Saturday, 13 December 2008
I kept pulling over into lay-bys and side roads whenever an opportunity seemed to be developing.
These are the first two out of the digital darkroom and I've still got another couple to process, when I can get some time.
Hope these cut the mustard for you :)
Friday, 28 November 2008
What a warm feeling I left with - I had a goodly number of folks turn up, boosted by the normal Last Friday contingent. Thanks everyone - especially Sylvia the Pirate, Grace the story-teller, Heidi & Adrian and everyone else who had such nice things to say.
Although she hasn't yet been officially notified, the winner of the prize draw, thanks to Susan's fair hand, was Thea of Tamar Science Park. I know it might seem like a fix, but that's the way it honestly turned out (if it had been a fix, I think that I would have chosen one of my mum's many friends who turned up - to use a Westcountry phrase - "dear of them"!).
So, congratulations to Thea - that wonderful paper print of Barbican Steps will be delivered to you personally, by my very own hand. Well done!
..and thanks to Katie and Dan for making the night work so well. I would definitely recommend the B-Bar for any such event you or your friends might be thinking of (and I'd go for one of the Thai noodle boxes there, every time!).
Thursday, 27 November 2008
It looked just like any other autumn scene from a Devon Village. I composed with the granite, moss-covered boulder for f/g interest and got lucky - the leaves on it were pure serendipity.
If truth be known, I was going for a traditional rich yellows/golds autumn scene (with a b&w shot in the back of my mind, just in case). But as usual, my poor eye for colour let me down, so I returned to Plan B (well, plan b&w).
Saturday, 22 November 2008
I got a new printer, an Epson Stylus Pro 3800 and have been putting it through its paces. I've been using Hahnemühle fine art photo rag and am really pleased with the results. Ok, like with all high-end printers, it was a bit of a bind getting the right profiles and learning to use the printer driver. But it was worth it.
I take down my canvases from ParkArt on Monday lunchtime - in between the builders and working from home for my day job.
So, that exhibition of my mono work closes - and I immediately hang another 6 as part of the ParkArt Winter Exhibition - 25th Nov to end Feb 09.
And then it's my "after-show" party at Last Friday, B-Bar on the Barbican on Fri 28th Nov. Maybe see you there?
Sunday, 2 November 2008
You can see all my new stuff at any time with this link to a standard search.
I've also updated the images on previous postings to point to the new gallery pages.
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
So, on with Knot A Rope Knot. First, I guess, the name. I guess people will have noticed that I like to play on words - not very well but I try, lol. In this one, there's the half of a knot in the wooden post - not quite a knot - and then the rope knot as well, hence the name - knot a rope knot - geddit? ;-)
Rope knots have a special meaning for me - I spent a little time in the merchant navy and briefly tied for work and pleasure (monkey's fists, mats, shoe soles, and other decorative ones whose names I forget). I also spent a few years as a caver and at times you just got to rely on the knots you tie, in a life or death sort of way :)
"contrast..." The first thing that attracted my attention about this piece was that of the contrast between the rough textures of the rope against the intense smoothness of the wooden post and the blandness of the fabric background.
"pattern..." So much in the way of strong pattern - the intertwining strands of ever smaller strands (Big fleas have little fleas, Upon their backs to bite 'em, And little fleas have lesser fleas, And so ad infinitum) ...the delicious patterns of the grain and the hints of knots in the wood. Oh, and the humour in the two different kinds of knot :) - oh, how easy I am to please!
"shape..." What a lovely shape that knot of rope makes, winding round and round and in and out - very pleasing. There's also quite a 3d feel, adding to the overall effect.
Friday, 24 October 2008
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Many thanks to the people who made it possible - Tamar Science Park, for supporting local artists, Katie Thompson (aka Tokus) for the PR and Martin Bush / John miles for organising Parkart in the first place.
