Tag Archives: Northumberland

It’s not grim up North

Holga island

After my last post on the 1st August I said that this blog was not going to die so here is another post just to prove my point. I will admit that not blogging has been a blessed relief for the last couple of weeks, although during those two weeks it seems that England (yes, England NOT the UK as news outlets would have you believe) has gone to hell in a handcart. This blog is not going to try and understand why the recent riots happened but I do I find it very sad. A lot of lives and livelihoods have been ruined and even lost but I think last week’s events have been coming for a long time. Our culture is now obsessed with the accumulation of goods and the cult of celebrity then it should come as no surprise when those that have nothing decide to take what they don’t have. The violence cannot be condoned and those involved must be punished but at the same time those at the other end of society – bankers, MPs who were economical with the truth expenses wise, huge corporations avoiding tax – must also be seen to be punished. But that will not happen. Indeed, our current Prime Minister, and the Mayor of London, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer were members of an exclusive club at university (the Bullingdon) that used to regularly behave badly, smashing windows and trashing restaurants. Of course in their case they could pay for the damage and it was only ‘youthful high jinks’. Similarly, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has admitted to setting fire to a greenhouse full of rare cacti in his youth.

It’s very sad that a student – with no previous convictions – walking home from his girlfriend’s house who stole a 3.50 bottle of water gets 6 month in prison and does not deserve a second chance; conversely, Andy Coulson, the Prime Minister’s disgraced communications chief did deserve a second chance despite allegedly overseeing widespread criminality at the News of the World. Of course the majority of the rioters deserve to go to prison for a very, very long time but for a government obsessed with fairness this seems to be in short supply. Knee jerk reactions are almost always wrong and there seems to be no proportionality.

But enough hand-wringing. I never meant to write all that but got carried away a little. Despite the news coverage coming out of England this week, its still a beautiful country and today we are heading up north to my favourite place, Northumberland. From a photographer’s point of view I find the landscapes of Northumberland, where it seems you are never that far away from a castle, a rugged coastline or mile upon mile of empty sandy beaches, to be inspiring. I am hoping to get lots of good pictures that I can share as the blog progresses at a more sedate pace.

This picture was taken in Northumberland, on Holy Island, last year at the same time as I was photographing a wedding. Of late I have been experimenting a bit with different effects and tints and this was an image that I liked but which in its colour form was bleached out by the sun rising over the headland. This seemed to work and prints are available from my society6 shop.

In other news, the last set of wedding photographs that I did, which I agonised over for so long were delivered to much praise (phew) and as a result I have had an enquiry about shooting another wedding next year. Sales are picking up slowly on the society6 site and a friend in PR has decided to take me by the scruff of the neck and put a plan in place for promoting my photography more widely. We’ll see how that goes. But first a holiday… Back soon

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Harbour wall

skin

I have just been trawling through old posts (pardon the pun) as I was sure that I had blogged this image before but it seems not.  It was taken on the harbour wall in Craster, Northumberland, which is one of my favourite places in the world. I like the texture of it, especially the ropes in the foreground. Craster is famous for its smoked kippers but these are lobster pots. Bit of a celebration tonight as I have finished the wedding photographs and its taken less than two weeks – all thanks to a lot of help with my processing and my guest blogees. Much appreciated. I now need to get back to taking some new pictures for myself, i.e. for pleasure. I am starting to get a feel for what sells in my Society6 studio [free worldwide shipping until Sunday folks] and what doesn’t and my strategy is now to plan my photographs more rigorously and maybe even come up with a long-term project or signature. We’ll see how it goes. It will be good to get back to taking pictures for myself. It’s far less stressful.

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The Scottish Play

Bamburgh castle

This evening I am off to the theatre to see Macbeth at the Liverpool Everyman. It is the last production to be staged at the Everyman before the theatre is pulled down and a new one raised in its place; it also marks the return to the stage after many years of the popular television actor, Twitterer and all-round nice guy David Morrissey. Morrissey started his career at the Everyman and it is is fitting that this final production should see once of its own returning, hopefully triumphantly. The Everyman is a great little theatre and I used to go there all the time as a student, given its proximity to the university; unfortunately most of the time I was there to drink in its famous cellar bar than to watch a performance, although I did go to many.

