Tuesday, 30 September 2014

At Play

I've been looking into the darkness over the last few weeks for my upcoming Falling Shadows exhibition in October, so I decided to take a break and catch up on sorting through some pictures that have barely any shadows at all.

Shot in Winter last year, these are some of the first shapes most of us really get to know. A light dusting of snow on the black tarmac brings them into sharp focus, giving us a rare chance to see them in isolation.

4984 - Beckenham, England, 2013
4990 - Beckenham, England, 2013
4993 - Beckenham, England, 2013
4995 - Beckenham, England, 2013
4998 - Beckenham, England, 2013
4996 - Beckenham, England, 2013
4988 - Beckenham, England, 2013
4994 - Beckenham, England, 2013

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Harvest of 2011 Part One - More Doors, More Windows

If you haven't read it yet, you may want to start with the short introduction to this blog series - find it here.
Click on each image to enlarge it, and also comment on and Like images at the Facebook gallery - here. You can comment on the post as a whole at the bottom. All pictures are available as limited edition prints - click here for details.
4618 - Ryde, England, 2011
Here's a nice one to ease us in - a door and a window, an ongoing theme of mine. Lots to look at here - overall I love the colours and the distribution of the green and blue, plus the three chiming grills at the top and base of the wall keeping everything ordered. As is so often the case, it's the details that keep me interested (click on the image to enlarge afor a closer look) - the padlocks, the bricks falling away top left, the white stain, the enforced grid on the window.

4105 - London, England, 2011
Here too, the colour draws you in, a strong red and white, but the details keep you engaged. This is under a railway bridge, hence the muted, somewhat painterly light on a door and wall that never see the sun.

4130 - Tattershall, England, 2011
A lone window this time, falling into sheer black, and another brick wall. Whilst the mossy, messy bricks are fascinating - note how they have to smarten up their act a little around the window - the bottom strip of modernity throws the handmade wall into contrast, stressing the very horizontal nature of the image.

4097 - London, England, 2011
Here's an example of my creating a composition to try and make something that may look fairly normal on the street into something odd and intriguing. Appearing somewhat like a collage, the scales and textures are all wrong somehow, and the elements don't seem to quite get comfortable next to each other.

4081 - London, England, 2011
When I have a picture that contains a collection of items sitting in relation to each other, I sometimes feel there are at least two dialogues happening - one is how the colours and shapes inhabit the frame as a whole, and the other is more about a kind of dialogue between the objects themselves. I can see them with an imagined personality or action. Here, for example, the snake of a black pipe seems to be trying to creep towards the windows, adding movement and drama to the image.

4084 - London, England, 2011
Similarly, I can't help but add my own fiction to images like this one. A single lonely light behind a single lonely window. What goes on inside?

4191 - London, England, 2011
I don't seem to tire of doors and windows. This one was irresistible, due to the striking colour contrasts. The blue is heightened by the boxes in the window. Again, so much to see too - check out the angles and construction of the window, and are those grooves on the wall bricks, or something else? More imagined stories...
4304 - London, England, 2011
Most of my door and window images seem to focus on dilapidated and worn facades, but  the clean lines of a fresh white space allow for some interesting compositions too. Here we are in a gallery, where the environment is strictly controlled visually, looking out over the chaos of rooftops. In terms of where the window and exit sign are placed in the image - this kind of thing is something I take a lot of time over and I can only explain that when it feels balanced to me, then it's right.

4573 - Alum Bay, England, 2011
I've noticed that a lot of my windows have been blocked or erased, this particular one has obviously outlived its usefulness or even become a hindrance. As well as acting as an interesting compositional element, it holds its own mystery so well - the broken and offset lintel is intriguing enough, but what about the shoddy bricking up, with the glass remaining oddly intact?

4577 - Totland, England, 2011
When I came across a set of abandoned caravans, I was so struck by the wonderful muted tones sitting under the grime, I spent quite some time exploring them with my camera. A photograph like this allows me to create some order within the frame and imprint my own sensibilities onto the mess that was there. As always, there is no manipulation in Photoshop to change or enhance the colours.

4093 - London, England, 2011
Likewise, this image has not been constructed on screen, though it may look like it. By creating a composition like this in-camera I can choose what to include and how to include it. It's important to me to get everything just how I want, and I've often had to abandon shots that I know would be great, simply because I cannot physically get the camera lens into the place I know it needs to be to see what I can see in my head. This one, though, was exactly what I wanted.

