New Blog….

Following on from several succesful (I think) Street photography trips to London, and a Canon Sponsored double page feature in this months Photography News… and in no way connected to the fact this blogs limit is bulging and spilling over.

I am creating a brand new self hosted website centering around my street and urban photography adventures it’s also connected to my INSTAGRAM

Announcing…..

Londonist Captures

The intent is to showcase some of my imagery from London and other towns and citys as well as eventually be a guide to those places for fellow creatives.

You’ll see images such as these.

Please do consider taking a look and perhaps subscribing to the site as I would love it to grow.

London Street at 35mm

I must admit to being a tad forgetful when it comes to updating the blog these past few months. I am so busy flitting here and there trying to find a style, a niche or a type of photography I enjoy.

Recently I’ve been taking a few trips to London and trying some varied styles of street photography. Here are just a few images from a recent trip.

As you can see they vary widely in not only colour, composition and style but also subject. All have one thing in common that they are taken at 35mm on my Eos R, a camera that I love.

The hardest shoot ever..

So as many people who read this blog will know, I have a fear of shooting people. Actually that’s not strictly true, I thoroughly dislike shooting people in any way, shape or form. It’s not that I dislike people or the art of shooting them, it’s the fact I have absolutely no idea how to pose them, how to accurately tell their story in a shot and how to then edit that to its fullest. It just sets off my anxiety… It’s something I need to work on.

I’ll be honest I’d much rather be in a field shooting deer, birds or insects than in a studio space or room shooting humans for any reason.

So with that in mind I totally went against every instinct I have and I agreed to help a fellow (now ex) RACC student when she shot a friends wedding. It was without doubt the biggest learning curve I have had and I’m not entirely sure I could even glean a little satisfaction from it. In fact it’s almost cemented my view that I cannot happily shoot people and animals are much much easier.

From the onset it was hard going, a Dimly lit venue with terrible lighting, no flash could be used and outside it was absolutely pouring down, which ruled out the lovely shots in the park or sunshine that initially we thought would be great.

In some shots we were hitting iso 12800 which luckily the 5d mark 4 can handle pretty well. Out of the 1000 or so images I took there are perhaps 80 usable and decent quality images to select a set which is actually surprising given the terrible lighting at the venue.

Trying to get and arrange a large group of people to pose, smile and cooperate when half pissed and hungry was a challenge in itself and one I can only admire wedding photographers for dealing with.

So putting all that aside I thought I’d show 1 image from day which I am pleased with. Backlit by a window in the world’s smallest bridal room I hope I managed to make it a nice shot.

Many lessons learned from that day, not least that weddings are not my forte unless it’s one of those kooky animal ones in a forest somewhere.

I will (no doubt) go against my instincts and try again and again because I suppose you can never stop trying new things and learning.

Transformation – Coastal texture

Unit 1: Visual Recording in Art and Design – Criteria P 2, 4, 5

A quick outing to Mudeford Quay today brought some Interesting textures. Following the line of thought of Transformation of surface Definately possibilities for the Final project. Yet to figure out whether these would be best presented in colour or black and white but I like both so the choice may not be easy. The vivid colours of the rust look just as eye-catching in black and white. These are basic edits so there is further exploration to be done here.

The macro lens really helped here most of these tiny scenes are less than 5cm long. All present a tiny abstract view of the object, a total disconnect from its reality.

From rust eating away at a ships anchor to peeling paint on a boat through to the bark peeling away from a tree. All symbolise a material transformation brought on by decay of one form or another. And a transformation of perception of the actual subject.

I’ll continue this during the weeks other visits.

Transformation – Aaron Siskind

Unit 1: Visual Recording in Art and Design – Criteria P 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

More and more I am finding myself drawn to the theme of Rust, Rot and Decay as previously blogged HERE. Today, as part of our visit to The Shape of Light exhibition at the Tate, One photographer in the surfaces and textures themed room of the exhibition stood out to me as someone who very much encapsulated the type of images I have recently been taking, and considering as an approach for this term, and that is Aaron Siskind. Here’s a quick bio.

Aaron Siskind (December 4, 1903 – February 8, 1991) was an American photographer. He is considered to be closely involved with, if not a part of, the abstract expressionist movement.
Aaron Siskind was born to a Russian-Jewish immigrant family in New York City. The first art forms to catch his interest were poetry and music, which led him to believe he would become a writer. After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School, Siskind earned his Bachelor of Social Science degree in Literature from the College of the City of New York in 1926 and went on to teach English in the New York City public school system for 21 years.

A camera given as a gift for his wedding to Sidonie Glaller in 1930 galvanized his interest in photography. He was said to have spent much of his honeymoon taking pictures in Bermuda.

“We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there. We have been conditioned to expect.. but, as photographers, we must learn to relax our beliefs.”

It was in the 1940s that Siskind’s photographic interests moved away from socially centred, literal documentary works toward the more formal, poetic, conceptual images for which he became internationally renowned. This shift from document to metaphor embodied images of weathered fragments and textured surfaces through which he explored ideas of decay, fragmentation, and regeneration.

