Monday, 24 November 2008
Saturday, 8 November 2008
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Saturday, 11 October 2008
Wednesday, 1 October 2008
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Image of Samuel Beckett outide the Royal Court Theatre, London, 1976 (c) Jane Bown
For me, the Observer photographer, Jane Bown, is the master of the black and white portrait. I love the story she tells of her tutor at the Guildford School of Art who told her that if she was going to photograph a turnip, then pick a good one. She picked some of the best. I still believe that black and white film excels for a portrait. I'm still experimenting with cameras, films and aperture settings.
I have a Nikon F100 35mm SLR film camera, a Nikon D70 digital SLR and a Hasselblad 500 medium format film camera. They are heavy, rugged and cumbersome - I like this type of camera that can be dropped on concrete and bounce back - they would not necessarily be the tools of choice for a street or documentary photographer, but I do practice these skills and hope I'm improving. It's the most difficult to walk around with a camera round your neck as if it was part of you. I'm not that good at sneaking around taking a shot of someone asleep on a bus but I do admire people who can do that. I do my best to make people relaxed and try and get them to be themselves and feel natural. I try and use 85-105mm lenses for portraits. Sometimes I take shots of people with a 300mm lens - this is less intrusive and people are more likely to be themselves if they don't feel a camera sticking in their face.
I think it is one of the delights of photography to experiment - there's no right or wrong answer. AA photogarph is 50% the skill of the photographer and 50% the way the subject is feeling. If the two elements combine well then a good result that will please both parties is more likely to result. Just make sure you pick a good turnip as the subject!
Sunday, 21 September 2008
Image of Edward Chambré Hardman with Rolleiflex camera and trademark hat © Copyright The National Trust - All Rights Reserved
I have done some photography work for the National Trust since 2001. One of their recent acquisitions is the studio and house at 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool and the photographic archive of Edward Chambré Hardman, the Irish born photographer. When he died in 1988 his photographic studio and house contained his entire life’s work; photographs, business records, professional and personal correspondence, photographic equipment and personal belongings.
I haven't made a visit yet but I plan to go as soon as I can. It is such a rare thing to find the entire life's work of a photographer and one that has documented all aspects of life and the people of the city of Liverpool.
For opening arrangements please see the National Trust web site at http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ Visitors are advised to book in advance by telephoning 0151 7096261, or by sending an SAE to The Custodian, 59 Rodney Street, Liverpool, L1 9EX (email firstname.lastname@example.org
Attached is the link to the collection held by the National Trust photo library. I think I can afford to buy his hat but not his Rolleiflex camera!http://www.ntprints.com/pics_3377/Edward-Chambre-Hardman-Collection.html
Saturday, 20 September 2008
Photo : Lolita Ray - studio shot February 2003 (c) Rhys Jones
A friend from Sweden, Lolita Ray, has an interesting blog http://www.2millionsteps.blogspot.com/
She is making a 2,000 km walk from Stockholm through Sweden, Denmark and Northern Germany to Hamburg starting 1st October to raise awareness about climate issues. If you
can help her - follow the link to her blog and make contact. She is a talented musician and singer-songwriter and plays in two Swedish Bands Little Failures www.littlefailures.com and Lill Britt Siv www.lillbrittsiv.com
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Image : Electricity Pylons near Charles de Gaulle Airport, France (c) Rhys Jones 2008
I was thinking the other day how much energy is wasted and was wondering if it might be able to construct a global experiment to see how much the demand for electricity generation would change if people just took a day out from their computers, TVs, Games consoles and other electrical devices.
Electricity is of course essential for hospitals, emergency services and I am not advocating a global switch off for anything essential.
The power down could start on a Friday by switching off computers and lights in offices and homes and continue over the week-end by using electricity only for essential things. Have a week-end doing something else like talking to friends, seeing your family, going for a walk, go out and take photos, go and see live music or the arts, plenty of things to try.
How would one organise such a global happening - a Facebook group is one way but ironically this is one of the tools that keeps us using electricity! How would we measure such a happening ? The hope would be that once we see the effect on demand for a scarce resource we might then be tempted to lower our consumption all the time.
Anyway I'm ranting - but I'd be interested to hear the opinions of someone else.
Sunday, 14 September 2008
Images (c) Jo Mazelis and Rhys Jones. Poster design by Jo Mazelis
A date for your diary if you are able to come to Wales. I'm having an exhibition of my work at Pontardawe Arts Centre, Herbert Street, Pontardawe, SA8 4ED. I am sharing the gallery with another Swansea photographer, Jo Mazelis. The theme of the event will be Unseen Light. The opening will be at 19.00 Friday December 12 - free admission with wine, soft drinks and snacks. The exhibition will then run until 10th January 2009. Hope you will be able to come along and we look forward to seeing you there.
Monday, 8 September 2008
Sunday, 13 July 2008
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Image : Rhys Jones, February 2008
I've been interested by some of the thoughts of French philosopher Jacques Derrida without claiming to understand all of them. In particular his thoughts on secrecy. He describes how a writing desk (secretaire) can be used to lock away papers and then describes how a secretary (or assistant) can be employed to conceal things (his example is Phaedrus who concealed Lysias's speech under his cloak). A 'secretary' can by analogy with 'syllabary' also be an ichnography in which a trace (ichnos) can be collected written or described. At the bottom of traces are secrets.
