On Thursday I went to do some portraits of the photographer George Wright in Bridport. I would describe George as charming, friendly and ever so slightly grand.
I’m aiming to process the films this weekend and am fairly certain there’s some grand portraits in there. I took a couple of test frames for reference on the old electronic ‘modern-era’ camera. Here’s one now. I’ll post the real thing asap.
Weirdly though, I got it into my head that it was down to me to have a nice day and not down to the weather at all. So I did my usual round of phone calls to clients old and new mainly to remind them what a good idea it is to commission a real photographer who might know how to help as opposed to someone who has a camera (meaning someone who has a camera but who is aiming to pass themselves off as a photographer). Anyway, ranting away as usual.
Next, I met with the son of someone I photographed for my last project and show. He was very nice. We had a coffee at the Arts Centre and we chatted about how to go about a career in photography. I gave it my best shot but told him in all honesty that there is a lot of ‘winging-it’ involved.
Went home to get my film cameras and back out to do a portrait of the great portrait photographer George Wright in Bridport for the local Marshwood Vale magazine cover. More coffee and then I shot some nice side-lit portraits. It’s great when you realise portraits are about people. You do need to pay attention to light and the design of the frame but mainly it’s realising that you’re there to ‘record’ something.
The s*** weather continued and I continued to ignore it and wrote a four foot long message on a chalk board in the kitchen:
Made (a little) progress on the BMX project today.
Went with my eldest to our local bike shop (Revolutions) to get him some new ‘bars’ (that’s technical vernacular for ‘handlebars’. Don’t mention it) for his bike which was my bike back in the day (some day in the early 80s) – a lovely Skyway TA. The chap at the shop who is always very helpful but who’s name I keep forgetting to ask said that Rob who runs the Trick Factory (indoor skatepark) in Bridport is well connected and is always helpful.
And so, later that morning, I bump into Rob by chance. He is indeed friendly and helpful and I’ve arranged to go and pop my head in on a late night ‘sesh’ tomorrow (Tuesday 25 August). He’s up for the idea of this being candid, available light and ‘real’. I’m going to talk to the council about some funding too as they’ve just shelled-out for a fantastic new concrete skatepark over in Dorchester and so would, I imagine, be keen to show off what they’ve paid for. And to delight all those who live in west Dorset with an exhibition of beautiful photographs of course.
After putting the new bars on the bike I’m now a little envious of it. It’s not too much of a problem though as I would almost certainly look a bit of a prawn riding it.
Lots of things to consider when we photograph people. Or so it seems.
Big decisions to be made about camera, lenses, film (or which lever to pull on your computer). Then there’s light, lighting, viewpoint, moment. But I’ll bet that whenever you’re presented with a photograph of yourself, the first thing you’ll be looking for is ‘what you look like’. Of course that photograph was brought to you by the wonder of cameras, lenses and all the above but the thing that really stands out is the fact that what is up for discussion is a representation of a real person.
So I would say that beyond having a working camera in your hand with some means of recording an image, the MAIN thrust of all your efforts needs to be on LOOKING AT PEOPLE AND THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU SEE.
Here’s a photograph of my brother from 1998. It’s alright and everything but I remember not really paying attention and I feel it shows.
And here’s a recent photograph of one of my boys where I feel I WAS paying attention.
Just come back from hanging a new exhibition in Weymouth.
Come and see it, it’s on for the next month or so. See the wonderful portraits; see the beautifully captured moments that elegantly describe the human condition; and come for the BREAD!!
The exhibition is the opening ‘show’ at the new PHOENIX BAKERY, the next delicious chapter in the story of Aidan Chapman: artisan baker (and sometime drummer so he tells me) second to none. Aidan was a key reason for the success of the Town Mill Bakery in Lyme Regis. Well now you can set your SatNav for St Thomas Street, Weymouth. Due to open Thursday (13 August 2009).
Breads, pastries, coffee, a nice sound system and some photographs to enjoy.
If you like holding great photographs in your hand and would like to hold some of my great photographs in your hand (feel free to put them down afterwards) then follow the link below and treat yourself to something nice to go on your wall (or wherever you like).
Meeting about new exhibition in Weymouth; meeting about documentary photographs project about a new artisan bakery and master baker; start making a shot list for new personal documentary project (the grace and ballet of the BMX world – something like that); delivering my children to friends’ parties; recording some new songs; open mic in Axminster (new songs again); job photographing a waterwheel; gig at Beach & Barnicott with ‘The Yellow Room’ (Tuesday evening); tidy up my desk.
There will also be looking after my children; wasting time on the internet and washing up to fit in too.
I write all this as I can never remember what I’m supposed to be doing unless someone has nailed me down to a time.