Thursday, 28 May 2015

A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods 1 © Graham Dew 2015
A Walk in the Woods 1

Is it possible to capture the pleasure of walking in the countryside that in some way conveys the sense of travelling, the journey? Can this be done photographically other than a specific snapshot of some point en route? 

I’ve been wondering about this recently and trying some experiments of my own. Last year I read Robert MacFarlane's hugely enjoyable and popular The Old Ways. It is a book examines the pleasure and culture of walking, of journeys made through the country. Words can convey a palpable sense of movement and journey as they offer up a stream of mental images and ideas. 

David Hockney produced some fabulous high-definition moving video joiners taken on a slowly moving Jeep for his Bigger Picture show at the RA in 2012, but unlike his photo joiners, this technique is probably beyond the scope of anyone who isn’t David Hockney.

The most effective images that describe the narrative of walking are the work of Noel Myles. Because every cell in his Still Films is shot from a different viewpoint, his pictures are inextricably linked to walking. It is an essential feature of his images that hold the viewer’s attention.

Motion Picture of the Stour Valley © Noel Myles
Motion Picture of the Stour Valley © Noel Myles

As I have been experimenting with layered images recently, I have been playing with the idea of a sequence of images that when superimposed would convey a sense of movement along a path and through the woods. The first image at the top of this post was taken a couple of weeks ago one bright evening. Frames for the picture where taken about half a metre apart, with small adjustment to the zoom to maintain the size of the path in the middle ground. I’m not entirely comfortable with the ‘Zoom’ effect that this has produced. 

A Walk in the Woods 2  © Graham Dew 2015
A Walk in the Woods 2

For my next attempts taken a week later, I had the multiple layered work of Idris Khan in mind. His compositing of Bernd And Hilla Becher's houses and water towers used the repetition and reinforcement of near identical compositions. So in these two later images I shot frames every time the view was reasonably similar, often tens of metres apart. I feel that these pictures are not as successful as there is a lack of strong shapes. Maybe this might be more effective later in the autumn. But I’m not going to wish the summer away. With the fine weather it’s time for more experiments and more subjects.

A Walk in the Woods 3  © Graham Dew 2015
A Walk in the Woods 3

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Pure Folly

The Folly at Farley Mount (from all points of the compass) © Graham Dew 2015
The Folly at Farley Mount (from all points of the compass)
I have been out doing a lot of experimental photography, which has been both fun and interesting.With a new computer and the latest versions of Lightroom and Photoshop I have plenty to think about and work on. More new work to come shortly.

Friday, 8 May 2015

A Day in the Met

Three Men Walking II, Alberto Giacometti © Graham Dew 2015
Three Men Walking II, Alberto Giacometti

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is simply stunning. It would take a couple of hours to walk around if it were empty. As it is, it is packed full of many of the most significant works of art from every part of the world, every genre and of every age. The advice we were given was to focus on just one period or style. Of course, one wants to look in detail, as well as experience the scale of the place. So to experience the breadth of the museum, we first took a tour to introduce us to the The Met, and another to look in detail at some of the impressionist and post-impressionist works. Both tours were led by experienced, knowledgeable and passionate guides that brought the works to life and made us hungry to go explore further afterwards. We only had one day available on our whistle-stop tour of NYC, but came away with plenty of reasons to go back again sometime in the future.

Woman of Venice II, Alberto Giacometti © Graham Dew 2015
Woman of Venice  II, Alberto Giacometti