I’m feeling a bit lost with my photography at the moment and I’m not sure why. The motivation and inspiration is lacking.
So, yesterday I decided to go for a wander into Keighley in West Yorkshire. Like many towns it has suffered through recession and lack of investment. Like many towns it also has good bits and bad bits.
I set off with one camera, my Fujifilm x-pro3 and one lens, the 23mm f2. I also set the camera to capture black and white jpeg images, using the Acros film simulation. It felt good to just walk around the streets, even though I knew the photos I was taking were not going to be anything special.
I’m glad I made myself go for that walk. It made me realise that the way to get the motivation and inspiration back is to just get out there and take photos, even if they do turn out to be pretty average!
This week I took delivery of my fourth ‘Capturing Preston’ Zine. Each Zine features 52 photos from a year covering 2018-2021.
My inspiration for the Zines comes from Fred Herzog and his book Modern Color. In fact the design of my Zines and the layout closely mirrors the look of the book. I love the way Herzog captured the people and the city he photographed and it was that desire to be able to look back and see how things have changed that influenced my choice of photos. The difficult thing was keeping each Zine down to 52 photos but it seemed like a reasonable balance between cost and quality. I wanted to use a good quality paper and chose a matt-laminated cover for each Zine.
I’ve picked out a few photos (two from each Zine below) as examples. In a relatively short timeframe you can already see evidence of how Preston has changed.
Almost two years ago I wrote a blog post about publishing my first Zine – Capturing Preston in 2019.
In the last few days, I have completed my fourth Capturing Preston Zine, covering 2021. That was the last full year I spent living in Preston before moving to West Yorkshire. The other Zines I have produced cover the years 2018 and 2020.
I decided to create the Zines with 52 pages, one photo per page using good quality paper and with Matt laminate covers. This wasn’t a commercial venture so each Zine had a small print run, just enough for me and a few to give away.
It’s really nice to see photos in print rather than on a screen. Here are a few pics from my 2021 Zine. It was a year impacted by Covid which was fascinating in its own way for photography but I can’t help thinking that many of the photos have a sombre mood which reflected the way people were feeling.
This is my first blog post in quite a while. The thing is, I’ve neglected my website and haven’t updated it in a very long time.
So, today I decided on a refresh. I randomly picked a new ‘theme’ from the WordPress site and applied it to my existing site. It soon became clear that I didn’t really know what I was doing and any skills I’d picked up when I originally set up the site were long gone.
The first step was to delete the old pages and come up with something new, though I have kept my old blog posts for the time being at least. To get me started I’ve created two ‘Portfolio’ galleries featuring Street Photography from Haworth and another with a few black and white portraits.
I suspect things will continue to change as I work out what to do but for now the bare bones of a revamped website are live – I think!
Like many photographers, I’m guilty of taking thousands of photos that never really see the light of day. The majority languish on a computer hard drive and a library in Adobe Lightroom.
With this in mind I decided to have a go at publishing a ‘zine’ or booklet as they used to be called! I chose photos taken in Preston, Lancashire during 2019 and I plan to follow this first zine up with other years.
The format is square and it’s printed on good quality paper – see photos below. Created entirely in Photoshop, the actual compilation was relatively easy and I’m really pleased with the result. This wasn’t done as a commercial venture, so It was only a small print run but it has generated quite a bit of interest.
During this latest Covid Lockdown, my street photography has all but dried up. Part of the reason is that the streets are empty, shops are shut and also, my enthusiasm has taken a hit.
During the first Lockdown and the months that followed I managed to maintain the desire to get out and capture the streets, albeit taking a more distanced approach., often with the Fujinon 50-140mm zoom. With this in mind I will be trying out the Fujinon 90mm, equivalent to approximately 135mm full frame when I do get back out there. Socially distanced street photography has arrived.
I’m looking forward to getting my mojo back and to things getting back to something a bit more like normal. The photos below are all from last year.
I took a walk through Preston city centre yesterday on the first day that ‘non-essential’ shops were allowed to open. Judging by the queues and the increased number of people about, it would appear that what is labelled as non-essential to one person is another person’s must have.
No doubt the businesses are mightily relieved to be open again but I can’t see how the relaxation of lockdown restrictions can have anything other than a negative impact on containing the virus. I wore a face-mask while walking through town but I would estimate that less than 10 percent of people were bothering to cover their faces. I guess time will tell if the laissez-faire approach to virus control in the UK will result in another infections spike.
One positive of the lockdown and there hasn’t been many, is the opportunity to spend time seeking photographic inspiration from other photographers.
Today, I discovered the story of a secretive american photographer who’s talent was only appreciated after she died. She may not have sought fame and fortune, and it’s impossible to know what she would have thought about her subsequent elevation to photographic icon status but what I do know is her street photography is truly inspirational.
The photographer I am in awe of is like many artists after their deaths, now world renowned. She is Vivian Maier. Take a look at this trailer for ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ and you will hopefully see what I mean: