British Life Photography Awards 2017

So pleased to have won the Rural Life Category in the British Life Awards.

(https://blpawards.org/winners2017)

'Sunnies'. Goodwood Revival. Sussex

The next image was commended and will also be in the Exhibition.

Not Quite the Happiest Day. London Bridge.

The book is available on from the BLPA website and Amazon.

The touring exhibition will launch at the Royal Albert Hall, London in January 2018.

The open days for viewing by the public are: 7th 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 27th and 28th of January between 10 am and 1pm. (These times could be subject to change so please check first with the Royal Albert Hall website).

The exhibition will be on tour at these venues

  • Redbrick Building, Glastonbury, Somerset. 12th February to 25th March 2018
  • Kirkleatham Museum, Redcar,Yorkshire. Early April to early June. 2018. (Dates to be confirmed)
  • The Auction Centre, Leyburn, North Yorkshire. 28th July to 9th September. 2018
  • Gracefield Arts Centre, Dumfries. 13th October to 17th November. 2018

 

https://blpawards.org/winners2017

Am I a Landscape Photographer? #5

Looking Forward:Turning Back

Creating a Conceptual Landscape

Conceptual photography is all about the idea, the concept, presented in a photographic form. It is playful and analytical. It breaks rules and introduces a new approach to different areas of photography and art as a whole.

Conceptual Landscape photography ‘refers to an image or a series of images which either deconstruct the ideas and conventions related to landscape photography and photography itself as a medium including digital technologies, or serve as visual material manifestations of a concept that relates to the idea of ‘landscape’.’
Eva Kalpadaki

I absolutely adored the work I was introduced to, and to see a conceptual take on landscape was very intriguing. I love visually describing an idea or a concept and taking it beyond one single image. There are no limits or rules other than those you set yourself. This was one series of work that really excited me.

My series is called Looking Forward: Turning Back.

The concept came about when I thought how I took my photographs. Looking, watching and waiting, trying to keep alert for those individual moments in time when a picture is born. So taking a photograph of a particular view we naturally look around at what is in front of us. It occurred to me we never see what is behind us, there’s no reason to, we have found the view we wish to photograph. However, if we were to turn around what would we see? I wanted to capture precisely this.

On a dog walk down at Shoreham Harbour the landscape is very varied and looked perfect for my idea. Looking forward I found my view and then simultaneously turned back and took the exact view behind me- no matter what was there. A brand new landscape, a strange new place was created. I really enjoyed the surprise, I couldn’t control the second image - so I had no idea what was going to be created.

 

I think the merging of the images is quite subtle, it’s not until you look a little closer that you realise everything is not quite as it seems. With the double exposure mode on my Fuji, you take the images simultaneously. I choose not to look at the screen or viewfinder for the second image - the view behind, because I didn't want to intervene. It also made it more suprising what the outcome was going to be.

Exploring Time in an overgrown tangle of historical remnants.

Part 2  Abstract Landscapes.

This series of images focuses on the concept of time: time passed and time present. An overgrown tangle of historical remnants - a working quarry, penal camp, film set and now a natural sanctuary for wildlife.

A few months ago I visited Krakow and although Auschwitz was on my agenda, it was the Liban Quarry that was my first destination. Lying overgrown and abandoned, slowly evolving into a nature sanctuary for a cacophony of wildlife, it looks and feels forgotten. Encircled by huge dramatic limestone cliffs, the quarry is hard to find, but if you forage your way through the thick tangle of undergrowth you will discover what lies hidden within.

Eerie, chilling remnants of a concentration camp lie engulfed by trees and grasses. Barbed wire, fence posts, gravestones and rusty refinery tanks emerge from the undergrowth. A silent reminder of its chilling past. One may easily be misled into thinking this was the site for the Polish WW2 concentration camp, HOWEVER, it is not.

In 1993 Steven Spielberg used Liban as the film set for all the scenes from Schindler's List that take place in the Plaszow Concentration Camp. During filming 34 barracks and watchtowers were set-up around the quarry, and though most of the set was subsequently removed, some traces remain confusingly mixed with the genuine historical leftovers from the war.

The Liban quarry WAS however a penal camp where 800 young Poles suffered at the hands of their cruel Nazi captors whilst incarcerated from 1942 - 1944. Beatings and death were dealt out liberally. A small, hardly visible, monument exists at the Za Torem side of the quarry to 21 inmates executed when the camp was liberated.

