30 October 2011

Camera Appreciation

I have been asked many times about the 1-2-1 training I offer. I have also been thinking about how people can have access to that and also thinking about the forthcoming gift giving season - commonly known as Christmas.

To that end I have created some uniquely numbered 'camera appreciation - gift cards'. These can then be purchased and proudly presented as a gift.

Front and Back of the 'Gift Card'

The card allows the owner to spend an hour with me exploring their camera, demystifying the buttons and ensuring they get the results they want from their camera. I will also offer inspiration for what to do with those beautiful images captured.

I will begin marketing these next week and in preparation I have set up a new page on my website.

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27 October 2011

RIBA Stirling Prize 2011

It's that time of year again - when the Culture Show produce the RIBA Stirling Prize. Once again this was very entertaining and they covered two other awards the Stephen Lawrence Award for projects under £1million and the Lubetkin Prize for best international building outside the EU.

I once again focused on the main award and made some notes about each one including name of architect and a brief thought about the project:

Following on from my notes from last year it is clear that these buildings nod a wink to their heritage - that of post-war modernism. These buildings clearly show that modernism has finally grown up.

Computer aided design has liberated architecture from gravity and our knowledge and understanding of materials and the impact we make on the environment are all clearly visible. Architecture now expresses its relationship with the natural world - the bling has gone. We are quieter and hark back to modernist principles. These buildings are economical, efficient, sustainable, adaptive and really think about the user - they are a triumph of use over form - but, to me, they are beautiful.

Images of the six finalists:
An Gaelaras, Derry. Photo: Dennis Gilbert
Evelyn Grace Academy, Brixton. Photo: Hufton Crow

RSC Theatre, Stratford on Avon. Photo: Andy Marshall

Olympic Velodrome, London. Photo: Handout/Getty

The Angel Building, Islington. Photo: Peter Cook

Museum Folkwang, Essen.

I am really beginning to feel and understand my modernist roots and can see why it is so appealing to me.

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The name given to short-lived phase in the modern art movement. At the 1905 Salon d'Automne in Paris several young artists, led by Henri Matisse, offered the first collective expression of this new influence. Full, vivid colour to the point of violence, the pictures compelled attention and provoked scandalised protests. In the same gallery a small bronze in the Italian renaissance manner prompted Louise Vauxcelles, the critic, to describe it as "a Donatello among the wild beasts" (chez les fauves) - from which the epithet fauvism was coined.

Typical of the fauvist manner was an exultant handling of brilliant pigment. Imitative colour was rejected. Colour instead of light and shade, was used to illuminate the picture surface; and colour shapes were related, rather than contained, by flowing lines. Each separate element was exploited to intensify the expressiveness of the whole. At first paint was applied in a pointillist style, later in areas of flat decorative colour. The main influences which still permeated the movement were the acutely personal vision of van Gogh, the rich bold designs of Gauguin and the prevailing taste of Oriental and primitive art.

Fauvism evolved no creed and proposed no programme. It sprang up among a group of burning enthusiasts, all of whom endorsed similar aesthetic theories and technical innovations without submerging their individuality's.

Outstanding in the movement were Henri Matisse, Georges Braque, Charles Camoin, Andrés Derain, Kees van Dongen, Raoul Dufy, Othon Friesz, Henri Manguin, Albert Marquet, Jean Puy, Maurice de Vlaminck
Matisse - Jazz: Icarus, 1943
Braque - Two Birds on Blue Bottom, 1963

Charles Camoin, Bouquet of Flowers

Andres Derain, Charin Cross Bridge, 1906
Kees van Dongen, Le Carrousel, 1963
Raoul Duffy, The Basin at Deauville
Othon Friesz, Paysage da la Ciotat, 1907
Henri Manguin, Jeanne resting at Villa, 1905
Albert Marquet, Barques des Pecheur, 1906
Jean Puy, Un Fauve en Bretagne, 1906

Maurice de Vlaminck, Les Pecheurs a Nanterre, 1906

Plenty of inspiration, interest and artists to research here. I have discovered that my specific interest in Modern Art falls in the period 1945-1960 but it is interesting to see where those artists get their inspiration from.

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26 October 2011

Small World in Paris

I took some of my little people with me on train to Paris. I forgot to take any blue tac so I had to use the characters that could stand/sit on their own. I recently bought a pack of characters entitled 'Sexy Ladies'. Thought they would be most appropriate to take and display in Paris!

