Its been awhile since my last post, for two reasons; one i’ve just been a bit busy and two, I have been having a dilemma about how I should continue with my blog. For me, there are two different elements, one is what I am doing from now on and the other is why I do what I do, my motivations etc.
I have also started the MA in Documentary Photography and Photojournalism at the LCC and I will be putting some posts here in relation to that.
So three new tags, Motivations, My work and MA. Should be self explanatory.
I did manage to get out to Athens for a while in November hoping to take a few images but I was not able to do as much as I had hoped. Here’s an image I took at one of the demonstrations, about 30 mins after I left water cannon was used for the first time to disperse the crowds. What struck me was the broad range of people there, old, young, whole families in fact. It’s just a shame that a peaceful demonstration like this resorts to violence from the actions of so few.
In May 2012 I went on a workshop in Wolverhampton UK. I was a really excited but also really nervous as the workshop was taken by Bruce Gilden, one of my favourite photographers. The first day started as most of these workshops do, showing your images to everyone.
This one one of the images I showed from a series of photographs around The Cross in Chichester. If you want to see some more images from this series click here.
Some were great some were not, I don’t really think Bruce liked any of them but I guess being who he is, his standards are high and being who we are we are probably not as accomplished. From what he saw he gave us tasks on an individual basis depending on our strengths and weaknesses, I thought that was quite a good idea. The next day we all met in the morning and went through the images we had taken the day before, Bruce and the group critiqued and then went out and did it again the next day with some tweaking of our tasks.
At the end of the workshop I think I ended up with some improvement there was one image that everyone seemed to like. The image is an older guy unfortunately he has to use a mobility scooter but still he maintains a strong character and individuality with it. Rockers live on… in Wolverhampton at least! He was a great character and was more than happy letting me take his photograph.
Other images from the Wolverhampton workshop a can be found here.
Bruces told me that I wasn’t standing in the right place and I should go and get a few books of the masters and study them. I probably felt a bit down after all that because I got the impression that my photographs were rubbish but i thought I would take his advice and so I went and stocked up on some good books. I pretty much stopped shooting altogether for a while.
After doing some reading and studying some books I think I realised that its all about capturing what set out to capture. If you have an idea to photograph something in an unconventional way then do it, but do it well.
These days I prefer black and white photos. An old photographer friend of mine, who is no longer with us, once told me that people only do black and white because they can not do colour, to a point I think he is probably right, well in my case at least. I shoot both film and digital and I think these days there are infinite options with digital colour post processing that my mind gets clouded. I have not been able to find a look or style that I like enough to replicate. I keep working at it and I am getting there but to be honest I find post processing a bit tiresome, I am also colour blind which I’m sure does not help much. What I have found with black and white is that you can control what the viewer looks at more easily and it is easier to gain a consistency across a range of images.
I took the image below in Montreal, in January 2012. The link below that will take you to all the images from that series. These images were taken at different times of the day in different locations and under different lighting conditions, using both film and Digital. I think black and white helps keep the consistency.
Winter in Montreal
This next image I think was taken around 1925 or 1926, I recognise all the family members there, my father is the tallest one to the right of centre standing behind his father. His brother to left George, I never met as he died in the Second World War. All the others I remember well for their great individuality and character. Again it is not easy to determine the lifestyles and what sort of existence they had but the surroundings are far from opulent. I am going to make a separate page with more of these photos but the point of showing them here is to illustrate how difficult it is to understand what sort of existence they had and for that reason I like see and take photographs of people in their context.