For posterity, here are a couple of related items. The Evening Herald has been very supportive, as these two cuttings show. I've also included some comments left by visitors to the salon
'Fascinating photos. Great to see places you know from different angles!' ...Debbie Rees-Williams
'Great, striking images Mark' ...Bill Wroath, artist
'Fantastic images. Very graphic and moving.' ...David Williams, Redrok
'Mark makes you see life from a different perspective. Even inanimate objects have character.' ...Katy Thorpe, Formedia
'Really dramatic images - very cleverly observed and beautifully printed.' ...Joanna Swift, BusinessLink
'Excellent photography - some stunning images but a similar number left me cold. Personal taste I guess.' ...Norman Holmes, Kaya Gallery
'Great images. Would look fab on any wall in my home.' ...Paul Slater, Evening Herald Photographer
'Extraordinary! How beauty can be everywhere, even in a pile of junk. These pictures show the individual life at its best!' ...Thea Reade, Tamar Science Park
'Beautiful work, brightens up the working day having a browse around all the pictures on the walls. Keep it up!' ...Tony Williams
'Great pictures and tranquil settings. It proves that there is beauty in everything.' ...Claire Edgecombe, BusinessLink
'Outstanding photography, Mark - timeless imagery that stays in the mind.' ...Dave and Debbie
Sunday, 5 October 2008
I'm getting real excited to meet the folks who have enjoyed my art, hearing what they have to say and what they got out of it...
I'm told that a party of A-level students from St Boniface school came a-visiting and left excited and maybe a bit inspired?
...and I wandered down to the Big Screen in Armada Way today to see if I got a mention - there it was, big and bold, a 3m high mention of my ParkArt exhibition in their events section at 3:30 - just after a load of Olympic footage. I didn't see any of my work (though they did ask for the images) - maybe that's on at a different time?
Ok, now off to watch Father Ted and go over my tick lists.
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
That should drive a few more people through the door! It's running from 4-7pm with nibbles and drinks. There's a prize draw and I'll also be signing copies of my photobooks. Come along...
Here's a map showing where my exhibition and salon is - you'll want the C marker.
View Larger Map
Overall I'm pleased with the results, with the short stumps of hay in the mown field glistening in the bright sun and the haystack cresting the hill against a good sky.
Saturday, 27 September 2008
[I wonder if that will amuse me in a few years - here's a note to that future me - did it amuse? If so, leave the answer here... Now that does amaze me - a sort of time travel! Here's me talking to a future me - and much later, that future me will come back here and reply. Weird!]
Anyway, back to the shot. I think this is another one of those "standard" shots that every photographer has in their portfolio - almost like a sampler that people learning needle-work do.
A few times recently I've travelled along the A303 route on my way back to Plymouth from Staines and I've seen rolls of hay, bales of hay and stacks like these, just itching to be captured through my camera lens.
On my most recent journey, I took a short detour close to West Knoyle to try and avoid some heavy congestion and where I rejoined the A303, this faced me in the field opposite. Perfect happenstance - I just had to grab my camera...
I guess, having not long passed by Stonehenge on the way back from my weekly commute, this particular viewpoint gave me echoes of those famous standing stones.
Thursday, 18 September 2008
I managed a couple of hours or so in the digital darkroom to process this one. I liked it because of the framing provided by the trees - and the fact I found an angle to capture all the sails.
Not the best of the bunch, but a good addition to the study.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
I was slightly off with the dof but it was challenging because the blanketing web over the main tunnel extended deeply into the foreground, beyond where f9 could reach. As I was waving around in the breeze a little bit, I couldn't go slower than 1/15s shutter speed and still hope to get a shot. Still, I'm happy with the end result.
Friday, 12 September 2008
View Larger Map
Monday, 8 September 2008
The lovely lady, Amy, photographer for the Evening Herald, turned up spot-on punctual for a few shots for the local paper. She had a lovely manner and put me at ease - my smiles didn't feel forced, she was that good!
So far, so good... let's see what the first week brings.
Sunday, 7 September 2008
Now fingers and toes crossed!
Friday, 5 September 2008
Avoid the rush-hour and chase away those Monday blues - browse at your leisure and then have drinks and nibbles with me! I'd be really happy to chat with you about my work. There'll be various things happening during the event you might find interesting; those pencilled in so far are:
- Book signing
Copies of my coffee-table books will be there for you to buy and bring to me for a personalised message.
