alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Another year over – a time to reflect and consider.

My first post of 2019.

Another year over and a time to reflect on the past 12 months and consider what the next 12 months might bring.

2018 was not my most productive year from a photographic point of view. I had plenty of ideas but simply couldn’t settle on what it was I wanted to achieve. Projects came and went, although none have been discarded altogether. Perhaps other distractions in my life simply prevented me from being able to devote the time or concentrate my mind on any one particular line of thought.

I can’t be certain but I hope this year will be different. By the time December comes round again I would like to be able to look back and say that 2019 has been a good year and that 2018 was simply a quieter and less creative period. A passage of time when my internal batteries needed recharging, so filling me with fresh enthusiasm to make new photographs in the year which lies ahead.

The image which accompanies this post was taken in the past few days and is I believe, one which somehow metaphorically reflects the past year. A vacant plastic garden chair, out of place, overlooking a deserted creek at low tide. An empty space, ready to accept the incoming tide of fresh ideas coupled with renewed enthusiasm. A still, quiet place ideally suited to the mind being contemplative and receptive to whatever the future may hold.

Wherever you are in the world may I wish you a peaceful, healthy and happy New Year. With my thanks as always for reading my blog.

‘It’s not all Black & White’ this Christmas.

I live near the Cathedral City of Chichester in West Sussex. It’s a largely affluent place in an affluent county. According to the Land Registry in July of this year the average price of a property in the City stood at £390,559 compared to £248,611 across England as a whole.

I was in the city just before Christmas – a last minute shopping trip.  Being the last Saturday before the 25th December there were plenty of people carrying bags, doubtless full of presents for family and friends or things to eat  over the festive period.

I found it difficult to concentrate on spending money, my mind was in conflict, for what really struck me was the number of homeless people in empty shop doorways.

I then came across some large black and white portraits on a section of hoarding outside the cathedral. I was also drawn by its title – It’s Not All Black & White’. I crossed the road and stopped to find out what it was all about.

‘It’s Not All Black & White’ is a specially curated photographic exhibition made up of nine portraits by the acclaimed photographer Dan Stevens, telling the story of some of homeless people who have been helped by a local charity called Stonepillow.

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First light at Ringstead Bay – a new beginning

Photographically speaking I do not feel this year has been that productive. I have been thinking a lot about the future direction of my photography but not been making many new images.

In the past I would have regularly slung a camera over my shoulder or taken one out in a small bag in the hope that something might grab my attention. In recent months  I haven’t bothered to do so and I know I have missed some opportunities. However if the creative juices aren’t flowing then I don’t believe that you can force the issue. If you are not in the right frame of mind then perhaps a break is required in the hope that given time the desire to make new images returns.

The picture in this post gives me some encouragement. It was captured last week as my wife and I took our dog for an early morning walk at Ringstead Bay in Dorset. I had a camera with me, a Sony RX100. A compact camera which I very much enjoy using when I remember to pick it up before I go out!

I didn’t see much to photograph apart from the morning light shining on the mobile homes which overlook the bay. The sky was dark but on the horizon lay the prospect of a brighter day. When I took the shot I immediatley knew how the final image might look. I have not experienced that feeling for quite a while.

A metaphor possibly for a return to a more creative period? I do hope so……

Harthope Valley in The Cheviots – A nod to Fay Godwin

During a recent visit to Northumberland I visited Harthope Valley in The Cheviot Hills. It reminded me of Fay Godwin who is one of my favourite photographers. She was famed for her black and white photographs of the British Landscape as well as being a very fine portrait photographer.

Below is a short extract from an obituary published in The Daily Telegraph on May 30th 2005.

‘Fay Godwin, who died on Friday aged 74, was the foremost landscape photographer in Britain, and also collaborated with the poet Ted Hughes, going on to produce portraits of other writers; her insight into the British countryside, which led her to be compared with the great American photographer Ansel Adams, was also her recreation, and she was president of the Ramblers’ Association from 1987 until 1990.

Her photographs, which captured the differing moods and textures of moors, forests and country trails with a remarkable sensitivity and lack of sentimentality, were mostly produced in black and white, but with an extraordinary tonal range’.

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