There is nothing I love more than when the weather turns to haze. The way that it turns simple landscapes into such rich ominous scenes, the way that it always affects light and how it hints at narrative – I can’t help but wonder about the inhabitants sheltering inside the gloom. It reminds me of my time spent in Beijing, the light was peculiarly different there, assuming it had to do with smog, it made it so that the light pooled out from its source towards you and subverting some sort of wall that atmospheric perspective would usually allow you to know the distance between you and elements further away. Whenever there is fog I love nothing more than to go for a long curious walk which always feels like your reality turns into a sort of dream state. The weather is promised to be foggy tonight, fingers crossed it is so that I can go for one of those walks and see what my camera can can capture.
Creators from all over have responded with whimsical light, shape and formations for this weeks Kick About over on Red’s Kingdom, inspired by the wondrous Ice Spiral installation art created By Andy Goldsworthy. more of Goldsworthy’s striking work can be seen here. Inspirit of Goldworthy’s art I wanted to recollect upon the bitter winter in rural Ireland photographed from last year when the stillness and cold became one to produce frozen splendour.
When I look at these photos all I can think about is miniature vistas halted in time, like verglas installations created by pristine nature. Pockeded air bubbles mimicking silver dollar plants are trapped among planes of ice like tiny moons. Milky swirls of frozen water interjected with brambles that loop in and out like a serpent on the hunt, and if the camera panned up, something would arise from the mist.
This time of year always reminds me of the time I found a relic of nature tucked away in a sleepy forest in the back arse of nowhere in rural Ireland. This photography series has meant a lot to me, and having a look back through the ever growing vault of images stored in many hard drives and SD cards, I was stalled again when scrolling through the abundance of images captured from that special place. Inspired by it yet again, I dived back in to showcase the colour, light and reflection of the portal like water that danced as drops of snow lapped its surface in little meanders and swirls.
Another set of collaged symbols, shapes and colours inspired by Fernand Léger’s large scale oil painting entitled –La Ville (1919). What I love above Léger’s piece is the flatness of it and how all consuming it feels – nothing in particular sticks out but the whole composition is taken in as a whole and something I have tried to mimic with my own constructions. I was contemplating given a whirl of pushing things further by bringing this crop of creations into the 3D world and extruding elements out, but I think that would work against it – after trying some tests and realising that those extrusions would only be seen from angles other than straight on I wasn’t feeling it and I’ve decided to leave it be.
Fernand Léger’s mammoth oil painting entitled –La Ville (1919) is this weeks kick about prompt over on Red’s Kingdom where artists of all stripes have created something in response. After serving in World War 1 Leger came away recollecting upon how conflict forced a new world view of it’s surroundings. Those surroundings in city’s urbanisation characterised by interchanging materials and structures – like Legos that will never fit. I decided to mimic the feeling of constant change. Gritty photos taken from my current stomping ground in and around London are meshed together in a smorgasbord of shapes colours and texture, to highlight the building up and tearing down of the fast paced concrete jungle. I found it a very meditative experience to wander around London, scout out the best shapes, materials and texture and take photos of those blasé everyday things that would otherwise go amiss, afterwards chopping and splicing them up in photoshop and like a postmodern architect try to make something of them again.
When I seen the prompt for Kick About #40 over on reds Kingdom I wanted to see if it was possible to make an animation using the same analogue technique of scraping patterns into black painted glass and using the magic of long exposure to produce a time-lapse of images to see the growth of each burst of light. It was possible – however my original efforts were undesirable and left things a bit muddled. Instead I tried to opt for something simpler by taking photos of each glass setup in pin prick focus and another in a diluted blur to then sandwich both the images next to each other so that a burst of light pops with a simple hard cut in the edit.
I wanted to mimic the life force of a firework display and have the festivities start off slow to gradually bubble to a climax before the the lights fade and the sound of people are no longer completely drowned out. Truth be told I made things harder for myself by shooting each image in 4K and was left scratching my head as to why it was originally painfully slow to edit this short film, by changing the resolution of each image to something my laptop could handle and reimporting, it was a complete joy to edit further. It was the kick in the arse I needed to get on with things and to remember the joy of seeing a short film through its end, lets make it on time for the next one.
Some more explorations with colour and light, using the same paired down kit of a sheet of black painted glass with scribbles dots and whirls scraped onto its surface and propped against a light source. The magic of long exposure photography turning them into ornate stained glass. I’m not quite done delving into this exhilarating technique just yet so expect more to come.
Some more experiments with fizzing stars, flying comets and glowy milky-ways created in response to the Kick About #40! Using the same analogue technique of painting a sheet of glass black, sketching into that glass and propping a light source behind – who knew something so simple could provide oodles of entertainment!?
In the previous post I talked about how the blobby forms of this technique are my favourite. When the cameras focus was changed after the shutter had been pressed and left to linger for a moment made it so that the inside scratches were in focus but the colour bled out past the scratches into blobby forms. It took me a lot of tinkering to realise why my own experiments all were in focus no matter how much I fucked about with aperture and changed the focus, it was simply because my light source – in this case my iPad and laptop with abstract paintings as its wallpaper was sandwiched too close up towards the glass and simply moving the light source back about a foot gave the long lasted impression I longed for, I mean it when I say my face lit up with excitement…
To me the reason that the blobby ones hit different is because they ignite warm nostalgic memories that have otherwise been dormant, memories that are never crystal clear. These batch of images below reminds me of the town that I grew up in during the summer months as kid. August in the scorching heat, the nights pitch black, the annual rickety fair ground would come to town for the summer fair where my cousins, my friends and I would be hopped up on sugar (or booze if we could get it) and hurry onto all the fairground rides that nowadays would never even pass a safety inspection. One ride in particular was a bunch of cages called the rock-n- roll that rolled around as it spun, another ferris wheel form of this called the rock-o- plane were it was high above the ground.
The rock-n- roll ride had a wide strap that was pinned to your waist that was supposed to be your belt and there to protect you, when I look at this image I remember the plethora of bruises we all had on our skinny hips and abdomens from spam riding this death trap and I remember the pain – not from the bruises but from laughing so hard. I remember the rush of legging it onto the bumper cars to not be left with the shits ones that barely moved that would obviously be savaged by the faster glittery few. The smell of oil masked with popcorn, the feel of candy floss masking your teeth with grit as it melts to pure sugar, the sound of old cogs grinding and machines whirring. I remember the diamond shaped lights that rimmed and flickered the fairgrounds makeshift timber and beams. The strobe lights that made would flash making it seem as though we were in slow motion – freeze-framing us as we screamed our lungs out as we rocked and rolled into the night.
With this weekskick about prompt being ancient Japanese illustrations of fireworks or “flowers of fire” you can imagine the offerings from artists all over are bursting with colour, light and pure spectacle! With my own submission I nicked a technique created by Phil Gomm that left my jaw completely ajar which you can see here, here and here The technique is created by simply painting a sheet of glass black, etching into that glass to create dots, swirls and lines and placing a light source behind to then photograph. To see such a simple setup create such magic hit me with a wave of inspiration and I knew it would be something that I would have to give a whirl of sometime. I think creative constraints a lot of time work in you favour as restrictions can stop the overwhelm of choice and help you out in the end and is something I want to remember. What I loved the most about experimenting with this technique is when the light bled out from within the lines to create a blob of colour around the crisp sketching – these examples are the first whack at it and it took me many attempts to figure out why this first batch of offerings are so crisp and do not have those blobs of bleeding colour that I craved. I became a bit obsessed with this outlet so there is many more on the way, including the fun blobby ones.