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Pinhole Impressions

Pinhole Impressions 3 - Lime tree or Tilia Tomentosa

Pinhole Impressions 3 – Lime tree or Tilia Tomentosa

 

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.

Away Pitch

8 years, 11 months ago exhibitions, Garden Photography, news, People 0
Away Pitch

Away Pitch - Pinhole Impressions photograph with Mick Grocott ©Vitor Azevedo

Earlier this year, I was invited to submit an image to an exhibition called ‘Away Pitch‘ at The Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton on Trent. Curated by artist Vitor Azevedo, the exhibition combined art and poetry. Works were placed with local sports people, who recorded their reactions and responses to them in the form of books, photographs and recordings. The launch was held in July 2009 at The Brewhouse, and included a dance performance combining sportsmen and professional dancers, a youth community dance piece and the unveiling of the Pitch exhibition. Over 170 people attended the event that was well received and has since continued to bridge the gap between art and sport in a positive way.

One of my Pinhole Impressions Series, Tilia Tomentosa (Lime tree), was placed with Mick Grocott, a referee, who was photographed by Vitor. All works were accompanied by text by poet and playwright Kev Fegan.

Other sports people included Alison Williamson, an archer for Team-GB, Jenny Booth, Gold medal winner at Atlanta 1996 for Paralympic Swimming, sprinter Alex Nelson from Stoke on Trent, Keiran McAvoy, Newcastle under Lyme’s Sports personality of the Year, BMX Four Cross Mountain bike rider and boxer Frazer Clarke from Burton Upon Trent.

Vitor is currently working on a book to accompany the exhibition, which will tour the region.

The Palace Art Fair and the New York Affordable Art Fair

9 years ago exhibitions, news 0

Just a quick note to say that I will be exhibiting recent work at the Palace Art Fair, London, from 7th to 10th October 2010. Housed in the  splendid surroundings of Fulham Palace, and  arranged by the organizers of the Brighton Art Fair, it promises to be a great event.

I’m also excited that some of my work, the Pinhole Impressions series, along with 43 Gardeners’ Hands, will be at the New York City Affordable Art Fair this weekend, represented by Will’s Art Warehouse.

Tulip petals and Miscanthus sinensis. New work at the Palace Art Fair

Tulip petals and Miscanthus sinensis. New work at the Palace Art Fair

Images from the Manton de Manila series

Images from the Manton de Manila series. New work at the Palace Art Fair.

Clouds - new work at the Palace Art Fair

Clouds - New work at the Palace Art Fair

Vistas and Views Exhibition – Will’s Art Warehouse, 30th January 2010 until 26th February 2010.

9 years, 8 months ago exhibitions, news, photography 0

In November 2007 I started experimenting with film again, after a break of several years. More specifically, I was testing a pinhole camera. Digital had become very much the norm for commercial work and I just had a hunch about the effects that  I could achieve using really simple equipment.

The black and white photographs I took  at RHS Wisley through the winter of 2007 and 2008 evolved into a project I called ‘Pinhole Impressions’. They illustrate trees and the effect of wind as the leaves begin to fall. This series of  images has just gone on show at Will’s Art Warehouse, London, as part of an exhibition called Vistas and Views. The work has been included with that of five other artists, who produce landscape work in various media – Nick AndrewNicole EtienneElaine JonesJonathan PocockAmanda Ralfe and Sarah Ross Thompson.

The two Tilia Tomentosa or Lime trees were the first taken in the series and have always been my favourites. I have been asked several times how difficult it was to blur the clouds in Photoshop. The answer is always met with disappointment  when I say the  images were shot in camera with no trickery –  it was a genuinely windy day! The only enhancement is good old fashioned dodge and burn – but on my computer, not in the darkroom!

The Pinhole Impressions series, numbers One to Six, were previously exhibited in the  International Garden Photographer of the year Exhibition at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 2008 and at Wakehurst Place in 2009.

Will’s Art Warehouse – 180 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, London SW15 1LY England t: +44 (0)20 8246 4840

Pinhole Impressions, Tilia Tomentosa at RHS Wisley

Pinhole Impressions 2, Tilia Tomentosa at RHS Wisley

Pinhole Impressions 4, Acer Henryi at RHS Wisley

Pinhole Impressions 4, Acer Henryi at RHS Wisley

Pinhole Impressions 3 Lime tree or Tilia Tomentosa at RHS Wisley

Pinhole Impressions 3, Tilia Tomentosa at RHS Wisley

Pinhole Impressions 6 - Fagus Sylvatica Pendula or Weeping Beech at RHS Wisley

Pinhole Impressions 6 - Fagus Sylvatica Pendula at RHS Wisley

Pinhole Impressions 5, Poplar at RHS Wisley

Pinhole Impressions 5, Poplar at RHS Wisley

Pinhole Impressions 1, Poplar at RHS Wisley

Pinhole Impressions 1, Poplar at RHS Wisley

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