- The first prize draw selection
Everyone who leaves an email address will have their names put into a hat - the first one out receives the mounted paper print of Sutton Backlane on display there
- Continuously running slideshow of some of my other popular work
Mark Highton Ridley
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
I really like this shot - it took a lot of walking around the grounds of the hotel to find the pov that worked best and then for the sky conditions to be right. It's lucky I was staying there during the week for a few months!
Saturday, 30 August 2008
I remember seeing a couple of the sails being transported down the A38 one Friday on the way back from my contract with HMRC.
So, for a long time now I've been seeing these and I finally got round to going on a shoot there. I checked with customer services and they said it was ok to shoot the outside of the building.
These are the first two out of the digital darkroom, one showing nine of the sails - I couldn't fit them all in, no matter where I tried to shoot from (well, not with a pleasing comp anyway). The second shows a close up and explores the tonal qualities in more detail. The shapes of the various curves and the way they interact with each other was real nice. I managed to catch one in bright light, against the shade of the next sail.
The architects responsible for the design were Architen Landrell.
Thursday, 21 August 2008
Saturday, 16 August 2008
2000 flyers are on their way, marketing / advertising budget set. Details of the exhibition will be displayed on buses, pepper-pot poster drums in Plymouth City Centre, and I'm planning a poster on Derriford roundabout, just down from Tamar Science Park where it's to be held. See a pdf flyer here
Saturday, 9 August 2008
I'm looking forward to finding / making the time to explore roses in their various stages of bloom and in emotive settings where we have a relationship with the rose as a flower. You know, love, romance, sexiness; discarded, wilting on the altar of a ruined church; caught in a shaft of sunlight across an arrangement of embroidered satin pillows....
Friday, 8 August 2008
Saturday, 2 August 2008
Thursday, 24 July 2008
(Anyone else having trouble with intermittent connection problems over mobile broadband here in the UK? I'm with O2)
I got my order in to produce all the canvases for my upcoming exhibition at ParkArt, Tamar Science Park, Plymouth. I just have to prepare all the title cards and flyers now. Maybe at the weekend :)
Thanks to John Miles for letting me have the templates.
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
It could be thought of as giving a nod in the direction of man-made stuff replacing / squeezing out nature.
It took a little while for the sky to improve to what I thought would work out in the hdr / tone mapping and I'm pleased with the overall result.
Sunday, 20 July 2008
These wonderful Toll Houses mark the Staines / Egham end of Runnymede and I'd been waiting for the right sky and lighting conditions to make my capture. That finally came together on Wednesday and I made these shots.
I used my lens at the wide angle end of the zoom to try to enhance the drama of the scene. It was not so easy to correct it to a final comp I was happy with but, with a bit of this and that in the digital darkroom, I think I got there in the end.
Sunday, 13 July 2008
After a wander around, I found the complementary element to the shot that I was looking for - the pile of stones and beams up against the building.
It seemed to me that it was "winding up" the decaying building - almost taunting it by implying that very soon, it too would just be rubble.
I often do that, paint a little story inside my head, imagining the conversation that might be taking place if the objects were animate. Ok, so maybe I'm a little nuts ;)
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Sunday, 6 July 2008
Lot's of preparation to do - the hardest is choosing the 20 or so images to display, then there's the flyers, name cards etc. not to mention getting some mounted paper prints and greetings-style cards done.
[Updated 10th July]
Saturday, 5 July 2008
I also got notice that I'm to be exhibiting in Park Art, Tamar Science Park, Derriford. It starts on 1st September and finishes at the end of the month.
It follows the first two exhibitions by John Miles and, just opened, Martin Bush. See the Park Art Plymouth web site.
I hadn't really thought much about it but my understanding has increased each time I've been asked and struggled to get across my views on it. I think I'm now ready to try and give a full answer here...
I'm going to make a connection with our primaeval past and primaeval instincts and emotions as the main parts of my answer. To do that I need first to make some observations that will stimulate the right ideas in your mind.
