Tuesday, 22 November 2011

North London Extravaganza! Exhibition and Winter Fair

Two bits of news here - an exhibition and a fair, very close to each other, so keep reading - why not visit both?

My exhibition at Libertea in
North London, near Finsbury Park/Archway has been up for a couple of weeks now. The pictures are a selection of new work (with 2 special guest prints from the past!). I'm very pleased to say the reaction has been really positive from visitors.

I chose the images specially to go with the space at Libertea, and you'll see pictures from around the UK, Venice, Sweden, Cuba and India. All the pictures are for sale, as both limited edition hand printed archival quality framed prints and smaller, more affordable, framed prints - ideal for unique Christmas gifts.

Libertea is a lovely cafe with a really relaxing atmosphere - perfect for a chilled out lunch 7 days a week! Find out more at www.liberteacafe.com. There's also a map below you can click on and print out.
Libertea, 159-163 Marlborough Road, London N19 4NF.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7.30am to 7.00pm / Sat-Sun 8.30am to 6.30pm

Additionally, I'm going to be showing a wide selection of prints at The Old Fire Station Winter Crafts Fair at The Old Fire Station, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT on Saturday 3 December, 11am-5pm. My setup will be similar to Photofair a few weeks ago (see here). I'm assured there will be a range of arts and craft stalls, free workshops, live music and a pop up cafe. All stalls have been sold so there'll be lots to see and lots of gift ideas. For total disclosure, I should also mention it's £1 to get in, 50p concessions, under 5s free. All the details are at www.therowanartsproject.com/wintercraftfair .

The best news of all? These two events are just down the road from each other! So why not come and see me on the 3rd, and then go along for a coffee, tea or lunch at Libertea! Irresistible. Here's a map with both locations on. Click on it for a bigger version you can print out so you don't get lost. I look forward to seeing some of you on the 3rd!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Harvest of 2010 Part Six - Tricks of Light and Inspiration in Strange Places

Harvest of 2010
Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five - Part Six - Part Seven

Continuing my review of 2010...

Some days I just 'get it'. When the light is right, I have time on my hands and a camera in the bag - I see pictures everywhere in everything.

3930 - Bromley, Kent, England, 2010
3933 - Bromley, Kent, England, 2010
This was one of those days - a set of goalposts bound by chains and lying in the grass at the edge of a park became a source for some fascinating compositions. There are infinite ways to shoot an element like this - the choice of framing and angles giving an infinite choice of images - here are a couple of them. To me, the first resembles something secret, even dangerous, the second a kind of ending, a loss of energy.

3940 - Southampton, Hampshire, England, 2010
Stuck at a motorway services for an hour or so, the best way to fill the time was to have a wander and see what images I could find - one of my favourite pastimes. A totally unfamiliar and unusual location, an entirely open ended proposition.
These railings went over the top of a motorway underpass, the path going underneath it. I was struck by the way so many diagonals could be made to cooperate so beautifully. As we saw in Part Four, a point of view can bring a peace and contemplation to almost anything. 

3949 - Southampton, Hampshire, England, 2010
3948 - Southampton, Hampshire, England, 2010
Down into the the tunnel, I was struck by how sparse the design was inside. It framed the two exits beautifully. Above, the first one leads back towards the services, the second out into what seemed like wild country after the car park and traveller's motel. And the pictures tell you all you need to know.

3954 - Southampton, Hampshire, England, 2010
The design was, as I said, sparse. And straight. And square. Astonishingly so. This image captures that. Exposed to show both the elegant simplicity of the layout and the grim misery of the lighting, I like how the last bulb kicks across the picture.

3958 - Southampton, Hampshire, England, 2010
One last shot here of the tunnel - a crazy mix of two ways of going about things.

3959 - Southampton, Hampshire, England, 2010
I love the way the shot is bisected by the line on each step, the asymmetry of the railing providing a nice counterpoint, leaning out as if to expose the steps even more.

3963 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
3964 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
3965 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
3966 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
A lovely set of garages. As with so many of my shots in sequences, the key is in the differences. Setting each door in an image twice when possible, once with each of it's neighbours, allows you to see it in a different context. Obviously everyone here has their own door and lock in their own colour, but what I like best is that even the pelmets at the top have been individualised by choice, and the front 'lawns' are all so different depending on use, or on levels of interest and neglect.

3972 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
A sunny day can do wonders for the most mundane edifices. The ghostly, watery reflection here adds an elusive, painterly beauty.

