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Photography

I recently went on a trip to Kenya, and in addition to the opportunity to take photos of the spectacular wildlife, landscape, townscape and people, I found myself on the beach with my zoom fully extended shooting a kite surfer. I have a good kite surfing friend here in the UK and in the past have threatened to take my camera to the coast to photograph him. I think I will make the effort to do it now- I really enjoyed taking these shots.

I’m not really one for making new year’s resolutions. I always really enjoy Christmas and new year, despite, or indeed quite possibly because it often feels a bit like a black hole sucking in time and space.

But, after the final week in December, January does always seem a good time to take stock and work out at least a vague plan for the coming months. I like to decide what my new goals are and identify which of my old goals I haven’t yet achieved. So I have been making lists, starting new sketchbooks and notebooks, and have a few new things I am excited about and looking forward to. Which is a great feeling at the start of a new year. Here we go…

New Year, New work

Also, you’ll notice I have added a widget for my Instagram stream on the right of the page, so have a click and a follow if you like.

I’ve been doing some product photography lately. The subject matter, I have to admit, could have been more interesting, but I have actually enjoyed it. Studio photography can be regarded as quite a sterile process, and photographing individual pieces of plain white dinnerware certainly isn’t particularly inspirational. I’d spent the previous week artworking the packaging so I knew the products would be packaged in printed kraft paper boxes. I wanted to stop them disappearing into a white background in the photos, so I decided to use a background of brown packing paper.

I quite like the process of photographing things in an ultra controlled environment, making tweaks here and there and the ability to keep things consistent with micro adjustments to get the image exactly as you want it.

Photographing these items was quite an eye opener. I became slightly obsessed with ensuring there were no reflections, and dealing with unexpected problems on the fly was only partially successful. I came to realise that my two portrait light set up was actually quite limiting, as was the space I was in. Either that or I just needed a massive piece if foamboard to stop the reflections. And an assistant to hold it.

I was reminded of a conversation I’d had with a photographer who shoots for the Christie’s catalogue about shooting highly reflective items, in particular conical or cylindrical ones. In addition to surrounding the item with polystyrene boards, the camera is pointed through a hole in one, then just a small bit of retouching is required to remove the reflection of the camera lens from the final image. This gives you a smooth gradient in the colour of the item you are photographing, rather than reflecting everything around it- camera, lights, photographer and anything else in the studio.

It’s all a learning curve, and after each shoot I will be more prepared for the next. As long as I can find a way to transport the massive boards…

Square Plate straight product shot

Square Plate straight product shot

Bowl Stack, more interesting atmospheric shot

Bowl Stack, more interesting style shot

 

 

On Tuesday this week the Poetry Parnassus festival was launched with a Rain of Poems on the Southbank in London, organised by Chilean collective Casagrande.  100,000 poems being dropped from a helicopter onto an awaiting mass of people below.

It got pretty fierce on the ground with people battling to grab the poems.  I just hope the ones that were caught actually got read, and the point of the poems wasn’t overtaken by the competition of actually catching them.  Either way, there was a lot of excitement, and the glee on people’s faces was pretty amazing.

I took my camera with me, and to be honest it was pretty tricky to get shots while avoiding people backing into me while looking up, but I got a few I’m pleased with.  The last one shows the excitement of the crowd (though one little girl seems to be taking it more seriously than the others).

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