“All publicity is good publicity” has a nice reassuring ring to it but I’m always a little nervous and excited when the press are interested in what I’m doing. Rosanna Rothery and her photographer partner Jon Bowen joined me with others at the end of last month for a ‘Playing with Light’ workshop. I was expecting the journalist to sit quietly in a corner observing and making notes and leaving after she had enough for her story. I was so wrong! Rosanna was an active participant in the workshop on a cold dank winter’s night on Westward Ho! Beach. You’ll see her in the Journal’s feature top right with angel wings. This particular image was made using 3 pairs of torch swinging hands, Sadie and Janis stand directly behind Rosanna, and a flash was used to freeze and correctly expose her against the night sky.
The main picture features three teenagers who had come down to the beach to see what was going on, attracted by the bright lights. They were very enthusiastic to get involved and this image of 30 seconds had a few of us scribbling with torches behind their backs, giving them saintly halos and adding a little white light on their faces so that we can see who they are. The Superman poses were chosen by themselves.
Here’s a link to the full article from the North Devon Journal 25th March 2010: www.thisisnorthdevon.co.uk/news/Learn-paint-light/article-1937602-detail/article.html
When I started leading photographic workshops last year I thought it would just be a summertime thing that tourists to
Tuesday March 16th 5.00pm-9.00pm at Spacex Gallery in
On Saturday 27th March 6.30pm on Westward Ho! Beach
I have been a fan of night photographers for some years now, inspired by Troy Paiva, William Lesch, Mark Klett and the Nocturnes ‘fellowship’ often based in the desert regions of the
Over the last couple of years I have also been fascinated with the experience of being out at night, far away from the lights. Walking without a torch, on invisible footpaths, sometimes your guide being a slight gap in overhead trees, dark grey as opposed to black, which you use for direction. Your spatial awareness vastly diminished and relying of the rods in your eyes to see a world in monotone.
Photographing at night can be like painting on a blank canvas, adding light, colour, texture and form to a desaturated scene. The whole process is very photographic. Where there is no light we can open a shutter for ever without a single photon of exposure. As soon as we strike a match we have an exposure. Making an image from light is such fun.
What an interesting and unexpected end to the year, I was inundated with photographic work. My interest in a photographic job seems to have a direct relationship to its difficulty, photographing in the dark, extreme high contrast, unsociable hours; often visually stimulating but people ask “can you take photographs in this?” I’m a firm believer in ‘if you can see it, you can photograph it’ in fact I’d go further than this, I’m not really happy unless the photograph is better than the reality remembered.
One of my challenges was the documentation of a firing of Bideford’s community Kiln-in-the-Park. This was a joint project from the Friends of the
There was talk in the potting fraternity that if they didn’t work with clay they would all be pyromaniacs and there were many photographic examples of a fearless love for flames. The two pictures here are of Doug Fitch who has his own slipware blog: http://slipware.blogspot.com/
Another challenge was photographing the alternative physical theatre company Jammy Voo http://www.jammyvoo.com/ They had been working on a new play at Beaford Arts Centre and needed documentary/publicity pictures. Their play writing is quite improvised, the script to start with may not even have a beginning, middle or ending, so their time together as a company, who live in various parts of
Since the last post I’ve had another opportunity to combine the present with the past through the Beaford Arts ‘Old Archive’. I was recently involved as an artist in a Beaford Arts residential for ‘gifted and talented’ year 9 pupils. It was hoped I could lead a ‘drawing with light’ exercise in the dark evening as the residential was loosely based on the ‘big draw’ national incentive to get people drawing. Rather than simply reiterating the previous residential I chose to also include the combining of the past with the present.
A mysterious Old Archive image of Greenwarren House (which now houses Beaford Arts) was found. Mysterious because there is no information attached to it except the description: “Old view of Greenwarren House with different window heads and stucco and 2 horses and riders.” There is no date or reference to the riders, horses or dog in the picture. Technically I should have composed the photograph before dark to have obtained the same angle-of-view and comparable lens length. However the only real discrepancy is to the left of the house where the old stable block isn’t lined up but the advantage of this mismatch is that you see a photo-collage made on a previous residential pasted on a door.
The children, after making some long exposure night photos themselves, made light patterns with a number of coloured torches, drawing or painting with light in the darkness. Afterwards they had the opportunity of learning how to combine the old and new images in PhotoShop.
My final image is a combination of 2 ‘drawing with light’ exposures of 1 minute each plus the original ‘Victorian’ photograph. I’ve tried to photograph the present both actually, the house as it is in October 2009 with reference to art being made in the photo-collage seen on the door and metaphysically; children learning through art seen by the light traces and sometimes ghostly images as they move through time. I’ve also made reference to the past through the old windows and doors seen through the bleached out windows of the present and the trace image of the old building’s chimneys, flowerpots, garden sculptures and the 2 riders on horses and dog.
‘Old Archive, Contemporary Responce’ continues at Boston Tea Party in Exeter from 3rd of November follow this link for more information.