I’ve been suffering from a bit of anxiety and depression just lately. It happens from time to time ! It’s been a bit of a shit year what with one thing and another. I looked up ‘anxiety’ on the internet and some of the symptoms listed I could identify with. It’s not an easy thing to define or deal with. No matter how much I kept telling myself that there were hundreds of thousands of people much far worse than I was and how lucky I was I could not lift myself out of this dark pit that I felt I was in. I had this dark negative mood hanging around me and as much as I tried to smile and feel happier I just couldn’t and there was absolutely no reason other than things that have been happening this year that I could do about it. I felt oh so tired as well. It wasn’t that I couldn’t be bothered, it was just tiring.
A few days away at a lovely hotel on the West coast has lifted my spirits somewhat. Amongst other things we visited Anthony Gormley’s Another Place on Crosby Beach. I was under strict instructions to leave the Fuji X-Pro at home so just took along my Lumix GF2 ( I told you I was lucky ). I counted about ten photographers on Crosby Beach, all taking photos of Another Place. So ! the question for me was this; how do I go beyond the mere recording of it ? How do I capture the essence of it, what the artist themselves was trying to communicate while at the same time initiating a more personal response ? Something that resonates with the place and the work of art while simultaneously adding my own creative stamp. As photographers this is often what we are dealing with is it not ? We deal with what is in front of us and the challenge is to create something else or personal.
The following quote by Francis Bacon was tacked onto Dorothea LAnge’s darkroom door in 1923, where it remained until her death in 1965
The Contemplation of things as they are
Without error or confusion
Without substitution or imposture
Is in itself a nobler thing
Than a whole harvest of invention
The following notes have been extracted from this book;
Notes From : Dorothea Lange – With a critical essay by George P Elliott – Museum of Modern Art. Second Printing 1968
In every are glancing is an enemy of vision, but in none so much as in photography. Mass journalism has trained us to glance, and the big money photographers have made themsleves masters of the craft of the quick impression: visual elements so whimsically juxtapsoed that the effect is to jolt or tickle the viewer.
It is the photographer’s faith that anything really seen is worth seeing.
There are ways to get a viewer to second look at photographs which do not make a socko first impression, and the photographer can do something about some of these ways. However essential pre-condition is beyond his control: the viewer must be willing to pause, to look again, to meditate.
On “Migrant Mother”
This picture, like a few others of hers, like a few others of a few other photographers, leads a life of its own. That is, it is widely accepted as a work of art with its own message rather than its makers, far more people know the picture than know who made it. There is a sense in which the photographer’s apotheosis is to become as anonymous as his camera.
What had come to matter to her most was that a photograph, perfect or not should say, “Here is what these people look like now”.
“Vision” has religious or mystical overtones. Yet no art is less mystical, by its nature, than photography , especially referential photography
The appearance of actual things, which comprise photography’s subject matter, are by definition superficial and often illusory or deceptive as well.
A paradox: glancing is a foe of art, yet a person walking around in the world with a camera in his hand must see in glances. A camera shutter does not glance so much as super glance. Glancing for so short a time, it takes out of time what it sees.
I asked this chap, “what’s all that about then?”. Dr Griffin is the Invisible Man in H G Wells’ classic tale of a man who manages to make himself, well invisible ! Not having read this classic tale I obviously didn’t know. I asked this chap buying an ice cream if I could make an image to which he replied, “No I’m invisible”. Make your mind up I thought to myself. Nevertheless I admired his intelligent humour although I suspect the joke would be lost on most people as it was on me.
Further along the High St I got chatting to this chap. I say chatting but actually he was talking to me. He’s from Rumania and as friendly as he was I struggled to understand what he was telling me although I picked up the words ‘discrimination’, ‘IPCC’, ‘Chief of Police’ and one or two others of a similar vein. I smiled and told him it had been nice talking to him. It had.
It’s the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness, and wasted apples. We were out walking the other morning and came across three ladies picking fruit. Earth mother types. One of them told me it was alright they’d got permission off Andrew the farmer, “frankly I couldn’t have cared less if you hadn’t I told her”. The dog carried on walking, it’s biscuits he’s interested in.
There’s all sorts of places will let you work for nothing these days. They call it volunteering. If you’re lucky you can get to chop down trees. It’s a very manly thing to do is chop down trees. One of these blokes told his fellow choppers I was going to put the image on social media and claim they were chopping down the trees in our local woods. Yeah right ! as if I’d do something like that ?
