30 September 2011

Gotta dig that archaeology

Today I've done something I've never done before. Been on a archaeology dig. Unfortunately I cannot show you any images until it has gone through planning and decisions about whether to do a full dig is confirmed. But it was all jolly exciting. Not only did I learn about archaeology (the hardest part is spelling it) but also about filming. Ashby Museum not only asked me to attend but also a film maker friend. A short film has been created with interviews with the dig team, shots of the archaeology uncovered, people speaking to camera and shots of the inside of the church.

It was great chatting to a fellow camera geek and comparing stories and ideas. We have agreed to work together in the future and swapped business cards.

When the embargo has been lifted I will post some images but in the meantime think 'time team' (but without the silly running out of time stuff) with a dash of Indiana Jones - and you wont be far wrong.

Love my life.

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29 September 2011

Calling all Artists

This might help:

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Fleeting Moment


Woke up this morning with an idea in my head for an image to respond to the words 'fleeting moment'. I need two model for this one - a child or young adult and an old lady wearing wedding ring. If you can help please let me know and I will explain what I require. I will be photographing hands only. Muchly appreciated.

Not quite what I'm after
but this is as much of each model as you will see.

Hope you can help.
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Portraits - call for models

The more I look at the images I captured on Tuesday the more impressed I am with them. At a portfolio review in July it was suggested that I should continue with my portrait work as it was very good. Well I think I can see what he was saying now. We always doubt ourselves and our abilities.

Plan is then to create a book of portraits and take it along to some agents and see what they have to say. I will be capturing more images like this. I will need models - I will choose some myself but if you or your family are interested - send me an email.

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"Stare.  It is the way 
to educate your eye, and more.  
Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop.  
Die knowing something.  
You are not here long"
Walker Evans

Walker Evans, 1930

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28 September 2011

Old Master

The old and the new continually collide.

Todays shoot of a yearling filly and her handler:

Filly and Kate - photographed by Joanne Cooper
reminded me of a Stubbs painting:

Molly Longlegs and Groom - painted by George Stubbs

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27 September 2011


Model: Laura Kureczko. Photography: Joanne Cooper.
Fashion: Joanne Cooper. Make-up: Laura Kureczko.

I have had very encouraging feedback to my portrait work and feel that my portfolio could do with some new images. Also I have been asked if I do fashion photography. Today I decided to combine the two and see where it leads. Taking inspiration from Irving Penn, Cecil Beaton and Albert Eisenstaedt and their iconic Vogue cover shots.

Model: Laura Kureczko. Photography: Joanne Cooper.
Fashion: Joanne Cooper. Make-up: Laura Kureczko.

I purchased the fan, the mask, the gloves, the red lipstick and the black eyeliner. I think I am beginning to appreciate the hard work of the make-up artists and hair stylists. I know an excellent make-up artist and my next fashion shoot will involve her.

Laura and I are going to book the studio and work on some other images together. I am finding this quite exciting.

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24 September 2011

Shooting Children

Photo shoot today for a client I have met through networking. The image will be used as a front cover shot for the autumn edition of her magazine. Again the power of networking has found me a suitable model and I am looking forward to this.
Ashley sorting the leaves

Ashley gardening

Ashley cycling

Ashley plays with play doh

My favourite

What a delight it was to photograph her. A very pleasant afternoon.

On reflection - if I was doing this again - I would take another camera body with the 50mm lens on it (or perhaps even the 75-300mm so that I don't have to get right into their faces, which they sometimes find off putting) and carry both cameras. I would have had the flash on the camera with the 24-105mm lens on. This would mean I would have more usable images as there would be less blur. Children are pretty quick and do not stay still for very long at all!
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22 September 2011


Think I may have found a mentor that understands the photography world, a mentor that can help me move projects along. They used to do portfolio reviews and also ran the Hereford Photography competition.

I am due to meet them again next week and will discuss mentoring. They have visited my website and enjoyed the 'Small World' Project. We then had a long chat about Slinkachu and Paolo Ventura, how funny and beautiful their work is.

'Relics' - Slinkachu

I do believe exciting developments are about to happen.