The quarry itself dates back to 1873, and was established by two well known Jewish families from Podgorze for limestone for the production of quicklime. By the end of the 19th century a series of buildings were erected within the quarry and a railway line laid as the families enjoyed an excellent reputation locally and abroad. What remains today certainly makes it very confusing when trying to decipher what remnant dates to which period of history.

To me the quarry is a strange evocative place; it plays with your emotions. I found myself struggling with the horror of its past whilst stumbling over remnants of a film set, juxtaposed with occasional historical relics of its true past. Yet despite this tangle of emotions I also found it very beautiful and peaceful.

 

 

Am I a Landscape photographer? #4

Views From Above - Abstract Landscapes

Part 1

iphone image from Aeroplane- Malles Venosta, Italy

Alvin Langdon Coburn compared the status of photography with that of painting saying that ‘it is about time photography goes beyond the mimetic representation of the world’.

An abstract landscape is not a literal documentation and representation of the landscape/cityscape scene. It is rather an interpretation of it according to the photographer’s /artist’s state of mind and intentions. Quite often the form, colours, shapes and patterns of the image will be dominant and the emphasis will be on them only but they can also be accompanied by a strong concept that supports the work behind their formal character.  Eva Kalpadaki

When I travel I love a window seat and flying is no exception. I always love to look at the world moving by at high speed, but from a plane, the view is mesmerising.  Cities, countryside, mountains, sea or a veil of thick cotton-wool cloud become flattened abstract patterns. It’s not often that I take pictures with my phone, but this time I had to record what I saw.

Once back at home, the views from the plane became the starting point for my abstract landscape. I began playing…

Glass paints are beautiful and fun to play with. So with the only 3 colours I possessed - Green, yellow and magenta and a pile of acetate I went to work. I painted, blowed, dripped and ran the colours together. Then sprinkled salt over the top of some, added white spirits to others and generally got my hands well and truly dirty. The initial idea was to reinterpret the landscape as if I was actually flying over it, but the vibrant colours that were drying before me were a far cry...

24 Hours later my images were dry and ready to be scanned. Despite the beautiful array of colours, this was not what I wanted so I put a cyanotype filter over them and I was almost there. With the addition of a randomly placed glass eye I re-scanned the images and I finally had my abstract landscapes. ‘Views From Above’.

Part 2 is a completely different approach to this. Set in a quarry...

 

Am I a Landscape Photographer? #3

Constructed Landscapes

There are quite a few aspects to ‘constructed landscapes’, but for me, in this instance, the constructed landscape refers to a landscape of some sort ‘that is made up only for artistic purposes’.

‘Generally speaking ‘staged photographs’ capture staged or artificially constructed scenes made only for the purpose of photography. While this type of image-making became well- known in the 1980s through the work of artists such as Cindy Sherman and Jeff Wall, staged compositions—which have alternatively been called “tableau photographs”—have been created since the beginnings of photography. For example, 19th-century photographers such as Oscar Gustav Rejlander and Henry Peach Robinson staged classical or biblical scenes with actors. Also, some of the major inspirations for 1980s staged photographic imagery were 1920s and '30s staged portraits created by Marcel Duchamp and Claude Cahun.
The term ‘staged landscape’ might refers to works that render views of urban or other type of landscapes as active elements in performative actions directed for the camera. ‘ (Eva Kalpadaki)


Although interesting, my first reaction to this type of photography was not one of total enthusiasm. I decided to produce my images quickly and at no cost in both monetary value and time.  They are a bit raw to say the least.

So did I enjoy constructing my own landscape? - yes, most definitely. Would I do it again? Most definitely Yes. Once I got going, the ideas began flooding in, the possibilities are endless. The one aspect that resonated the most was mixing images in the form of a collage to create a new environment - this is something I want to look at further in the future. In the meantime here are my 30 minute landscapes using twigs, leeks and greaseproof paper.

Taking my cue from Michael Kenna, I reinterpreted one of his landscapes.

Constructed landscape #1            Twigs, paper and a mirror and a Lensbaby.

Constructed landscape #2            Twigs, paper, a glass layer and a Lensbaby.

Constructed landscape #3           Twigs, paper, a layer of grease-proof paper and a Lensbaby.

Next, Following the ideas of Edward Weston, a sad looking leek was hiding in the depths of my fridge so that became the star of the next landscape.

Constructed landscape #4           Deconstructed Leek and a Lensbaby.

Constructed landscape #5            Deconstructed crumpled Leek and a Lensbaby.

Constructed landscape #6            Deconstructed Leek and a Lensbaby.

So all in all a fairly interesting chapter, that has thrown up a few possibilities for the future.

