‘Every picture tells a story’ or so the saying goes. Well that’s true to a certain extent but some images have more to say than others. Photographs have the power to ask questions whilst not always providing answers. They are less about whether or not an image is beautiful or technically correct and more about what is it trying to say.Read more
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.
“Exhibition” a public display of works of art or items of interest, held in an art gallery or museum or at a trade.
“Expedition” a journey undertaken by a group of people with a particular purpose, especially that of exploration and research.
These definitions are in my view an excellent summary of The Image Circle Exhibition which took place at The Oxmarket in Chichester last month.
A number of weeks have now passed and I have had time to look back on what was a very successful, albeit quite an exhausting experience.
Let me start at the beginning. The Image Circle is a group of six like minded photographers all with an interest in outdoor photography, whether that be landscapes or nature. None of us had exhibited before, so 15 months ago we booked our slot at The Oxmarket Centre of Arts and began our preparation. A logo for the group was devised, a website set up and then individually we went about deciding what to exhibit, and how the pictures should be presented and framed. We also had to divide the gallery space so that we were all happy with our allocated hanging area. Marketing the event was also a major consideration but I’ll come back to that later.
The six of us met regularly during the year and in the week before the exhibition final details were discussed and agreed. We arrived early on the first day to set everything up, hang and label our pictures. We had also arranged a private view for that evening having invited family, friends, other acquaintances and contacts.
Roads, tracks or paths all lead somewhere, albeit some do reach a dead end. In many ways they can be symbolic of life in general. We are all on a path of some description, and none of us truly know where it might lead. If we knew what lay round every corner or over every hill, life would in fact be rather dull.
We often encounter junctions and therefore choices. Which direction do we take? Only the passage of time will prove to us whether or not it was the right decision. Many days, months or even years may have to be pass before we can look back and reflect, and by then it is often too late to retrace our steps. Is there light or darkness ahead? Are we excited or nervous to be on the path we now travel?
I know I am getting rather philosophical, but following early retirement from the property industry last year, I continued working as a consultant for just over a year. However this too comes to a natural end tomorrow, the 30th June. It is perhaps a little strange or ironic that on the following day, the 1st of July, I will be exhibiting my work for the first time.
None of this was planned, it is just how things have worked out; just like this image which I made recently. After a rather dull start to the day on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, this wet single track road was suddenly lit by a little brightness in the sky. The car had to be stopped and a photograph taken. The view on the other side of the hill was spectacular………….. and I will share that picture with you in another post, on another day.
For now though my life has taken a different direction, and I am very happy to be on this new path. Who knows where it might lead in the future? There can be no certainty, only guesswork to the answer; but one thing is for sure, I am looking forward to finding out.
I often ask myself the question – ‘Why does a photograph interest me and hold my attention for more than a few nano seconds? What are the various components of the image that make it visually appealing to me and maybe to others?’
In answer to these questions I thought I would try and dissect the key elements of this photograph which I have called – Main Exit. Do click on the image to view a larger version as this will help you see all the detail in the picture.
To begin, the image is monochrome; obvious I know, but a colour image of the same picture simply wouldn’t be as interesting. This shot is all about tone, texture, contrast and the overall composition. Colour would be a distraction. There is though a subtle tone which has been applied in post processing, which may not be immediately apparent.
The main focal point is the man in the top right hand corner walking into the building. We can’t see all of his body or his head, but we do see a reflection of his pale jacket and he stands out against the dark background. White on black will always draw the eye. He is framed within a dark square which ties in well with the square crop of the image itself. It’s virtually a picture within a picture.
A square crop doesn’t always work but in this example I think it enhances the overall composition. There is a strong diagonal lead in line from the bottom left hand corner which takes your eye to the main subject of the picture. There are paler lines in the ground which also lead the eye. These are in contrast to the vertical lines of the modern windows. The ground also slopes upwards, so that the metal base of the building narrows to a point where it meets the man. This aids perspective and adds to the sense of depth.
Reflections always provide visual interest because they distort reality. The older buildings are all askew, there is half a car and half a waste bin. Behind the glass there is a person sitting down which begs the question as to what’s inside and the purpose of the building itself.
Top right there is a sign which says ‘Main Exit’ but the arrow points in the opposite direction to the man entering the building – has he gone through the wrong door?
As well as being a contrasty image there is also the visual contrast of the new and old buildings, the young person behind the window and the older person walking through the door. The contrast in texture between the ground and the mirror like surface of the windows.
Lastly a border has been added to provide a frame round the image.
For me it makes a visually appealing image, as the sum of all the component parts make for an intriguing story, complete with different textures and tones, all held together by strong compositional and geometric elements as well.
I have found this exercise beneficial and I hope you have enjoyed my ‘dissection’ of a photograph interesting. Arguably the approach could work just as well on images that you don’t like, as well as the ones that do. It’s worth a try.