Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Jane Bown - picking a good turnip

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

Edward Chambré Hardman

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 59rodneystreet@nationaltrust.org.uk

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!


Saturday, 20 September 2008

2 million steps

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

Clapham Junction Abstract

Image (c) Rhys Jones May 2007 - on a train at Clapham Junction

In reflective mood
Through a reflecting window
A cast off image
For the next pair of hands
Eye candy
Bin liner
Food for thought
A casual glance

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The great power down

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

Upcoming Exhibition : Unseen Light

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

What can you see ?

This image was sent to me by a friend in Sweden, Jessica Lundgren. It was given to her by her grandmother. the image is over 100 years old. Drop me a response to let me know what you can see in the image.