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ShareMondays2020 – Chinoiserie

Laquered

ShareMondays2020 – Chinoiserie

The term Chinoiserie refers to western-made arts and crafts, particularly of the 18th century, that were characterised by motifs seen in oriental artwork on wood, porcelain, silk and metal. I’ve not included any of the fantastical beasts that appear in many of those pieces, as I have always been drawn to the art form for the beautiful shaping of the natural elements. Whenever I see seed-heads lit up by the late sun against a dark backdrop, I can’t help but be reminded of the shapes of cherry trees and bonsai on dark lacquered wood, or inlaid on metal.

Chinoiserie

The elegant structures of late summer seed-heads, pods and grasses, really appeal to me. Isolated, they can be amazing minimalist subjects. Layering up an image with multiple exposures, either in-camera or using digital software, can be used to emphasise the cluttered nature of wildflower meadows or areas of scrub land. These are really important habitats for many wildlife species. The primary layer of a vibrant ecosystem.

Vetch

Of course many of the metals and chemical compounds that were used in these old techniques are also used in various forms of photographic print making. We often refer to these techniques as Camera-less Photography. The most well known techniques are photograms and cyanotypes. Both involve using chemically treated paper, laying objects on, or above, the paper and exposing it to light. A process that I was very interested in at Art College was solarisation, first popularised by Lee Miller and Man Ray in the 1920’s and 30’s. It can be used when developing from negatives or when using objects for photograms. The exposed paper is treated with developing chemicals and then another exposure is made. This can either be pure light exposure or a double exposure using a negative, or more objects, in slightly different positions on the paper. It’s very experimental and hugely satisfying!

Echo

Not all of us can get access to darkrooms, space for cyanotypes or digital cameras that allow for multiple exposures! All these images in this post have actually been created in Photoshop using multiple layers and blending modes to recreate the styles and results that you would expect to get from analogue printmaking. Nik Software also has tools for recreating these effects, called Analog Efex Pro. I took the separate photos to create these images in a brief moment of sunshine at Heron Lake, where I have been going open-water swimming. The lake is surrounded by reed-banks, scrub and woodland.

Teasing Light

It’s a great habitat for wildlife, although much of it was still in hiding from the thunderstorms that hit us on Wednesday! Our swim sessions had to be delayed for an hour to ensure that the thunder and lightening had cleared. I did find a slightly bedraggled wren, hiding in an elder bush, while I was looking for suitable plants to photograph for this project. If only it had braved the light! Still, it was great to see it scampering around the branches and staying sheltered.

Young Wren

I hope everyone has a great week, and if the weather doesn’t allow for your usual photographic styles and subjects, try something experimental!

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#FeelGoodPhotoOfTheDay – Gone To Seed

Gone To Seed

#FeelGoodPhotoOfTheDay – Gone To Seed

Gone To Seed

All has gone to seed
Precious repositories
For the years ahead

This is going to be my last in the series of images from my archives with newly composed haiku. I wanted this image to be the last one as it’s all about hope for the future. I can actually leave the house again, so I really want to make the most of new encounters with wildlife and engaging with plants and nature. I hope that you have all enjoyed a moment of mindfulness through these creations. Can’t quite believe I managed about a hundred in total! I hope the future will start to look brighter and safer for us all. Keep enjoying the simple pleasures in life, in the natural world around you, stay safe and do whatever you can to help keep others safe too.

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#FeelGoodPhotoOfTheDay – Remains

Remains

#FeelGoodPhotoOfTheDay – Remains

Remains

Shadow of the past
Of what has flown and faded
And all that remains

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ShareMondays2019 – Going To Seed

Going To Seed

ShareMondays2019 – Going To Seed

I think this is my favourite image from last week! Firstly, it’s a butterfly, secondly it’s on a seed pod and last but not least, this was the moment the sun came out after a pretty wet and miserable day. I love this time of year, the sunlight has become golden again, the plants are all coming into their Autumn colours and structure. I’m really enjoying having a decent macro lens again, allowing me to get up really close to my favourite things. Have a great week everyone!

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ShareMondays2018 – Ghosts And Echoes

Ghosts

ShareMondays2018 – Ghosts And Echoes

Ghosts: A colourised, black and white image of seed-pods ghosting among the grasses at Heather Farm Wetlands Centre. I loved the way they moved in the breeze, seemingly detached from the rest of the plant. The scene called to my memories of black and white film photography and experimenting in the darkroom. As I looked through the lens I could see high key, stained and etched, showing the pods off like fireworks or bursting stars. Really happy with the end result!

Echoes: One of the things that I loved doing in the darkroom was multiple exposures, either from one negative, or several, to create my art. Echoes was created from three exposures, one with more contrast and two slightly offset exposures that shifted the focal point of the subjects. This image is a homage to the way I used to work in film, now created using digital processing. Digital doesn’t dilute the origins of creative photography, it has provided me a way to recreate darkroom processes as well as opening up so many more ways to be creative with post processing in colour as well as black and white.

Echoes

Ghosts and Echoes are a memory of the past, a celebration of the present and excitement for the future of the photographic process.