..you get that email that tells you one of your images has been chosen or shortlisted for one thing or another. It’s not what we set out to do as photographers. The images we take are all that matters but when those images are recognised and validated by judges of competitions, it feels good.
I heard this afternoon that one of my images, that shown below, has been shortlisted for the Royal Photographic Society membership card competition. There are some great images in the shortlist but if you like my photograph, well, your vote would be much appreciated. You don’t have to be a member of the Royal Photographic Society to do this. Simply follow this link and leave your email address. You won’t be spammed I promise..
Here’s my image. Taken in Iceland last winter. The Wizard’s Hat has become one of those iconic Iceland images. I was very lucky with the weather and the light the day I was there to capture my own take on this iconic landmark.
I was very honoured to be invited, along with my camera, to the launch of a new book that has been created by David and Jan Penprase to raise money for the Mission to Seafarers in in Newlyn, Cornwall. The book contains photographs and biographies of the fishermen and people associated with the fishing industry in this tight-knit fishing community. All proceeds from the book will go to the Fishermen’s Mission which does invaluable work. No matter what problem a seafarer might be facing, be it injury, abandonment, non-payment of wages or personal difficulties, they know they can turn to the local Mission for help, advice and support.
David Penprase works exclusively in black and white film and the book is a superb collection of his work with the fishermen of Newlyn and their families, some of whom I had the pleasure of meeting last friday night. More information about the book can be found here
I have a copy of the book and I’m not at all surprised that within hours of the book’s launch, it had made over £7000. It’s a fascinating insight into the lives of the people of Newlyn and will be a resource for generations to come. I would recommend this book to anyone especially given the good work the proceeds of the book will do. The photographs are a lesson in how to take and print portraits from one of the best in the world. It can be purchased through eBay here
This gallery is a small collection of the photographs I took at the book launch. Click on any image to start the slide show.
I’m going to be away for the next couple of weeks, visiting a country I have always wanted to go to and which is, coincidentally enough, ;-), a bit of a landscape photographers dream location.. I’m very excited to be going and looking forward to immersing myself in the landscape and focusing 100% on photography and creativity for creativity’s sake, no agenda, just pictures. With my business, Royal Photographic Society distinctions and all sorts of other projects in the last year, it feels like it’s been a while – just me, my camera and the landscape I’m in. Can’t wait.. :-)
Talking of the Royal Photographic Society, I’m rather chuffed, tootling my own trumpet here, that my Licentiate Distinction Panel is featured in a new information pamphlet produced by the Royal Photographic Society about the distinctions process, distinctions that are recognised the world over as marks of excellence in photography. click on the link to download or view the leaflet to learn more about gaining an RPS Distinction. Marketing leaflet 2015
See you all when I’m back in a couple of weeks. I’ll still be dipping into your blogs when I can but WiFi will be limited.
A couple of weeks ago I presented a panel of 15 images to the Royal Photographic Society and I have been awarded an Associate Distinction making me an Associate member of the Society. I feel very honoured.
The distinction was the culmination of a project I have been working on for some time. A project totally out of my comfort zone which has stretched me creatively and photographically. Imerys, the company behind the china clay mining business in Cornwall gave me hard hatted, hi vis, escorted access to the docks and other abandoned clay sites in Cornwall. I am very grateful to Imerys for their help in creating this project.
For many years, china clay blasted from the hills above St Austell with water canon was pumped in suspension to Par Docks where it was stored in huge concrete silos before being dried and loaded aboard ships for export around the world but in 2006, it was announced that the docks would close along with the loss of 800 jobs.
One of my earliest memories is paddling in the sea at Par, sinking up to my ankles in sand mixed with china clay, the result of spillages from the docks. I was only two so this place has been a part of my consciousness for 48 years, I wanted to mark its passing with this project.
The panel I presented in the Contemporary category to the Royal Photographic Society is about my sense of loss and sadness that this closure evoked; my choice of processing served to emphasise the decline and abandonment. Once a hive of industry, the docks now just echo with the past and only its ghosts remain.
On a site once teeming with people and activity, wagons no longer run along their steel tracks. The vast sheds and huge silos stand empty, their machinery rusting slowly. The café with its strings of bunting still poignantly clinging on, hoping for better times, no longer serves its burgers and chips.
For seaman who needed spiritual guidance with their coffee, a welcome once awaited them at the flying angel club, but this too stands empty. The harbour office no longer takes enquiries and the phone box outside no longer makes calls, it stands at a drunken angle, its door long gone.
In my central image, the cross in the concrete suggests to me the need for an epitaph… ‘rest in peace’ perhaps?
I’m grateful to Imerys, the company responsible for china clay mining in central Cornwall, for providing escorted, hard hatted, hi vis access over an extensive period to what is now a closed demolition site in order to produce the panel.
When presenting a panel candidates are required to prepare a hanging plan as well as a statement of intent part, of which I’ve reproduced above. Below is my hanging plan. Candidates are advised to choose and arrange photographs so that they form a cohesive and balanced panel.
After a morning when not a single panel passed, lunch was rapidly approaching and I was sure my panel would go up after we’d all had a break but, when another panel was brought in and I realised it was mine, I hardly dared watch.
My statement of intent was read out and the panel of Royal Photographic Society Fellows, all experts in their field, got up to view the images. Some photographs were taken down for closer inspection, others pondered from a slight distance. After a short while, the panelists took their places once more and the Chairman of the Contemporary Panel asked for an initial vote on my work. The voting is done such that the audience cannot see how the panelists have voted. Each judge was then asked to offer a critique. I heard some good things said but we’d heard good things said about all the previous panels of pictures that had failed. The Chairman then asked for another vote. I could hardly believe it when the Chairman said, ‘this panel meets the standard’. Up until now it had all been anonymous so my name was read out and there was a round of applause. We broke for lunch and quite a few people came up to congratulate me. It was a nice moment.
Naturally there were many more than 15 photographs taken during the course of this project but for the purposes of the distinction panel, I had to choose just 15. I’ve put my 15 pictures into a gallery that you can view below. It’s been a very absorbing project and I’m now left thinking what I should tackle next..
Today I had the honour of being recommended for the award of a Licentiate Distinction from the Royal Photographic Society here in the UK. The distinctions bestow Licentiate, Associate and Fellow memberships on successful candidates and are recognised worldwide as setting the standard in photographic excellence.
The panel commented particularly on an ‘obvious affinity the photographer (me – anonymous at this stage) had with the landscape depicted in the images’. It was a real moment of affirmation for me, my love of Cornwall was coming through in my photographs, as judged by fellows of the Royal Photographic Society. It felt good!
I had some help in preparing for the distinction from an extraordinarily brilliant photographer, David Penprase. If you don’t know his work you can see it here and here. It has been such a privilege to work with David. He has stretched me, challenged me and generally given me such inspiration and focus I am so grateful to him for that. I also had the pleasure of working with another fellow of the RPS Anne Sutcliffe. You can see some of Anne’s work here. This is how the Royal Society works and why it is so worth considering membership. You get the opportunity to work with such fabulous photographers
The agony of preparation, the difficult decisions concerning what to include in the panel, what to leave out. The nervous wait for one’s panel to be put up before the judges is definitely worth the genuine pleasure of gaining the recommendation and receiving that recognition.
The following image was singled out as really setting the standard. My panel is now on loan to the RPS. I was asked if my photographs could be used at the Society’s assessment days where prospective distinction candidates can gain expert advice on their work and the process. I was naturally very honoured. I leave you with what is certainly one of the best photographs I feel I’ve ever taken along with my panel hanging plan and a picture of the judges looking at my work..