Hay's Galleria, London, UK
A week ago, I published my first book
with photos I took on my iPhone since August 2012. I hadn’t expected that my first book would be images from my iPhone as I have a few ideas of other books I thought I would publish. So, why images from my iPhone?
I hadn’t expected to take that many images on my iPhone. However, I over the last number of months, I was proved wrong. The images were capturing passing moments before they slipped through my fingers – that’s why the book is called In Passing
The number of self publishing companies has grown exponentially over the last few years, which makes publishing your own book more accessible. However, it wasn’t easy to choose the photos to include in book. Being able to look at your own work objectively is nearly impossible – which is probably why I have struggled to publish a book previously. I did find that this book seemed to organise itself. Once I had the title, then the photos fell into place.
Would I publish another book? Definitely! When will this happen? I have not idea! I am sure that I will still struggle to figure out the theme of the book and what images to include. However, I won’t let this deter me. Publishing my first book was well worth it!
Chinatown, London, UK
Catching the moment is, in many ways, fundamental for photographers. It would be waiting for the right lighting conditions, the right alignment, the right pose ….
A photographer could wait for the moment to happen, or be quick enough to capture it before it slips away, never to be seen again. It’s what photographer do, really. While there is equipment that can counter this – like setting up lighting or staging an event – time is still there. However much the photographer tries to control the situation, every moment is different – even if it’s slightly.
Recently, I have inherited a number of old film cameras. The latest was a film SLR – whose light meter I managed to get working again. I was getting used to using it by talking some street photography in Central London.
I managed to just capture moments before they quickly disappeared and the photo changed. Street photography isn’t always the easiest thing to time, but if done well – or if you’re lucky enough to capture the moment – it results are incredible.
I get a buzz when I manage to capture a moment before it’s gone – and have a certain frustration if I don’t manage to get it. But that’s the fun. It’s a bit like cat and mouse. You capture some, and you also lose some.
The Shard is one of the more recent additions to the London skyline. Towering over London Bridge train station, it stretches into the sky and points to the stars above.
A friend and I went up to the viewing gallery at top of the Shard, and it was well worth going up. I’m not one for heights, and was a little apprehensive. However, the views over London were amazing, to say the least.
The weather was not bad with sunshine and some cloud – we were fortunate as it hailed not long after we came down. To see the city from such a height was such an experience, and my fear of heights managed not to bother me particularly. I think I was far too busy looking at the view, and taking photos of it. It was amazing how far you could see.
To see the London and it’s iconic architecture was amazing.
Covent Garden, London, UK
While my photography is going through a period of change and morphing, one constant I find myself drawn to is photographing my surroundings as they are. This may not be the case in every instance when I push the shutter, how life presents itself, or what it presents to me, demands that it not be changed.
One element that I am finding my photographic journey is taking me is the underlying force behind life, and where humanity fits within this. I was recently walking through Covent Garden recently, and someone had put a fizzy drink bottle on an iron railing in front of one of the buildings. It was a random act, in a way. I doubt the person who had done this had hadn’t realised they had set up a photograph for me. It doesn’t matter, really. The stage had been set.
Seeing the ordinary and making it interesting is something I have always been attracted to. How I have seen this has changed of the years, and it is certainly changing at the moment. Perhaps something more subtle is starting to speak to me.
Like most artists, my creativity comes in spurts. After a period of quiet earlier in the year, the last month or so have been much more creative. I am starting to build up some film I need to scan and am also looking forward to getting 3 rolls of film I shot recently developed.
I am not sure where my photography will take me, and quite frankly, I don’t care. I am really enjoying the journey.
Waterloo, London, UK
My transitioning photographic eye is still on its journey. Along the way, the film to be scanned is beginning to pile up. In between my photographic escapades with my more favoured cameras, my smart phone and digital point and shoot are allowing me to capture moments I would have never imagined I would be snapping before I had these devices.
Technology is a funny thing. With the advent of digital photography, and the ever more portable and integrated technology, my photography has changed. I find myself taking more snapshots of life around me. It’s my photographic equivalent to doodling. It has allowed me to explore my photography in ways I probably wouldn’t have previously.
Tooley St, London, UK
However, when I have time to set aside for photography, I am drawn to more traditional (analogue) photography. Partly, it’s what I grew up with and is the most familiar. Mostly, it’s the medium I find my creativity is best conveyed in.
There is a difference between digital and analogue. This difference may seem nuanced, but they are two very different technologies. The look and feel of an image is affected by this.
I find myself adapting what I do with both technologies. Digital allows me to doodle freely and without worrying about whether I have enough film and the cost. Analogue allows me to ponder and take time to frame what I see. On the more subtle level, I find analogue captures my often textured shots in a more organic way.
While I am allowing the shift, and growth, in my photography to happen, I am enjoying and encouraging the snapshots – the doodles. Without them, my progress would be very different.
Kings Cross Station, London, UK
Crystal Palace Park, London, UK
The sun can be scarce in London, particularly during the winter months. However, today was what seemed to be a rare day full of sunshine. While I didn’t really feel like taking photos when I got up, I did make my way towards Crystal Palace Park.
There are many places in London I can easily go back and photograph many times and at any of the year. It’s one of the few places, however, that I can go and photography when I am in a period of contemplation with my photography – like I am now.
With winter, the park is in slumber, and I find that I am very attracted to it. The long shadows play well with the dull colours and sleeping nature. I didn’t wander very far today and walked through the part with the dinosaurs.
