2011 looking back in twelve photographs.

I figured I owe some kind of reflection post on the year gone as I’m still being coy on what I have planned for 2012. So here we go a short twelve shot review of 2011, some you’ve seen some you haven’t.
Oh yeah if you’re done with the emails the blog sends out when I post here now the 365 is over then just follow the subscriptions options at the bottom of the email.
So then, to the reflection of the year just gone –

Polaroid pro pack camera

The 365 project begins

Jan – New beginnings and old kit, the 365 begins and my head fills with possibilities of photographs to make.

Converse trainers holding hands

One of my favourite shots of the year probably

Feb – I enjoy the freedom of personal projects, I start experimenting with my kit selection, bike week seems to be a rather busy week for the blog.

Spring is in the air

Mar – I start to find my feet with some street photography as I play around with my camera of choice for personal work. I finally get some new prints made up for exhibition and sale.

Cragside house

Apr – I find myself enjoying the little Olympus PEN e-pl2 more and more. I begin my Rider Portraits series and really enjoy producing a personal series of shots.

A little Fixed gear evening ride.

May – Seems to be all about family, friends, bikes and a jump to the Fuji X100.

Motion and colour in Budapest

Motion and colour in Budapest

June – Vacation time with a great trip to Budapest, new print series, all about colour and form thanks to the X100

Feeling a little lost
July – Start to feel I’m losing my way with the business and the 365 is taking over all my creative energy. Time for a good long look at things and the future.

My emergency exit from everything.

Aug – Needing more time and space to think so more time on the bike. Got really mad with the Fuji X100 so traded back to an Olympus PEN . . . . . plus started playing with more film again.

Finally getting my game face back on and the hustle begins again.

Sep – Everything gets busy but I find my groove and get back to shooting commissions that I really want to shoot.

Oct – Making my time count, getting the business headed where I want it to be. Hustling more than ever and loving every second of it, long hours but sooo much fun.

Nov – Taking more of a reinvention to my portrait work rather than the refining I’d initially considered. Shooting stacks of film in various formats for personal stuff.

Dec – The completion of the 365 brings time for reflection and the realisation that 2011 has been a pretty great year for me. Feeling great about 2012 and all the possibilities it holds for me and my business.

So that’s just the barebones of my quick look back. The good, the bad, the navel gazing, the mistakes, the joy. Despite my previous postings about feeling a little lost in where to take the business, one of the big things 2011 has brought me is clarity in that respect. 2012 is about using that clarity, simplification and going a little more niche. Is that going to mean I decline work that I may have shot previously? possibly yes, but it also means I’m so much more into what I’m shooting and that will show in the work I produce.

Footsteps – A quick look back at 2011

Footsteps, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 362 / 365

Time for a little reflection on the blog perhaps.
One of those lovely little scenes, a fleeting moment gone before it’s even been realised, an in-between, a side note, an off beat. These are the things I find fill the world with beauty. To compose and play with light, line and form within these moments is where I find myself.

Olympus PEN, e-p2, 20mm

So this is a little reminder to myself of a good little debate I had on here with some of you earlier this year.

I’ll probably do a full 2011 review early in the new year but for now here’s a few thoughts.

I like to look back over this years posts to see where my head was at various parts of this project. I’ve learnt a great deal from analysing my process and work methods. I’ve had personal break throughs and pushed through quite a number of barriers I’d seemingly had in my mind and in my career. To be honest I’m pretty happy with how things have gone in 2011. I’m still kicking myself in the rear for not pushing and hustling prior to now but I’m happy I finally am.
Quite a lot has happened this year, equipment changes, training, break throughs, realisations, contacts made, clients dropped, better clients found, publication.
On the equipment thing, this is one of the things I may go through in a post too. As a photographer I often find my inner geek bouncing against my inner creative. The geek desires shiny cameras with fancy functions and super awesome lenses and such, the artist just wants to go make photographs. This year has had me spending time listening to both voices and giving both slightly more freedom than before. The artist got to go shoot everyday without a brief or expectation, the geek got to play with a hell of a lot of new gear. Here’ a very brief list of the equipment which has been in or out of the bag this year;