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21 September 2011

Muse - Soldier's Poem

Throw it all away
Let's lose ourselves
'Cause there's no one left for us to blame
It's a shame we're all dying
And do you think you deserve your freedom

How could you send us so far away from home
When you know damn well that this is wrong
I would still lay down my life for you
And do you think you deserve your freedom

No I don't think you do
There's no justice in the world
There's no justice in the world
And there never was

'Soldiers Poem'
Matthew Bellamy - MUSE

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Little People in the City

The Street Art of Slinkachu

This beautiful book, printed in 2008, is filled with humour and inspiration for my Small World project.

Think this book, along with feedback from others, shows how people like comparison, that they like domination and submission, that they like to be confused but like it explained, it mirrors the response we have to our own built environment. Playing in this small scale world I can be more daring, more adventurous, more riské. It can show how we, as individuals, whilst crammed together on this dense rock - are alienated and alone.

It's the juxtaposition of scales that makes creating this 'small world' work interesting, intriguing and such fun.

This book also shows me that I should not be too worried about blobby paint on my little characters nor the scale of items in relation to them.

Little People in the City
The Street Art of Slinkachu
Boxtree 2008

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20 September 2011

What to photograph?

17 words - literal, lateral, inside or outside the box.

My favourites from the 17:

I like to be literal, accurate and quirky - beyond that I like to be humorous.

Had a bit of an issue whilst out with the camera today - a car park attendant didn't like me capturing an image of a bike shed. Although I was well within my rights to capture this shot, as I was on a public footpath, she informed me that I was on private land and did not have permission to 'take photographs'. I wasn't prepared to argue with her but offered to delete the shot if she was really that bothered about it. She didn't want me to delete it. I didn't want to discuss the law with her on this occasion. This was not the time nor the shot to have an argument over, plus it was raining and I was getting wet. You need to choose your arguments with care.

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19 September 2011

Paolo Ventura

Earlier in my research for inspiration for my Small World project I came across this artist and thought his work and his images were very interesting. I felt it was time to revisit my research and see where it begins to take me.

The Autmaton - Paolo Ventura

The Automaton - Paolo Ventura

The Automaton - Paolo Ventura

Born in Milan and living and working in New York, Paolo has exhibited these doll based images since 2006. He spent 10 years as a fashion photographer and started creating these images after hearing his grandmothers memories of World War II.

He plays with ambiguity – the scenes look real or have the feeling of an old photograph. Each scene takes weeks to create and he destroys them as soon as he has finished photographing them – this is for practical reason – he only has a small studio. To make the images tell a story he gives them a caption. They look like stills from a film. They are somber, romantic and also elegant.

I love the detail in these settings and he has everything in focus. He also captions his images so that people are guided through what they are looking at. For me the only ambiguity is whether they are real or fake, photographs or stills. If he is captioning the images then the story they tell do not present any ambiguity – but the process does.

I now need to think and plan how I am going to present my buildings and characters and consider my next steps and move towards photographing them.

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18 September 2011

Manor House Farm

The Manor House Farm has been constructed. It is a lovely building but not very large or grand which I thought it would be. It has mullioned windows which are very attractive but seems to have a lot of lean-to extensions which detract from its grandness. The workers cottage almost seems bigger. It does however have a date stone 1679. I love that these buildings have such history and yet they are only cardboard.
I love the mullioned windows - very classy

The back of the Manor House Farm with the lovely huge staircase window.
I used to live in a house with a window like that.
Shame this one is hidden round the back of the house though.

The Farm House has lots of lean to buildings attached to it.

I also build two more terraced houses today. The bit I dislike doing the most is the curtains. Very very fiddly but the instructions say how much nicer they will look if you do them. So do them I do.



But the curtains look nice

The two new terraced houses on the street with the Bakers

Only two more buildings to make, then there is the railway model show next weekend, after that I will have no excuse but to start creating images.

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15 September 2011

Carl Warner

As I sit gluing small pieces of cardboard together, and some of the time my fingers to the table, I cant help but think...what the hell am I going to do with all of this. It's great therapy and I'm loving this sort of creativity, but really - where is this going. I have a village growing on my dining table. I am even going to a Model Railway Show at Gardendon School in Loughborough next weekend to see if there are any interesting bits and bobs that I might have missed that I can add to this. I think I will be looking for toy (whoops sorry, 00 gauge) vehicles, little model people doing specific things - like car mechanics, or even some rude ones - see the amazing work by Vincent Bousserez.

I was also thinking about the settings for these buildings. My previous work has involved sitting fake in the real world and playing with perspective - a little like Franck Allais. Or I used all my own (homemade) props and gave it depth by using my photography as a backdrop.

