longer print their photos.  We live in an age when anyone and everyone is a photographer, and you can upload the most banal photograph of your breakfast to a potential global audience before you’ve rubbed the sleep from your eyes, but people just don’t print their photos, preferring to view them on a smartphone screen, brushing each image aside, glancing but not looking, seen but not digested, instant gratification, instantly forgotten, swipe, swipe, swipe… It seems the humble photo album, that printed link to our, and our family’s past, is now itself, a thing of the very past it used to celebrate. What a great shame that is.  Continue reading “On-demand publishing”

exhibitions and influences

I love talking photography. Discussing and debating what I like and what I don’t care much for. Sharing knowledge and ideas can feed your own interest and also be a potent fertiliser when you feel your artistic life beginning to wither.

I’ll often drop in on any local gallery, and if the exhibiting photographer / artist is present, there’s nothing I like more than having a good old chat. There’s a connection between us as I take in what they’re exhibiting. I try not to critique, that’s not why I’ve walked through the door, but I’ll point out what I like and offer an opinion if pressed. If the exhibitor is proud / happy / confident enough to put their work up for public consumption then they’ve already won my respect, and that goes for any art form, not just photography. Continue reading “exhibitions and influences”

kids grow up…

At what point do children lose their patience and stop humouring a camera-wielding parent?

Of course, some never will. They’ll continue to generously provide their parents with beautiful moments to capture and cherish for the whole of their lives together, and on through successive generations. But the fact that that kind of sustained photographic document has become “newsworthy” in recent times shows just how unusual (and enviable) it is.

From their first breath, I photographed my two boys. Documenting their lives through the taking of enough photos to fill a book. Indeed, I did fill a book. Charting the first ten years of parenthood, it was a personal memento. I made just a single copy which made my wife cry when I presented it to her one Christmas morning. My intention was to follow it up with a second volume on year twenty, but here we are, nearing my oldest son’s eighteenth birthday, and I have barely enough good shots to fill a flyer. Continue reading “kids grow up…”

Up, up and away

Edited and updated historical post from www.steers-gallery.co.uk Originally published 16/04/13

It’s easy to see why aerial photography by the likes of Yann Arthus-Bertrand has become so popular. It’s probably the driving force behind the current rise in popularity of camera drones. There is something quite compelling about seeing “the earth from the air”. It’s a perspective we seldom see, and can be breathtaking.

However, remotely controlling a drone from terra-firma cannot possibly compare  with actually being up there like the girl in the “nimble” ads… (ask someone who remembers the 1970s).

So, July 2012 and I’m in a big wicker basket suspended beneath a big red balloon. It was a warm, slightly hazy and remarkably still morning at Etchinghill. In fact, so little wind was there that, after drifting lazily this way and that trying to find some direction from breezes at varying altitudes, we eventually came back to earth on the same golf course from which we had taken off some 90 minutes earlier. Continue reading “Up, up and away”