Late Night Opening

It’s been over a month since I last posted, and I’m not happy with these images. I think they show how flat and uninspired I am at the moment. There are all sorts of things that could be contributing to this, but generally, I believe I just have a spot of Photographers Block.

Maybe this blog has run it’s course in it’s current format. I have explored the idea of what is documentary photography, and I have had fun doing so. The conclusion I have come to though is that it doesn’t matter how you categorise an image, it is all simply photography. We have a need to group like things together, and I understand that, but just as certain types pf music can fall into multiple genres, so can photographs.

Does it even matter how we categorise an image? What is it that makes it fit into that particular style? And sometimes we over categorise. Take the phrase ‘Street Portrait’. A portrait taken in the street. When does it stop being a portrait, and become ‘street’? This is of course an open ended discussion because there is no right or wrong answer, just opinions.

And I think it’s the same with documentary. What is it? I know what I think it is, but that doesn’t make it so.

I am going to spend some time doing more colour work to see if I can get some inspiration. I’ll be working on a 365 project, and I will continue with my 100 strangers project too.

In the meantime, here is a set of lack lustre images taken at the Manchester Art Gallery during late night opening. Click on the image to see them all. If you think it might be worth it.

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I live about a mile and a half away from the nearest tram stop. It’s a long, straight road, with houses packing both sides. In fact it’s a pretty dull road all in all. And long. Walking it takes about 1/2 an hour. Did I mention that it’s straight? And Dull?

So following a successful Christmas shopping trip, I decided to walk home from that tram stop. The whole way, in the rain. To be fair, it wasn’t pouring down, but my coat wasn’t waterproof, I had no umbrella or hood. Of course I DID have my camera with me, so I set out to document my walk home. It was a little harder than I expected (mainly due the lack of anything but houses and pavement), but I think I did ok.

I tried hard to get the image I wanted in camera, and this time I feel like I got it bang on. So every image is straight out of camera, and the only thing Lightroom did, is organize and resize.

If you fancy a gander at the 9 chosen images, click the pic below. If you have something better/else to do that’s fine too.

Have a superb Christmas, and an awesome week.

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Who’d live….

A while back I started a project where the idea was to take pictures of each room in our house.

So as the days are now pretty much at their shortest, the weather is rubbish, and I sometimes lack the time to get out when conditions are good, I added a room to the project. This time it’s our bedroom. I’m hoping the images convey a sense of who’s room it is. Maybe you can tell something about us from the pictures. Maybe not. It’s hard to become disconnected enough from somewhere so personal, to be subjective about it.

I hope I got across enough about us in the images I’ve posted here. And although they were all taken within the space of 5 minutes, I don’t feel they were rushed. It’s not a big room, and of course I know it intimately, so I already knew what I wanted many of the images to look like. the gallery is arranged as a walk around from one side of the room to the other.

Click on the image below, and enjoy the gallery.

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At odds with myself.

My blog entries are usually put together in about an hour. I select the 9 images, write the text and upload in that time. Occasionally I have the time to select the images in advance, and save them for a rainy day. When I do this, I don’t normally revisit the images, but on this occasion I did. And I find it intersting to note that I wouldn’t of picked exactly the same 9 if I’d done it today. Maybe it’s because when I pick the 9 images, I just choose the ones I like on that day. Or maybe it has something to do with mood, or frame of mind. Maybe tomorrow I’d of picked another different set. Or maybe not…
Click on the images below for the original 9.

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After dark.

I had an hour to kill recently in Sale, so of course I took along my camera. By the time I was free to kill my hour, the light was starting to fade, and by the time my hour finished there wasn’t much light left at all. As the light faded more and more, I was reminded that Black and White photography is not just about the greys, and the tonal ranges, and patterns and textures, but it is also about Blacks and Whites.
By which I mean we mustn’t be afraid to let the blacks go black, for the shadows to be too dark to contain any detail, and for the highlights to blow out, leaving nothing but pure white. It adds a sense of drama, which is usually a good thing, especially in black and white.

It’s hard to find much to blow out the highlights at twilight, so I decided to let the shadows block up instead. It makes it look later and darker than it really was (who says the camera never lies?) but I don’t think it’s to the detriment of the images.

It may not be very clear cut, but I’ve decided that this is going to sit in Documentary. It tells the story of the light drawing in and the little town of Sale entering the evening. It may be strictly more photo essay than documentary, but I’m pretty sure the line between the two is blurred anyway.

You know what to do with the image below….

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Black and White

So once again, I find Camera and Wife pitted against each other. This time however, she had a friend along as a distraction, so I was a little more free to take the kind of pictures I wanted.

One of the things I love about working in Black and White is the way I can concentrate on patterns and form. I can produce images that are based in detail, and which sometimes only tell part of the story, leaving the viewer to thing about what the image may be a part of. Where do those steps lead, or where have they come from? What exactly is that pattern a part of? In the end, the viewer is left to make up their own mind about the images, and what they show.

Of course some of the pictures show the whole story, or at least we think they do. But again, maybe the image does not show us everything it could. Are the dear really behind a fence, and the wide aperture has thrown it so far out of focus it can’t be seen? Are they free to roam among the visitors to the park? Are they tame? Or in an enclosure?

Enough rambling, please click on the image below to see the full gallery as always.

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London Calling

We spent a few days in London during the summer. Largely to show Small Child the sights, but also for the grown ups to catch up with some friends. Due to the animosity between Wife and Camera, I took the decision to take just one lens, as I knew stopping to change lenses was not going to be an option! My heart said the XF-56, but my head said the XF-27.

I knew the 27 would be the more flexible and versatile lens, and as I also had to take some holiday snapshot type pictures, it was no contest. This was after all a family holiday, and not a photo expedition!

So my challenge was to take pictures that were not only a record of our family holiday, but that I was happy with. I can’t say I did very well with the second part of that,but I’m happy with the first. And of course it’s important for me to remember that sometimes I don’t always have to take pictures that I like from point of view of a photographer. Sometimes I just have to take pictures I am happy with as a husband and father.

Documentary? Well they document our trip to London. You may not care for them, and they may not evoke any emotion in you, but for me, (and as the photographer I claim the right to choose the category), they are a lasting memory, and that’s the most important part. And it also asks questions about what is documentary photography. After all, if holiday snapshots can be documentary photography, then what else can?

Click on the image below to see my holiday pictures…

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