4169 - London, England, 2011
A similar shot to the previous one - 4093 - that shows how I like to pull things together in a single to shot to make my own version of what I can see. All of these things have their own role to play, but looked at like this, each one feels faintly ludicrous, seems to be placed where it is just so this image can exist.

4419 - London, England, 2011
A different kind of facade, with the odd little windows pushed to the edge of the frame. This one is so sparse, it feels like an abstract expressionist painting, which is often a touchstone for me and my work.

4550 - Brighstone, England, 2011
From a very dour image to one that is full of joy. I love the colour, particularly the wonderful stripe that comes across as a Barnett Newman style abstract feature, but is actually a streamer trapped by a closing door. With the sagging roof tiles. the off centre window and the baggy stripes, it's a really informal image and a breath of fresh air.

4584 - Ventnor, England, 2011
Two different kinds of Door/Window images to finish. Sometimes it's frustrating not being able to get up to something I'd really like to photograph, or even just look at. Having to find a different solution can lead you literally to a fresh perspective, like it did here.

4666 - London, England, 2011
And finally, a take on a design classic - Trellick Tower. Visually it's iconic, so I've had to literally and figuratively get some distance between myself and the building to find something to say in my own language. This image has been shown publicly a number of times and it's always popular. I think the interest stems from three things - the architecture itself, the customisation by the residents on each of the unique terraces, and the design of the image which draws equally from the other two elements.

That's it for Part One. The Facebook gallery for individual image comments is here, and you can comment below if you want to say anything about the blog post as a whole.

Part Two soon. Thank you for reading! All pictures are available as limited edition prints - click here for details.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Harvest of 2011 - Introduction

Following the Harvest of 2010 survey of a year's images, I am moving onto 2011. For the 2010 series of blogs I looked at the images chronologically, grouping them from month to month. 2011 will be a little different - I have once again made a selection of personal favourites, but this time I am going to try and make a bit more sense of them by grouping under loose themes.

As you will no doubt note I am a photographer rather than a writer - these blog posts don't go through endless drafts, I try and write spontaneously about my own thoughts regarding each image and the result is as much for my benefit as yours. I'd be interested on any thoughts you have about the text and the pictures whether at the bottom of this post, or on the Facebook pages (noted at the start of each part), where you can comment on each individual photograph.

I photograph very subconsciously, without a master plan for any series of images, so these series where I look back over a large group of pictures taken of a period of time is my way of getting a handle on why I take photographs in the way I do, and to try and identify themes and possible philosophies within my work.

Indeed this is how my Doors and Windows exhibition from early 2011 (catalogue here) came about. Looking back over 18 years of images, a door and a window seemed to be a running theme - one that I had known nothing about, and the show was a look back over those images. Doors and windows continued to be a preoccupation in 2011, we'll start with those in Part One.

Harvest of 2011 Part One - More Doors, More Windows - click here to read.

Monday, 15 September 2014

'Falling Shadows' exhibition in London from 13th to 25th October

A series of my pictures entitled 'Falling Shadows' will be on show as part of ‘The Rooftop Collective - Edition III’ at Curious Duke Gallery, 173 Whitecross Street, London EC1Y 8JT from 13th October 2014 until 25th October 2014.

I would love to see any of you for a chat at the Private View on Tuesday 14th October from 6.00pm - 9.00pm or at the Artists in Residence day on Saturday the 18th. Please do come along!

I will post full details in the next few days, including details of some of the other photographers who will be showing.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Harvest of 2010 archive goes Facebook

All the images from the Harvest of 2010 are now on Facebook, with an album for each of the seven parts - so you can see them as high quality, larger versions, and also leave any comments or even Like the pictures. It's always interesting and instructive to get feedback of any kind, and the reaction has been great so far - so don't be shy! See all the albums here.

If you haven't read the Harvest of 2010 you can catch up here on the blog - Part One is here and all the subsequent parts are linked from there. So go ahead and dive in! There are seven bite-sized parts, each with a small selection of images.

Harvest of 2011 will be starting soon here on the blog, so stay tuned, and Like the Facebook page at facebook.com/paulcliffordartist to stay up to date.