Three Recent Photos

architecture, black and white photography, landscape, recent work

These three photographs were all taken in April. Two are instances of one of my more insistent and persistent visual obsessions: how things look when seen through a disrupting screen or obstacle. Whilst this obsession takes center-stage in the two vertical images; in the landscape shot taken just outside the village of Salasc the visual obstacles are emerging from the wings, and act more as a frame than as disruptions.

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‘Le Chateau’, Caunas

architecture, black and white photography, recent work
Caunas, Hérault, France, March 2019

Caunas, Hérault, France, March 2019

Caunas used to be a mining village. It’s name may refer to a perfectly conical, lone slag heap that stands just beyond the village’s outskirts. Despite being a former mining village its setting is quite idyllic – the river Orb flows not too far away, and between it and the village are abandoned orchards and paddocks.

The building in these photographs is locally known as ‘Le Chateau’. It was once the home of the local landowner but now appears abandoned. In the photographs one can see a tower that was designed to be a dovecote. It still functions as such, but its inhabitants are now wild pigeons.

Caunas, Hérault, France, March 2019

Caunas, Hérault, France, March 2019

Lamp-posts at Valras

landscape, recent work, urban landscape
Valras, Hérault, France, October 2018
Valras, Hérault, France, October 2018

I’m in the process of preparing a project for a group exhibition on the theme of ‘connections’.

The theme had me scratching my head for a while. Then one day I looked up and saw something that seemed to perfectly embody the theme: telegraph poles and the overhead wires they carry and which connect us in various ways. 

I’ve long found telegraph poles, electricity poles, and overhead wires beautiful and intriguing. They can be seen as elegant, incredibly tall, thin plinths topped with abstract sculptures consisting of wires, boxes, tubes and hoods holding lights. I hope that I’ll be able to make some photos that communicate the beauty I find in these forms. 

The above photograph was taken at Valras. It had been quite a few months since I last visited this beach resort (I avoid it during the Summer months as it is too crowded and too hot) and I was struck anew how this place always gives me something interesting, exciting and beautiful. 

Self-Portraits in a Jar

3D, experiment, recent work, self-portrait

Self-Portrait, Bédarieux, Hérault, France, October 2018

Self-Portrait, Bédarieux, Hérault, France, October 2018

It’s been a while since I made my last post on this blog and I thought I’d come back with something unusual.

I’ve been messing about with printing portraits on flimsy tracing paper, then placing them in water-filled jars, letting them go soggy, and photographing them as they tear, fold and collapse, also making use of distortions created by the curvature of the water. However, whilst the results were interesting, they didn’t particularly excite me.

Then I bought a rather odd lens: Loreo’s 3D macro lens in a cap.

 

This lens is designed for half-frame digital cameras, but fits my Canon EOS 50e – a 35 mm film camera. The image does not quite fill the usual 35mm frame area, but that doesn’t bother me, and I like the resulting soft edges.

Normal 3D cameras have their lenses 6cm apart – the usual separation of human eyes. But 3D vision gets harder for human eyes and brain as the object of interest comes close. Human eyes struggle to resolve objects closer than about 15cm – the eyes have to cross uncomfortably, and what the right eye sees and what the left eye sees is too different for the brain to integrate into 3D vision.

This means that close-up photographs can’t be made with a normal 3D lens. The problem is resolved by reducing the separation between the two lenses and, ideally, having the lenses slightly converging, to reproduce the ‘crossed eyes’ effect. With the Loreo 3D macro lens the separation between the two lenses is only 2cm, but unfortunately the lenses don’t converge.

The effect of this lens is to miniaturises the viewer and make the thing being viewed seem monumentaly large –  an effect I am keen to explore in my self-portraiture.

I originally converted these into anaglyphtic images – which require red/cyan glasses to view. But I much prefer them ‘unconverted’ – as they appear on the negative: two slightly overlapping, subtly different images side-by-side.