But this time what am I going to do with it? My thoughts were taking me to 'how do I sit the buildings and people into scenes, what can I do that adds a twist, unique to me?' I can take them out and play with perspective like Micheal Paul Smith does or I can build sets - there is certainly no shortage of material for that in the railway modelling world.

I decided on some research. I came across someone who's work I have seen before. There was a documentary on Sky Arts about his work a year or so ago, very entertaining, he's been on Richard and Judy and his work has been featured in most of the national newspapers. This has got him all sorts of work for advertising agencies. Anyway I thought I would share with you the inspiration that is ... ... Drum Roll ... ... ... Carl Warner (doh! I've already told you in the headline)

Potatoes, Cress and Cabbage

Bread Mountains

Meat feast
And this is how he does it

Pause for applause for Carl.

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14 September 2011

Service Station

Decided to start on the service station. Very fiddly this one or perhaps it was the lateness of the hour.

Even the petrol pumps have hoses

Love the details on this including the stairs

The person is the correct scale but the car is not - just playing at this stage

Inside the workshop during construction

The workshop with all it's signs!

There is a beautiful piece in the instructions saying:
"The service station is made up of two buildings. The front single storey section is a white rendered building containing the showroom and shop with one service bay. The rear workshop building is red brick and may have been used for something else before the garage was built on to the front. The garage probably dates fom the second world war, but survives to this day after many superficial make-overs."

It's only made of cardboard but it has history. It's only when I take a few shots like this that I can see where I can errors in construction and things I need to tidy up before any official photo shoot.
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13 September 2011

Post Office and Cafe - open

The village grows - the Post Office and Cafe are now open for business.

Post Office and Cafe - which needs a name

It has been pointed out to me that I have rather a large number of shops and services in my village but not many houses for people to live. All I can say to them is that I am working on that.

Bear with, bear with.

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Rothko at the Whitechapel

Rothko in Britain - Whitechapel Gallery, London E1 until 26th February.
Rothko in my Life:
  • I have seen the Seagram murals in the Tate - they were never hung in the Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram building in New York - the space Mark Rothko designed them for. They have spent most of their life in Britain. In giving them to the Tate, Rothko insisted that they be shown exclusively together in their own room. Room 18 in the Tate is one of my favourite rooms.
  • I have seen the Seagram murals along with many of his other paintings at a Rothko retrospective at the Tate Modern, in fact that is where they are at the moment.
  • I have seen the Rothko's that hang in Tate St Ives.
  • I see a new Rothko image every month, on my teNeues Rothko calendar that Santa leaves every year, and has done so for the past decade.
  • I have a Rothko postcard in almost every room in my house.
  • I have Rothko all around me and have done since I got interested in art and architecture.
Imagine my delight to hear that the Whitechapel - who was the first gallery in Britain to show Rothko's work - are celebrating the 50th anniversary of that show with a riveting display of photographs, letters, testimonies and reviews alongside Rothko's Light Red over Black painted in 1957. Light red over black is one of my favourites and was one of the first of his paintings to enter a British Museum. In the 60s when Rothko's work was first viewed by British eyes people spoke of being thunderstruck, overwhelmed, spellbound, transformed and being blown away. Nobody had seen anything like it.
Light Red over Black - 1957

Rothko's paintings are - in his own words - 'the simple expression of the complex thought'. I can't wait to see this exhibition.
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Some information and facts taken from article written by Laura Cumming - Observer, Review Section - 11th Sept 2011 others taken from Seeing Rothko by Glenn Phillips and Thomas Crow.

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They have arrived

Here they are - all seven buildings:

Days of bliss ahead

Think I'll start with the village shop and cafe.

Looks great - oooo I can choose if it is a shop or a Post Office. This was a delight to make. Lovely way to spend the afternoon whilst I'm waiting for my hideous headache to subside.
Before I added the wall
With the wall added

I love the steps leading up to the back door of the Cafe

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11 September 2011


"Grief is the price we pay for love."
HRH The Queen

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Shooting and Shooting

I love photography - that has been established. I like nothing better than to be out and about with my camera shooting all sorts of weird and wonderful things.
My new hobby involves a different kind of shooting and ironically also involves being out and about shooting all sorts of weird and wonderful things:

Shooting a bear

Shooting a rain storm over Hull

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