Canon 1Dii, 1Diii, 85mm f1.2L, EF 24-105mm f4 L, EF 135mm f2 L
Olympus E-PL2, E-P2
Panasonic 20mm f1.7 (twice), 14mm f2.5 (pft!)
Leica D-Lux 4
Leica DigiLux 2
Fuji X100
Yashica MG-1, Mat 124G
Bronica ETRSi

Some of this is staying, some more may be going.
Oh and I have a little something else coming. Something rather special. Something I’ve desired for quite some time and I’d promised myself an end of 365 gift, this is that. More on that when it arrives.

What have a learnt from all this equipment?
Sometimes we get so caught up in the “how” and the “what with” that we lose the real question of “why?”.
Plus a whole lot of other lessons which I’ll save for later too.

All i’m going to say for now is it really doesn’t matter what you use just go enjoy making photographs. Just try and be true to your passion and your vision, don’t be sidelined by others vision or by marketing sparkle.


Blue, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 60 / 365 – MARCH

That enough blue for ya?
So sixty days in, it’s March already and I’ve seen some promising signs of Spring. Life is good.

Just stumbled into this crazy world of blue doors this afternoon rather unexpectedly. I thought they had a certain impact about them so here you go.

Seeing as it’s March I guess I need to be putting together another monthly review. It’ll probably be the weekend before it’s done as it’s a busy old week this one.

Well the new line up had it’s first job to attend to today, so far so very good. Nothing too taxing, just ease it in slowly before really pushing it’s limits. To be honest I’m kind of surprised that it turned into almost a guessing game between some comments on here, flickr and a few emails. Thanks for taking part, I honestly didn’t think it would be that much of a “thing” to compel you good people to put fingers to keyboard (that doesn’t quite have the same ring as pen to paper does it?). Anyway, I’m probably keeping it under wraps just a little longer, not to be secretive or a tease but just until I’m certain that it’s all a perfect match for my shooting style. Feel free to keep guessing though, it’s fun to see what people come up with, you never know I might send a smiley face sticker to anyone who gets it right (oh anyone I work with in the mean time is excluded from that list, you guys get smiley stickers all the time 😉

Speaking about people I work with, I had a good talk with a fellow photographer today. A good guy I’ve worked alongside for a number of years on various jobs. Anyway I’ll not go into details but essentially he reenforced the “Seize the day” ethos in me, you know, stop waiting around for all the right pieces to fall into all the right places and exactly the right time. What good are dreams if you don’t try to realise them.
Wow I do manage to go off on crazy paths on this blog, from photographer to life coach in just a couple of lines. I told you I write kind of how I’d talk face to face, be thankful I can’t type as fast as I can think.

So in keeping with my love of leaving you with a quote to ponder and in my newly found Life coach role, I leave you with this quote from Baz Luhrmann;

“Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as
effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing
bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that
never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm
on some idle Tuesday.”


Triumph, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 54 / 365

Ha ha, it’s still a bike right?

I couldn’t pass this beautiful Triumph without giving it some camera time. I loved this detail angle with it’s almost black & white nature. I’m still experimenting with the 24-105mm taped to 35mm. I’m happy with the focal length, but really desire the depth of field I get from the Sigma 50mm f1.4.

So yesterday afternoon was interesting to say the least. My humble blog gained some huge exposure thanks to the WordPress.com Freshly Pressed front page. Big thanks to the WP team for sending a whole lot of love my way. I have to admit I was feeling a little pressure to find a shot worthy for today, not to mention getting all paranoid about all this wordsmithing thing. I tend to write as I think, or as I would speak if I were to tell you face to face about the shot.