"Form is a trace of the formless; it is the formless that produces form, not form the formless..." - Plotinus
I have this image in my head of the metal drawers of a filing cabinet containing papers and photographs which can be arranged and re-arranged and locked away. Traces of a person's life which contain secrets just waiting to be found.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Image : Rhys Jones, April 2008
I'm going through the difficult process of trying to select images and artwork for a group exhibition. The theme is 'Entrance and Exit'. My project involves an exploration through images and a short film of the subject of connectivity and connectedness through time and covers the difficult subject matter of re-incarnation and our journey through life until we get to the exit door that everyone has to face and here I am talking euphemistically about it! It's one of the most challenging things I've had to face artistically - there is no shortage of fine examples to draw upon but this has to be my own thoughts and inspiration. How do we explain life and what happens after death ? Is there any rational explanation ? if we do succeed in explaining something should we cease then to have any interest in it ?
I do like the notion of hitch-hiking through time and space - inspiration from Douglas Adams : comedy always reveals something more serious within..... I feel.
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Image : Rhys Jones, Easter Saturday 2008 - Ashtead Common, Surrey
I used to walk across this common a lot - it was a short cut to the railway station and if you were like me and not good at getting up in the morning then a short cut or two was a necessity. A group of us used to have a 'tranny' and I can remember 'Wonderful Radio 1' being on all the time and T-Rex and the Detroit Emeralds ensuring our lack of popularity with other users of the path and Ashtead station. Great coats were very popular and we cultivated our 'Nick Drake lookalike' personas.
Until 2008 I don't recall ever stopping to take a photograph so I rectified that quickly. Somehow a photo taken by Rhys Jones in 2008 doesn't capture all the memories of the former teenage Rhys Jones in 1973 and the kids we knew, the drunk guy in a bowler hat who used to arrive at 'The Woodman' off the London train, even the guys who attacked me with a fluorescent light tube - but a photo can activate our memories and imagination : maybe Batman and Robin really did live there behind the Scout Hut after all!
So take a photo that means a lot to you and implant your imagination there!
Monday, 2 June 2008
Image : Rhys Jones, December 2007 - The Cobb, Lyme Regis, Dorset
The period in between Christmas and New Year is a little bit of a no-man's land I always feel. Thoughts about the year past mingle with hopes and maybe some worries and dreams for the year ahead. A good time for a long walk with family and friends and there's no where better than the South West Coastal Path.
Saturday, 31 May 2008
Thursday, 29 May 2008
Image : Rhys Jones, March 2008
It is interesting what we all see in a photograph. Points of interest are different in everyone's mind. The point of interest or 'Punctum' as termed by Roland Barthes in 'Camera Lucida' is what he believes makes a photograph memorable or irritating.
What are we doing by taking a photograph ?
Wednesday, 28 May 2008
Image : Rhys Jones, February 2008
I think it is interesting to take photographs from outside a window looking in. It is not possible to be an intimate part of everyone's world and it is often the case that we just glimpse something for the briefest moment or take notice almost by accident.
Monday, 26 May 2008
Image : Rhys Jones - 'Over the Shoulder' taken at 2007 Hay Festival
Next week-end I'm going to the Hereford Photography lecture given by Don McCullin at the annual festival at Hay-on Wye. As way of preparation and to try and learn something, I've found the attached transcript of a BBC interview between the photographer and John Tusa.
Sunday, 25 May 2008
Images : Rhys Jones, April 2008
I made a visit to St Pancras International station recently on a wet evening at the end of April. It has been a while since I was last there. A lot of building work and disturbance to the original structure of the station shed and the hotel has taken place with the arrival of the Eurostar terminal in November 2007. I was struck though by a sense of atmosphere in the older parts of the station. The new concourse was full of people buying gifts, pulling luggage, gathering children and making ready to board the 'trains de grande vitesse'. Set quite apart, cathedral-like and with a sense of the spiritual, were the hidden parts of the station structure - the magnificent roof, the solid iron-girders and the passage ways. In this quiet part of the station stands a brass statue of John Betjeman, the poet, writer and broadcaster who did much in the 1960s to bring about the preservation of the station when others were for pulling it down. Betjeman stands looking up at the roof with the same awe that one would give to any of the magnificent churches and buildings to be found in the city of London. That part of the station had 'a quiet walk in the City of London on a Sunday' feel. An atmophere anyway! The Paul Day brass sculpture 'The Meeting Place' stands in this part of the station. As Day says himself when interviewed by the BBC 'it needs to look like it was always meant to have been there'. For me, though, it doesnt. It feels out of place and not at all the place where people would want to meet. People meet a few floors underground at the moment and this statue cuts a very lonely appearance.
There are as many opinions about this piece of public art as there are days in the year. Maybe it needs to be visited again in a few months time.
John Betjeman (1906-1984)