Macbeth is probably my favourite of all Shakespeare’s  plays, probably because I never had to study it. I know Lear, Othello and Hamlet inside out through constant appraisal at school but the first time I saw Macbeth it was not on the stage. My first Macbeth was John Finch in Roman Polankski’s 1971 film version and I think I saw it as part of Alex Cox’s much-missed Moviedrome on BBC2 some time in the mid 1980s. It was filmed in Northumberland – as was Polanski’s Cul de Sac – which is my favourite place in the UK and used the imposing Bamburgh castle as its backdrop (pictured). Whilst Cul de Sac used Holy Island as its striking location Macbeth used Bamburgh. Here was Macbeth as gothic horror film, which is probably why I like it so much and still do to this day. It is well worth seeking out, if only for the novelty of seeing a very young Martin Shaw as Banquo and an even younger Keith Chegwin – yes THAT Keith Chegwin – as Fleance.

I think I like Macbeth because despite its horrors it is also a very intimate portrait of a marriage and the very definition of the old adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Plus it fair rattles along, hardly pausing for breath amidst the carnage. The Everyman production has been getting good reviews so fingers crossed we are in for a good night.

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Moving forwards

Crossing

As the end of April approaches it would appear that I am now a quarter of the way through a post a day for 2011. To be honest I never thought that I would make it even this far so I’ve surprised myself. The hardest thing about this whole process is deciding which pictures to blog and how much to write. I must say that taking on this challenge has focused the mind in terms of pictures AND words. So I thought it was maybe time to take stock of recent developments; it has been a pretty busy year thus far, mostly because of the enforced blogging but also in terms of developing an audience for the photographs, no matter how small.

  • I’ve recently set up a gallery on Society6, an on-line artists collective. It is from here that I had a print accepted for sale by the Urban Outfitters print shop. Over the last few years, I’ve been asked on several occasions to upload photographs to such sites and also to photo libraries (and even created my own rudimentary website) but with no interest generated in terms of sales. Society6 appears to be different. Not only am I in awe of some of the talented individuals in the community, particularly in terms of graphic art, but I’ve also been heartened by the response to some of my work. And yes, I have made some sales, particularly from the aforementioned print that Urban Outfitters have optioned. Despite the fact that it all works on commission, it is the artists themselves that get to set the commission rate; so in other words I can set a commission and let Society6 handle print, format and despatch of the pictures. This sees me generating real, tangible sales for the first time online and to be honest it’s rather exciting that somewhere in the world, probably the US, there are walls with my photographs hanging on them. With this in mind I’ve been concentrating my energies here of late and I would recommend the experience to other photographers/artists/crafty people out there. The rewards may not be great just yet but if I can build a presence and get more work accepted for the various affiliate print shops then this could become a means for financially sustaining my hobby, which is all I’ve ever wanted. Most importantly, all copyright remains with the artist so I am free to sell the same works elsewhere should I so wish. This has led me to consider abandoning Flickr, especially given recent coverage of abuse of image rights (by the Daily Mail you will no doubt be unsurprised to learn).
  • In other news, I’ve been asked to photograph another wedding (my third) in July and on this occasion the approach has been unsolicited (i.e., the other two weddings that I’ve photographed were family of close friends and a work colleague [and friend], respectively), which means that it is not the wedding of someone I know. This is good as means that someone has seen my photographs and liked them, but at the same time daunting as they are unlikely to give me the leeway that I may have got previously.
  • Also this year, I had two photographs shortlisted for a national photography competition and even though I didn’t win this would seem to suggest that I am moving forward. Said photographs (and others) have also appeared credited in both Cheshire Life and Lancashire Life magazines.
  • Some photographs that I took for the website of a furniture shop in West Didsbury, Manchester have been used (again credited) in a lifestyle magazine; what was particularly pleasing about this is that the shop-owner wanted to use my pictures as the ones taken by the magazine’s photographer were not of the standard he expected.
  • I have put in a submission for exhibition space in Manchester for 2012 thanks to a contact made on Twitter.
  • Finally, I have continued to receive help and support from a great many friends – old, new and virtual – some of whom are rather surprised (like me) that I am doing this at all, let alone that I don’t suck at it big-time (as my children would say).