3978 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
A more regimented reflection here suits the wall behind it. I think the somewhat unbalanced composition here works because of the weight the triple reflection carries, anchored by the horizontal strip fleeing from the right hand side of the image.

3974 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
Reflections again - here working more like a version of a shadow. The No Parking text is made inconsequential and clumsy, almost accidental, a minor player beside the strong play of light.

3975 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
Like some of the shots in the last part of this retrospective, I feel someone else has done a lot of the work for me here. And, also like some of those shots, it looks constructed, too odd to be true. The centre of a square area, where the four sides don't quite meet as they should, this innovative solution sorts it all out in an audacious fashion, unnoticed by those who walk across it every day. 

3980 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
Another image created by the frame. This seemed so English to me, the terrace, the clouds, the green. In a way it also reminds me of the garages earlier on - one home, one chimney, each the same but different depending one the requirements and desires of the residents.

3984 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
When it's right, it's right. The perfectly straight shadow, the two vents I could place centrally, the wall with it's myriad interest. Irresistible.

3988 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
I really like this one - I enjoy shining a light on inconsequential details like this. As always - nothing was moved, the leaves here falling as they may across the composition. One creates a kind of comet at the centre of the image. I can't imagine trying to move them to make a natural balance.

3989 - Lymington, Hampshire, England, 2010
Like the paving in 3975 above, a practical solution to an impractical task, this time where car parking spots bend around a corner. The leaves add a casual sprinkle to the picture again. Initially I was frustrated with the car popping in no matter how I tried to shoot the markings, but I found a way to use it, the cheeky eye peeking in, adding a curve of pure colour as well as emphasising what the painting is there for.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

A look back at London Photomonth Photofair 2011

On Saturday I participated in London Photomonth Photofair 2011 - a very long, interesting, productive and successful day! 

It was a very different experience to a gallery show. There, you have a Private View to talk to a lot of people about your work in a short space of time, then the pictures are left to fend for themselves for the course of the exhibition. At Photofair, it was busy like a Private View, but with a completely different atmosphere. Instead of coming to see my pictures, people had come to see around a hundred photographers, most of whom were there to sell pictures rather than create a statement such as an exhibition. As was I. 

I shared an open exhibition area and adjacent table with David Aston (find him at www.rmutt.co.uk), who had another point of view on the day - he was very much there to show new work and get some opinion and discussion on it. So we had a good mix of attention. Here's the stall as it looked, with Dave's pictures in the dark frames and mine in the light (poor picture, with so much else to organise, I neglected to bring a camera on the day!).

Whereas my recent exhibtions have focused on themes (Doors and Windows, Evening in Venice), with Photofair I wanted to show a good overview of my work so I selected some personal favourites from the last 2 or 3 years, most of which hadn't been exhibited before. This made for quite a contrasting range of style and content - just what I wanted!

So, with my mind on the market-style atmosphere of Photofair, I brought over one hundred prints to sell. Lots of them were sold and found new homes on Saturday, which I was very pleased about for a number of reasons, and not just the obvious! 

Someone parting with money in exchange for one of my pieces is a great validation for the work for me. I've been taking and cataloguing these pictures for nearly twenty years, considering only myself, and the images I wanted to make. There was no commercial consideration, or attempt to emulate anyone else. 

Only recently I've started publicly showing my art photography and getting feedback from strangers. So the fact that other people like them, not just friends and family, is a good boost to continue to make and show the work as I want to. 

For most of those twenty years, my pictures have been sitting in books on a shelf in my home, seen only by me and a few others. This year lots of them have gone off into the world and reside elsewhere, to be looked at and enjoyed by other eyes. In fact, one of the framed pictures from Saturday is going as far as Switzerland!

I love this, it's probably what I find most satisfying about parting with a picture. I always try to ask buyers to send a picture of the work once it's in situ (to paul@paulclifford.com if you have one!) - I spend so much time with the images they feel like family to me, so I want to see them comfortable in their new home!

It's also interesting to see which pictures go. This was particularly so on Saturday when there were so many to choose from, and so many were sold. Quite a few people selected a choice of three images, and it's fascinating to me how they curated their own little exhibitions. By all means leave a comment if you bought picture/s on the day - from me or anyone else - why did you choose as you did, and how are you enjoying the picture/s?

I always like to give you something to look at in addition to my meanderings, so here are a few of the three picture customer-created selections that were made at Photofair - 

Great stuff, pulling together some very interesting combinations. As I said, a really interesting day and a different experience. 

