I came across this wonderful chest of old drawers recently and I started to wonder what each drawer had contained over the years? What secrets and surprises had this piece of furniture been hiding? Once opened of course the ‘magic’ would be gone, although the very act of opening a drawer might be followed by delight or disappointment. A bit like life I guess. None of us know what’s round the corner but there is a sense of anticipation and excitement particularly at this time of year. As we look back on the past 12 months, we reflect on the contents of the ‘drawers’ that have been opened and consider those that are still closed, but may open up and shape our lives in the forthcoming year.
From a purely photographic perspective what happened for me in 2014? Did I fulfil my objectives that I set out for myself a year ago?……and what are my hopes and plans for 2015?
During the first few months of 2014 I completed my first ever commission resulting in ten A2 size prints, all mounted and framed for a company in Portsmouth. It was a huge learning experience which was both challenging and thoroughly enjoyable but it doesn’t make me want to give up the day job. The concluding entry about this commission can be read here.
At about the same time my company had decided to build a new website for which they would require profile portraits of every member of staff; well over 100 individuals. I happily volunteered to undertake the task. The vast majority of people didn’t like having their photograph taken, but as they knew me I like to think they felt more comfortable with me holding the camera as opposed to a complete stranger. Taking portraits is not what I would choose to do, but again I definitely learnt something from the process.
At the end of 2013 I had already decided to sell my Nikon DSLR (APSC) and lenses in favour of the Olympus OMD EM1 and Micro 4/3rds system. My local independent camera shop (not many left sadly) supplied the new equipment and also sold the Nikon gear. My thanks to John Dominick at Sussex Camera Centre for excellent service as always.
Despite this change in system I still had a yearning to try the Leica M Monochrom. A full frame rangefinder camera with a black and white only sensor – yes, that’s right, no colour! So when the Leica store in Mayfair in London offered a complimentary three hour workshop I decided to take up the opportunity. Risky I know, but it was an opportunity not to be missed. You can read more here.
Two months later I had finally made up my mind and I am now the proud owner of a Leica M Monochrom and two lenses, pictured below.
The two systems (Leica and Olympus) are completely different in so many ways but in my view entirely complimentary. Each have their pros and cons and are best suited to different photographic situations…..and for now my GAS (gear addiction syndrome) has been cured! I simply can’t remember the last time I read a review of a new camera.
Unfortunately it wasn’t until our holiday in Norfolk in October that I really got to use the Monochrom for an extended period of time. Further it’s only in recent weeks as I go back and process the images taken during that trip, do I realise just how special the camera is, and how fortunate I am to be able to own one. It’s unlike any other camera I have ever used, it just inspires me to get out and take photographs and that has to be a good thing.
At the beginning of November I decided to transfer my ‘blogspot’ site to WordPress. Frankly it could not have been more straightforward and I am now kicking myself that I didn’t do so a long time ago. I am slowly finding other blogs to follow and attracting a few followers as well. I look forward to the numbers growing and to me being an active member of the WordPress community.
I continue to be inspired by a variety of photographic books, whether they are collections of photographs taken by artists I admire, or books about the ‘art of seeing’ and the ‘thinking’ behind a good image. This is a topic not for today but for one or several entries in the future. One thing that does come through repeatedly from all I have read is that a ‘project’ (could be more than one) is almost essential to develop your photographic and seeing skills. I had intended to work on such a project in 2014, but failed miserably, so in 2015 I will be making a much more determined effort. I already have a number of ideas which I will think about and plan in the days and weeks ahead.
When I read my review of the year from 12 months ago, I also realised that I had not submitted any of my work for publication in a magazine. Neither did I make any attempt at producing a book. These are still things I would like to do, as well as producing a panel of 15 images which would be worthy of an ARPS submission. Without question there is a link here and they all hinge on a clearly defined project; something I can really get my ‘photographic’ teeth stuck into. Inevitably this will lead to my taking more images for inclusion in this blog, and for my own website, which badly needs updating. Something else to add to the list!
So whilst I don’t know what all the drawers have in store, on the face of it they look pretty full already!
Thank you for reading my blog, for your comments and ‘likes’ and whatever 2015 has in store for you, may I wish you a Peaceful, Happy and most of all Healthy New Year.
I shall conclude with a few of my favourite images taken during 2014.