“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” ― Robert Hughes
I imagine many of us occasionally have those feelings that we’re out of our depth, that we don’t know what we’re doing, or we’re out of control and being carried along against our will or judgement. Most of the time these feelings are momentary. We attempt to regain control and move on, but what happens to our creativity during these periods of doubt? And what if those periods are not fleeting, but consistent, long term and debilitating?
Continue reading “it’s all in the mind”
Following on from the previous post which described the darkness that Don McCullin feels from his years of bearing witness to the worst of humanity, and how those dark feelings are alleviated, just a little, by photographing the land, or creating classical still life compositions, I wanted to explore a little more the idea of how our mental state might affect, and be affected by, our photography.
I always feel a little irked when a museum or gallery levies a charge to enter certain areas of an otherwise free to enter establishment. It irritates, probably more than it should, especially when the entry fee feels excessive, and for the same reasons that I won’t pay inflated “event” parking charges at the O2, or use the public lavatories at London Victoria train station, I’ve occasionally dropped plans to take in an exhibition due to what, to me at least, appears to border on profiteering by the venue.
Continue reading “Don McCullin at the Tate”
Now, I have no problem with a venue covering its costs with a nominal entry fee. A well known “name” showing in a well known setting may well see me parting with a tenner to get through the door, but I work long and hard for a moderate salary, so I want value, and that includes the cost of getting to and from the venue.
After posting about my home-built pinhole camera a few months ago, I had in mind an idea to introduce more of my cameras in an “occasional series” kind of thing.
Herewith, then, the Agfa Isolette II:
Continue reading “agfa isolette II”
A very old friend returned earlier this year from a break in beautiful Dorset with a couple of large photo prints and some very definite ideas on how he wanted to display them.
He explained the kind of look he had in mind, and we scoured the moulding catalogues trying to find something that matched his vision.
Rustic. Distressed. Driftwood. These were the keywords to the search, but nothing we found really made an impression. That’s not to say there isn’t a whole load of perfectly nice mouldings to be found, just that none really hit the sweet spot. Some came close, but none were the “Goldilocks” just right moulding.
Continue reading “framing – the bespoke option”
I’m a big fan of square photos, it’s long been my favourite format, but I’m increasingly finding that there’s something about the panoramic format that appeals to me.
You may have read my earlier post about my first foray into pinhole photography. It’s no accident that my self-built pinhole camera utilises the panoramic format.
I’ve long fancied getting my hands on a nice Hasselblad x-pan and a couple of lenses, but my wallet just won’t stretch to that, so my little wooden “x-pin” is as close as I’ll get for the foreseeable future.
Now, I know that digital technology makes creating big panoramas relatively easy by stitching multiple images together, but really, if you’ve read anything on this blog you’ll know that’s just not me. The mere thought of spending that long at a computer screen puts me in a cold sweat. It’s not a facet of photography that I will ever enjoy, so I’ll leave it to those who do. I will concede though, to a brief dalliance with panoramic cropping. It’s quick and easy, and can sometimes throw up an intriguing composition. Continue reading “playing with panoramas”
Edited and updated historical post from www.steers-gallery.co.uk
Were it not for the fact that 2018 is designated a “fallow year”, this weekend just passed would have been the Glastonbury Festival, so it seems an appropriate point in the year for this post…
Back to June 2010 then, and the 40th anniversary Glastonbury Festival. A conversation with some friends ended with four of us deciding we’d like to experience it, and if it turned out not to be to our liking, well at least we’d know not to do it again. Beginners luck maybe, but tickets seemed easy enough to procure, sadly not a statement I’ve felt able to repeat since! Continue reading “my happy place”
It must have been around five years ago that I decided to build a pinhole camera.
I’d come across this website:
which sparked my interest, so using the plans on the site as a guide, but making a few minor adjustments, I set about cutting, shaping, sanding, gluing, drilling and painting.
I used 6mm MDF for the outer shell, and 6mm “mighty-core” foam board for the internals, making quite a sturdy little box. A simple winding mechanism pulls the 120 film in front of a piece of thin brass shim, which I hand-drilled with a 0.25mm drill held in a pin chuck.
With the 0.25mm diameter hole, and a distance from pinhole to film of 40mm, the f/stop according to Mr Pinhole’s calculator is f160.
A steel washer is glued onto the front of the brass shim in a recess on the front of the box, and a “memo board” type magnet fits snuggly into the recess as a shutter. Continue reading “pinhole photography – my first attempt”
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)”
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”
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…”