IMAGES & STORIES
An Archive of Work
Lockdown has created time, we might not normally have, time to fill. I decided to archive my images onto a hard drive for ease of use and to update old files as a backup. I found, forgotten, unused images and many memories of trips and visits to various locations.
Normally, I have a Photo day out and about with Gordon but now we're isolated. These are stories of our adventures over the years.
The images are worked in photoshop, images are from my camera or iphone. I don't create to simply produce images but to create a diary of my life. I'll post more every couple of days to relive our adventures and share them with you.
Tutbury Castle has had a fascinating history, It has seen many battles and residents, some of it famous guests were Eleanor of Aquitaine and Mary, Queen of Scots. Sadly, it's now ruined with few structures still in tact. It's now looked after by English Heritage.
A visit to Tutbury Castles photography Day was great day. There's a limited number of tickets available, so not so many people and many characters to photograph, re-enactors from Steampunk, Second World Wa , Scottish Rebels and many more. They're all happy to be photographed, It's great place to cut your teeth on photographing people.
Our first adventure to Tutbury Castle was with photo friends after a judging in the Yorkshire Federation. We also met up with lots of people we knew when we got there.
The Highlander, was inspired by The Outland series of Books by Diana Gabaldon. I read them many times before etc Television series came out. I'm a big fan, of the series too, as it has a real essence of the books. This was a opportunity to create an image that reminded me of the books. He was very clean and realised he's have be muddy and dirty, this took ages to get right. The background was taken in Scotland and seemed perfect for the job. The print did well, and received awards and acceptance in Club Competitions representing Chorley PS and in National & International Salons.
Home - 2011
As most of you know I'm not a bird photographer, you have to try things that are out your comfort zone sometimes. These are a simple set up by the pond, during a really bad winter 2010-2011. The pond froze and the birds had little food, we had unusual visitors that year, Mistle Thrush from the fields and Reed Buntings from the marshes, all hungry.
The orginal background would have been the garden covered in snow or bare branches. The easy answer, was to add my usual textures and the traditional sky backgrounds. This worked well for the Goldfinch and Reed Bunting but I wanted more interaction and interest in the images. I love Long Tailed Tits, which are frequent visitors to the garden. By adding the extra bird you could get the interaction I was looking for. This adds emotion to the shot. It did very well at the time, amazingly nearly ten years ago. The style and idea has been copied very successfully many times.
I've only come across a flat .psd at the moment when I find the full file I'll post the details of the shot.
Manchester - 2009
In 1906 the beautiful cream and red brick building was opened to the public, it provided private bathing, a laundry, three public pools and a Turkish Bath. In the winter months they added a floor over the main pool to create a dance floor. The baths were closed in 1993 and the building was left empty and to fall into disrepair. The Victoria Baths restoration began in 2007, thanks to £5m raised from a number of sources, including a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund because it won the BBC's Restoration programme in 2003. It was only the basic restoration when we visited, making it waterproof with the roof being repaired etc. The baths has been used on many occasions since our visit for filming, TV and movies including Peaky Blinders, Life on Mars and Sherlock Holmes.
Chorley PS arranged the Sunday visit after, a short history & introduction to the rules of the group visit, we were basically free to explore, several club members took models and light set ups. I was completely taken a back by how much it reminded me of The Victoria Bath in Southport, were I learnt to swim and have so many happy memories. The exploration begins, my shots included the buildings iconic blue cubicles with red and white striped curtains, the empty pool, managers flat and the beautiful tiles and stained glass work. Imagining, how it must of been with water in the pool and people enjoying the themselves. A very inspiring place for photography.
Everyone was taking shots of the models and the architecture. As usual I was looking for a different angle to the place, to build in a feel of the building by creating something different. Purely by chance. In a small changing room I found a man's black umbrella with a wooden handle, Lost property. This was the difference I was looking for. The umbrella was the representation of someone who might visit the baths in the past or be the manager. Revisiting the rooms, with the inspiration ready to go. I moved chairs and furniture to create something inspired by using the umbrella. Creating more of a movie themed images. I've chosen The Chair to represent the story and was probably the most recognised of the set, as it received awards in many exhibitions. All processed with Photoshop, Nik Filters and a little imagination.
This set of work was used as part of my talk at the time and inspired many people to visit the venue. One of my personal favourites in the Single Umbrella against the old wall paper as there's a small drawn face on the wall which added a personal touch from the room. I've created a Gallery that includes those images. - The Baths.
