Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Pure Folly

The Folly at Farley Mount (from all points of the compass) © Graham Dew 2015
The Folly at Farley Mount (from all points of the compass)
I have been out doing a lot of experimental photography, which has been both fun and interesting.With a new computer and the latest versions of Lightroom and Photoshop I have plenty to think about and work on. More new work to come shortly.

Friday, 8 May 2015

A Day in the Met

Three Men Walking II, Alberto Giacometti © Graham Dew 2015
Three Men Walking II, Alberto Giacometti

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is simply stunning. It would take a couple of hours to walk around if it were empty. As it is, it is packed full of many of the most significant works of art from every part of the world, every genre and of every age. The advice we were given was to focus on just one period or style. Of course, one wants to look in detail, as well as experience the scale of the place. So to experience the breadth of the museum, we first took a tour to introduce us to the The Met, and another to look in detail at some of the impressionist and post-impressionist works. Both tours were led by experienced, knowledgeable and passionate guides that brought the works to life and made us hungry to go explore further afterwards. We only had one day available on our whistle-stop tour of NYC, but came away with plenty of reasons to go back again sometime in the future.

Woman of Venice II, Alberto Giacometti © Graham Dew 2015
Woman of Venice  II, Alberto Giacometti

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Statue of Liberty - composite © Graham Dew 2015

For all of the towering glass and steel in Manhattan, visiting Liberty Island, the Statue of Liberty and then Ellis Island is profoundly moving. To think of the millions who travelled from old world poverty and persecution to new world hope, and would have seen this statue as they travelled through this fountain-head of America. They would have looked upon Liberty as a symbol of their hopes and dreams and their new homes beyond. Some 80% of all Americans have a relative who passed through Ellis Island; it is an amazing story of how a country grew to its pre-eminence today.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Start Spreading the News

Flatiron Composite © Graham Dew 2015
Flatiron Composite
Just started downloading images from a two week trip to the US. Those little town blues were melting away...

Friday, 27 March 2015

A Different Sort of Joined Up Picture

Whitebeam, North Walls Park © Graham Dew 2015
Whitebeam, North Walls Park

On the web, it is good form be generous with your attribution. So this is how I came to make these pictures...

I've enjoyed staring out of the window on my rain commute to Portsmouth over the past few weeks looking up at the still bare trees that line the route. As the train speeds by one gets a good look at the three dimensional nature of the tree as it relatively rotates. And as I've enjoyed this vision I've wondered about how I might try to capture this as a photo. For a long time I've been an admirer of the multiple exposure photography of Chris Friel, and I've thought that I might try this method to capture the trees. Friel is also an exponent of long-exposure, intentional camera movement images. I've tried this before, and I've not really enjoyed it. As soon as you hit the shutter you are shooting blind. Getting a good image is largely a matter of serendipity, and it's all a bit too much hit-or-miss for me. His multiple exposure images are made in-camera, but my G3 does not have this feature so I've not really given the method much consideration.

Willow, North Walls Park © Graham Dew 2015
Willow, North Walls Park

Recently I was on Amazon looking for books about artisitic inspiration and so had a browse through Amazon's suggestions. I ended up buying two books by Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work, which I've enjoyed hugely. Looking on Kleon's blog I came across the joiners of David Hockney that I know well, and the joiners of Pep Ventosa. So browsing Ventosa's website I found his gallery In the Round, which was the inspiration for these new images.

Hawthorne, North Walls Park © Graham Dew 2015
Hawthorne, North Walls Park

I think that there is a lot to explore in this technique. All of these images were composited in Photoshop as 16 bit tiffs and then edited in Lightroom. I like the way the background is de-emphasised, and how the image contains elements of different times and viewpoints. I need to experiment with the amount of movement and the number of frames. Early days; I have lots of ideas to explore...

Monday, 9 March 2015

Pretentious? Moi?

Mesh Fence, Barton Farm © Graham Dew 2015
Mesh Fence, Barton Farm

Late on Saturday evening, I drove around to a parking space  on the edge of Barton Farm. As I pulled up a dog walker putting her pet back in the car seemed to be lingering, waiting to see what dog I had. She gave me a rather disdainful look as I lifted the hatch and rear shelf of our rather shabby motor. What sort of man would make his dog travel cramped up in the dark boot of his car? She looked somewhat surprised when the only the only things I had to get out were my Wellington boots and camera bag.

"Oh, I thought you had a dog in there!"
"No, not me," I replied. "I've come to take some photographs before the light fades." We exchanged pleasantries about the fine weather as I pulled on my boots and locked up the car.
"Are you a professional?" she asked, and I explained that no, I was here for my own pleasure. I knew what she was going to say next would raise my hackles.
"Oh, so just a hobby."

To say that I was an artist hoping to make some observations about the farm as as it gets developed in to a housing estate would be overblown and pretentious. To say that photography gives me a thrill when I can make a visual and metaphorical link between a subject and its environment is a bit weird and strong for most people. However, both statements are nearer the mark than saying photography is a pastime, something to gently fritter away precious hours of free time. I have to make time, clear other duties, prioritise and justify to be able to go out and make pictures that only a handful of people will see, because I need that creative space. But it's too difficult to explain that to others who don't know or appreciate art. 

The sun was setting fast; I needed to get a move on.
"Yes, just a hobby."

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Kurt Jackson - Place

I know I’m not really giving anyone enough notice, but if you are in the Southampton area this weekend or next you must go down to the City Art Gallery to catch Kurt Jackson’s wonderful ‘Place’ exhibition before it packs up and heads to the West Country for a long stint in Truro and then onto Bath in October.
Kurt Jackson, Walker on the Broomway, rain coming in,
wind picking up. Low water September 2013

The last Jackson exhibition I saw was The Thames Revisited where Jackson followed the path of the River Thames, and the progression of landscapes it moves through. This exhibition finds him travelling all over the country visiting the favourite locales of selected guests. These include writers, poets, musicians, environmentalists and friends. Each of the guests has written describing their feelings about the places, the texts placed alongside Jackson’s creations.

Kurt Jackson, Femi Kuti on the Pyramid stage, Glastonbury 2010

The display ranges from tiny playing-card sized paintings through to his enormous canvases. There are beautiful cast sculptures, a wire and junk mesh (from Glastonbury), beach-combed shells and bones from the Scottish coast. My favourite piece called Erme, Dusk was a small collection of driftwood with a painted coastal scene, complete with found pebbles, a bleached stick and a plastic fork. At the other end of the scale, his huge paintings of the Broomway on the Essex coast really conveyed the enormity of the Essex coastal mudflats and sky. But I liked almost everything in this exciting show. 

Kurt Jackson, This place. Photogravure and drypoint

There is a very nice book to accompany the show that is now my bedtime reading, however the work really deserves to be seen in the flesh to appreciate the physicality of the paint textures, the three dimensional collaging added to some of the pictures and the hugeness of his largest canvases. Seems I'm going to be making another trip down there this weekend.