I had fun creating these and whilst they are not quite what I am after - these images help inform my work in progress for this project.

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Fashion/Portrait Photography

Really enjoyed my shoot today with Rheanne. Captured some lovely shots which will be great for my portfolio. I set off this morning with a couple of images in my mind that I had seen this week whilst researching fashion images on an app I had downloaded for my iPad.

These are the two images of Rheanne:

And these are what inspired me:

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25 October 2011


I loved it so much I am organising a trip back. February sounds like a good month, so have got my travel consultant onto it.


A whole day in the Centre Pompidou and didn't see half of the exhibitions. But I have discovered what art influences me. It seems it is a quite specific part of the Modernist movement. Also discovered a new movement - Fauvism - will write about that shortly. There are so many wonderful galleries and of course the Mona Lisa to revisit that it demands a return visit.


Went to the top of the Eiffel Tower to recreate an image of me taken when I had my first camera at the age of 17.

Had a lot of fun with the tilt and shift lens. I found it's limits for what I was trying to do and also marveled at some of the gorgeous effects I was capturing. Some of my favourite images:

Eiffel Tower

Pompidou Centre

I also found the extra functions on the Canon 5D Mark II (which I had pooh-poohed in the past) really useful. I even tried some video. Being able to push the ISO up to 6400 made for capturing images in all sorts of difficult and dark lighting conditions. I even managed some half decent shots of the photographers at the gig as it got underway:

I am beginning to think I could part-ex my 5D - I think the business could manage to find a way of making this happen. Will look into this.

A magnificent few days. I even got looks from blokes like I used to when I was in my 20s - an excellent boost to the self-confidence and ego. You have just got to love Paris.

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14 October 2011

Tilt and Shift

A little experiment
Very quick play this afternoon with the tilt and shift lens:

little bit of tilt and shift applied

no tilt and shift
Oooooo now this is exciting. I shall be experimenting more with the 'Small World' characters and buildings on Sunday. Watch this space.

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Bouncing Children

Bouncing Becky held a Bounce-a-thon at Outwood Edge County Primary School. Would I like to pop along to capture images for a press release towards the end of the day? Of course I would.

What a delightful hour spent with some funny children who not only love Becky but also loved bouncing. I heard one saying "This is too much fun". Brilliant.

The more I learn about Becky and her business ethics the more impressed I am by her. This lady will go far, she is a rising star. If you are interested in undertaking some fitness training I would recommend you contact her. Her enthusiasm, encouragement and support make training fun. All I can say is ... ... Bounce.
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11 October 2011


V&A exhibition on Postmodernism caught my eye - I have mentioned before that I fancied going. Not sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. At one point walking around it though I didn't really understand what I was looking at and then I got very melancholy as I was seeing things that I have at home presented and exhibited in a museum. But you do have to love Peter Saville and Barney Bubbles graphics.

I treated myself to a gift:

I forgot to take a notebook with me and you are certainly not allowed to take photographs in these special exhibitions so I wrote on the only thing I had available and that was the ticket stubs. In a way I believe I was being ironic and postmodern.

I will need to work out my little scribbling are saying and write them up. From memory they were pointers to artists, books, works of art, ideas for a fashion shoot based on an image by Cindy Sherman. This is what visiting an exhibition is all about - to get ideas, to seek inspiration and to get fired up to create more work.

Think it worked.

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Was at the V&A at the weekend and a few things in the gift shop caught my eye. One of them was this intriguing thing. This is an idea I had for the Small World - to mix up the real and the fake a bit more like this. It is something I still want to attempt. First I need to research a little more to work out how to do it.

This reminds me of the work by Franck Allais and the way he plays with perspective. It is something I was going to attempt during the summer but I was let down by an assistant. It is time I sorted this and tried again.

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Tilt and Shift

I have many plans for the 'Small World' project this weekend and it will start with borrowing a tilt and shift lens. I will be dusting off the buildings and getting all the little people out of their boxes and begin creating. Really looking forward to that.

Tilt and Shift Baby

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07 October 2011

Call for models

My call for models has resulted in a charming young lady saying she is interested.

Image supplied by model

Image supplied by model

I shall be in touch with her and her mum just as soon as my make-up artist friend returns from Ireland (and I'm back from Paris). I am sure we shall have a fun time capturing some fabulous fashion and portrait shots. Rehanne wishes to move into modelling so this will be a lovely start for her portfolio. I am really looking forward to this and to working collaboratively with Sheelagh Powell MUA.
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