My latest exhibition, ‘Art Trek’, at St Annes Chapel in Barnstaple (with Monika Grand) is made up of two brand new pictures from this year (2016), three pictures from a few years ago which have not made it to the printing stage before, one image re-made from the original frames, another three made for the Sock Gallery in Loughborough last October and not shown before in Devon; plus some additional oldies and goldies.
The brand new 2016 images are from Bossiney, or Benoath Cove, in North Cornwall. It’s a place I’ve known for a few years but have really grown to love this year. The beach there is only accessible on a really low tide and even a spring low tide only gave me a couple of hours to explore the amazing caves.
The two caves at high tide are from Combe Martin, accessed via my kayak just as the tide had turned to go back out. The original photographs were shot in 2014 but my computer memory wasn’t large enough at the time to enable the full realisation of the works. This year I upgraded to 64Gb of RAM and so I have at last been able to blend the crashing waves successfully.
Another picture which proved impossible at the time of taking was the Cave at Menachurch Point, which was made up from such a huge number of images that I again had to abandon it until this year. This picture has been described as ‘tomb-like’ by one of the exhibition visitors. It’s right-hand cave wall, vertical, flat and ridged, is a great example of the original sea-bed of this contorted sandstone strata.
The Mouse Hole, has been totally re-made for this exhibition. Although it is an extreemly popular image I have often been troubled by the saturation and unworldliness of my original finished piece shown small here. This remake, literally taking the original RAW files and re-processing them in Photoshop and Lightroom, them re-stitching has given me something far closer to the original memory of the cave at Mousehole.
I’m in the process of adding gallery’s of images to this website, the latest being a documentary, commissioned by Beaford Arts in 2014, to photograph Hatherleigh Carnival in the style of the celebrated Devon photographer James Ravilious. These 45 images are the complete set shown in chronological order. (See Gallery here) Unlike Ravilious’ traditional black and white prints make in the 1970’s and 80’s mine are digitally shot in RAW then converted to monochrome; however I was seeing b/w in my minds eye. My own documentary style is not unlike Ravilious with nods also to Robert Frank, Don McCullin, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Martin Parr.
Benoath Cove is tucked around a headland from it’s main access at Bossiney Haven. It’s beach is usually under the waves, but on a low spring tide rocky cave pierced cliffs are like heaven to me! I was there in mid-March on one of the lowest tides of the year which gave me four hours to explore and photograph. This blog post represents my sketchbook or work-in-progress as I haven’t made a finished image at the time of posting; that will have to wait until a rainy day. However my working practice includes making iPhone photo-constructions on location and I like to process my RAW images asap and then make quick, automated, photomerges from the jpegs produced.
I timed my visit to Benoath so that I was there two hours before low tide and took the less used, old path, down to the beach. This path isn’t way-marked and I wouldn’t recommend it; the first part was covered in brambles which are only bearable in the winter when they’ve died back and heavy jeans are worn, the second part, the decent down the cliff, is treacherous as most of it is on a steep ledge with only a rail to keep you from plunging to the beach. The last section has no handrail and just an old fishing rope, tied to the end of the rail, to help you over the steep, wet, smooth, slippery rocks onto to equally difficult beach below. I had been on the beach in the past but it was disorientating with the sea still so far in, so it took a few minutes of clambering up and down the so far accessible rocky beach, before I could find the cave I was looking for. I refer to this cave as Signal Cave because you can actually make a mobile phone call inside. I even received a text right at the very back which has to be at least 30 metre from the opening.
My reason for getting into the cave as soon as possible after the receding tide was aesthetic, the wet walls and dripping ceiling make for a far more dramatic image. This particular cave is my current favourite and I could easily have spent all four hours here, as it has three distinct entrances which all join together far into the the cliff. It takes me approximately an hour to shoot the frames for a single constructed photograph so four hours was never going to be enough on this beach as it was visually so generous.
It takes me approximately an hour to shoot the frames for a single constructed photograph so four hours was never going to be enough on this beach as it was visually so generous. These last two iPhone AutoStich images will have to wait to photographed properly! The first I entered with only a few minutes before low tide, which was lapping at it’s mouth, and I had to force myself to leave it for another day (I know how obsessive I can be to perfect the image, I knew I would be so absorbed in my work that time would disappear and I could be cut off, inside the cave!).
I’m working on totally revamping my website so please be patient for a few days – It will be fully working very soon!
Meanwhile I have a new series of Photographic Workshops available from next month. For more information or to book please email email@example.com or phone 07530 508681
Half Day Intro to your digital camera – Friday 3rd June in Barnstaple, (1.30-4.30pm) £25
A ‘sit around the table’ workshop to get to know your camera better. You’ll learn about shutter speeds, aperture, ISO, flash and setting your camera up for optimum quality.
iPhoneography Workshop – Wednesday 15th June in Barnstaple, (9.30am-12.30pm) £25
A practical workshop to learn how to use your iPhone’s camera to take professional looking photographs and enhance those images on the go. Suitable for anyone with an iPhone. You will need to install a few cheap photo apps in advance which I’ll advise on when booking!
Digital Camera Skills – Thursday 23rd June in Bideford, (10am-5pm) £50
A practical days workshop learning to gain control over your camera, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO, flash etc, setting it up for optimum quality under any given lighting, and making better pictures through composition. Numbers limited to a hand-full. I also offer it on a 1:1 basis for ½ a day for £75
Photographing your own Artwork – Friday 1st July in Bideford, (11am-6pm) £60 with lunch, tea and coffee provided!
I have a wealth of knowledge and experience of photographing 2D artwork, jewellery and ceramics and I’m willing to pass this on to artists eager to improve their own image making camera skills. Although this workshop is for a small group (max 4) I also offer it on a 1:1 basis for ½ a day for £75, or I can deliver the workshop in your own home or studio anywhere in Devon for £125
Introduction to Photoshop – Thursday 7th July in Bideford (10am–5pm) – £60 with lunch, tea and coffee provided!
Opening an image file and adjusting levels, contrast, brightness and colour balance. Rotating, resizing and cropping an image. Placing an image or images into a new file. Using layers and history. Participants will need to be computer literate i.e. use a computer on regular basis and understand the basic controls. Small group (max 4). I also offer it on a 1:1 basis in your own home or studio anywhere in Devon for £175