On Landscape has kindly featured an article about my Warped Topographies project. It is available to paid subscribers only and I would urge you to subscribe regardless as it is a great independent publication featuring the full gamut of landscape, from close to wide, from blurry to detailed!
"Whether we simply enjoy being in the landscape or are involved in its representation the question we will all confront at some stage is ’How do we relate to the landscape?’. There is the inescapable awareness that we are of nature and yet apart from it. And although we can see and even imagine nature, it is beyond our abilities to fully comprehend it. Plus we all become aware that the land is not only changed by the hand of people, it can also change us.
Being in the landscape (and representing the landscape) is to simultaneously inhabit two worlds, the one before us and the one inside us. And when those two worlds collide and intermingle the result can often surprise.
When John Muir wrote “I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” (John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir.) he expressed a key element of that two way transformative potential.
Taking inspiration for their name from Muir’s words the Inside the Outside collective are a diverse group of photographers that share an awareness of that potential and for whom it has become an essential element of their work. It is a question they commonly explore, but in highly individual and personal representations of the land around them.
Dealing as it does with the reality of what is before us, and also with the often unspoken ability to express something of our inner selves, photography is the perfect medium to explore our relationship with the land. And it also the perfect medium to mediate between those two simultaneous worlds of being there experiencing and the revelations that occur when we open ourselves to the creative possibilities of that liminal space.
Our aim is to share ideas, derive greater insight and inspiration by working together, exhibit our work collectively and to run associated events, talks and workshops."
I'm pleased to announce that one of my images, Flow, has been selected to be part of the Royal Photographic Society Biennial 2017.
From the RPS website:
"Members worldwide were invited to submit their images to an open call competition, which was reviewed by a selection panel. The selected work celebrates the diversity of imagery being created by our community of members, at all levels of photographic practice.
The exhibition tours the UK from March and also includes work from some of The Society’s Honorary Fellows, which has provided the selected photographers the rare opportunity to exhibit their work alongside some of the most respected names in photography today."
The exhibition dates are:
4–26 Mar, Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford
1–16 Apr, intu, Watford
22 Apr–3 Jun, The Point, Doncaster
24 Jun–5 Aug, Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, Warrington
18 Aug–21 Sep, Washington Arts Centre, Washington
30 Sep–12 Oct, Hull International Photo Festival, (Hull City of Culture)
4 Nov–7 Dec, Royal Albert Hall, London. The exhibition can be viewed when attending performances or on a number of free public open days - dates TBC.
Producing a list of favourite images of the year is a popular thing for photographers to do, in part it is a great way to assess what has changed over the year, but it's a hard job to sift through your work and choose a reasonable number. I failed to get it down to the 10 or 15 others have managed.
This year was, for a few reasons, my most prolific year of photography since I bought my Canon D60 back in 2002. Unlike Doug Chinnery, I don't tend to delete images in an end of year cleanup and this year I have shot a lot of timelapses and taken the opportunity to get out and about with the camera as much as possible. Prolific doesn't always mean high in quality, but I hope that I'm learning and improving all the time.
Most of the year has been taken up with a big Polaroid project, Warped Topographies. I have used Instagram as the main place to post these. From March onwards (other than a few Facebook posts) it has all been Polaroids! I've chosen not to post any of them in this list as it might go on a bit.
A birthday trip to Iceland in February proved to be wonderful. We stayed at the end of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. It was fabulous; the colours, the isolation, digging out various people who'd got stuck off road with inadequate vehicles and my first sight of the Northern Lights made it very special.
We are blessed with plenty of green belt space where I live. Although it isn't spectacular there is plenty of scope for intimate studies, and I have kept revisiting the same spaces to see the changes over the year.
In April I went on my first photographic workshop with David Ward and met some lovely people including Karl Mortimer, David O'Brien, Paul Mitchell, Graham Cook, Alex Winser, Gary Lever, and Paul Davis. It was a beautiful day and despite losing my glasses, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time. I could post loads of images from the day but will limit myself to one. The workshop's focus on colour, texture, light and intimate detail was perfect! And I got to stand next to Karl as he made his shortlisted image for LPOTY!
Madeira was a beautiful place to visit in the summer. It had suffered from forest fires only a few weeks before and many places had been badly affected. Despite that the devastation proved very photogenic.
A tipoff from the aforementioned 'Texture Twins'; Alex and Graham, led me to Faversham boatyard for some colour and decay.
The dreaded misty trees struck on an early morning trip top Cuffley Great Woods.
A day trip for some street photography and food!
I went to the OnLandscape: A Meeting of Minds conference and this was taken before the second day started. The conference was inspiring and it was also good fun to meet with 'online' friends and meet new ones.
With these two I took some inspiration from the talk given by John Blakemore who talked about using multiple exposures to show time passing. He sometimes used up to 48 exposures (but never 50!) so I followed the master to the letter!
A lovely morning in the local playing fields; low lying fog with the sun burning through
The final image is of lichen taken up on the Cleveland Way in the North York Moors between Christmas and New Year.
I’m pleased to announce I will have 3 photographs exhibited (my first time) as part of the Royal Photographic Society International Photobook Exhibition 2016 which is held at
Espacio Gallery (http://www.espaciogallery.com)
159 Bethnal Green Road
Dates: 18th–23rd October 2016
Private View: Thursday 20 October 18:00-21:00
From the exhibition notes:
The photobook has evolved to become an established art form, particularly since 2000. Exhibitions and festivals are now held in many countries across Europe, the USA, Scandinavia, the Far East and Australia/New Zealand. Most photobooks are about telling a story through a series of photographs, giving a reader an in-depth repeatable experience.
