Sunday, 24 June 2012

Photographer In Transit...

Yesterday i left the Swansea docks and shipped out back to Reading. Four years previous all my possessions became stacked neatly inside my Fathers black estate. I come home with a van load of stuff i have collected over the years. I was shocked at how much i own. I thought in the months leading up to the big move, that it was mostly camera equipment that i had bought throughout my degree, Nope.

The year i spent in Swansea after graduating, has been a double edged sword. In one hand i have had a great year spending time with friends and setting up RED DOOR 44.On the other hand, financially it has cost me dearly, i could not find a decent job after graduating, spent a few months living off the system and eventually, temporally had a call centre job. Painting and decorating got me a bit of cash, i am to continue that over the summer to try and earn back the savings that i spent on rent and bills over the year.

Once the last boxed was wedged in the back of the van i had one final check of my room to see if i had left anything behind. I had, my room. i spent a few moments alone sitting and contemplating. I took a few photographs of the empty room. A tiny thought entered my head, i decided to photograph myself this now unused and empty space. This was to be the last photograph i took in Swansea before leaving for Reading. 

I sat on the bed i used to lay on, with the camera remote in my hand, i waited whilst memories flooded my brain, and pressed the shutter. one final walk out of the door i glanced at the image on the back of the camera screen. I felt immediately with definite certainty that this one photograph was the best photograph i had ever taken in Swansea.

'The last photograph'. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Wedding Jitters (I'm The Photographer)...

It is less than a month before i photograph my first wedding. To clarify it's not my wedding, i don't plan on having more than one. I was asked by a great friend of mine if i would be available to photograph his brothers wedding, i was so chuffed that the nearly weds considered me to be their wedding photographer. As you have seen in previous posts and photographs on this blog my work isn't exactly traditional. Although my main practice is dealing with the abstract defunct negatives and more recently my new Polaroid series. I have actually taken a 'proper photograph' before. 

I met the couple for lunch with both sides of the family, it was a lovely afternoon spent with all. As i have known the Benson family for a while, there was a far more relaxed atmosphere discussing ideas and locations for photographs to be taken. I had made a book of photographs taken in Paris in November of 2010. These demonstrated to the nearly weds and their families how i photograph and what results i can get using particular cameras. 

The months have been flying by and the big day is nearly here, the past few weeks i have been trying to concentrate on moving out of Red Door 44 and my house in Swansea, getting things packed up. There have been many sleepless nights, I'm running ideas in my head planing where to photograph how long it should take me, getting the right equipment for the job, praying to the big guy upstairs for a sunny July. I have decided to use my DSLR for the main photography of the day and night, shooting the usual wedding family stills. 

I will also be using two film cameras to add a bit of romance (to the photography part of the wedding) there will be enough romance on the day on behalf of the rest of the goings on (a wedding). The two film cameras i will use are a twin lens reflex 120mm and the Holga 120mm. The film is specially for the bride and groom only. the TLR will provide black and white personal shots of the couple, the Holga will provide that dreamy vignetting and fairy-tale quality from the soft focus of the plastic lens. By introducing the Holga to wedding photography im not sticking with photographic traditions much like my practice.

Wish me luck for a sunny Saturday in July.

Just One More Thing Before I Leave...

Last week i was spending a day with friends, when a text came through asking for work to be submitted to the Oriel Bach gallery in Swansea, There was a cancelation in the gallery so the gallery has rallied round swansea and other local artists, to put work up on the walls for the next week or so. Im leaving for England in less than two weeks and so was pleased to be asked to put work in a group show for one last time in Swansea. 

I wanted to put some of my POLAROVID work in the show. I had some frames my Mother bought me, i sprayed them Matt Black got the the Polaroids mounted neatly ready for hanging. I will pop up soonish i think so i get the work in on time. will document them in the show and post on here. a.s.a.p

Fight, For Your Right (To Party)...

Prints on the wall, Statement in the pride of place, the room was spick and span, the opening of POLARVOID was nigh. An hour before i shopped Tesco of £200 worth of alcohol, (< i bought it, that last bit might look like i stole £200 worth of alcohol, well i have the receipt to prove it, anyway) i got the beer and wine an hour before the show was to open. went home, washed around the key areas and got 'dolled up' for 18.30. 
I walked through the club to get up to the Red Door 44 space, i noticed one of the committee members that i hadn't seen all week in prep for the show. 

I went up to him to let him know there was a little exhibition on with a few people popping in to see my work, he immediately questioned his knowledge of such an event. I tried to explain it would be a low key affair to calm is doubts, before i could say anything he mentioned the word alcohol, my heart froze for a minute or so as the next sentence to come out of his mouth was to leave a sour taste in my throat. 