It’s only when I write this down that I can actually see the progress made in the first 4 months of this year alone. Hopefully I can keep it going for another 4 months and do another recap at the 2/3 stage of the year, after which I will have photographed that wedding and made my annual pilgrimage to Glastonbury. Apparently, I am pretty expert at non-promotion and wallowing in self pity. This post is an attempt to buck the tend. Onwards and upwards…

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Poles apart

Poles apart

Another one of those images that I am not sure about. I think it’s got something but I am not quite sure what that something is. I find it very hard to judge my own pictures and those of other people. As my usual landscapes are pretty ‘safe’ this picture was my attempt at something a bit different and, dare I say it, arty. This is the sort of picture you see hanging in galleries or in Sunday supplements. And no, by that I don’t mean that I think its worthy of such attention. I just find that quite often I do see pictures like this one and wonder what I’m missing; it seems that pictures that are wilfully abstract or minimalist or on the surface don’t have much going on in them that get the accolades. Again, I am not pretending that this picture has depth either. There’s just something about it that niggles away at me; that it might actually work but how and why is lost to me. On the other hand it might just be rubbish. Anyhow, here it is. I’m sure you’ll let  me know if it works or not.

It was taken on Holy Island (Lindisfarne) at sunset on a cloudless day. All the colour was bleached out but I think I liked the long shadows. The poles mark the route that is safe to walk out to the island when the tide is out. And there are some figures making the walk back to the mainland about half way into the picture and slightly to the left. The rocks in the foreground give it a bit of a lunar landscape feel too.

Again, its been a bit of a struggle tonight. The words just wouldn’t come. Sometimes posting every day is a breeze and I have loads to say and sometimes its the most laborious task in the world. I do intend to keep it up but this is mostly out of stubborn bloody mindlessness than inspiration. In my defence though it is Sunday night. Hopefully, my muse will be back for the rest of the week and take me into April.

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The cruel sea

storm clouds

Being British, as I am, I have a bit of an obsession about the weather. We all do. Mainly because it’s so unpredictable. Just as you think that Spring has finally arrived it then leaves again as if it has remembered that it has left the oven on at home. Regular Glastonbury goers will discuss the weather for months in advance; it has become a communal experience. Weather prediction websites are pored over, even though there is nothing we can do about it. A wet Glastonbury can be hellish – think the Somme with vegetarian food – whereas a hot Glastonbury also has its problems, namely peeling skin and sun stroke. Weather plays a big part in the life of this sceptered isle I call home.

It has to be said though that certain parts of the country are hardier than the rest of us. This picture was taken on Bamburgh beach in Northumberland. Last August. Yep, that’s British summertime distilled right there. Sitting on the horizon you can just about make out Holy Island. But wait, what’s that over to the left. Could it be that two people are actually making their way into the sea? One with a body board. When I was working on this image my wife suggested getting rid of the people to provide a straightforward seascape with foaming waves and angry clouds but I felt it better to leave them in. They add scale and context. They deserve praise and recognition for venturing into the North Sea under that sky. Despite it being August, I myself was wearing wellington boots, a fleece and a waterproof jacket. The thought of swimming never crossed my mind. But then I am not from the North East but the North West and it has to be said that they are hewn from sterner stuff. Maybe it’s conditioning? If you are forced into the North Sea enough as a child on regular occasions perhaps your resilience builds up; much like Grigori Rasputin made himself immune to arsenic poisoning by taking small doses himself at regular intervals so it is with the North Sea. Anyway, I think they deserved to be left in the picture.

And why am I banging on about the weather? Because today’s planned portrait shoot today starring yours truly was postponed due to the rain. It rained all morning. To be fair, this afternoon was brighter but by then the decision had been made to cancel. It’s going to be re-arranged for March, when hopefully Spring will have remembered to come back, and remembered to lock the door behind it.

This photo was originally a 12 x 8 standard size with much more beach and cloud. On cropping to a square though I felt that it got a little bit more claustrophobic which is what I was after. It’s another one of those pictures that I had forgotten about, so its nice to do something with it. The sea is lovely and green but its the angry clouds that make it. Believe it or not it rained soon after. Who’d have thought it?

