SIMPLE PLEASURES

My eldest son is here for a week. This makes me happy :)

Yesterday, the weather being beautiful, we decided to jump in the car and head for the coast. We settled on a part of Devon neither of us had been to before. North coast as opposed to south. Croyde, Putsborough, Woollacombe. 

We just drove to the beach and walked. With cameras. As I've said in a previous post, Louis is mid-way through an art degree at Edinburgh. He is learning various disciplines and mediums among which photography plays an important part. So he did his thing and I did mine, and man what a joy. The simple pleasure of shared experience between father and son, safe in the knowledge that neither person will become impatient with the other as we're both in the zone and have no fixed agenda. Just following our eyes and going where things lead.

Two or three hours wandering about, followed by a good meal in a pub and then home. There should be more days like these..


FUJI X-T1 + XF35MM f1.4 AND X-PRO1 + XF16MM f1.4


DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

Last weekend I was asked to photograph the pumpkin festival held at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, the new contemporary art gallery on the edge of town. London. Zurich. New York. Bruton... Yep, still coming to terms with that one. I grew up in London and am no stranger to cosmopolitan cultural diversity, but I kind've left all that behind some years ago when I moved to Somerset. Living in Bruton is a very different experience to the big city. Not better. Not worse. Just very different. But we now have an enormous cutting edge art space right on our doorstep. Cool :)

The Pumpkin Festival was a community event, with food, music, competitions and childrens activities. My job was to document the day and deliver a number of photographs to be used for publicity purposes on their social media platforms.

I enjoyed the day and came away with a number of pictures I am actually pretty pleased with.

Since the bulk of images were, as intended, shot for H&W to promote the event, I will keep to just a few detail shots which I ended up liking.

Click for large. Enjoy.

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SHOT WITH THE FUJI X-1OO, X-PRO 1 AND XF35MM F1.4


AFTER THE EVENT

So. It's been a while. Really quite a while. I began this blog filled with the best of intentions. With enthusiastic desires of producing regular content for people to consume, and of building, slowly but surely, a healthy archive over time. This is still my intention. But sometimes life hits. Throwing things at you which knock the wind from your sails and worry away at your stuffing until you become somewhat incapacitated. The last few months have been like this for me. It began with my mum having an accident and ending up in hospital for several weeks. There is a lot to that story but I don't think I will go into it now. Suffice it to say she's OK again and on the road to recovery, but it knocked me sideways. I had in fact put together a draft post about it, but as I hit publish the whole thing vanished. Once i'd got over my shock and consternation, in the end I took it as a sign that perhaps it was best left un-shared here. That, and some other challenges of the internal demonic sort ultimately led to my grinding to a digital halt.

Of late however, the proverbial sun has begun to peek out and dispel the fogginess which was holding me still.

So now, although a good deal further after the event than it should've been, It's time to start working through the backlog. Starting with Glastonbury.

I have been going to this enormous summer festival for a long time. My first one was twenty six years ago, aged 17.. Whoah. I've skipped a few since then but it's gotta be seventeen or eighteen times now for me. In all those years I have actually bought a ticket once. Every year before or since, I have found one way or another to be there as either a paid or unpaid worker of many different descriptions. I am currently involved in the lighter aspects of infrastructure at the Field Of Avalon. Myself and a small team of friends spend the final week leading up to the opening of the festival putting together a variety of finishing touches to the field and stage spaces we have there. Whilst not strictly a photographic gig, my position does mean that once it all kicks off I get some pretty cool access to our stages and I am basically able to shoot to my hearts content both front and back stage in the Avalon field.

Experience has taught me that there's really no point attempting to photograph at the other large main stages without proper access (think average punter type shot of small performer over the heads of a huge crowd). Instead I will usually head to the myriad of smaller tents and venues where the more intimate experience is to be had. Add to that the whole panoply of random craziness all over the rest of the site, and you have a pretty damn visually stimulating few days...

This year, Zillah and the two boys were there as well which brought an extra friends and family dimension into the equation which was fun :) 

I invite you back in to a slice of the summer. Click to view large.

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ALL IMAGES SHOT WITH THE FUJI X-T1 AND XF18MM F2R, XF35MM F1.4R & XF56MM F1.2R 


STAGE FRONT


BACKSTAGE


INTERSTICES

PORTAL TO THE PAST

A few weeks back I was asked by Jack Price to shoot some production stills for the short film he is making as part of his Youth Cinema Foundation project.

The conversation went something like this:

"...We're shooting on location at Cothay Manor. Do you know it?"

"Umm.. No."