Primaeval InstinctsThe most basic primaeval instincts are fear and the need to procreate. That's one strand. The other is that at night, in dim and dark places we don't see colour - the rods and cones in our retinas are designed for colour vision when there's plenty of light around and black and white when there's little light around.
Procreation InstinctAn observation - when dating has gone so far along its course, we go out for a meal in a romantic, intimate, low-light setting. Ever wondered why the need for low light and candles? Whatever the reason, isn't that a direct connection with our primaeval procreation instinct?
Fear InstinctFear is heightened at night / in low light, when you can't really see any threats that might be around. Have you and some mates ever 'talked' yourself into a right case of the willies when in a spooky place?
In both these situations, a common factor is that you are seeing in (or close to) black and white. So doesn't it make sense that a photo / image / film in black and white triggers or stimulates at least a little, those more primaeval feelings? When this happens they are nearer the conscious 'surface' and therefore flavour whatever else is going on in your mind when viewing the work.
In a nutshell...So in a nut shell, our primitive subconscious associates black and white with low-light and the possibilities of fight, flight or procreate (hah! managed to avoid the alliterative verb so as not offend any sensibilities!). And when we see an image in black and white it makes those primitive feelings come to the surface to 'colour' our emotional response to the image.
So what do you think? Do you see the connection? Is it a (fool /) full-ish answer?
Friday, 4 July 2008
I was puzzled at first by the metal pole leanng against the tractor, but after some digging, found out that it's one of the chimney's - I think there were two on the model N (which this is).
Sunday, 29 June 2008
I liked the rustic setting of stable-style door and hand-cranked root cutter machine. I was hoping, and wasn't disappointed, that the texture of the door would come out well. The other textures have come out just as good with the bricks and yard cobbles giving pattern too.
Went out to a barbecue today, nice bunch of folks...
Thursday, 26 June 2008
A lovely lady called Fiona from the hotel came to check me out while I was taking the shots - very reasonable in these times, especially since it's so close to the airport.
This is the first one out of the digital darkroom. I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out, the composition overall and the sky especially. My imaginative (not!) working title for it is Hotel Wall And Sky. There are a few promising ones left to do... watch this space :)
Saturday, 21 June 2008
I'm still not brave enough to launch into a full blown treatment of darkness with just the light from the sun breaking through and lighting patches of wall and path. I'm heading in that direction, but need the right shot to start with.
I guess this was close, but not close enough.
Overall, quite a successful week - both on my contract and on the photography side of things.
On contract I got my main doc issued for sign-off and had some really good feedback during its review. Client is well pleased.
Photography-wise, I managed to squeeze a handful out of the digital darkroom. This is the latest, called Elizabethan Garden - 'cuz that's wot it is :) I liked the mini maze and the purpose-built ruined look of the place.
You can see the archway that's in the close-up in my previous posting. I did a close up of the stone-carved Mayflower above the arch but that one's destined for my MayflowerSteps website.
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
It was, as it turned out, and led up to a treasure of tranquillity, a small but perfectly formed Elizabethan garden. I think it was designed to look a little like a garden set amongst ruins.
This beautiful archway is part of the path that runs through the gardens and sports a stone carving of the Mayflower, the ship that carried the Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers to what was to be named Plymouth Plantation in New England.
Sunday, 15 June 2008
It was easy enough to set up, but I'm not a mobile phone guru and I got an "invalid - you can't do that" type of message when I tried to download one to my new mobile. Soon sorted, though when I realised that the word TAP was part of the text message to be sent and not an instruction to type in the number that followed. Doh!
I'm guessing the service will have more uptake by those peeps who want to download cutesy images for their phone wallpaper rather than fine art aficionadas! We'll see...
Saturday, 14 June 2008
I really liked the way that Rope Knot turned out. It was a chance find while taking some of the shot of the bands during the Intern'tl Barbican Jazz and Blues Festival.
Other things that have been happeningI've still to hear if I'm selected from the shortlist for a piece on one of the major terrestrial channels based around my Urban Ugly photo essay. I'll phone later today to see about any movement.