It’s one of the things that really winds up my my Mrs. People who just can’t help opening their mouths and uttering dribble. One time we were walking up a large hill and it was really windy. This bloke (it’s usually some smart arsed bloke ) coming in the opposite direction down the big hill shouted “it’s windy up there !”. The Mrs was apoplectic !
Current Instagram favourites: Check em out they’re doing some seriously good work.
Andrew Johnston – andrewj.98
lords of the earth – Carl Anthony Bull
January is a shitty month. I’ve never been a big fan really. Here in the UK it’s cold, wet and damp. This last week the sky has been a leaden grey. If it wasn’t for the BBC crime drama Death in Paradise I wouldn’t get any bloody sunshine right now. The temperature this last week has been about 4 degrees. Apologies if you live in a much colder climate and you’re thinking “hey that’s nothing you should try minus fifteen” or something but here in England anything approaching freezing starts to become a national crisis. We can’t cope.
Yesterday my Version Lightroom 2 decided to throw a wobbler and re-assigned the Folder drive to a different drive letter thus rendering all my images missing. Yes I know we’re on Lightroom 7 or whatever but when I buy a software package I expect it to last forever. I only use it to catalogue and work flow my images with a bit of exposure tweeking anyway. So now I’ve got to go through the whole sorry process of re-assigning the drive letter. The bastard ! The good news is that with my Windows phone now set to Windows 10 I can load the proper version of Instagram. Check me out andygreaves54. So I can up my Instagram profile. Hoorah to that !
I didn’t get a good night’s sleep last night. There was a party going on in my head, lights were flashing, thoughts were dancing. If I could have got up and put pen to paper without disturbing the wife and dog I’d have written a bloody good stream of consciousness article for your edification. Not even a middle of the night cup of tea could send my unwelcome party goers home so I just had to lay there and keep quiet and still.
I’m a bit into fashion. I think fashion is cyclical, what goes around comes around. These days I can’t afford much. If money were no object I’d be going for Armani and Boss with the occasional bit of Gucci and Prada thrown in. A man’s clothes should be simple, unfussy and well made. I can’t be doing with needless buttons and fussy paraphernalia but plenty of pockets for man things. I love a good pair of shoes. Traditional and rugged in design. Recently I’ve been getting my clothes gear from a bloke on the market at knock down prices. I love browsing the Vintage clothes shops, like I said what goes around comes around. I remember when the Chopper was released by Raleigh bikes on an unsuspecting British public. Robert whatsisname over the road had one. He had everything. The first version the handlebars were just fastened by a bolt to the cross bar. Consequently the cow horn handlebars ( see t-shirt for illustration) worked themselves loose resulting in some unforeseen road accidents. Raleigh then released a version where the handlebars were welded.
I’ve had a nice email from a lass called Milly. I’m not sure whether it’s inviting me to enter the competition, just wants to promote itself to me or wants me to promote Wunder Editions on my Blog or all three of those things. Anyway I’m not one for entering competitions as you know (what’s the chances of any of my shit winning ?) but as I’m feeling generous today and well why not, I’ve entered a link and copied the email below for your edification. It was that “If necessary, we are happy to see the definition of street photography stretched to the maximum.” that won it for me. I’m a big fan of stretching things to the maximum.
I am writing to you from Wundor Editions, an independent creative publishers based in London.
Images are a central part of our creative vision at Wundor Editions, and readers of Wundor City Guides will know that street photography is one of our favourite ways of understanding the cities that surround us.
We are currently running a street photography competition, and I was wondering if you would be interested in mentioning it on your website or sharing it with your social media followers?
We are looking for one image that cuts into the city it was taken in and reveals something telling about the urban environment and its inhabitants. The subject matter of the image could range from a simple shot that captures the light and the architectural fabric of the place at a particular time on a particular day, to a picture of a person caught in a revealing moment, to anything in-between. If necessary, we are happy to see the definition of street photography stretched to the maximum.
The winning entry will receive £300.
Full competition details can be found here: http://www.wundoreditions.com/wundor-editions—contests.html
Your readers and followers might also be interested in our East London street photography workshops.
Do let me know if you have any questions or would like any further information about Wundor Editions, or our street photography competition and workshops.
With best wishes,
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