He created pictures by closing in on his subjects, framing out distracting elements to enhance the emotional sense and concentrate the viewer on the aspect he found compelling. Later he focused on surfaces to further condense the energies of splashed paint, graffiti marks and crumbling materials. In his later work he focused on natural formations — tree trunks and lava fields — where he isolated expressive figurative forms. Siskind was an explorer of the visual world, and as he travelled he created pictures he hoped would express enduring truths about human experience.

Aaron Siskind found emotional joy and tension in the process of discovering subjects and photographing them. His photographs emphasise the lines, textures and shapes of objects. The photograph on the top is of a wall which has been painted and postered, but Aaron has taken a photograph when both the paint and paper has started to peel off.

The photograph on the underneath is of a brick wall, however he has used an interesting camera angle to capture the surface texture and formation.
I like these photographs as I like the way that Siskind has captured the details of the different surfaces. I also like the way he has used different camera angles to capture more of the surface, having the bottom part focused, and the top blurred using Dof techniques to emphasise the scale. I love how his other photographs show the textures of decayed layers. I have previously taken some similar style images below.

I also have taken a few in the past which I think also look great and very abstract for Nature images. They show the contrast and fragmentation of natural objects in a constant change.

I had started to shoot in a similar way HERE last week in London and Zig said to try a flat surface approach rather than angles or angular surfaces so I will be looking into that this week and whilst away on holiday as I am sure I can find many rusting and decaying surfaces at the coast. As I mentioned above I am increasingly finding my gaze narrowed in on this project to a final theme or potential outcome which is great, and of course has to happen, but I really want to keep a few avenues open for this until I can pare down the idea to a final outcome.

Thomas Struth

Unit 23 – Photographic Media, Techniques and Technology criteria P 1,2,3,4

A photographer I have recently been researching after chancing upon some of his work both online and in the Cruel and Tender book is Thomas Struth. I must admit to noticing a few key themes in some of his work that align with ideas I have had for my project for a cruel and tender. From his work in architectural and brutalist imagery to his Images of people in art galleries and museums which correspond with my idea of people in Art appreciation. Here are some Images and some Information about him.

Thomas Struth (born 1954) is a German photographer whose wide-ranging work covers detailed cityscapes, museums, art galleries, urban jungles and family portraits. Along with Andreas Gursky, he is one of Germany’s most noted modern-day photographers

Born in Germany Struth trained at the Düsseldorf Academy from 1973 until 1980 where he initially studied painting under Peter Kleemann and Gerhard Richter before settling on Bernhard Becher’s photography studio. He won a scholarship to work at in New York for the year of 1978. His early works largely consisted of black-and-white shots of streets in Japan, Europe and America. Skyscrapers were another favourite feature of his work, with many of his photographs attempting to show the relationship people have with their modern-day environment.

In the mid-1980s Struth added a new dimension to his work when he started to produce family portraits.

As a result, these works attempt to show the underlying social dynamics within a seemingly still photograph.

Basing himself in the art capital of Germany – Düsseldorf, Struth’s artistic profile continued to rise in the 1990s, and in 1997 he was awarded the Spectrum International Photography Prize of Lower Saxony.

Struth had his first solo exhibition in the U.S. at The Renaissance Society in Chicago in 1990. He had an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2003. The centre of the exhibition was the Museum series, I previously mentioned, which featured seemingly ordinary shots of people entering churches, museums and other public places and appreciating the architecture and art within.

Thomas Struth’s work is a testimony that ‘us’ photographers are researchers. This next extract is from James Lingwood’s Composure – A text on Thomas Struth.

Thomas Struth’s photographs over the past 20 years constitute a sustained and concentrated inquiry into the ethics and aesthetics of seeing. Struth’s research is not motivated solely by an interest in what we can see – the surfaces of places, people and paintings – important though the subjects of his photographs are to him. He is equally preoccupied with the question of the way that we see. Because the way that we see, the manners and the models of seeing, are a powerful signifier or our social being, of the way that we are, with ourselves and with others; of the way that we negotiate our relations with people around us, with ‘Strangers and Friends’, to return to the title of an earlier book of Struth’s.

Thomas Struth is an artist that after researching his work and portfolio I have grown to admire and I feel his imagery has become more relevant to me. With the work I am doing now and the projects I am considering lining up… I find my own vision aligning with Struth’s in certain themes and ideas I have had independently, which I find interesting

Sources – Tate and Art institute of Chicago as well as the book Cruel and Tender

London Southbank – Some Street Photography

Unit 33 lens based image making critieria P 1,2,3,4,5

Whilst visiting the World Press Photo exhibition at the Southbank in London, I thought I would try a little street photography. I must admit I found it challenging as photographing people isn’t my forte and street photography is something I’ve never really tried or touched on. I edited to black and white as the colours in the images were very muted anyway and I do find that lots of street photography is black and white unless there is vivid colours or saturated tones of which on this cold November morning there were none. Another challenge was the sun…very bright and harsh so I was constantly changing settings and ISO to try and control the light.

I used my Sigma 105mm 2.8 lens which was both a help and a hindrance as, yes it allowed me to get natural shots without disturbing the people but, I also had situations where it simply wasn’t practical to walk far enough away from the subject to get full length shots or wider framed images. Next time I will take both my 50mm and 24mm lenses and test the waters with those too.

I do like the outcomes and will definitely try some more the next time I am in London.