I hit my second major milestone on my new contract - the issue for review of the "logical business model - as is" by the contributors. It'll go out for formal review next Tuesday. The contract work has been spilling over into my evenings and weekends but hopefully the need for that is over.
Parasol Tops won second prize in the Implied Lines, Spring 2008 comp. in my club - The Studio Online. That makes 1 first and 3 seconds out of four competitions... Yaay!
Monday, 9 June 2008
So I managed to squeeze another one out of the digital darkroom - I was exploring the possibilities in PhotoShop and one thing led to another. I was done before I knew it! Always nice when that happens :)
This one's called Wagon Wheels - I liked the texture of the wood, showing all the signs of long use a long time ago. Getting up close and in amongst it has really brought out and emphasised the features I hoped I'd captured.
Sunday, 8 June 2008
Despite the tight time scales to complete a piece of work for my new contract, I managed to squeeze in some time for one photo that was waiting in the digital darkroom... there's dedication for you!
It's called Two Milk Churns and is one of a few taken while staying at Bredbury Hall Hotel in Stockport.
The brickwork and facade from the original Bredbury Hall have been restored and is the first sight to greet you when you come down the drive.
I wanted to capture a rustic look and the milk churns were an important part of that - and at the same time I saw lots of opportunities in the various textures and patterns.
I like the way the sky defines the edge of the building, revealing a little of its shape and distinguishing architecture.
Friday, 6 June 2008
There are a set of bellows that have been turned into a long coffee table - enough for 6 people to sit around? From the size, I'd say it was a full time job to operate them! Kind and accommodating staff, too.
I've taken some shots there, maybe in a week or two I'll get the chance to post some :)
I was really pleased to be approached by a tv production company last week about my urban ugly photo essay. Watch this space, maybe I'll get past the dreaded shortlist!
Saturday, 10 May 2008
Thursday, 8 May 2008
Wednesday, 7 May 2008
After a call with Masa, [Update: Masa has now gone out of business] I understand now what seemed to be a strange decision a few days ago. In a nutshell, their production process does produce great images - that's why I chose them as my one-stop shop - and their charges are higher than the high volume places (you get what you pay for).
From their perspective, they are concerned that a photographer will get canvases produced at Masa but any sales made at exhibitions outside Masa's control won't come back to them for production; in a sense a superior product will be used to sell inferior reproductions.
And I guess that's understandable.
But I've cleared it with them and they've confirmed that they're still happy to act as my one stop shop; that is, they trust my professional integrity. Which is always nice :)
Sunday, 4 May 2008
Starting with the move to the new premises, they're going to focus on exhibitions featuring a particular photographer at a time; maybe over a two week period. And they'll now only produce photographic work (and fine art reproductions) if they are exhibiting the work. This last part puzzles me, but there must be a reason...
Then it was the start of both the Artemis Transat (solo transatlantic yacht race) and the inaugural Barbican International Jazz and Blues Festival. I've been invited to take photos at the various Jazz and Blues events and was duly issued with an official press pass.
I took some shots of Louise Parker, Plymouth's First Lady of Jazz, that turned out ok and some of the Dixie Blue Band of St Malo, France... again a couple were ok.
I'll post some as they come out of the ddr and as the week progresses.
Friday, 2 May 2008
It's difficult to choose a favourite, so I'll put up two. Stella Maris is beside the RNLI shop on the Barbican and Great Cabin Architecture is the front of the Tourist Information Centre, a couple of doors down.
It's not often you'll see me do colour shots in this phase of my photography, but Stella Maris was so close to mono and I liked the effect of the blues and the flowers.
Thursday, 1 May 2008
Flickr has been absorbing more time but I'm beginning to get the hang of it. Two or three have now started to receive decent awards - I'll provide a listing in a future posting.
Wednesday, 30 April 2008
With those learnt memories of times long-gone, it brings to mind that we're losing some values of those times that are starting to be missed by society. Values of respect, self-discipline and sense of community are some that come to mind.
Of course, we're all quite happy to see some aspects of the those times left in the past where they belong.
Anyway, I'm starting to ramble, now... things to do, (like upload the latest photos to my mono gallery.