A nice thing to happen.........

A few weeks ago, I became aware that a contact of mine who is a stone mason and stone carver had been commissioned to create a piece of work on a newly constructed stone bench in Skipton Woods. Having an interest in the Woods, I hot-footed it up there to see what he was doing. Despite some challenging lighting conditions, I manage to get some images using off-camera flash which I was really hapy with. 

I gladly gave the images to Chris, of Swales in the Dales Stone Carving, and he felt able to use them for his own publicity. Happily, his work has just been featured in the print edition of the Craven Herald and my photos have been used, in addition to those of Chris. I am extremely happy to have been able to contribute to the success of Chris, and to have my own work publicised. I hope they will go some way towards creating more public awareness of what Skipton Woods have to offer the public, and encourage people to visit them.

Thanks Chris!!

 

 

 

Movin' on......

It's been a while. I have been very busy with personal stuff over these last few months. Consequently, finding time to keep up to date with the website has been challenging, and I've failed miserably! Sorry! 

However, in my photography world, I have had some successes. I have been slowly building my 'fanbase' on Facebook and Instagram, getting more and more followers. i just want to say a massive thank you to all you wonderful people who are watching what I am doing. I appreciate every one of you taking the time to look at my images. The great thing about the internet age is that we can get much, much greater exposure (pardon the pun) to a massive number of interested parties than was possible when I first started on taking pictures. To be able to exhibit on a website and on the various other platforms is just brilliant. And in addition, all this technology means that we can access some of the best practitioners in all sorts of disciplines with ease in ways previously unimaginable not so very long ago. 

It is just most excellent to be able to interact with ones role models and those we admire so easily.  One particular role model of mine is a guy named Jason Lanier. I have followed his recent photographic career over the last year and a half or so, and I just admire his infectious attitude not only towards photography, but to life in general. The guy is unbelievably energetic!. However, having had the privilege of meeting him in person, he is also very humble. He gives freely of his time to help people learn and is a fine example of how to get on in life with hard work and perseverance. Without the internet, it wouldn't be anywhere as easy to share this stuff. 

Another success is that I was at an event a couple of weeks ago where I took some images of a travelling showman called Mr Alexander's Travelling Show. He travels around the country on the road, putting on a splendid show which is quite different. He is variously a magician, an illusionist, and unicycle rider and a balancing act, to name a few talents. Anyway, I was just practising my shooting images, and they turned out pretty good. I took the opportunity to show them to Mr Alexander who was so impressed with them that he asked to use one of them on his website. I have been happy to oblige! I will be putting one of two of the images from the shoot on the site shortly. It's nice to get the positive feedback and who knows where it might lead!

I have also been working with a local wood sculpturer and we are trying to put together some images of his work. this is a work in progress, so I can't show anything at this stage, but hopefully in due course I can reveal something. All good stuff!

So, to end this latest  (and very late!) post, I will be updating the various images and pages on the site as it is overdue a bit of a revamp. Watch this space!! 

Bye...

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's been a while.......

Well, its been a while since I was able to post a blog entry, as I have been working silly hours in my day job, been away for a few days R & R earlier in January, and having little time to actually do any amount of photography. 

However, the small amount that I have done has been received well on Instagram and suchlike. I always aim to take shots that are not run of the mill, but are perhaps thought-provoking and story-telling, as I've said before. The world is awash with photos, so many taken on mobile phone cameras with people oo'ing and ahh'ing over them. This will perhaps seem and arrogant perspective, but the vast, vast majority of them are simply mundane at best. 

That is simply my opinion, and YMMV, that's just fine. The world would be a very boring place if we all saw the same thing, don't you think? 

So, I attempt to see things differently where I can, or not take the shot at all. My measure of success is that it pleases me. If it does and others like it as well, then I feel I've achieved my aim. It suits me. 

I am slowly developing my plan to move things forward this year. This will be slightly challenging as I have a few other things to think about as well, such as planning to build a house for my wife and I! So, no pressure then!! Anyway, watch this space.......Laters. 

Why do I take photos, and other conundrums.....

So, 2016 draws to its end. And all in all, I can’t say it’s been a particularly good year. We often say that, don’t we? Well, in this instance, I really do think it's true. I have a sense that this year, more than literally any other in my adult lifetime, humankind seems to be sleepwalking into its own destruction.

 

Throughout time, man has been buggering things up. Man has been fighting with himself, using a variety of justifications. Politics, money, religion. Almost certainly, more wars have been fought as a result of these three motivations than any other, I would surmise.

 

And we seem to be in a mad rush to the achieve the ultimate satisfaction, whatever that is. We see the next gadget come into the ‘marketplace’, and we queue in the street to get oour hands on it, as if our lives will end if we don’t possess it. I have never understood how a person can literally sleep in the street overnight, simply to be able to be one of the first to ‘possess’ an Apple product. That seems to me to be a strange accolade to aspire to.

