My latest exhibition, ‘Art Trek’, at St Annes Chapel in Barnstaple (with Monika Grand) is made up of two brand new pictures from this year (2016), three pictures from a few years ago which have not made it to the printing stage before, one image re-made from the original frames, another three made for the Sock Gallery in Loughborough last October and not shown before in Devon; plus some additional oldies and goldies.
The brand new 2016 images are from Bossiney, or Benoath Cove, in North Cornwall. It’s a place I’ve known for a few years but have really grown to love this year. The beach there is only accessible on a really low tide and even a spring low tide only gave me a couple of hours to explore the amazing caves.
The two caves at high tide are from Combe Martin, accessed via my kayak just as the tide had turned to go back out. The original photographs were shot in 2014 but my computer memory wasn’t large enough at the time to enable the full realisation of the works. This year I upgraded to 64Gb of RAM and so I have at last been able to blend the crashing waves successfully.
Another picture which proved impossible at the time of taking was the Cave at Menachurch Point, which was made up from such a huge number of images that I again had to abandon it until this year. This picture has been described as ‘tomb-like’ by one of the exhibition visitors. It’s right-hand cave wall, vertical, flat and ridged, is a great example of the original sea-bed of this contorted sandstone strata.
The Mouse Hole, has been totally re-made for this exhibition. Although it is an extreemly popular image I have often been troubled by the saturation and unworldliness of my original finished piece shown small here. This remake, literally taking the original RAW files and re-processing them in Photoshop and Lightroom, them re-stitching has given me something far closer to the original memory of the cave at Mousehole.
On Monday 10th September I had the pleasure of talking with the Okehampton Camera Club; a progressive group of about 25 creative photographers on the edge of Dartmoor.
I used the title ?Constructive Photographs? to present and discuss my work. This title can be used to sum up my working practice since the mid-1990?s. It was never a conscious decision to have such an obscure thread running through my work. But it is apparent in 35mm film triptychs, camera-less daylight processes silver images and through my 21st century digital work. The process is rarely hidden in my work and the photographically literate will make the connection of sprocket holes on the edge of a triptych or the hard, unblended, edge of a frame seen around the outside of a huge cave interior landscape.
The animated gif above shows the constructing of an early image made in North Devon. This is named ?Shipload Grotto?, a cave in the difficult to get to Shipload Bay, close to Hartland Point. I should really make an up-to-date animation to illustrate the using of ?photomerge? in Photoshop; this one was made using a 2003 Sony Cyber-shot which served me well at the time but it?s lens was prone to chromatic aberration (the coloured edge seen where the contrast between very dark and very light is at the most extreme, like the entrance of a cave). The finished imaged was made from 51 separate frames.
Prior to my talk at the Club, I got a chance to witness their annual show, held this year at the Museum of Dartmoor Life, in Okehampton. This was a great way of getting to know the photographers by their photographs. I was really encouraged by the overall quality of work and the emphasis the club has for creativity and experiment; members seem to be developing their own styles which enhances the overall experience of the exhibition. The show continues until 29th September.
Further reading….Writing this blog I just remembered a hidden page I have on my own website which some of you might be interested in. On it I write about the techniques used in making triptychs and constructed images. It isn’t up-to-date but find the page here, it’s called secrets.