Experimenting with pinhole photography

Sometimes it just feels good to bring things back to basics, this is why you find me here playing with pinhole photography.   It is so easy to lose the appreciation of  all these fangled gadgets that do all the work for us, we take technology for granted.  Ok, it does take some skill to work a camera properly, but 100 years ago photographers didn’t have that helping hand, no happy bright LCD screens to give the thumbs up or a second chance, we had to be patient.   It is here I have to admit I may have slightly cheated, I used my trusty slow Canon 5D and stuck black paper and tinfoil over where the lens should be and stick a pin into it.  It is what I call a very expensive digital pinhole but still fun.   Plus for the record, the inners of my camera are not that dirty, it is so much worse.

The general rule is the smaller the hole, the sharper the image but in a way I really like what it has done to the portraits, it gives the skin a lovely angelic glow.

Pretending to be a pro & the inspirational lady who started this journey

Ten years to the date, the world nearly lost a wonderful lady.  It wasn’t until a few years ago, I even got to know about her when our paths crossed by similar interests and friendship ties on facebook or myspace or what ever it was at that time.  If it was not for medical intervention, she would not be here living and breathing and neither would I be here on word press, it is because of her and her words that gave me that inspiration and passion to write.

When I first met her she went by her modelling name Galatea but I knew her as Krista, the camera loved her, who would have known that only a few years before she was involved in a horrific 100mph T boning in a car leaving her both physically and mentally broken.  Having seen the pictures of the car, it is even a miracle that the medics got her out.   Without going into great personal detail, it basically shattered her body, bones fragmented all over the place like a gory jigsaw puzzle, it left her depended on people to do even the most basic of tasks for her.  Her mind was that of an adult but her body had been returned to that of an infant, not even being about to take their first wobbles of a walk.   I cannot even imagine how scary and painful that must have felt for her, to be rendered so helpless and vulnerable.

Most of the scars at the time could be hidden under blankets, but even her pretty face had been ripped, her eye socket had been badly torn off, but looking at her now you would even struggle to see a scar.

Bit by bit, medicine and medical intervention fixed her physically but they can never patch up the soul after an event like that, she still lives with demons in her mind, she is still in pain, she is still learning to walk properly but she is an almighty fighter and due to this she is an inspiration of how to never give up even when everything in the world is black.

She began working on the mind, she grew in wisdom and it in turn has helped her with her damaged spirit.  It wasn’t until I found her on WordPress that I actually learned the story about her, her troubled past, the accident, the recovery and the journeys she made in real life and in the mind.

She is a writer, she has doubts at times about whether she is any good, but in my mind, hand on heart, the way she writes is like a river flowing over the sand, it just flows so seamlessly and beautifully, I could read her pages for days if I could.  Her use of language is exquisite, the way she frames her dialogue like it is meant to matter, and it does.  She writes from the heart about things that hurt her, personal tales of sadness and tragedy baring her soul to whom even is out there in the void.  It is never easy to say it hurts, but to write it down just confirms it even more.   It is not all sadness and despair, you can see where she picks her self up, shakes her fist at the world and screams “I want my life back”, and boy, the world heard because she is alive and kicking it’s backside with a huge beautiful smile on her face.

It is because of her writing, that I am here today writing this, she inspired me to open up to the void and just let go, say what is in your heart.   I love to write but I had grown lazy, my spelling is awful, my sentences just run on and on and as for the use of an apostrophe, well, the more the merrier it seems, but I enjoy it and that is the important thing.  I does not even bother me if no one where to ever reads this, it would be nice if they did, but I wrote this because I wanted to write, and it only seems very fitting that I should write about the one who kicked my writing into action.

I have shot Krista a few times now, some of my best portraits have come from her, and sadly they are on my other hard drive in another country so I had to pinch these images off my facebook page, hence the quality.  She came to stay for a couple of days and all I can say is that she is one of the nicest and most genuine human beings I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  Talk about a wicked sense of humor and amazing story teller.  She just shines like a beacon of positively and openness, an instant friend, so easy to talk to about anything and damn she is beautiful inside and out.  Krista, thank you for fighting, thank you for the words, thank you for the friendship but most of all thank you for being an inspiration of strength, love, honesty and just being you.

