I went out with an old work friend of mine, Adewho also does a lot of client photography – we wanted to tackle the idea of slaving a flash (so one sets off the other) to enhance natural lighting – which was under a flat grey sky. This is an ongoing exercise to further develop my portraiture, for something else planned a little later in the year.
Portraits to my mind are meant to be more than just pictures of people – but to capture a little something about them. Its not always possible – it’s a concept that the best way to do this with people who are not always comfortable in front of a lens is to spend a little time with them. I spoke to Ade about this (he does a lot more portraiture than me), and he agreed it has a much more natural effect.
It’s also interesting looking at the way men and women are captured by camera. These are much stronger than the pictures of women i’ve recently taken, orr the children in my last post. Anyway i’ll put some more portraits up soon.
Comparing the below to this picture (above) where only one flash was used you can see the effect of remote (off camera) flash can be quite dramatic.
I have been a a little quiet this past week with regards to photography as i have been creating some simple websites (yes, in WordPress) for a collection of businesses hosted in the new Clerkenwellbeing project (their own site is designed eslewhere). The Clerkenwellbeing project is essentially to create a health centre on Goswell Road for the practitioners of complimentary therapies. These includes; yoga, acupuncture, pilates, sports remedial massage and chiropractic – which is how the business began 15 years ago.
So as this work has been my focus – particularly in the last week as I begin tweaking web and print jobs for the LAUNCH DAY (17 April 2013 – they have free taster sessions!). I thought to showcase some of the structures I have made for them, which they will soon to populate with words and images. As I go to (word)press they’re not quite ready – hence the screen-grabs. (the original sites are mostly holding pages for now, but will be viewable within the next few weeks as the copywriter gets busy on it).
I recommend them, not just because they gave me work – but because I have received treatment. Its a great practice full of dedicated professionals and good people who genuinely want to help others. It’s also been an immense learning curve for me. Including trying out some of the therapies over the last three months; nutrition therapy, chiropractic and sports massage. If any of my London followers are interested they’re at 178 Goswell Road, London, ECIV 7DT, 020 7490 4042.
The websites which will shortly be available include:
I was out with a friend recently, we were talking about creativity. She stated she was very creative. She is. But I had the distinct feeling we were talking about two different things.
The dictionary states creativity is “the use of the imagination or original ideas, esp. in the production of an artistic work.”
This is what she does. She creates, shapes and builds her business, she used to renovate homes – I’m sure very beautifully from what I have seen of her work. Effectively what she does is creative.
I used to work in house at various companies, making brochures, flyers, exhibition graphics – that kind of thing. I still take on regular freelance graphic work – as well as photography work. And here’s the trick; In some of the environments it was easy and enjoayble employing my creativity – and in some places, well, some tasks really weren’t creative at all – it was more like painting by numbers – just plain administration.
So this raises a question: when people talk about creativity or being creative – most of the time they refer solely to making images, music or writing. Why is this?
I think that there can be something creative in what we all do. I took photographs at a conference last Friday. It was for 1st year students who were studying a range of disciplines at doctorate level. The talk was to do with their continued success. One of the speakers said they had studied their subject and were good enough to be at doctorate level. It was now time for them to get creative in their subject- whatever that subject was.
To me, this playful attitude is where good things begin. This is the root of creativity.
Well guess who just got paid..? So, to part with some cash before it all went on dull practical things, off i went to Claire De Rouen, in my opinion Londons best photography bookshop. Better than the Photographers Gallery(who just sent a circular saying they have many more books than those on display), better than Koenig– as I said, in my opinion Partly because the staff are amazing – and very well informed – partly because they hold quality contemporary publications. So there.
I bought two books, but I’m going to talk about this one:
On the tube home I was nervous about buying this book, I went to Claire De Rouen with another book entirely on my mind. Vegezzi’s book appealed to me with its indie graphic novel style cover, it reeked of cool. But that’s exactly why it made me nervous.
I’m sure I’m not alone in buying things like this and then getting home and realising it was something without substance. In this case I suspected a VICE magazine treatment (where this story has had some exposure) – VICE stories often seem to contain more sensation than depth, they’re more cool than insightful. I unwrapped the cellophane from the book right there on the Piccadilly line and investigated…
It didn’t take long to realise I was wrong. Vegezzi’s photostory is a tale of a group of boys, his friends, on the threshold of adulthood who respond to their urban environment of New York by daringly making their own world out of it. The subway system is their second neighbourhood, their night-time neighbourhood. Here they explore and invade forbidden areas, cross subway tracks to explore, discover, paint the walls, find worlds-within-worlds, meet friends and reinforcing their own bonds. With the curiosity of cats they explore this new world during a brief period of potential that exists between the end of childhood and the dawn of their adult lives.
It’s unusual to see a perspective from a group of boys of this age with such access and intimacy. It reminds me a little of Skins and Punks by Gavin Watson, who, as one on the skinheads / punks on the scene took pictures over a many years from inside both these 1980’s sub-cultures. This makes both these books very insightful, and successful documents. This is because these images come from within the photographers own experience.
It seems to me that most other photographs of this age group are usually based on youthful beauty and often appear as single shots – such as fashion or the type of photos you see on (the nonetheless excellent)if you leavewebsite and publications. But this book offers something different, the fact that the photographer is one of them makes it a special book.Vegezzi’s collection of images reads like a novel in some ways. His clear photographic style suits the material well and he has an excellent eye for a good picture, using perspective and composition beautifully, but he employs a photojournalist approach, rather than a more painstaking ‘art photography’ which wouldn’t work here – he’s not afraid of blur or noise and his edit describes the story – how it feels to be one of these boys, what their world is like. This story is the heart of the book.
The text, which appears at the end of a the book, redefines the images after the viewer has seen them. It subsequently invites a second viewing for a deeper understanding of these young men. Beautifully written by one of the group; Abeliene Cohen. Is deftly crafted to describe these lives and their behaviour. I was struck by this sentence, and how it relates to us all;
“I found it surprisingly easy to separate the subject from my own experience, to let them grow from rowdy kids to universal symbols.”
….and how he discribes, that at least from thier own point of view, they are ‘regular kids’;
“It’s true that there is a certain amount of criminal activity involved at some points, however the recurring trend leans toward a much more innocent concept…. what’s happening here is an alarming exploration of spatial and social boundaries”
Its all there, in it’s pages, for the taking. It reminded me of how this period felt – even though this period of my youth, growing up in London was very different, it also left me feeling light, vibrant and alive.
I went back to rock and roll dancing class last night after an absence from the scene for a year, It was great. I forgot how exciting it is, and how quickly you meet people.
The dancing scene is huge, it’s also eclectic in ages and often in styles, I actually did a project in it for university, you can see some of the pictures here, The shot above was from Saturday Night Swing Club, although the classes were rock and roll / jive there’s often a huge range of dancing styles on club dancefloors ranging from the 1920’s to 1950’s, if you’re interested in the others look up Lindy-Hop, Shag, Charleston and Balboa.