" If i see any alcohol up there i will kick you all out " 

i hadn't told him that there already was £200 worth up there waiting to disappear in the best way possible (drinking the stuff), i couldn't risk embarrassment if he came up the stairs and shouted for everyone to leave, so i had to hide the goods, one thing i didn't mention was that before i went for home to change i had a photo taken on a social network site and posted online that there was alcohol to be consumed, now i had a bigger problem, invited guests were expecting booze and now i have none.

Fortunately i didn't given in the rest of Red Door helped me by making cups of tea and coffee and offering soft drinks, for the event. Some people went and a lot of people stayed through out the night, i was so disappointed about the alcohol or the lack of  and felt the night would be tainted, to my surprise it went well.  Family and Friends came to support me, and see me off when i head for home.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Final Countdown...

The work is on the wall and awaiting to be viewed, i postponed the original opening date of the 11th of May due to a large amount of exhibition openings in one night. I decided not to risk it, i changed the date to the next friday the 18th. May is going to be a big month for exhibitions in Swansea, a mini 'biennale' in the city.

As well as the third year photography, fine art and surface pattern degree shows, there are shows from other faculties such as graphic design and advertising.POLARVOID will be showing in the middle week for the 'biennale' There is a second year end of year show on the llth, hence the change of date of my show. That will open the mini arts festival in Swansea. 

A fellow Swansea photographer Nicholas William Hughes has a show on up the road from Red Door 44 at another artist hub, Supersaurus Swansea. The show is on the same date as mine and will be the first stop of the days exhibitions.
And so with a few little finishing touches, the countdown begins for my debut solo show. its a scary thought and i have worries of lack of attendance. I'm thinking of speaking at the show, you know say a few thank you's and explain what i have been doing this past year since graduating. 

Monday, 2 April 2012

SOLOng, Farewell...

News just in, it has come to my attention, that iam having my first solo show. Yes folks, you heard it here first. My new work, 'POLARVOID', is due to be exhibited in the one and only RED DOOR 44. Ok so i do help run RD44, and so it was quite easy to be allowed to show my work in the gallery, but nonetheless i am still to be going it alone for the first time ever. In a recent post i mentioned that i had the start of a new project, 'POLARVOID'. This isn't a new direction for me, i am still investigating the destruction of image, but working in a new format brings new thoughts to the table and allows the viewer a little more insight into what it is they are actually looking at.

The show is due to open in May, i think its a couple of weeks before the S.M.U degree show. May will be the month of exhibitions. Hopefully family and friends will attend the opening, to see my work, but all so to join me in saying goodbye to Swansea. I am to leave Swansea, the place at which i call home and move back to Reading. It will be a tearful goodbye, as i have made so many good friends over the past four years and learn't such a lot in life as well as education. I wish to invite old tutors along and show them what i have been up to this past year post graduated. I also want ever nearing graduates to the show, so they can see what they may get up to  within the year after finishing university.

This solo show is to be a joyous BON VOYAGE to SWANSEA 

a litte tease(insight) of what is to be expected. 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

I Shot People With Blad All Over My Hands...

Today was a good day. I got to loan out a Hasselblad, from a really good friend of mine. I have started my POLARVOID project, i'm using 20ish year old polaroid my father kindly donated to me. Its near enough useless as the film is more or less dried out. This is fine for me as my practice is based on the destructive side of photography. I had 4 Polariod left in the film back, that had laid dorment for a very long time. Some friends of mine kindly posed for me and so my venture has started and will continue until   the end of April when i hope to have a solo show in RED DOOR 44. 

More notes will be made on my progress with this dried out has been Hasselblad Polaroid soon, watch this space. 

Sunday, 26 February 2012


It has been 7 months since i fired a roll off a film with some enthusiasm, during that time i have been a tad lazy with progressing my practice. (booooo hisssssss!)During this photographers block, i have taken opportunities that don't often arise. A friend of mine revealed she was pregnant 3 months into the pregnancy. this was wonderful news, i was so delighted for her. 

A few weeks went by and i bashfully asked her if i could take a few pictures of her bump. She kindly said yes and asked me when i would like to photograph her, to her amazement i wanted to photograph her bump within days of her to be due to give birth. I  wanted to photograph this bump just before it became a baby. It may sound strange, but i want that child to grow up and look back at photographs and see what they looked like moments before the imminent event.

I had never documented the beginnings of a new life before, not just the new life of the baby, but the new life of a parent. In my future it is certainly something that i wish to document with great discipline.I photographed a cocooned young female, blossoming into a wonderful mother. This was what i was to capture in my imagery. I did not construct or stage my time with her, i simply let the day pass on by as if any normal day. soon i hope to give this small piece of work to the new family, with hope that they have an amazing adventure ahead of them.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Fake It, Make It Like A Polaroid Picture...