Pretending to be a pro and turning back the clock

Being positive is a great thing to do, not only for yourself but for the people around you, it is like a chain reaction, one person laughs and slowly and surely more smiles come from the cracks in the pavement.   Everyone deserves to be happy.   Problems however have a nasty habit of making us grimace instead, they make the pavements uncomfortable to travel on so we either try a little harder to wear a smile or we just give up and throw paper planes into a bleak unknown where it collects with the other planes from other people who missed your smile.   Do you think you will be happy in the future? does this question worry you or do you rather take it day by day or like me, do you hope that one day the hover board will actually come to life.

Although these images are recreations from the resent Gloucester Tall Ships festival, I cannot help but think what changes will happen in our little world in the next 100 years and will the world be a better place or holding on with all it’s might to hope.   I have to admit I am a little scared for the future of our children, i would hate to have them live in a world where the internet has taken over and drained our meanings of life, people are meant to see and interact with people, language isn’t LOL, it is hello my name is…..

I was born to be on this earth, at any moment of time I  fill a actual space in the world, I belong, and although it is a selfish way of thinking about it, there will be no other person in this world who will fill this same space as me at any given time, just like you in your space.  However we now live secret lives in computer boxes, we have this fake awesome world where we are the best at everything, the best drama, the best fake farm, the best profile image, the most friends, but honestly can you say hand on heart that the person you live on line is you? Do all fifteen thousand of your friends know your demons, have they let you sleep off a drunken night on their sofa, have they told you that your boy/girl friend is a cheat, have they held you while you cried you eyes out and kept ever single secret to the grave.   I would hate for people to loose themselves and not a a real friend to be there when the time came.   I am no way condemning any of these social medias but I could really do without the drama, just because we are not face to face it does not make your insults or cruel words any less hurtful, but still you think it is ok to hide behind a empty screen and say those words.  We all have had those days when that happens.   On the other hand, many smiles have been created by a simple Like button, someone agreed with your, someone liked you, they valued your opinion, you are on the right track.

Live each day with purpose, smile to strangers on the bus, complement peoples well doings and guide them when they need your help, discover many new random acts of kindness, but most of you be you, fill that space in the world where you belong.

 

Pretending to be a pro and meeting the band FolkLaw

Good evening to you fine Ladies and Gentlemen of the void.

Allow me, if you would to brush away some of those depressing doom and gloom cloudy days that have blighted our English Summer with the music to tap toes with, and upturn those frowns, may I introduce to you FolkLaw.

http://www.folklaw.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/Folklaw

Here stands before you in full momentum for a one hour special at Gloucester Tall Ships weekend (which incidentally turned into two hours after another band pulled out later that day) are two lovely gentlemen by the names of Nick Gibbs on one of the coolest fiddles I have seen in a while, and Bryn Williams with a soft crack in his voice that makes a most heart warming effect.   Boy can these gents play; no I am not just saying this because they took some time to talk to me, but because they really have got a musical talent.

If you haven’t already guessed, the music of FolkLaw is Folk focusing on, excuse me while I quote from the inside of their album Nations Pride “ FolkLaw is about social injustice, war, poverty, love and the problems faced by society”.  Yes I know what you are thinking; it’s depressing as hell, but far from it my friends because as they put it, it is a message that hopefully makes a difference.  Hidden within heart warming guitar and fiddle melodies, lyrics speak of the love of the home country, the problems it faces, where we stand in the world and who we stand with, but the true beauty is they sing as if every word was rare and valuable.

So how to explain their sound? Picture yourself in a traditional Irish pub with a borran in the corner, feet stamping to the beat with a the soft passionate rasp from Nicks vocal chords as his fingers dance the strings of the fiddle, which intertwines so effortlessly with the strong but tender voice from Bryn with a hint of Simon and Garfunkle in the tender notes as he strums his heart away with the most beautiful guitar work.

Now, I have to admit, I have a very varied taste in music to the point of where my ipod would raise a curious eyebrow to most of my taste in albums I have next to each other, Britney to Bach, The Rolling Stones to Welsh male Voice choirs, Daft Punk to Julie London and so on, but folk is something I have rarely invited into my collection due thinking it was all like my mothers music, boring stuff with songs about basket weaving and fish mongers wives, however this weekend after just one hour, my eyes where opened with a new appreciation for this genre, thank you FolkLaw.