Before I went to the park, and even on route, I felt tired and not quite in the mood. However, I did have a sense that I needed to get this out of my system, even if my photos didn’t turn out. I am not sure whether they have or not – I was shooting on film, and the photo above is one I took last winter.
After having a cup of tea in the café and read part of the Sunday paper, I felt a lot better. I am sure the photos I took en route to the café turned out fine, but the mere act of just doing my photography and letting it be without any pretention or pretext was great, and felt wonderful. I just looked and was in the moment.
I hope the photos show this, even a little bit.
On a typically rainy winter day in London, I happened to walk through Cambridge Circus after dropping off some film to get developed and on my way to have lunch in a café nearby. Because it was Chinese New Year this weekend, there was a certain buzz in Chinatown nearby as the events were getting ready to gear up.
The musical ‘Singing in the Rain’ is headlining at the Palace Theatre. As I walked by it, I thought it was rather appropriate, if not a bit cliché, given the weather. There were some other people passing by who were posing in front of it with their cameras – having their photo taken.
I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the theatre and the sign, even if it were a bit cliché. Rain can certainly dampen things, including feelings and the mood of someone or a community. Too much or too little rain can cause catastrophe, but it is necessary for life.
As a photographer, I often get frustrated when it rains. I can photograph in most whether conditions – even when it’s overcast. Rain, though, can damage equipment if a photographer isn’t careful. However, the bright side of rain is that it forces me to stop and reflect. Without giving my artistic side time to itself and to reflect, then taking photographs becomes difficult. It’s a bit like having writers block.
After a couple of Saturdays in a row taking photos, I was glad it was raining. Although I wasn’t singing about it, I was glad to have time to reflect and not feel pressured into taking photos.
With a new year, there is a sense of new possibilities and starting afresh. I am also finding my photography shifting, perhaps maturing. At the very least, it feels like it’s changing, and the changes seem to be in their infancy.
My photography seems to be adding an otherness to it. I have always been drawn to taking abstract images, but they sometimes seem to have a bit more dream-like aspect to them.
While I have always found inspiration in the everyday, I am finding a new dimension of the everyday. Perhaps I am subconsciously questioning more the reality and the world around me. Perhaps I am more in tune with what I am seeing. Perhaps the seemingly solid, well, isn’t so firm.
With the passing of time, perhaps I am becoming more reflective and this is beginning to show in my images. Winter often brings out the more reflective side of me, and I have had to give my photography some space and not rush my creativity. I am still taking photos, but my subconscious seems to be thinking and I seem to be capturing moments currently rather than series or movements.
I seem to be in between, and perhaps my images are reflecting this. Something is happening and my subconscious seems to be toiling away, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I am enjoying letting it fester away, and for me to explore. But the most important thing is not rush it, but let it let it reveal itself.
Woodbrooke, Selly Oak, UK
There is something magical about snow. Growing up in Canada, winter wouldn’t be winter without months of snow. There were mounds of it, for months. The first snowfall often made children (both young and old) excited. Parks filled up with sledges and toboggans.
Living for a number of years in London, winter mainly brought rain and dampness, along with copious amounts of tea to keep warm. The last few years, however, winter has brought snow – even for a few days.
For nearly a week now, much of the UK has had significant amounts of snow. While it’s not as much as there would be in Canada, it has certainly brought memories of Canadian winters. There has certainly been some travel chaos, closed schools and quite a few children sledging.
I managed to get to Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre
in Selly Oaks, near Birmingham last weekend for a course. Getting there and back was a journey in itself, but well worth it. The grounds at the Centre certainly offer an oasis, and with all of the snow a wintery one.
I have been to Woodbrooke a couple of times before – in spring and autumn. The grounds (as well as the Centre) provide a tranquil space, but in the snow, there was a different kind of peacefulness. The grounds provided a certain stillness in the snow. Nature was in a deep slumber.
Walking mindfully around the grounds, I enjoyed the stillness and quiet. It was a quiet meditation in the snow – allowing the freshness of the cold air to fill my lungs and to walk on the powdery blanket of snow.
Woodbrooke, Selly Oak, UK
Lambeth, London, UK
I was meeting a friend in Lambeth, south London over the weekend, and had a few minutes to wait. While it wasn’t much time, I took the opportunity to look around me. It was part of Lambeth I wasn’t familiar with, and I often try to have a good look round places I don’t know – trying to at least capture photos.
Standing by a church, I was at a cross roads. What caught my eye was a sign saying ‘Making Space’. With the start of the New Year, many people make resolutions – although often abandoning them at some point during the year. However, with a very busy 2012 with various commissions, I was beginning to miss having time for my own personal photography. I enjoyed the commissions immensely, but it’s often a very different type of photography to what I would normally do.
While I would like to still have commissions, the ‘Making Space’ sign symbolised how I felt towards my personal photography. Deep down, I want to have more space for it and to develop it. My creative juices have been flowing and have been feeling very strong recently. I want this to be the impetus to get on with some of my own photography.
I find it is a fine balance between the photography I am asked to do and the photography I want to do. While the commissions do pay and there is some creativity involved, the photos are for the client and reflect what they want. I enjoy working with people to create something that is meaningful for them.
However, my personal photography shows how I see the work – and how I reflect the world back at itself. I have been feeling a change, or perhaps a maturity, in my photography, and hope to explore this more in 2013. Perhaps this is my New Year’s resolution!
Lambeth, London, UK