With the release of the new Digital Polaroid camera, that people are wetting themselves about. I have done some experimenting with my own makeshift digital Polaroid camera. There may not be the usual buzzing sound from the Polaroid camera ejecting the film but never the less i still reckon i have produced a digital Polaroid file. 

In a nut shell, i just place the viewfinder of the Super Colour - 635CL, over the lens of my Digital Harinezumi 2 +++ (1-10) camera. i then began to compose and frame my subject matter accordingly.

I composed and framed my images using a Polaroid camera, but used a digital format to capture the subject matter does that not make them Polaroid pictures? I am continuing with this interesting query, this may result in me using many forms of photo capturing devices, only to photograph the view from inside them.

Anyway its something new and may well help me with my current Polarvoid Project 'coming soon to a gallery near you'!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A Break On Through To The Other Side...

The last exhibition i was in was in October, since then i shamefully haven't made any new work, mainly due to work issues and financial difficulties, but fear not i am settled and bring in a regular pay cheque everything should resume to normality soon enough. Before all that some time in November i had been discussing the idea of curating a show on Red Door 44, this would not include my work or any work from within the collective.

 This show was going to be the first example of What Red Door 44 wants to cater for, Outsider Art. Red Door want's to give the opportunity to artists or anybody who would like to have an exhibition but has never had one or been able to have one. Since the opening of the studio nearing the end of October Red Door had remained dormant. nothing was happening in the space that we opened especially to be used creatively. 

So i took the initiative and told a great friend of mine, Mathew Belcher that Red Door 44 will host an exhibition of his work. This was something that hadn't crossed his mind at all. Mat had created an album of work on a social network site entitled 'Happy things Happy'. Mat would photograph objects and shapes that resembled a smiley face. This album had some many responses to it that Mat created a separate page purely for this new hype of 'Happy Things Happy'. I saw the Album in the early months of 2011, telling him to print and exhibit his photographs. Mat wasn't an artist at the time, just someone capturing happy things, half a year goes by, and now i have the opportunity to give him a show of his work. 

Mat Helped me through a tough period struggling for work, by allowing me to Volunteer in his shop. As a thank you to him i wanted this show to happen for him. I have never been on the other side of the fence before, i have always shown work, it was nice to have a change of occupation for a temporary period of time. i thoroughly enjoyed the process and now can apply that experience to my C.V. and hope it helps with possible jobs opportunities in the future.

Had An Exhibition in Mumumumumunmum...

Please excuse the bizarre spelling in the title of this post, its an in joke between me and my good friend David Long. In a nut shell, Munmumumumumum is actually a place near Swansea called Mumbles. Hopefully some of you reading this will understand what we were joking around with. Anyway a few of my fellow course mates after the degree show in London wanted to put on a show somewhere in the Swansea area for those who couldn't make it to either the University degree show or the London show.  The show was to be called 'A First Chance For A Second Look'. This will have been my second joint exhibition outside of university, but my first since graduating.

I was concerned that i hadn't made new work since the degree show and was worried that putting up old work would appear lazy and boring to people. The thing was i hadn't realized that Swansea hadn't seen my light boxes that i put up in the London Free Range Show, and so that work was new to people in Swansea. This made the organization of the show much easier and faster for me and also the other artists showing. The Work was shown in a little Gallery in called 'Oriel Bach', this is a welsh name, translated to English it means 'Little Gallery'. 

The opening night was nice, with an appearance from two of my old tutors from S.M.U. Hamish Gane, my Photography Tutor kindly opened the show with a little speech. It was nice to see the work in a different space and curate the show ourselves for the first time, Tutors always took that responsibility in University. The work went up surprisingly fast for the four of us, i guess we were on the same wave length with where everyones work should go.

Its Your Blog Sam, Somethings Got To Be Done About Your Blog...

Well, i do apologize for the dormancy of my blogging, its not been the best four months since i last posted anything. After a very long summer i finally signed off and hung up the Giro jacket for the last time. In November i found a minimum wage job and have been working there since. Not going to tell you about it as its nothing to really rave about. So i am now finally earning an honest crust after 6 months since Graduating. 

Along side that stable job i now do a bit of painting and decorating, this helps spread the workload over the week so i don't have to spend all my time in the week, at the other job. I am enjoying being a ' handy man' not only is it good money but also gives me some good experience on the C.V. for any future job opportunities. I also get a big sense of achievement from the decorating job. 

Moooving swiftly on, i will create a montage of the happenings that have occurred over the summer.(minus the epic 80's power ballads), Red Door 44 opened in October with a crowd of a hundred or so attendants. This was an amazing thing to have happened to the Red Door Collective, it gave us a true understanding of how much support we had behind us. Since the opening we have been planning future workshops and exhibitions to see out 2011 and bring Red Door into the new year.