Spiral of Time
The Spiral Set were part of my Fellowship Panel. I've given them a little reboot to make them as I see them now, rather than so many years ago!
The Fellowship Panel was created around Gormley Men and my Heads. These are neither I hear you say. no, they're not. The original idea for these came about when there was and old broken Skelton in the rubbish at work, sadly headless. After asking the caretaker nicely if I could have it I put it in the boot of the car.I hate things going to waste. So, home it came, many of its parts broken. I've photographed it on several occasions by eventually it want to the tip. Processed in an early Photoshop approx 48 layers and several textures.
The spiral background are ammonites, taken in Liverpool Museum. The background colours are from textures. It took some time to create the fish but they seem to work well with the ammonite shapes and have a similar feel.
The ammonite shape also added an extra element to the set, it was added to ae Gormley Mens the third to balance the Panel. The original images where pastel and gentle but I really like to punched up colours on them.
A walk in the woods or local park can change the day ahead and make the world look so much brighter. The trees where taken on a drive in the trough of Bowland. The trees in winter or early spring are always a favourite too photograph as they have more shape and form, like a skeleton. One thing I have missed during lockdown is seeing animals. Finally we can go to the zoo or visit natural areas to take them again.
Trying out a new technique is always great to explore and I love to push the idea to it's limit. Being self taught, I learnt by playing with Photoshop to find out what each tool and element did. This I think is why I'm so diverce in my work. The idea comes from some tiny seed in my head. Sometimes it potters along and goes nowhere, the often explodes into something I enjoy and can explore for days and occasionally months. The idea and technique is always there to rekindle when I need it, often in another form.
The images make themselves and aren't to complicated but are fun to make. My aim is to create a mood and atmosphere of a walk alone in the woods. Dreaming about things that I'd meet and animals that would be hiding there too. The theme of the Mythical White Stag in the talks of old. Another a stag in the autumn trees. My personal Favourite is the sheep sheltering under the trees. The fun one is the Blue Dog which makes me smile. Finally the two with the hidden man in them.
Hope you like them :O)
A Bit of Fun with Flowers - Processed in Photoshop - Seven Groups including 56 layers.
Sometimes it's just fun to play and simply enjoy yourself. The original image was a shot of Red and Purple Tulips, in close up.
There was a variety of images created from this simple image. A Bee a spider and an Alien all of which I didn't really like. My rule when something doesn't work is simply to bin it and start again. This one is a winner. I liked for the colour mix and the simple shapes of flowers. The background is very important and should reflect the focus image and bring it forward for the viewer.
I created many of this type of image at the time. It's a great a way to get out of the groove of club photography and move into something that's more original and more fun. never really knowing what the outcome will be.
After finding this one on an old hard drive I think I need to get back to doing more of them.
I've included a couple of snap shots from the main image so you can see the detail and blends in the image.
on Wood. 2019
Tulips are my favourite flower to photograph. They are so delicate and have so many variations, it's aloe a sign of warmer lighter nights after the dark and cold of winter.
I aways start by finding an interesting background that I've not done before or haven't done for a long time. My choice on this occasion was wood. I knew I wanted wood to contrast with the purple and green of the flowers. This would create texture and add something different from my pastel backgrounds of overlaid textures. Off the the garage, to see what we have got in the scrap pile as I didn't want anything too big. Nothing interesting took my eye. Looked around the other things in the garage and found a sheet of plywood, it had been painted and then some of the paint removed when it was recovered from its location which to start with was slightly annoying. Take the opportunity when you can so the more I looked the more I thought it a great opportunity. It had very distinctive marks on it which could be used in various way and lets face it no one else has that background, so no copies.
I tried various ways and looks lots of images these are just three fron=m the shoot. All taken in Natural light from the window and textures added to give the white washed look.
Fine Art Photo Paper
Arty Photographic Paper
Photo Rag Satin
My go to Photo Paper
Photo Rag Satin is a beautiful paper. It has a satin coating that gives a more traditional feel with the coating is on a Fine Art Paper. It's the best of both worlds.