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… and I’m feeling good

Dawn harvest

Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good

Hopefully a lot of you will recognise these song lyrics. For me it’s a song that could only ever be sung by Nina Simone but if you only know it from the butchering it received at the hands of Muse then that still doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s a great song. I love Nina Simone. I consider hers to be the finest female voice ever committed to vinyl or tape or converted into bits. She had a great voice, yet was also a consummate musician and she imbued her songs and performances with the political – championing civil rights and highlighting the racism endemic in America in the 1960s. When Nina Simone sings about freedom you know that it’s a freedom that is hard fought and a freedom that is a rallying cry against bigotry and injustice. Her songs, such as ‘Mississippi Goddam’ written after the bombing of a Baptist church in Alabama killed four children, ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ and ‘How It Feels To Be Free’ are sung from the heart and, for me, elevate her above her more famous peers. The ‘Priestess of the Soul’ as she was known composed more than 500 songs and recorded nearly 600 albums in her career. So why am I banging on about Nina Simone on a photography blog? Well for a start I felt that this particular song fits perfectly with this photograph; it’s the song that was playing in my head when I took it at dawn in a farmer’s field in Northumberland. It’s also a song that now has a deeper resonance and an added poignancy with me as it was chosen by a friend with lung cancer as a song that he wanted to be played at his funeral; it duly was.

But I digress. This is not one of my maudlin posts. In fact it is quite the opposite. I am currently feeling quite energised. I’m pretty sure that a lot of this has to do with finally selling some pictures as covered in my last post. But in general things are looking up on the home front as well, and I may soon be in a position to spend more quality time with the family as well as more time out with the camera. In the past I have been quick to resort to the blog when full of self doubt; it’s been a crutch for me. When I have been down friends have picked me up and urged me not to give up so it seems only fair that I should also blog when I’m relatively happy – it may even give you the opportunity to knock me down again.

Happiness is an odd thing. I read once that its due to a chemical imbalance in the brain and that it is not the natural human state to be happy. If that’s true then I’m glad as I spend more time unhappy/bored than I do ecstatic but I think that is pretty much the same for everyone. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I have an innate distrust of people that are consistently happy; in my experience this usually hints at deeper troubles. But that cannot disguise the fact that at this point in time I am indeed ‘feeling good’. The photography is going well – not only have I made some sales but there is potentially another wedding to photograph on the back on the one from Northumberland; in addition I am doing some photographs for an architect in Salford (a job that came about via having pictures on walls) and who knows where that may lead to. I have no intention of becoming a wedding photographer but it fills me with joy to hear that the photographs I took are loved and cherished and appreciated and moved the groom’s mother to tears (I am taking this as a good thing). So there you go. I feel like I am slowly turning a corner and getting a bit more recognition, a bit more positive feeling and a bit more proficient at using the camera.

But to what end?  Well, there’s the new camera fund of course. Which is finally reaching that point at which I may be able to make a purchase. Now I know a new camera will not guarantee further success but I am hoping that it can take my photography up a notch. I look at the photo that heads this blog post and marvel that I actually took it; I certainly don’t think it would look out of place in IKEA or Habitat. This picture is one of the new ones that I exhibited at Westfest 2010 and its one that people seem to like as much as I do. Of course it’s all about the light and having the dedication/stupidity to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning to take it. And I think that this is the trick – you can have all the equipment in the world but if you are only taking family and holiday snaps in the middle of the day then it won’t do you much good. It took me a long time to realise that most great photography is primarily about being in the right place at the right time and usually a time when others have gone home or are not up yet. I have finally realised that I need to behave like a professional even if I’m not.

So here’s to a brief oasis of calm in terms of this blog. I am sure the next knock back I receive will send me spiralling back down to earth with a bump. But, at the moment, I am feeling good. Thanks Nina

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Wherefore art thou?

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Time for this blog to tackle the big question, namely ‘Is Photography Art’? The answer of course is ‘Yes’ so perhaps I should re-phrase the question:  Is My Photography Art? This is a bit more difficult to answer. You see, dear reader, I have always without question for my entire life been absolutely, apocalyptically awful at art. I have never been able to draw, or sketch or paint. I have a CSE grade 2 in art and I achieved this by bribing my younger brother to do my art homework for me. I was hopeless. My self portraits were the stuff of legend; they had a Picasso quality but not in a good way; for a start I didn’t even know who Picasso is. Fortunately, over the years, I have developed a deep love of great art from all schools and enjoy visiting a great gallery as much as anything; art history interests me as it is indelibly linked with real history. A period’s art sheds light on a period’s political and social development like nothing else.

So why the rumination on art? Last weekend I sold my first pictures whilst exhibiting alongside another photographer in a small gallery space at WestFest 2010 in Didsbury, Manchester. The idea was that my colourful landscapes would provide a counterpoint to the black and white, grittier images of Manchester taken by my fellow exhibiter Stephen Campbell. At first it didn’t go well. I thought my mistake was that my images were from all over the UK, whereas Stephen’s were from Manchester. My worst fears were realised when someone walked in and almost immediately bought £290 of Stephen’s work. But then, slowly, something wonderful happened. My pictures started slowly to sell. And, what’s more, it seemed that the people who liked my images didn’t buy Stephen’s and vice versa. Not one person bought a picture from both of us. In other words, people know what they like.