 

People walking along the street, staring at their mobile phones, head down, in most cases almost, if not completely oblivious to what’s going on around them. They might look up at the last minute when they become aware of a pair of feet looming into their peripheral vision as they stare at the screen. If one is lucky, they might step to one side. More often than not, one has to walk around them to avoid a pedestrian collision.

 

We drive along the road in our cars and now more than ever, we feel ‘safe’ in our insulated four wheeled boxes. Here we can avoid any interaction with other people, beyond the toot of the horn in frustration, anger, devilment or what ever motivates us, dependant on the circumstances. We take the view that the piece of road in front of us belongs to us as if by some divine right. We queue in traffic queues, impatiently tutting and huffing, bemoaning the number of vehicles on the road, as if we are somehow not part of that. We complain that the roads are getting far too busy these days and that it is impossible to get around. We complain of the state of the roads, the state of the traffic. As if it’s all down to somebody else. And increasingly, we lose our temper, shouting and swearing at the driver who made a simple error, not deliberately, but because they are human and fallible. And occasionally, we go further, get out of our nice safe warm cosy vehicles and do damage to those people, even kill them. For what? To make us feel that we were ‘right’ all along? To make them ‘pay’?

 

We complain about the state of the NHS. “It’s not being given enough money!” we cry. “The government is to blame!” we wail. Both of these might be true to a greater or lesser extent. However, in my experience there is an uncomfortable truth being missed here. People, (remember them) run the NHS. And too many of those people are not doing bits of their jobs properly. The waste of money that is going on in the NHS is just shocking. I promise you, it is happening. These people are not wilful, The systems that other people have created are often so unwieldy and badly thought through that the people charged with actually working with these systems are worn out with it all, and taking the path of least resistance. I don’t blame them.

 

As a society, we are firmly in the grip of a consciousness which makes us think we are entitled to everything and responsible for nothing. From the logic that we are ‘entitled’ to a driving licence, to the notion that we can do what we like, when we like and who is to tell us we are wrong, we march on in the grip of this blinkered knowledge that we are always right, and every other bastard can sod off.

 

Why is it, I ask myself, that people far too often feel that they should deal with any little ripple in their world with aggression, intimidation and belligerence? It is not what we say but the way we say it. We assume that someone is out to get us all the time. And that makes us feel that we should go all passive-aggressive at the very least, and start a fight at the worst.

 

Piece of advice here, people, from someone who has spent most of his life dealing with people in their worst times, ……..don’t start a fight unless you KNOW you will win. Invariably, you won’t win and not winning will bloody hurt.

 

Oooo, I’ve just gone all ‘Grasshopper’ there for a second! Don’t know who Grasshopper was? Go Google it!!

 

And in those last three words lies the problem to a considerable extent.

 

Google. And the internet. And social media. And technology.

 

I am 52 years old. Consequently I can remember this world before the internet. Before social media. I’m really not trying to go all “the world ain’t what it used to be” and “when I were a lad, you could go out and leave yer door open, and the milkman would help himself to a cuppa” and “the world were a better place”. I accept that in many ways, the world has got better. Technology has helped us to achieve things and create things that were only dreamed of years ago and which has saved lives beyond what we might have thought possible.  Technology has helped us to communicate and stay in touch with people we would previously have never seen or heard from again. Isn’t that a wonderful thing?

 

To literally be able to see one of my wonderful step-daughters as she lives her life on the other side of the world, through the medium of Skype. To reconnect with lost colleagues with whom I spent a big chunk of my days on this planet through Facebook. To be able to share my photographic work with people all over the planet on Instagram.

 

Just fantastic, don’t you think? None of this was possible twenty years ago. And  from the bottom of my heart, I thank the people who came up with this stuff and made it all possible.

 

But there is a catch. And that catch is people. People have become trapped in the virtual world. They are trapped in their Iphones and devices and technology. Generation Facebook anyone?? And yes, this generation does include my generation. No one is immune to it unless they choose to be.

 

It’s on Facebook, therefore  it must be factual and correct, innit? It’s not Facebook that’s the problem, it’s us, people!!! We have become accustomed to ‘talking’ to each other, virtually. The vast majority of us now spend sooooo much time communicating virtually that we appear to have forgotten how to communicate face to face. We hide behind the keyboard, getting all offended, getting all self-righteous because someone said something we disagree with and we respond with words that are ill-advised. Back in the day, before ‘teknoloji’, we went to the pub and spoke with people, debating the world and its ills and successes. We met people who said things that were out of order. And we put them right with well-chosen words (most of the time! Yeah,yeah, some people got a smack on the nose instead).

