Is there a consistent aesthetic between the music you listen to and the images you make? It’s a question I’ve asked on Twitter before and resulted in some really interesting discussion, but I felt like it would be good to write down some of my thoughts on it.
Music has always been a huge part of my life, in my teens I played guitar in awful punk bands with school friends, I did a degree in music production then spent the first 8 years of my career working as a sound engineer in a local venue before now working for a company who make audio products.
It’s nearing Christmas and time for the traditional end of year review, getting in a bit early this year but I’m also going to try and put a bit more thoughtful introspection into this one, rather than just listing all the good things that have happened.
That said, the year did start off with a few highs, writing articles for both Outdoor Photography and Amateur Photographer magazines, my Sherwood book being published then selling out and there were more bits of good news throughout the year too, with a third place in International Garden Photographer of the Year, commended in Outdoor Photographer of the Year, a series of successful talks, three images being included in an exhibition in Nottingham and a highly commended image at the British Wildlife Photography Awards.
My local Nottinghamshire landscape isn’t the most exciting for a photographer, especially when you’re seeing epic vistas posted on social media every week from people who can travel a lot, or live with the Highlands on their doorstep. It’s easy to get jealous and blame your surroundings for lack of inspiration. We have plenty of good forests and woodland which I love to shoot, but I wanted to create something different.
Having tried some more abstract techniques including multiple exposures and intentional camera movement over the past year or so I had been playing with the idea of trying to make an alternate landscape from my local area. I’ve done a couple of small projects recently and put some focus into the idea of creating something from nothing, but I wanted to do something bigger this time, I wanted to transport the viewer to one of those epic mountain vistas.
Having just returned from a week in Northumberland I thought it would be worth a quick write up alongside some of my favourite images. I don’t often get out of Nottinghamshire with my camera, so a trip to the coast was a big change in subject for me – I was looking forward to the challenge of doing something different. It was a family holiday so most days I wasn’t concentrating on photography but I managed to squeeze a bit of camera time in.
The first day was spent over on Holy Island meeting up with some more family, I just took my little Fuji X-M1 which is my walk around camera for when I don’t want to carry the big Canon, perfect for these sorts of occasions. I had a bit of a play with my body cap pinhole at various locations, but didn’t get anything that quite made the cut. To be honest I wasn’t expecting much photographically from that day, but in early afternoon a sea fret came in, I quickly grabbed a few shots including the two below before all visibility was gone.
If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram you will have recently seen me post a dark black and white photo of some blurry trees, if not then here it is.
I entered it into a couple of regular weekly competitions on Twitter, one of which being Fotospeed Print Mondays where a photo from that weekend is chosen to win an A3 print. For those who don’t know Fotospeed they make fantastic papers, so if you print your work do check them out.
In a couple of weeks I’ll be making some photography resolutions for the New Year, one that will definitely be on there is to take my camera out more, take more photos and experiment. More on that in a later post, but for now I’ve started early during a short family walk in a local patch of woodland this morning.
Often I wouldn’t even take my camera on a trip like that or I’d come away without taking any photos I was happy with, so today I made a conscious effort to try something new, to take photos and come away with something that was worth sharing. This led to some fun with longer exposures, panning the camera up through the trees as the shutter was open. I’ve seen these techniques referred to recently as ICM or Intentional Camera Movement but it’s a great way of trying something more abstract.