"Near Wellington. It's one of the most well preserved 15th century Manor Houses in the country. They shot Wolf Hall there. We've got it for the whole day. There'll be a bunch of teenagers dressed in period costume doing scenes for the film in various settings. What do you think? Is that something you could make time for?"

"Er.. YEP. OK."

No brainer. Not the sort of opportunity that comes knocking at the door every day.

I am a natural documentarian. One of my favourite things to do is to tell a story or portray an event using pictures, with the onus on attention to detail. I'm not fussy about the subject matter. It could be anything from the lowly and mundane to the most lavish and out of the ordinary - or anything in between. But I'll be honest: When it's something like this, it's a treat.

Working with Jack is always fun. He is a powerhouse of energy and creativity. His experience and enthusiasm are infectious, and he is adept at conjuring up scenarios you'd think would be next to impossible, out of nothing. His Youth Cinema Foundation is a fantastic opportunity for young people to gain rare experience and insight into an industry which would normally be shrouded in mystery for those of their age group. Instead of fetching and carrying and 'making the tea', these kids are learning to act, direct and to use camera and sound equipment. All hands on. Very little watching from the sidelines. It is a pleasing thing to witness.

For myself, I got to engage in one of the activities I like best, with the added bonus of being surrounded by the authentic trappings of a fascinating bygone era. You could say I had a good day.

The premier of the film 'Shaftesbury's End' will screened on June 26th at Hauser and Wirth Somerset.

Cothay Manor Shoot-100.jpg

SHOT WITH THE FUJI X-T1, X-PRO 1, X100 AND XF 35MM F1.4R + XF56MM F1.2R



THE PROVEN CLICHÉ

Last weekend, I had one of those days.

It started with my attempt at mowing the lawn. I think I made it once up the length of the garden before I ran over the electric cable and cut straight through it. Great. Bang went my plans of quickly and efficiently cutting the grass and moving on to other things.. Literally. It tripped a fuse in the box which may have saved me from electrocution, but somehow caused a knock on effect which left the house without power and me tinkering around trying to fix it for a good couple of hours. It was about this time that Cosmo came back in. 

He had been out by himself for the first time (with a friend) to the woods nearby. It felt good. An initial spreading of wings. A step on the road to autonomous independence. Cool.. All good. And it is.

Except he fell out of a tree. 

Bless his fortitude, he walked all the way back to the house - the best part of a mile - and then sat on the sofa and cried. It took some time to persuade him that a trip to the hospital was a good idea. He was not impressed but we went. (By the way, y'know I said it was one of those days? Well, the car broke down on the way there. Uh-huh. For real). Several hours and an x-ray later it became clear he had broken his wrist. 

A few days later we went back to have a proper cast fitted. The consultant looked at his other wrist and.. 'Hmmm...' Another x-ray showed a little crack in that one too.

Blimey. (Click for full size view)


SHOT WITH THE FUJI X-T1 AND XF 35MM F1.4R



I myself have never broken a bone. Hell I don't even have a filling in my mouth, but somehow this feels like a rite of passage. For Cosmo obviously but also, curiously, me too. Can't explain it but there it is. Now the initial shock and pain have passed, it has also become a bit of a badge of honour.

And trying to get him to rest up, look after himself and maybe not take any risks for a few weeks? Yeah. 'Trying' is the operative word.

Boys will be boys.

CATALAN CONTRAST

I've just returned from a fleeting visit to Spain. Or more specifically, Catalunya. A region in the far north-east of the country just south of the Pyrenees. 

The main premise for the trip was to spend time with some dear friends who were getting married after many a year of cohabitation and making babies. Also to act as an official witness. I was there for a mere two days but it's amazing how much you can squeeze in when you know time is at a premium.

There are certain parts of the Spanish coast which, frankly, leave me slightly ashamed of being English. You probably know what I'm talking about. Nuff said. Catalunya is different. It is a special place. It has been attracting artists for a long time due to the nature of the landscape and the particular quality of light. Salvador Dalí lived and worked there, and many others such as Picasso, Tàpies and Miró to name but a few spent considerable time working in the area.

Having seen it first hand I can say there is something about the light. It's subtle; it doesn't smack you in the face, but it's as though there is a clarity to the air which allows the sun to penetrate deeply whatever it shines on, rendering colours more vividly and with more contrast than I am used to seeing. I'm sure there are other places in the world where this is also the case, but perhaps not many so close to home and it was a treat for me.

I photographed many different things, but for a while I got caught up in simply looking for Light and Shadow. Contrast. Silhouette. Detail. 

There may be future posts from this trip. But for now this. Just this. Enjoy.


SHOT WITH THE FUJI X-T1 AND XF 35MM F1.4 R