A while back we visited an area of Egypt near to Luxor in the Valley of the Kings.Here are few images from that trip. (The balloon in the main picture above, taken very early morning above The Valley of the Kings, crashed a year or so later, killing most on board.)
Taken recently in Lincoln, for me at least, this image seems to hold much of what 2020 has become. Boredom and the ennui generated by that. And yet so much has changed and is still yet to change. We are engulfed by a curious storm. One which is invisible to us and yet surrounds us. Let’s hope we become free of its stultifying effects soon. Life cannot continue to be ‘on hold’. It just can’t. Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. Haruki Murakami
This morning when I woke, I was thinking about pictures – this is not unusual for me. I think about images a lot – and this morning I thought about what makes a good picture. I take pictures – not so many under Covid restrictions because I work mainly on the street – but how do I know it’s a good picture? Firstly, I suppose, you have to define what constitutes a “good picture”, and as we are all different, then what makes a good picture to one does not to another; yes, it’s personal, as they say. There is no simple answer.
Yesterday I had a perfect morning. Physically I felt well, ten years younger in fact. My legs didn’t ache. I didn’t drag my feet and when I had finished my walk, I could have easily done it again – that’s not generally the case.
Recently, I asked on Twitter who amongst my ‘followers’ sold their pictures on line and if they did would they mind sharing their experiences; the reason being I wish to sell some of my own pictures on line and I thought I could benefit from the experience of those who had gone before, as it were. I had some interesting comments and help.
Like many others I guess, I edit pictures whilst listening to music. I always have done, ever since my darkroom days. I even write whilst listening to music – though there cannot be any vocals, too distracting. Often the music dictates what I edit and indeed the way I might edit it. And, of course, some pictures just call for a specific genre or mood of music.
On every other Sunday from October to September the flat-ish beach of a fading ‘kiss me quick hat’ beach resort on the East Coast of England turns into a mayhem mixture of burning Castrol R oil, flying sand and shiny 2 wheeled projectiles with humans of all ages and both sexes trying to stay on top of them as they thrash around the sand (occasionally water) course. It’s sand racing. A cross between motorcycle speedway, grass track and circuit racing – but somehow not managing to be any of those. It’s casually organised – not official that is. Anybody with a bike can ride. No license needed. Just get on and go when you’re told. If you fall off, and many do, the race is stopped and the ambulance drives across the beach to where you are. Once clear, off they go again. The noise straightens your hair, if the winds of the North Sea haven’t done that already. Sand, sea, fish and chips and motorbike racing on the beach. How can it get better …
Post section headings Gearism A simple fact What to take pictures of Visual awareness Darkroom printing Who is it for? Move away from Generalism It takes time Back to that review Recently I was asked to review a set of images by a photographer here in Lincoln. First of all, I should make it clear, though I was happy to oblige, this is not something I generally do because I don’t consider myself an expert. I’ve just taken a lot of pictures in my life, some of which I’ve liked and some have been liked by others. Perhaps that’s enough to give me the tools to comment? I don’t know. What I do know, is that taking tens of thousands of pictures provides some opinion forming perspective. “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson Reviewing the photographers images I could see strong similarities with my own trajectory through photography. My own labours and experiences reflected in her work. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up a little and perhaps start …
Images from Coventry cathedral 2007
In a conversation I was having with fellow photographer John Meehan over on ‘WhatsApp’ he quoted the phrase “Soot and whitewash” to describe prints using an economy of tones in mono printing. The conversation started after I published the image shown above of Saltley Gas Works in Birmingham taken back in the late 60’s – early 70’s. Very reduced tonal scale, very grainy and even scratched. I said it was redolent of the times. John’s phrase came from a book called “Young Meteors” by Martin Harrison in which he discusses photographers and their styles in the years 1957-1965. The tonal compression style of McCullin, Bulmer et al is dramatic. The images jump off the page. I wrote in my previous piece on WhatsApp how Saltley, where I was born and lived for a few years, has left a strong impression on me, reflected in this Gas Works shot. For me *“Soot and Whitewash” has 2 meanings: The first, clearly, is the graphical reduction of tones in a black and white print; The second meaning reflecting …