After revisiting the images. I'd love to return again, one day when this is all over.
Knowsley Safari Park - 2011
We often say You have to go out to take pictures which in many cases is very true. Knowsley Safari Park, isn't actually that far away and not somewhere we visit very often. The park was home to a former RAF airfield which closed at the end of World War 2. The Park has been created on the grounds of Knowsley Hall, ancestral home of Lord Derby, the Safari Park Opened in July 1971. There are an amazingly over seven hundred animals. We'd planned a visit this summer, alas not to be. The Safari drive is interesting and exciting, to see the animals in a natural environment.
During our visit there I took so many animal shots but this one is one of the few I decided to process. There's something about Meerkats that you simply have to take, their character, the way the always look after each other and the make you smile.
This image was created by using a mix of textures which removes the original background and creates something more interesting and pleasing to the eye. There's a total of 33 layer in all. I've created several more Meerkat images since then, mainly taken at Chester Zoo.
The Dog Walker
Anglesey - 2007
For Several Years, we had a Caravan on Anglesey, North Wales. It was our getaway at the weekend or holidays and during the summer, you had light night and long walks. We'd had a day out exploring the island near Beaumaris. Enjoying the beautiful views over the Menai Strait, the tidal waterway separating Anglesey from the coast of North Wales. Heading back from the days adventures, I spotted a stand of trees on the left, just off the road. We stopped to take some shots, with the beautiful evening light falling behind them. These are the base for the image.
As yet I've not found a psd of this, so have little information apart from a date, when I find it I'll add to the info. The image works well in toned Mono and Colour. I've added the image as it's a Favourite and need printing on a soft gentle fine art paper to give it a final touch like Bamboo.
Manchester Pride - 2012
We were looking forward to a day, advertised as a celebration with music, comedy, dancing, theatre and above all fun. The festival runs over the weekend and the parade is on Saturday at 1.00pm. Expecting to see more than 100 floats making their way through the city’s streets with a carnival of colour. This years theme celebrating 100th anniversary of codebreaker Alan Turing who cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park.
Manchester isn't that far away but somewhere we rarely go to take photos. So, festival map in hand we have to think how to get there. train or car? Thoughts of carparks and traffic jams while on the journey home, we made the decision to get an early train, which was very busy. So we waited for the next one, this was still busy but not as bad I managed to get a seat next to a student who chatted all the way to Manchester.
We were early, so looked for a cafe for coffee, we managed to get a window table. That's when the magic happened, a hot summers day and there was a shower of rain. I snapped some shots to pass the time and it was something different. Not really thinking any more of it. The rest of the day was a warm sunny and we found a spot on the route. Again, waiting time, so took shots of the waiting crowd (another story another day). The parade was colourful, fun and it was great to meet people.
Processing time, I was playing around with one of the shots from the cafe and cut part of it on the wrong layer but a happy accident made something I liked and I kept it in. Repeating the error across the set of work. I love happy accidents. I chose the sandstone building along the route of the parade for the background. Really, its just playing with colours, shapes and textures. I really enjoyed making this set of work.
There's something about making triptychs that I really enjoy. Simply creating balance and flow to a set of images can be a challenge but can also be fun and there a certain satisfaction that goes with it. My Rainy Day triptych as total of 54 layers the includes the creation of the individual images and the final colour adjustments to balance the images. The images have been use individually in National and Intentional Exhibitions, winning awards and acceptances.
Tall Towers 2016
Living by the sea, you understand the enjoyment and perils of the watery monster. Lighthouse are the beacons on the vast emptiness of the sea. I've visited these monuments of light, for many years and seen them both from storm to sunlight. They are all special places, I visited both with friends and family for most of my life and had so many happy memories there.
Peach Rock, New Brighton, The Wirral, is only an hour away from home so a regular place to visit. There's been a light beacon here since 1683 later in 1830 replaced by the the 93 ft brick lighthouse we see today, after a three year building project. The light was manned until 1973 and is The lighthouse is privately owned and maintained by the Kingham family.
Trwyn Du Lighthouse, (Penmon Lighthouse) is on Anglesey, North Wales, my favourite of the three, so many memories of picnics, long walks on the cliffs, summer days on a pebbled beach and sunsets. Built at the 1838 standing at 95 feet tall and designed by James Walker. Trwyn Du became the first Trinity House lighthouse to be automated in 1922,. It has very distinctive black and white rings and sound of the haunting fog warning are all part of the memories of the visits.