By the end of the weekend I had sold 8 pictures which was a result (and all the money has gone in the camera fund jar) but really it wasn’t about the sales. It was about all the people coming in and, unprompted, saying nice things about the pictures, asking questions about where they were taken and what equipment I used. This was genuine interest from the great British public and it felt marvellous. This brings me back to the title of the blog. One interested woman asked me ‘Are you the artist?’, to which I replied ‘No, but I took these photographs’. After she had gone I was castigated by a friend (thanks Thea!) who insisted that this was a stupid thing to say and that, to paraphrase Withnail and I, ‘of course your the bloody artist’. The thing is, this is not something that I have considered before. With my past history of artistic endeavour it seems ludicrous to describe myself as an artist, let alone ‘the’ artist.

Debate has raged for decades as to whether photography is art. The naysayers suggest that there is no innate creativity involved. The camera does the hard work and the photographer is just the lucky soul who was in the right place in the right time to press the button. Others argue that anything can be art (like Duchamp’s urinal and Emin’s unmade bed) and that photography is a natural extension of the artists repertoire. Just as a painter uses brushes and paints, a photographer uses a camera. I can see both sides of the argument and am still deliberating about the big question. If I am an artist then its for the first time in my life that I have excelled at anything creative. But I now cannot shake the knowledge that there are several households in Manchester that as I type have my pictures on the wall because they liked them and want to look at them. This makes me very happy and very proud. This is why I write this blog.

P.S. The picture accompanying this post is another from Northumberland and shows the walkers path over the sands to Holy Island (the poles in the distance). The wooden construction is there to rescue those poor souls who don’t find out the tide times or who misinterpret the information to find them caught by the oncoming sea. The picture was taken just after the tide went out again uncovering the causeway and the route across to the island. Another picture of this was in my exhibition but didn’t sell; perhaps its natural market is in Northumberland?

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Figures in a seascape

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OK, this is going to be a very quick blog post primarily because it’s late and because I have not posted in a while. Many posts ago I figured out that I’m a landscape photographer and hopefully this picture illustrates why. Landscapes are where I’m happier; I have total control over the camera and can set things up. Landscapes are usually predictable. They do not move (apart from clouds) or head off at speed in a different direction. They don’t mind being photographed. I suppose you could say that this is the easy option but I have proved to myself of late with the wedding photography that portraits are not beyond me. I am always drawn back to landscapes and seascapes.

One of the reasons I agreed to photograph the wedding in Northumberland is the opportunity to capture scenery such as this. It was taken on the causeway on Holy Island literally 20 minutes after the tide had receded meaning the island was no longer cut off from the mainland. If you look carefully you can see walkers and the odd vehicle heading across the causeway. But of course this picture is all about that sky and the fluffy white clouds counterpointed by the darkening storm in the distance. At this size I can’t really do this picture justice. It needs to be enlarged printed and framed for the full effect; something I intend to do very soon.

Tomorrow and the day after (Saturday/Sunday 4th/5th September) I am heading off to Westfest 2010 in Didsbury to exhibit some of my latest landscape and hopefully sell a few prints. If you are in the area pop down to 212 Burton Road (Didsbury Life offices) and have a look at pictures both by me and by another talented photographer Steven Campbell. I personally think his pictures are really, really great and the idea is that his striking monochrome images of Manchester will provide an interesting contrast to my colourful landscapes. That’s the theory. I’ll let you know how it goes. Please do come and see us if you get the chance. The above picture is not in my exhibition, only because I have only just downloaded from the camera. I wish it was but maybe next time.

I’ve never said this before (probably because I’m not very good at this sort of thing) but needless to say all the pictures on the blog are available to purchase as prints/wall art. Just drop me a line… OK, its late and I need to get some sleep; this week has been a good week photowise and I’ll hopefully have more to say next post. I also realise that I have not done one of my more personal, rambling posts about life, the universe and everything of late. Maybe this means I’m happy? Never fear though, normal service will be resumed…

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Holy island Batman!