 

And that is my point. Back in the day, when we were having these conversations in the pub, these discussions, these arguments, we chose our words carefully. To not do so risked the aforementioned smack on the nose! These days, when communicating on social media, too many people use language that, if the same conversation was happening face to face, the ‘smack on the nose’ would be pretty much guaranteed. Too many people are so indoctrinated in this what might be called ‘virtualspeak’, that they cannot help but use it in the real world. And we wonder why so many people are so aggressive to each other?

 

Ultimately I think we have forgotten how to stop. To take a breath. To let our minds rest from the incessant chatter.

 

And to disconnect from time to time. Literally, in some cases.

 

And how to be a bit nicer to each other, whether it be the person walking down the street, one’s neighbour or the Syrian conflict. Do I think we will ever achieve such a thing? Probably not. It’s been this way for the last six thousand years; probably going to remain so. However, I do think that things have got worse and the rate of ‘getting worse’ is increasing.

 

Do I think things will improve? Nope. I am famously pessimistic, as my wonderful wife keeps telling me. And as such, I would say no, wouldn’t I? Actually, no, I wouldn't (if you see what I mean!) I honestly see little evidence that mankind is learning the lessons of history. I see little evidence that mankind is willing to stop. And think. And disconnect.

 

Until mankind does do these things, I will carry on, endeavouring to practice what I preach, making a resolution for next year to regularly stop. Think. And disconnect.

 

And feel a little calmer and appreciative of the world around me. That is why I photograph, I have realised. Photographs are our windows to the world, in a sense. They are our history and we should never forget history. In my photographs, I see, properly see, what I am looking at. Maybe that is what we should all try to do a bit more of.

 

Happy Christmas everyone, and here’s to a New Year that might, just might, be a little better and brighter. Let’s all of us, do what we can to achieve that fine goal.

Progress?

Well, the new kit arrived and I have started to play around with it. Sadly, I have not been able to afford as much time as I would have liked to get to grips with it, due to other commitments, but nonetheless, I have added some images to the website, mainly black and white stuff, which I hope you might like.

It is a fine camera to use, is this Fujifilm XT-1. Although a couple of years old, it is still very relevant. The great thing about it, and this is something that clearly appeals to a lot of people, is it's 'old school' look, with it's retro knobs and dials. However, this design is so user friendly, especially if you come from the days of 35mm film cameras. Being able to set the camera up without having to bugger around with buttons and menus unless you want to is a great thing as far as I am concerned. 

There is a way to go yet, but overall, I am delkighted with it and it fits me well. 

One more thing.....I just lurve the look of the camera and sit looking at. Am I odd, or is it a photographer thing?? :-)

 

 

 

 

The excitement builds.....!!

Tomorrow, my new camera kit arrives and I'm rather like a small boy on Christmas Eve, all excited and looking forward to opening the brightly coloured packages around the tree the next morning. In my case, the brightly coloured package is probably a cardboard box. But, no matter! It is still exciting! 

I am really looking forward to getting to grips with it and taking my picture taking to a higher level. I doubt I'll sleep tonight!! :-)

I have been working on the website. I found I wasn't really keen on the format I originally set up. This new format is much more to my liking. I like the simplicity of it, and feel the shots are far better presented. I hope you like it. If you have any observations, I welcome them. 

I have moved the photos around a bit, and you will see there is a page dedicated to the town of Skipton, in North Yorkshire, for them's wot don't know it. It is a lovely town, very picturesque and a great place to live, work and visit. It has a very very long history, with links to the Magna Carta, and a market which has hundreds of years of history behind it. 

I love old photos which show the town as it was many. many years ago, and find it fascinating to see what changes have taken place over the years. As a persona project, where I can I will try to obtain photos of the old, and put them alongside the new. It will be a work in progress, but I look forward to it. 

It's started!

Well, today is the first day of my website being live. it is very much a work in progress as I am new to such things, at least as far as running one is concerned. The idea of this site is to begin to showcase my photography to the world. I want to document the journey, to some extent. This is where this blog page will come in. 

I have gathered momentum in my photography and ultimately I hope you out there like the shots I can produce. As a Skipton resident currently, and with my wife having a business in the town, I am keen to feature this lovely North Yorkshire town in my work. So, you will see various pictures dotted across my site.  I am slowly building up a portfolio which will be good enough for others to want, perhaps to hang on their wall. 

Talking of Skipton, I am honoured to have been recently featured in a local online magazine! 

I was made the subject of an article in The Skipton Press, in which I talk about my work, my inspiration and influences and generally rabbit on a bit. I would be most grateful if you headed over there to have a look. If you are local to, or interested in Skipton, the magazine is a good read. 

 

To make it all the more exciting, I am in the process of upgrading my gear. Currently I shoot with Canon DSLR equipment, but I am in the process, as I speak, of upgrading to better quality stuff, and going over to mirrorless cameras. My weapon of choice is going to be made by Fuji as I love the design and ethos of what they do, and the quality of the images the cameras produce. Watch this space! 

So, keep checking back to see how things progress. I will try to provide interesting content that will, well, interest you.