alan frost photography

in monochrome with occasional colour lapses

Posts tagged ‘monochrome’

Starting to see again…..

Moody Prinsted for wordpress

If you read my last post (Photographic Purpose?) you will know that I have taken very few images in recent months. There are lots of reasons but there is one factor – I wasn’t seeing anything to photograph. Even if did see something I wouldn’t have a camera with me, with the possible exception of my old iPhone of course.

Photography is like any creative hobby, you have to keep practising and it’s very easy to get out of the habit of taking and making new images. You stop looking partly because you don’t expect to see anything and over time the brain no longer sees pictures. It becomes a vicious circle and the longer this situation continues the more difficult it is to break what has become a destructive habit.

I used to play a lot of golf but to keep my handicap down I needed to play regularly. If I didn’t play for a few weeks then my game would suffer. However one good strike during a round would help to restore my confidence and inspire me to play more.

Photography is no different. The above image was taken yesterday and during processing it immediately reminded me of the great moody black and white landscapes by Don McCullin. A photographer whose work I very much admire.

I find this one image quite inspirational, not because it’s a great image, it isn’t perfect by any means. But because of what it represents. The fact that I am ‘starting to see’ again and as importantly want to reach for the camera when a scene unfolds before me.

The fact the camera was my old iPhone 6 doesn’t matter, although I am constantly amazed how much processing in Photoshop can be done before the image starts to degrade. Yes, I would have preferred a more detailed file to work with, and there are elements of the composition which could have been improved had I stopped to think about what I was doing.

Nevertheless each new image I take is a step back to where I would like to be – taking, making and sharing new images on a regular basis.

Photographic Purpose?

I often find myself asking the following questions – Why do we take photographs? What is the purpose? I could even go as far to say – What is the point?

At one extreme a photographer who is a full time professional has to earn a living from his craft to pay the mortgage. He or she has no choice in the matter – they have to be making images to satisfy their paying clients or their audience. The only choice they have is to whether or not an alternative career might be more financially lucrative, even if that new role is not as rewarding. Fortunately I do not fall into this category.

At the other extreme everyone who has a smartphone will probably take an extraordinary number of images and post them on social media just because they can. Seemingly they want to share their every living moment with their family, friends, followers and the world at large. Fortunately I don’t fall into this category either.

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London – Reflections of City Life

Although I was born and bred in London (many years ago now) I no longer live there and I rarely have a reason to go there these days either. Whilst I understand the appeal of living and being part of a big, vibrant, cosmopolitan city with all its inherent attractions, it no longer appeals to me. Yes, I enjoy the occasional visit but I have to say I breathe a sigh of relief when I am on the train returning home.

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Inspired by J M W Turner – a Cathedral from the canal

The painting below is by J M W Turner. Alongside Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable he must be one of the finest and most loved landscape painters England has ever produced. Turner stayed at Petworth House in West Sussex and during his time there he painted Chichester Canal with the Cathedral in the background – circa 1829. It’s a familiar scene to me and I thought it would lend itself to my own impressionistic treatment using a camera instead of paints.

Owned by the Tate Gallery and on display in Petworth House in Sussex.
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Cathedral impressions – a return to ICM

Back in April I experimented with the technique of ICM or intentional camera movement. Setting a slow shutter speed and then moving the camera in a random way to create the photograph. This technique produces a result which is arguably more akin to a piece of art than a photograph. That’s not to say that photography isn’t an art form. In my opinion it most definitely is, and the camera is simply the ‘paintbrush’, the creative tool to make an image which reflects your own personal vision or impression of the subject you wish to portray.

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