Holy Island

Of late I have barely had time to catch my breath on the photography front; first there was the holiday in Greece, second there was the small matter of a wedding to photograph in Northumberland, then there were preparations for Westfest in Didsbury and the chance to do some food photography for a Chinese restaurant which is having a radical makeover. On top of this I need to dig out a load of Glastonbury photographs for a friend whose laptop has died and also need to sort out some photos of a wedding I attended as a guest. Given the day job there are currently not enough hours in the day and prioritising is proving somewhat problematical. Not that I’m complaining, just the opposite – being so busy with the photographs helps me to get a little taste of what it might be like to do this full time, should such a miraculous event ever come to pass. Indeed, it has been suggested of late that I need to change the title of the blog – the argument being that it only takes one piece of commissioned work for you to be no longer considered an amateur.

I myself am not so sure about this. Whilst some of my photographs please me a great deal, others are consigned to the trash bin pretty much immediately. Now I’m sure that this also applies to pro photographers also but, to my mind, I will always be an amateur until I am able to use the camera properly and understand all its functions without recourse to books and software. I still can’t shake off the fact that at the end of the day I am only dabbling. In other words the title may stay a while longer. That said work has started on constructing a proper website on which I can perhaps present a more professional face to the world so watch this space!

So, as mentioned above, last weekend saw me photograph my second wedding on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Once more I was very lucky to be presented with a stunning location (see pictures) and perfect weather. As posted previously, both the weddings I have photographed have been low-key, informal affairs where my brief has simply been to lurk about capturing the happy day and doing a few group shots to keep the traditionalists happy. Northumberland is probably my favourite place in the UK. It has miles of empty beaches, great food, great beer, an abundance of castles and some of the most unspoiled countryside in England. Unlike, say, the Lake District, Northumberland still provides tranquillity and a feeling that you are there on your own. Yes there are other holidaymakers but relatively few compared to the UK’s other vacation centres. In my opinion, and it is just that – a personal opinion – I would much rather visit Northumberland that Cornwall or The Lakes or Pembrokeshire. It’s a special, unpretentious place that has an air of magic and history, which is difficult to shake off.

Boatshed panorama

As a wedding venue Holy Island is pretty difficult to beat (although only if you are planning a small wedding). And, as the wedding photographer, it would be pretty difficult for even me to cock up such is its beauty. So, I am now in the process of looking through hundreds of photographs, weeding out the rubbish or the unflattering whilst still trying to capture the fun of the day. It’s a difficult and time consuming job and I have utmost respect for wedding photographers who do this for a living; it is stressful (even when photographing an informal occasion) and the spectre of ‘doing something stupid’ looms large. That said I have learned from my last experience as to what works, the importance of backing up, the respect given to you by guests when informed that you are ‘the photographer’. Who knows if I will photograph another wedding? But at least I can say that I did it and did it to the best of my abilities, with a lot of help from the natural beauty of Northumberland.

Castle boats B&W 

In other news, a photograph of mine has been blown up to giant size to be used on an empty shop front in Didsbury for Westfest 2010 http://www.westfest.org.uk/. This strikes me as being kind of cool and the sort of thing that hopefully shows that I am moving in the right direction. Having input into the design and providing the image has let me be creative in a way that the day job isn’t able to. Once its up I should be able to post an image to the blog so you can see it in all its glory. It really is great to see local business coming together and presenting a united identity in the face of ever-encroaching Tescos, Weatherspoons, Starbucks, etc, etc [delete as applicable]. I am going to be around in Didsbury on the weekend of Westfest to take some pictures and hopefully sell some prints so do say hello if you get the chance to attend.

I am of the opinion that some of the landscapes I took in Northumberland last weekend are among my best. I know I say this a lot and I said it about the pictures from Coniston in Easter this year but I suppose this shows that I am improving; I have certainly become more technically proficient. However, I am very aware that I need to get my ass in gear with regards to self promotion, self confidence and building up a body of work that stands on its own. Some way to go yet but, as I have said before, to be where I am now is quite staggering considering where I was less than one and half years ago. The difference is doing something that I genuinely love, something that I never get bored with and something that excites and interests me in equal measure. When I first bought the camera I half expected photography to be another hobby that I would pick up and then throw aside in anger when it transpired that I couldn’t do it. This hasn’t happened (even though I really couldn’t do it for a long period in time) and I’m not sure why – it’s expensive, it’s technical, it eats up hours and hours of my time. Maybe, at the age of 42 I have found something that I am OK at. There’s hope for us all. Comments welcome as always.

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