I am, of course, still dedicated to showing work in a more considered and thoughtful atmosphere and I should have news very soon about another exhibition in the next few weeks in what looks to be a very nice venue - keep an eye on www.facebook.com/paulcliffordartist (and be sure to click Like!) for news.

To finish then, here are a few more pictures from Photofair...

Frantically keeping track of what has sold.
Complete with plaster from last minute framing injury the night before...
Discussing the pool picture that was a big hit on the day
- see it as part of
Harvest of 2010 - Part Four
So great to see so many people taking the time to look at my pictures!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Photofair 2011 early report

Our stall - apologies for the low quality phone picture!
Just to keep things up to date here - Photofair was a great success on Saturday, with a lot of interest and lots of pictures finding new homes. Proper report later this week hopefully, with some better pictures!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Less than two weeks until the next show - Photomonth Photofair 2011

I'll be showing and selling work at the free event 2011 Photomonth Photofair, held in the bustling Spitalfields Market surrounded by shops, restaurants and cafés on Saturday 8 October 10am – 6pm. The address is Brushfield Street, London E1 6AA . It's just a short stroll from Liverpool Street station - map here, all details here.

Photofair is an ideal opportunity to see some great photography, buy prints, commission photographers and select images for exhibition. The event includes 100 stalls and stands with photographers selling prints, galleries representing photographers, books, magazines, products, services, talks and walks.

I'll be showing work with two other members of The Rooftop Collective (which you may have known previously as The Photography Collective) - Mireia Guitart and David Aston. See Dave's website here, Mireia's here (and don't forget mine at www.paulclifford.com of course!).

My part of the exhibition will be all never-before-seen prints from 2010 and 2011. I'll also be selling prints at prices to suit all pockets! Come along and see us!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Gone and Not Gone

I was near Alie Street in East London recently, and thought I'd visit a grand facade there that I had photographed last year as I'd become a bit more attached to the building than I had to others I've shot.

Usually it's case of getting the picture, noting the location/address for my records and moving on. I rarely revisit locations purposefully, neither for nostalgia, or to repeat a picture. But with the site on Alie Street I had reasons to be a bit more interested.

I had taken some time that day in 2010 collecting the shots of each frontage along the ground floor - each composition matching the rest so they could show the subtle differences between them. Later, I was lucky enough to be able to discuss the shots and the building at two Private Views when the pictures were collected and exhibited as Keenest Prices and Rely-a-Bells. Then, as a reaction to those discussions, I reworked the images as one long facade - Ten Faces. It's this kind of collection, presentation, discussion and reaction to create something new like Ten Faces that I would love to do more of given the time.

I was asked a lot of questions about the building, which was formerly a knitwear warehouse, and a quick bit of research told me the building was going to be knocked down to build a new high rise. I noted this, and put that event in my mind at some point in the future.

Well, you can probably guess the site that greeted me a few weeks ago -

The grim rainy day suited what I saw behind the wooden street panels. That's the very same pavement you can see in my pictures -


That night, a bit more research showed up a couple more pictures from earlier this year.
(all respective copyrights to the original photographers)

Now, I'm not sure how I feel about all this - hundreds of buildings that I would find beautiful are torn down every week and I'm not necessarily a campaigner for derelict buildings to be preserved. Indeed, a lot of the buildings and details that I have shot over the last 20 years will now be gone. 

Although I had a particular relationship with this one, I feel that I have the pictures I wanted, and there isn't really anything more I need. I hadn't planned to get any more shots when I paid my return visit, I just wanted to see it again as I was nearby, out of the context of the pictures I had now spent so much time with, and now talked so much about. 

Seeing the facade itself half gone in those two pictures is more affecting to me than finding the whole thing gone in person - I found this a little surprising! I think it might be because a half-gone facade resembles my pictures are being ripped apart, probably more so to me because that event is being shown in pictures too. The disconnection between the subject and the image is what a lot of my work is about, so my emotional response to the pictures rather than the reality seems fitting.

My images of Alie Street aren't going anywhere, the whole ground floor facade preserved as a representation of what was once there, on that day, under that sunlight, with those puddles and shadows. Whether the fact that it isn't there in reality any more adds or subtracts from the images I'm really not sure. Feel free to post your thoughts below and help me think it through!

To finish, here's a make-believe image of the eight storey hotel that may or may not eventually replace the warehouse. This time we have a picture of something that isn't there, never has been there, and possibly will never even exist.