The lighthouse at South Stack (1803) at Holyhead , Anglesey and designed by Daniel Alexander at 91 foot tall. There are various white buildings and is on a cliff. To reach it there're 400 steps which make you out of breath.
The lighthouse prints was created in 2016, I was looking at images and came across the lighthouses. The images themselves are created in the classic square by using textures, overlays and backgrounds to give an abstract landscape and changing weather conditions, that you can weave the memories around. The circle has been defined in various way by viewers, does it represent the light from the lighthouse, the world of the sea or the comfort of the world the light brings? In the end it's up to you, as it's up to the viewer to define.
To print on Hahnemühle Photo Rag or the new Naturals Line Hemp.
Our adventure starts in Chester, looking round the beautiful city, there was no real focus, sometimes you see things along the way. Wandering round the ancient Walls, looking at the amazing roman history of the city as we walked.. Feeling hungry, we found a side street cafe. Over lunch Gordon mentioned, that he'd seen advertised in the local news, a new sculpture installation in the Cathedral for Easter. We decide to have a look, with no real expectations.
I simply wasn't prepared for what came next, the enormity and power of the figures size and the skill of the artist was astounding. The three pieces, which each weigh one ton and stand 19ft (6m) tall, their faces looking down at you, were, full of power, pain and emotion.
David Mach from Fife, Scotland created Golgotha. Three giant crucifixion sculptures made from steel girders and thousands of coat metal hangers, we were totally blown away, the size of the three crosses, the powerful expressions on the figures faces. it was so moving it touched the soul. They towered over you and looked at you with anger and pain.
It was one of those moments that I couldn't wait to get home and process the images, I created a set of six prints, trying to incorporate the emotions I felt from seeing the sculptures. The feeling of light and the darkness just being near them. To create this power and emotion was difficult but sometimes following your heart simply works. There are 38 layer in 6 groups worked in Photoshop to mix the image Sacrifice.
The colour print received a Gold Medal at The Edinburgh Salon and various other medals awards in other exhibitions and competitions. This is one of those images that works just as well in monochrome, creating a completely different emotion to the viewer and in some ways more powerful.
Head in the Clouds
Liverpool and Art - 2011
Museum of Liverpool . The new landmark Museum of Liverpool Life opened today, concrete, glass, art, digital interaction and the spiral staircase, what more could you ask for? There are views over to the Three Graces and the River Mersey then over to the Wirral. It wouldn't be Liverpool without a giant Liver Bird. It was very busy but well worth the trip into town.
What a fascinating experience just stepping through the doors and seeing the 72 million pound building, designed by 3XN. Its 8,000 square metres of exhibition space, contains more than 6,000 objects all beautifully displayed and photography is allowed everywhere.
On the first floor, there’s a carriage from the Overhead railway and a chance to dress up with a selection of hats, a bowler hat in particular. I took a couple of pictures without thinking to much about it.. It was only on opening the file. I realised it looks like the the man in the Bowler Hat and the many surreal images of Réne Magritte. Coinsidentally, The Tate, Liverpool had an exhibition of his work on at the same time as the Museum opened, we’d visited the week before.
This image was simply for fun, not exhibition or salons. All I had to do was cut out the window and replace it with a fluffy clouded sky. I darkened down the seating area to add drama and take the eye to the sky and the silhouette.
The image was a success, as Gordon has it as his phone background ever since. :0)
Butterflies and Balloons
Walking with Creatures of the World
Manchester Museum. We find Museums fascinating, they have such a wealth of subjects and ideas, you can visit many unknown places and exhibits, discover history and beauty. This museum still has the victorian feel of glass cabinates which adds to the experience. Museums are also warm on a cold winters day.
We wandered round many ancient lands and walked through the door to see creates from many lands. Looking at all the wonders, from Maharajah the Elephant, Maude the Tigon from Belle Vue Zoo. It was an uneasy feeling being watched by so many glass eyes in glass cages. Each exhibit had sometime special and their own stories too. The butterflies, a great collection with many of each species, pattern, colour and beauty, sadly a Victorian legacy. I took several shots of the beautifully colours and patterns of the wings. Trying to catch the previous beauty of the living fluttering butterflies. Seeing the short lives, pinned to a display, created a sadness.
I downloaded my images and was reminded of the butterflies. The short lives, the nets and killing jars. The decline of the butterfly population in our gardens. I wanted to give them freedom again and allow them to fly. These are the result, several in the set. Created in 2016 and has 33 layers over eight groups. Printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Satin.