Next installment is Abstract Landscapes which incorporated some elements from Constructed Photography.

Am I a Landscape Photographer? #2

'New Topographics' - Looking at Deadpan landscapes.

"New Topographics" referred to "Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape", and included works by Frank Gohlke, Robert Adams, Stephen Shore and Lewis Baltz which presented an interest in the created landscapes of 70s urban America.

Their stark, beautifully printed images of this mundane but oddly fascinating topography was both a reflection of the increasingly suburbanised world around them, and a reaction to the tyranny of idealised landscape photography that elevated the natural and the elemental. In one way, they were photographing against the tradition of nature photography that the likes of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston had created.
(Eva Kalpadaki )  https://www.facebook.com/EvaKalpadakiBrightonPhotographyCourses/


As far as I can see, Deadpan photography is a cool, detached, and unemotional presentation as well as being a potential partnership between the artist and the audience.
Charlotte Cotton suggests “The essence of the style is neutrality, the photographer is saying “this is it”, “this is the way it is”, “what do you think?”
The viewer is invited to make their own investment of context and subjectivity and together we find the art hidden behind the neutral screen.


Upon learning about the Deadpan approach, I was thrilled to realise there were elements of this style I already adopted when photographing industrial and architectural sites - landscape photography was beginning to win me over. I enjoy flattening an image, possibly giving it an abstract quality, framing the mundane and banal - unfortunately; without a large format camera. The huge size of many of the Deadpan images produced from 1970s onwards are rich in detail and technical ability, something mine are obviously lacking.

So for my response to the following concept:

#2

Landscape is where the human and the natural worlds connect. Framing landscape as a manmade construction: an artifact of the way we live, a projection of human actions, ideals and aspirations onto the horizon.

I decided to show a small part of my investigations into Brutalism - a visit to Southmere, part of the Thamesmead Estate. I do take on board that not every image follows the Deadpan ideals. However, for me, it was about the relationship between nature and human influences on a socially and economically changing environment that I was primarily interested in.

Brutal Waterside Living

The idea of developing the area to the east of London’s ports was first suggested by the Greater London Authority in the 1960s. A team of architects, planners and engineers came up with a plan to house 60,000 people in the area formerly occupied by the Royal Arsenal –  a riverside marshland with an abundance of abandoned buildings.

The idea of developing the area to the east of London’s ports was first suggested by the Greater London Authority in the 1960s. A team of architects, planners and engineers came up with a plan to house 60,000 people in the area formerly occupied by the Royal Arsenal –  a riverside marshland with an abundance of abandoned buildings.

Artifical lakes and recreational areas would be surrounded by low- and high-rise housing, schools, shops and health centres, all linked by pedestrian pathways at different levels. A waterside utopia.
The architects tried to solve problems that plagued many post-war estates – trying to encourage contact between neighbours. Ground floor areas were generally left for garages as the former marshlands were susceptible to flooding.
Following a public poll the name Thamesmead was voted for.

It wasn’t easy to get a home in Thamesmead. There were strict conditions and so for the first decade of its existence, the area was home to a largely white, middle-class population.

Unfortunately the original vision for the area, which included an international yacht harbour, transport infrastructure and further phases of housing and commercial space, was slowly abandoned throughout the 1970s. This was mainly due to economic reasons. Construction costs exceeded those estimated, and at the same time a recession came pushing further development to the back of the political agenda.
In the end only the Southmere area was properly completed and by the end of the decade it had become a sink-estate. A place where local councils sent troubled families and individuals desperate for housing. Things quickly deteriorated. The walkways became unwalkable. The lake became unswimmable. The lifts became unrideable. Thamesmead had become another post-war housing failure.

So for its future? It is undergoing complete demolition and new housing of mixed tenure are being developed. Southmere is boarded up and the diggers are moving in.
Meanwhile in the surrounding area canoeing lessons happen for the local school children, people still live in the cobbled together cheap low-rise homes and brutal high-rises and the primary school is still being attended. Where will these residents be living in a few years from now, these are their homes after all.

Riverside living may well be desirable again, lets hope it is attainable for all.

 

 

Am I a landscape Photographer?

Could I be a Landscape Photographer?

‘Landscape is not an object that exists but is constructed by our culture and our minds’ Lucius Burckhardt

 

Up until recently it would have been an emphatic NO to both questions. In the past, I have been continually disappointed, whether it is a lack of suitable equipment or because of technical inability that most attempts at ‘landscape’ photography, for me, results in a mere record shot. Images lack the emotion or feelings that I remember when I saw that scene- the images are bland and unemotional, suffering from a severe lack of inspiration and creativity.
So what actually denotes a landscape photograph?  I realised I lacked knowledge and understanding and therefore to identify how I want to take a landscape image I needed to find out more.