This is the first international photobook exhibition, open to all, that has been organised by the Royal Photographic Society (RPS). Submissions are being short-listed by a jury of international photobook experience. Those that pass the selection, with a winner, second and third being nominated, feature in this exhibition. All may be browsed at the gallery.
In support of the selected photobooks, 15 members of the RPS have been invited to exhibit their photographic prints in conjunction with showing their photobook featuring the series from which these images were made.
Short-listed photobook authors will be known after the selection in September. Photographers exhibiting prints with a photobook are:
Angel Amero, Robert Bedson, Lizzie Brown, Antionette Castro, Richard Earney, Chris Gravett, Robert Herringshaw, Mark Kelly, Nick Linnett, Tom Owens, Chris Roche, Seigfried Rubbert, Brian Steptoe, Neil Wittmann
The Exhibition selectors are:
David Campany, writer, curator, tutor of photography, photobook selector, Sony World Photo lead selector, RPS Award holder 2014.
Lucy Kumara Moore, Director of Claire de Rouen Books, selector for MACK First book award.
Dewi Lewis, photobook publisher
It isn't often that I get to shoot images when the weather is -3C, with 20m/s winds, in the middle of a snowstorm, while the sun still shines, but I'm mightily glad I did with this set.
They were all shot on a frozen lake in Rif in the Snaefelsness peninsular of Iceland using the Fuji 55-200 to isolate the elements.
I had noticed the lake the night before but the light was too flat, but could see the potential of the shapes, colours and what it would look like in the right light. Despite the prevailing weather conditions, the next morning provided that light.
The title reflects my thinking that the shapes and forms reminded me of Tolkein's Dead Marshes from the Lord of the Rings (a book I detest - possibly the worst summer holiday ever was spent reading it!). But also these images took on a greater significance as I genuinely thought I'd lost them. Anyone who has ever experienced that knows just how sick you feel. Thanks to Rescue Pro the images were all there and all recovered. But not until i had returned to England
There are even elements of the cloud patterns of Jupiter to be seen in the shapes; so being lost, far away with the possibilities lurking below all helped inform this work.
My recent trip to Iceland provided numerous options for big vistas. But also quieter moments of more introspective imagery.
In the Snæfelsness peninsular there are some lovely fjords with magical pastel light. The contrast between freezing temperatures, wild winds and epic views and the gentle eau-de-nils, pinks and yellow pastel colours was unexpected.
Kolgrafafjörður provided great subject matter including large amounts of crushed ice, and thin ice coatings at the shoreline. As someone who loves the detail in a landscape I couldn't resist.
Here's a small portfolio titled Filigree consisting of 8 square images.
A February trip to Iceland promised much winter weather and the possibility of Northern Lights and it duly delivered. But along the way there was a heart-stopping moment.
The Fuji performed almost flawlessly. Weather-sealing, no doubt, helps a bit (but my son’s X-T10 was fine too) until one day at 12:49 a messaged flashed on the screen as I tried to preview an image, "READ ERROR". Odd, I thought, I'd not seen a card problem on a camera since the days of my Canon D60 and 1GB IBM Microdrives.
As I was busy shooting in a snowstorm, I gave it no more thought; indeed I carried on shooting with the camera until late in the afternoon. During some downtime I checked again and received the same message. My son said he'd seen it too, but pressing the right command dial button would let you scroll through the images and sure enough there were some images on the card.
Again I carried on shooting for a bit longer.
When I returned to base and checked the card to my horror the images from 12:49 onwards were nowhere to be found. There is nothing like the cold sweat of realisation that you might have lost images. Certainly nothing I want repeated!
The card used was a San Disk 64GB Extreme Pro. Fortunately the card came with a free year's RescuePRO Deluxe. The two problems were I didn't have the serial number to hand and I was limited to a tethered 3G connection to download RescuePRO Deluxe.
An aside about data connections in Iceland - frankly they put the UK to shame. For a population of under 500,000; the smallest village and even wilderness generally has a 3G connection. In the UK you are lucky to have anything outside of a big city!
An hour or so later I had the software but oddly, even though the card mounted on the Mac, it wasn't being seen by the software. I resolved to leave it until I returned.
However some research suggested that there had been issues in the past with Fuji X-Series camera and Mac hidden files.
Mac OS X generally leaves some hidden files on media (they are named .DS_Store). It was alleged that they can interfere with the Fuji writing.
Alternatively it could be something to do with the size of the card.
There were a couple of suggested remedies. Before inserting a card to grab the images, lock it. That way the Mac can only read the images and not write anything.
It seems that more regular formatting cards can help too - as that destroys the hidden files and means you don’t get a buildup of files and hidden files.
I kept the card locked for the remainder of the trip and then used RescuePro Deluxe in a Lexar Card reader on my return home.
Fortunately all the images were restored and apart from renaming them and removing files with the .tif or .pcx extension all was good.
Thanks need to go to Matthew Lee in Tech Support at LC Tech Support Services Ltd, who helped me through some worrying times!
Generally my card usage and backup regime is pretty good, but this has certainly given me cause for further thought.
Here is a new Abstract Grass image to brighten up your Monday. Multi-layered in Photoshop for your viewing pleasure.
Last week's On Landscape Magazine published some of my Abstract Grasses in its Subscribers 4x4 section.
Their 4x4 feature is a set of four mini portfolios from their subscribers, each consisting of four images related in some way.
I also loved Stuart Westmore's Roebuck Bay tides, abstract seascapes in the same section.
Aerial views such as these, and those shot by masters like Hans Strand, alter your perspective of the landscape more than almost any other part of the canon. Of course heading up in a plane is an expensive old business, but well worth it from the work we see.