You get the arty feel with a silky sheen that enhances your image. You can use it on any images you're use a semi gloss or pearl on but it adds the rich Hahnemühle Fine Art Quality to the work.
I've used it on my Misty Liverpool Image and it works a treat. Reminds me of a mono darkroom paper.
Extra Special Papers
Metallic and William Turner
Photo Rag Metallic
This silvery-shimmery paper is the only cotton based metallic paper on the market. I’ve used metallic papers in the past with various results but never really been happy with them.
Photo Rag Metallic, is not one I would naturally pick up BUT this paper is stunning! the first time I printed on it I fell in love.
I have created several sets of images just for this paper and they stand out from the crowd. This paper is not just for creative work, you can use it for so many images including macro and nature and it will adds a little magic and shimmer. You have to try it to understand how amazing it is. It makes your images sing with vibrance matched with the summer of the gold surface.
William Turner has a highly distinctive textured surface once you've touched it you'll know it again. The enhanced depth of the surface adds another dimension to images, giving the image textures that are something special in a fine art paper.
This surface adds a slight shadows in the texture which enhances those already there. This works especially well on heavy textures, fur and foliage as it enhances a beautiful depth to the textures by adding shadows in the surface of the paper.
Smooth Fine Art Papers
Ideas and Choices
my no.1 paper
The first time I printed on Bamboo, I knew it would be a favourite. If I could only buy one type of paper it would be this.
Bamboo is a natural white paper adding a soft tactile feel that extra softness and a little warmth from the natural white colour.
It's a first stop for my soft still life and many other images.
Bamboo is made from 90% bamboo fibres which makes it a very environmentally friendly paper. Part of the Naturals Range with a smooth surface.
favourite smooth paper
The white cotton artist’s paper, with its characteristic, wonderfully soft feel, boasts a lightly defined smooth surface structure. I'd use it on flowers and portraits, anything that doesn't want texture over parts of the image. Sometimes, you can overpower an image with the texture, this is perfect for the smooth surface image.
My standard for softer images. An ideal choice for my softer creative images. This adds a soft gentleness to the image and is very tactile.
The lighter weight paper is a great one to try for your first arty smooth paper.
Textured Fine Art Papers
Ideas and Choices
favourite Textured Paper
German Etching is a arty photographers favourite. The textured surfaced paper that takes most images to the next level, this paper adds a unique textured surface to your image, enhancing the textures in the print. German Etching adds that little extras to a textured image.
There's a Fine Art feel to the paper. If you're a beginner with textures papers, this is one to try.
The bright white art paper has a clear, coarsely structured felt mark and is characterised by a very special tactile feel adding a three-dimensional effect and sense of depth.It reminds me of little clouds to the touch.
A perfect paper to add shadows to less textured areas adding depth. Especially if you have little detail in the sky.
Many creative photographers use this paper.
The Environmental Choice
Hemp, is an award winning natural paper, made with 60% hemp fibre and 40% cotton, it makes an environmentally friendly paper, one of the Natural Line Papers. I like the texture and how it integrates with the images. I use it for the images that needs a slightly textured adding the finishing touch.
It has a white natural tone which is created by the light colour of the hemp fibres. The lightly textured surface. Hemp was an essential part of paper production for many centuries and has a long history in paper making
The answer is easy, why would I not? Holding a print, you’ve just taken from the printer, is an amazing feeling, the time and the work given to creating that image, is there, on one sheet of paper, in your hand. It’s the visualisation of an image into reality. You can return to over and over again with having to switch a digital device on. If you’re entering a Competition or Exhibition, it’s exactly what you want the judge to see, no digital changes, from processing, programme or projector colour shifts etc.
Buying a printer and paper is simply an extension of your camera, part of the process. Photography equipment, doesn’t come cheap. You spend hours researching the best camera and lens for your style of photography. Why buy cheap paper and ink to present your images? Get the best printer, paper and ink to reflect the costs of the equipment.
Photo or Arty?