Luckily I’m pretty happy with this shot. Being my usual self-critic though, I wanted more of that red light cover. The problem including it though was the yellow number plate below which would have crept into the frame, thus removing the strength of the red in the image. So I should have moved vantage point right? well I could but then the Triumph logo would have been covered by the chrome rack. Change optics? ha ha I can’t remember, 35mm.
Ah the fun of composition, it’s just as much about what you exclude from the frame as to what you include. A mighty fine photographer who is much better in the art of expressing himself with words has written at length about this very thing along with putting a series of podcasts together about it, along with the vision thing which I tend to go on about quite a bit on here.
To be brutally true though a photographer without vision is pretty much a photocopier.

Not much in the way of post processing, just a nice “filmic” treatment again, so that’s neutral creamy colours with a nice amount of definition and pop. It helps if you get it right in the camera to start too though but you already knew that right?

Back to sifting through contact sheets to choose a batch of gallery pieces.

Two sides to every . . . . .

Two sides to every . . . . ., originally uploaded by bang*.

A two parter for today. I was going to leave it as two posts but figured it’s easier together.
So which side are you? Things looking up, or looking down? Do you see the obstacles in the way but a glimer of hope at the end, or do you just see things to negotiate along the path before getting to a blank wall?
I quite liked the little story / juxtaposition of the two images here so it’s a good job I had the iphone handy to shoot it, the best camera and all that.

For those who it isn’t obvious to this was shot on Hipstamatic, for those who it is here’s the combo;
Kaimal Mark II
BlacKeys B&W
Laser Lemon

I’m digging that it left a warm tone to the image.

It’s typical that I’ve been looking for a two image story for the last month or so without really getting anything I was happy with. As soon as I gave up looking I blunder into this at 5:30am 90miles from home. Ah well, it’s the journey not the destination, or something like that.

Today I’ll leave you with a very simple quote which goes along the lines of creation being the life blood of creativity –
“If I just set about my work when I’m inspired, I wouldn’t get much work done.” Chuck Close.
So just lighten up, get out there and start shooting. So what if it all seems to suck, everybody sucked at some point (as Mr Arias said so accurately) hell most of us still do on occasion. You gotta take the rough with the smooth. Right I’m going to stop now before I write down any more cliched phrases. After all it’s a game of two halves . . . . . . . . . . . . (that may only mean something to the British audience of my blog, not sure it’s used else where).

Love – Holding hands.

Love – Holding hands., originally uploaded by bang*.

40 / 365

This shot isn’t the actual shot I posted on flickr for today, the other shot titled Love can be found here.
It’s a concept I was going to hold on to for a few days yet (until around the 14th) but the Our Daily Challenge group on flickr had Love as the theme today so I thought why not.
Guess who’s getting a handmade valentines card this year? Shhhhh, it’s okay I don’t think she reads my blog.

As for the Cons, well mine’s the one on the right.

Here’s another little something something to take away from todays post;

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”
— Jim Jarmusch

A Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath of Fresh Air, originally uploaded by bang*.

39 / 365

Sunshine. Glorious sunshine.
First time this year the windows have been thrown open and the mild(er) air is wafting around the place. Billie Holliday on the itunes, the birds are singing in the garden and all is well with the world today.
I thought I’d give the plants some well earned love & let them have a look outside.

Another little piece of home. Enjoy.

Canon 5D mkii, Sigma 50mm f1.4 @ f1.4

So does this mean Spring is here? It would be nice to think that’s true, the evenings are getting lighter and I’ve noticed Snowdrops starting to flower so maybe the warm days aren’t far away.
I’ll leave you with a line from a great song which popped on the itunes shuffle play this morning;
” . . . . sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind, the race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself”
If you’ve never heard “Everybody’s Free (To wear sunscreen) by Baz Luhrmann, or even if it’s just been a while, hunt it down and give it a listen. It has a warm & fuzzy life affirming kind of thing going on, which if you’re sharing in the Spring feeling today will just give you a few minutes of smiling to yourself. That’s my gift to you for today, smile.