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.
A practical days workshop learning to gain control over your camera, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO, flash etc, setting it up for optimum quality under any given lighting, and making better pictures through composition. Numbers limited to a hand-full.
A ‘sit around the table’ workshop to get to know your camera better. You’ll learn about shutter speeds, aperture, ISO, flash and setting your camera up for optimum quality.
An evening workshop celebrating the dark nights of the Winter. You’ll learn how to make ‘long exposure’ photographs using coloured lights, flames, sparklers and hand-held flash.
I have a wealth of knowledge and experience of photographing 2D artwork, jewellery and ceramics and I’m willing to pass this on to artists eager to improve their own image making camera skills. Although this workshop is for a small group (max 5) I also offer it on a 1:1 basis for ? a day for the same price.
Opening an image file and adjusting levels, contrast, brightness and colour balance. Rotating, resizing and cropping an image. Placing an image or images into a new file. Using layers and history. Participants will need to be computer literate i.e. use a computer on regular basis and understand the basic controls. Small group (max 4).
Using tools, masks and filters to manipulate your image. Tools used in this session are: marquee, move, lasso, magic wand, eraser, paint bucket, eyedropper, hand and zoom. Making a contact sheet and using batch production. Adding type to your image. Participants will need to be computer literate i.e. use a computer on regular basis and understand the basic controls. Small group (max 4).
1 day Workshop: Learning to Look – Theory and Practice
10 week Evening Class: Introduction to Digital Photography
Atlantic Aperture (collapsed) was shown originally at Trelawney Garden Centre with Atlantic Aperture, shown one super-imposed on the other above. Following is the text that accompanied the two images:
We are living on the frontier of climate change here in
Anyway, I digress. I went to print Atlantic Aperture (collapsed) for the Ruby Expo, as they had accepted the image I had sent them as above, however, search as I might through my computer, external drives, back-up DVDs etc I could not find the image. So I resigned to making it again from scratch. Bizarrely after half a day of concerted Photoshop effort it turned out different, I believe better, than it was.
I?m not sure if there is a moral here. It ought to be ?keep your workspace clean and tidy?, ?file everything away in a methodical fashion?, ?always make a back-up of your files?. But my loss is also my gain as the new construction from the original frames is better than it had been. Perhaps the moral should be all of the above plus ?occasionally re-work your images?!