A selection of work taken recently for the RHS at Wisley.
From a shoot on business women in You Magazine on 16th August 2015. On a large feature, several thousand shots often need editing down to half a dozen or so. This means overlooking many equally good images. So, a small selection of out-takes. The first, a quick shot as I was packing my kit away.
Two more from the same series:
A day at the RHS Gardens, Wisley, collecting seeds with staff and volunteers.
Organic garden and compost course at the Chelsea Physic Garden.
A revisit to the WC Garden @Vanguard Court Chelsea Fringe project in 2014 for its relaunch as Anna Rose Hughes’ studio.
A shoot for SAGA Magazine, Foamlea Gardens, Mortehoe in Devon. A brief visit.
Spring tones, Gunnersbury Park.
I have been asked to write about my favourite photograph in conjunction with a talk in early September. This must be one of the most difficult editing processes for a photographer. The decision will change on a daily basis, depending on current projects, work and new ideas that have found space in a notebook. I think the closest I can ever get is one of my favourites. So a few thoughts.
Pinhole Impressions 3 was taken in the winter of 2007. It was part of a series included in the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition in 2008, which was awarded second place in the portfolio category. As this was the inaugural IGPOTY competition, I still have fond memories of taking the photographs and the process leading to the awards.
I always get asked two questions when this image is on display. The first is, “how long did it take in Photoshop to blur the clouds?”. The second is, “how long did it take to sweep the leaves into a perfect circle?”. The answer to both questions is no time at all. With any location photography there is always a certain element of luck. And with experience, you create your own luck. You can’t always predict what will happen, but you know something special will. So you wait.
Gale force winds hit RHS Wisley on this particular day. I was experimenting with Zero 2000 pinhole camera and was about to give up, as the wind was buffeting the camera and tripod. With exposure times of 10 to 15 seconds, this was a problem. But the movement of the clouds grabbed my attention, and I knew there was a chance of capturing something interesting.
When I set the camera up, the tree was covered in leaves, but with the severity of the wind, it was stripped in 20 minutes. Instant ‘Land Art’ in the style of Andy Goldsworthy, but completely natural. As I was shooting film, I had no idea how good (or bad) the image might be, but I had a gut feeling something had happened. In the space of around 90 minutes, I took 5 rolls of film at other locations around Wisley, and this formed a large part the ‘Pinhole Impressions’ series. It’s rare that you have this kind of luck.
I received a copy of the International Garden Photographer of the Year ‘Collection Seven’ book yesterday. With the judges final choices for 2014, it is a beautiful presentation of work, especially for those whose images are represented.
A list of all the judges.
I really enjoyed meeting so many people over the two days I spent at The Photography Show as part of the IGPOTY programme of events. I lost count how many portfolio critiques I gave, but I saw many lovely images.
For anyone thinking of entering next year, I’ll repeat the main point of the talks I gave.
Tell a story. You have to do this without using words. Whether a single image or a portfolio, the idea is paramount. And don’t be too concerned with special techniques. These can distract and actually hide what you are trying to say. Keep it simple. Look for less obvious subjects too. People and environmental topics are all relevant.
Some of my favourite images from IGPOTY 2014
A group winner Jason Liske with ‘Native Coast’.
One of my favourite portfolios was by Sibylle Pietrek in the Greening the City category.
Another good story was from Matteo Carassale.
I pass this derelict flower bed everytime I head back into London on the M4. Situated near the West Lodge Gate at the south west corner of Gunnersbury Park, it must also seen by the thousands of motorists who every day negotiate the Chiswick Roundabout. Completely negleted, there is very little left of the original planting. Normally passing it at a brisk pace in a car, I didn’t realize how big it was until I walked around it last Sunday. So, a project for guerrilla gardeners?