I hooked up with my friend Eva Kalpadaki and joined one of her Landscape courses.  (https://www.facebook.com/EvaKalpadakiBrightonPhotographyCourses/)

I hoped this was going to push me to creatively interpret the environment, challenge my preconceptions and ultimately discover my own identity as a potential landscape photographer...

I decided to write this blog in conjunction with each session and share the thought processes that I went through.

I found Lucius Beurckhardt's quote particularly interesting ‘Landscape is not an object that exists but is constructed by our culture and our minds’. It unlocked the door and I've dived headfirst into the challenge.

Our choices, our settings, our interpretation changes a VIEW into a LANDSCAPE.


With this in mind here is my interpretation to :
#1

LIGHT AND THE LANDSCAPE

Using the view from my window and a prism in front of the lens to refract the light, I began to play.

The final three images were in my mind the conclusion. The penultimate one is perhaps too obvious - it could be viewed as a straight landscape. The final image however, asks more questions and demands more from the viewer. Ultimately I am really pleased with the outcomes.

5.00 pm. Rush Hour in the Fog

Home-time. A vagueness has descended upon our city. Colour and contour become dispensable. People and buildings regress into the lost and forgotten. The lights, however, still shine through.

Churchill Square, Western Road. Brighton

Clock Tower, North Road. Brighton

Walking round the corner I find West Street immersed in a universal emulsion.

West Street

Brighton City Lights

When the daylight fades to twilight a new city emerges in all its glory. A canopy of lights, their intensity increasing as twilight gives way to night.

City lights
Glowing in red
Pink and white bright
Also they bled
Fingers of freedom
On and on play
Shadows in darksome
Black thru gray...

Peter S Quinn

 

 

 

Shelters - isolated pockets of time.

I seem to be very drawn to shelters, I thought it was a recent thing, but then I remembered one of the first pictures I ever took was one of the lovely shelters down on the Brighton seafront. Unwittingly I have been taking them ever since. Bus stops, pier and promenade shelters - they all crop up from time to time. There are various reasons for being drawn to these isolated pockets of time. Whether its the aging patina, the diffusion of light or how it forms a protective barrier around someone or alternatively separates someone from the environment beyond, placing them in their own little universe.

For more shelter images have a look at my street gallery page.

Waiting

Whilst in Paris I found myself photographing people who were waiting - waiting in a queue, waiting for the metro, waiting for who knows what... Their expressions and mannerisms were interesting to capture.

adam and eve-2.jpg

Parisian Market Stallholders

I love the laid back attitude, as we wandered round the markets of Paris. Crosswords, reading and eating were the order of the day. A sale would just be a bonus.

Ronald

Bananas

8 accross

Two chairs

A Good Read

My book: Portfolio 1, arrived today.

Blurb have done a terrific job printing my book Portfolio 1. Really excited about. It will be available at our 'Parallels' Digital Exhibition held throughout October at My Brighton, My Hotel, Jubilee Street, Brighton. Part of the Brighton Photo Biennial 2016. Private View is on Thursday 29th September.

Arles, France

Still going through images from recent travels. It sometimes pays to leave them for a while, you see them with fresh eyes or in some cases for the first time.

This was taken in a gallery set up in a church. There were veils of chiffon hanging, so not wanting to miss an opportunity...

Berlin - Underground / Overground

Getting ready for my presentation on the 6th September at Brighton and Hove Camera Club means I have been going through quite a few photographs - and enjoying finding new images that have yet to be edited. Today I revisited the Berlin folder and found some new images from a city that never fails to inspire me.

Rencontres De La Photographie, Arles

With the FujiXT-1 the double exposure setting works like a film camera - the images have to be taken consecutively. However, unlike film cameras you can see a feint outline of the first image, then you superimpose the second. Of course the element of surprise is considerably less, but for me it's the thought process I enjoy and yes there are still some surprises when the image pops up onto the screen.

He's Waiting.

Teenage Baby

Grief

Feeling the heat in Arles, France

Seeking a little refuge from the heat in Arles, the Crypt below Place De La Republique offered some interesting photographic opportunities. Pitch black except for a few intermittent beams of sunlight from the square above posed a few challenges. Since I was there mainly to cool down, I wasn't holding out much hope on the photographic front. I began doing some of my double exposures that I love so much...