Paper choices are just a diverse as photographers. The first consideration is size. Does size matter? We all know the answer yes. Some images should be printed small, some big, I must admit, I do standardise for talks and PAGB size guidelines. Two sizes, A3 or 10×10 inches printed on an A3 sheet of paper. None of this is set in stone but I hope it helps with your choices.
Choosing the right paper is a skill that has to be learnt, the only way to that is by printing. The higher the quality of paper the more careful you are in creating your print. You take time to check colour balance, shadows and highlights, mistakes in processing and finally, the best you can get from that image. That’s when you print. You must do your test printing on the same paper you’re going to use for your final print, Your print presentation, says so much about you.
FINE ART PAPERS
Fine Art Papers
Papers are divided into two sections, smooth and textured. The papers have their own individual characteristics, from smooth velvet to more defined surfaces . Each has to be considered when choosing a paper. Find out my favourites and why I use them.
Digital Photo Papers
This choice takes you to Baryta, glossy and semi gloss, satin & silk paper. My choice for a more photographic image is still a fine art, Photo Rag Satin. It has a Photo Rag base but a satin coating giving you the best of both worlds.
The extra sparkle Photo Rag Metallic, the only metallic paper that really makes my work have that extra something. or the added texture and depth of Willian Turner. These two papers really give and added extra.to your work.
HINTS & TIPS
Firstly, check the (coated) printing side is the right way round for printing. Which side of the paper do you print on? Usually it's indicated in the box of paper but it's easy to turn the paper round or put a sheet in the wrong way. A simple trick is to dampen the tip of your finger and the coated side will sick slightly to your finger, this is the side you print on.
Secondly, write in pencil on the back of the sheet, the name/make of the paper you've chosen and I also write the Date. This double checks, the side with the coating on. The distinctive coated side it will be more difficult to see the writing, a non coated side the pencil will write freely so keep you eraser handy.
Setting, check your settings, for the paper type and the appropriate ICC profiles. to get the best print.
Using a Test Pack
A simple way of trying images n different appears is to print them.
There are three test packs, showcasing. Photo Papers and Fine Art Papers and The Naturals Range by Hahnemuhle Fine Art.
I pick five or six images that I know work on certain papers or that possibly required different papers. Printed them on all the different papers in a sample pack. This creates a record of the papers and how each paper reacts to the paper this helps you choose the best paper for that image.
You usually get two sheets of each paper, therefore you can print two sets of images or try out the images on the papers at a bigger size. These sheets can now be kept in a folder as reference.
Three Red Feathers
Three Red Feathers, the simple composition and added texture really makes a difference. There's nothing difficult about creating this one, three strips of newspaper and three feathers, found in the garden. Photographed on a piece of mount board, to gives a simple background to start the textures on. The image has several oppositions and balance points in it to strengthen the composition.
There's 23 layers in total. Two textures. One from a whitewashed greenhouse at a National Trust property. It features in several of images. This adds arty feel and contrasts. The square canvass was a simple choice, as it creates a tighter images and brings the eye straight to the focal point in the centre of the image. The added Colour isn't from a photoshop gradient but part of the second texture.
On finishing an image I aways check if it works as a mono. Not all images do. In this case, I did a black and white conversion in photoshop and added a tone, which adds softness. The mono has to be the treated differently from the colour, adding eleven layers to the file. The additional layers are the put in group in the same saved file.
Three Red Feathers has achieved serval awards and acceptances in colour. I wonder which you like best?
All You need to know
Booking for 2022
Please, note I'm no longer in the L&CPU speakers list. This doesn't mean I'm not doing talks but simply moving on to another chapter in my photography story.
All talks cancelled due to covid I'm happy to rebook when we can meet again and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.
My talks are print based. The talk is an image based talk with a variety of subjects all with a little creative magic. There are hints and tips about images, printing and papers. The Evening is not about how I do my work but why. This is not a workshop.
Please use the contact page for any questions or booking enquiry.
All many prints are available in my Etsy Shop.