Archives for posts with tag: london

Those of you who see my blog regularly will already have gathered my love of Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

P1060312As part of the commemorations for the 1914-18 War the ‘Poppy Wave’ is one of 2 traveling installations from the Tower of London and it has been installed at YSP, in the New Year it moves to Lincoln.

The Poppies were not the main reason for my visit, the installation in London was huge and worked on the basis of who it represented with each poppy being an individual who fell, and this gave it a scale that was never going to be matched at YSP. I went to see it knowing that it would not have the scale and thought that I may be making a token visit for that reason. In fact I found it to be a unique and fascinating visit and it has been thought provoking both at the time and subsequently, and that was not what I expected.

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With the intention of shooting the Poppy Wave I had to determine what I want to say about the lives of the soldiers it stands for and the war they were engaged in. I have never been to war, my knowledge of it is gained almost entirely second hand through written media, film and TV.

P1060303The majority of the pictures of the Poppies out there are little more than attractive chocolate box images, many shot in near perfect conditions on a sunny day, whilst many images talk about the scale of the fatalities I suggest that it’s more by chance than intention.

P1060304It was not a nice day when I went, at one point it was trying to rain, what I found the poppies doing was talking to me about the finality of death and how whilst individuals are remembered those who have been lost are lost for good, it also talked about how all those in conflict are intertwined. What surprised me though was it also talked to me about the men whilst they were alive, and how as ordinary young men many will have had aspirations and dreams they would otherwise have been reaching for. The most powerful image for me is of loud, noisy, lively individual men, with the banter and character you find in groups of men, but separately and darkly the same image in the midst of war shouts with the fear of forthcoming death.

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In the early summer it was off to Scotland on holiday and as usual I went with an idea for some images,  this was based on a concept and work by the artist John Stezaker and a particular style of montage he created in the 1970’s.

What he did was to take existing images and cut them together, he used a wide range of images and in one particular series he took a series of head shots and added postcards.

Rather than use found images I took the idea one step further and shot the work myself creating both the main images and the inset shots.  To mix it up and develop the second image as a clear shot I decided to turn one of the 2 shots into a Polaroid digitally.

I shot some tests locally to see what i got and how it worked

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With a successful initial test  I developed this further,  this set developed into  taking 2 models,  one tattooed and the other with piercings, and adding graffiti (shot on the South Bank) to one and landscapes to the other,  then to extend this further I brought these together in pairs to set one against the other.  This now a set of 8 finished pairs of images that together make a fascinating set. I am already planning the next step for this project!

Pair No 1

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Having just had a montage job go up on a trade stand in Paris – that as it’s client work does not qualify for the blog I decided to put up this shot completed at the weekend.
The purpose of the original shoot was to show off Emma’s tattoos and generate some images that I can turn into a part woman, part robot, part mad max sort of thing – that has yet to be done, so this is a bit of a bonus. No two parts of the shot exist in the same place at the same time – not even the sky was shot with the building.
It is an exercise in editing, perspectives and seeing what I can get away with, every time I do these there is something new and of course at a technical level it pushes skills in every direction. From start to finish it took between 3 – 4 hours that included experimenting with various images and getting the concept right. It has been produced to a standard where it could be blown up to 10ft tall (the size I work to for hero shots trade stands) with minimal additional work.