 

When I receive my next wage packet I’m going to get a wide-angle attachment and fit it to the front of this lens – it’s long been my intention to make macro 3D versions of what I call my ‘strobe shakey-head self-portraits‘ – giving them a monumental feel.

Celles, Hérault

black and white photography, landscape, recent work, Uncategorized

“Un seul être vous manque, et tout est dépeuplé.” (One person’s absence and the whole world’s empty)
Alphonse de Lamartine

Celles is a small village not far from where I live.
It sits on the bank of Lac du Salagou – an artificial lake created for tourism. When the barrage that created the lake was built in 1964–68, the intention was to raise the water level in two stages—first to 139m, and then to 150m. The second stage would have submerged the village, and accordingly the village and its vineyards were evacuated and abandoned. The first stage of water level left the water lapping at the foot of the village without encroaching on any structures. But the second stage was never implemented.
The authorities are allowing the village to decay and all buildings except the town hall and the church are in ruins.

 

 

Strange Nocturnal Photographs

black and white photography, experiment, recent work

Bédarieux, Hérault, France, January 2018

Bédarieux, Hérault, France, January 2018

In one of my early blogs I posted some photographs which had been taken at night, using a flash, and from a low point of view. These images were then presented as negatives rather than as the usual positives.

With this inversion the light appears to come from above, from the sky, and gives a kind of day-time look to the image, though not entirely so. The limited carrying distance of flash also makes objects register more faintly the farther away they are, disappearing entirely beyond a certain distance. When viewed as a negative this creates an effect similar to dense fog.

Recent Prints: Self-Portrait, Batley, Sète, Valras-plage

landscape, recent work, road photographs, self-portrait

Sète, Hérault, France, April 2014

Sète, Hérault, France, April 2014

Here are four more recent prints, all from quite old negatives, one from almost seventeen years ago!

I think I should apologise for (or at least explain) the self-portrait. It’s not the kind of photograph that wins many points in camera-club competitions. It is a precursor to the Distant-Figure self-portraits. At the time I was experimenting with an infrared remote-release. It turned out that it had a much shorter carrying distance than my feet, and it seduced me into a controlled, tripod-based, approach which made the results too predictable.

I like this photograph, or rather it interests me, because

Two Sinister Distant-Figure Self-Portraits

recent work, self-portrait

nr le Lac de Vezolles, Hérault, France July 2017

nr le Lac de Vezolles, Hérault, France July 2017

I’ve printed these images for the sense of menace they convey.

The camera I used to take these(a Ricoh R100) gave me ten seconds to get as far from the camera as possible. You can see from how far away I am in these photographs how much easier it is to run over an even, concrete surface, than over a forest floor, with its holes, stumps and fallen branches. My posture betrays nothing of the mad panicked dash that occurred during the previous 9½ seconds.

Recent Prints: Halifax Mills, Mirror Self-Portrait, Girl with Camera, Fiery Bush

recent work

Batley Park, West Yorkshire, February 2008

Batley Park, West Yorkshire, February 2008

I have only recently printed these four photographs, taken in 2008 between February and May 2008. This makes for a ten-year gap between their being taken and their being printed. This is not an oversight, but reflects, rather, my relationship with the body of negatives I have amassed over the last 25 years.

The left eye-brow of a girl one loves can come to encapsulate whole realms of beauty, mystery and enchantment. Likewise the minutiae of an art-form are endlessly fascinating to someone who loves that art-form…

Maybe that is why I’m intrigued by the nature of the Photographer’s relationship to his

Recent Work – January 2018

recent work

Ceps, Hérault, France, 2018

Ceps, Hérault, France, 2018

I am featuring here some photos I have taken over the last three weeks.

I live in a region of the South of France of great geological diversity. One finds here rocks of all types – igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary – and of all ages, spanning right back to the precambrian.

This makes for very varied landscapes, ecosystems, and even has an impact on the look and layout of urban spaces. This makes the region a wonderful playground for a photographer like myself, to whom photography, as well as being an art-form, is an excuse for exploration, discovery and learning.