Great entertainers, know how to work a crowd, beautiful voices, very good looking and very charming, could quite happily take them home with me.  Don’t just take my word for it, go check them out, go by a CD or two money even goes towards charities, what is not to love? Go embrace your inner folk.

Pretending to be a pro and being artsy with glass

I’m not going to lie, as a photographer there are certain little things in the world that start to annoy you for no reason, one of these little erks is glass for me.  Anyone outside the photographic or visual world would think, “oh taking a picture of shiny glass is easy” to which I face palm myself into a rhino.  Let me just say, fingerprints and dust become your worst enemy EVER, forget about the world falling apart and swallowing you whole as you take splinters out your eye with a lemon juice soaked rusty needle, one little tiny hint of a finger print and that is your image and life screwed for the whole day, oh woe is me and all that melodramatic take that us artists drivel on about.  Aint we a miserable bunch, no wonder we have a bad habit of being know to cut off our own ears and have fantasies of jumping of bridges.  On the other hand, if i do ever become a CSI, bring it on dust and fingers, I will find you and I will, I want to say destroy you as it would sound good as a movie reference but I will store you would be a whole load better to catch these nasty morons in the world.

Pretending to be a pro and accidentally ruining the keys of a 1910 Sohmer Piano

Music is one of my best friends, it does not feel right without some type of rhythm in my life.   I love listening to many genres of music but my biggest pleasure is playing my piano.  I have been playing since I was knee high to a small grass hopper and I have always dreamed of owning a baby grand piano.  A big black shiny Yamaha beautiful piano,  I would spend all day playing everything from Mozart to Chopin to Lady Gaga and back, but that is what always was, a dream.  That was until a few years back when some how my fairy godmother flew by one day and showed me a old relic of a piano that needed a new home, YES was the answer and hence I have my dream, a sadly out of tune, bumped about scratched beauty whom I love to pieces.  It made me realise that I did not want a new one any more, I had one with history, one that had been passed down from parent to child, teacher to student, had heard and played many a good and bad tune.

Then one day a photography professor asked us to produce a few images on colour, so out I went and bough tissue paper, cut it into strips, sprayed some water on my old ivories and decorated the hell out of it.  It all looked very pretty.  Straight after the pictures where taken, the paper was removed and the keys where dried.  A week after that, the ivory started coming off the keys, noooooooo!!! I was gutted.  On the other hand, it actually gave me the boot  I needed to start on the restoration of my beauty, she now has new Ivorines, they called them, so no poor elephants are victims, it has been repainted and varnished, all it needs now it a bit of a retune and she will be as good as not new but a shabby well loved new.

Pretending to be a Pro while taking pictures of Chanel No5 Bottles

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I love product photography, there is something so soothing about it because it does not move.   I know I cannot hold a candle to the work of the real Chanel team as my pennies do not stretch to buying this far on products, plus I don’t use it any way.  On the other hand, I do appreciate the iconic simplicity of the product, it speaks class, sophistication, and has stood the test of time in this high demand fashion industry.   It is the smell that has lingered since my childhood, this is my Mums smell, this, and the fragrance of freshas and Matey bubble bath before they went and changed the smell and ruined it in my opinion.

It is so odd that simple odors can take you to other times and spaces and associate  them with some of the most wonderful memories to just the simpleness of how you smile with the smell of freshly mown grass, of the perfume of logs on a fire, the scent of clean sheet day and the richness of a full English rose in bloom.   I really hate the smell of cigarettes, they just smell so dirty and noxious and lingers, i just want to go home and wash my clothes after being with someone who smokes, just to get that awful odor away, but when ever I smell the richness of the smoke that comes from a Hamlet Cigar, there is just something so warming and homely about.  This was my Dad smell, he was a Hamlet man but he has quit altogether  I am proud of him.  He wasn’t a big smoker, he did it more out of an enjoyable habit, but a habit is a habit and it is hard to just stop, but he did, mind you he is stubborn like an ox, something that gets passed on to me too.   I just find it so remarkable and facinating that this  act of having a nose attached to your face not only holds up funky glasses but has the ability to create emotions, not only simple feelings but most importantly, personal memories.