The business of photography has become tougher every year and this is not just down to the financial crisis. Everyone now considers themselves a photographer, even though they have no idea of the market they are dabbling in. This has destroyed business for the professionals and many can not survive and make an honest living. I have reverted to taking images for myself only and have to tend to a day job in order to continue my photography.
This is the space I share my images, gripes and experiences.
Being a self-made Christmas Grump, I am glad that the festivities have passed. Essentially its a holiday for those that want to spend time with the family and especially have some excitement for the kids.
Well, the family didn't visit and I ain't got no kids. So, I despise the money-spending and shopping for stuff that eventually nobody wants or needs and blame the rising personal national debt on traders and advertising campaigns.
Best place to be on Christmas is out walking the dog!
A few days ago I met a gentleman who shares my passion for film and Black and White Photography. Deep in conversation I realized that I have all this film and equipment lying at home and do not use it enough to make it worthwhile. Essentially I talk, write and think more about taking good pictures than actually doing it.
The conversation we held over a cup of coffee remained with me for that evening and I decided to make an effort and... be inspired.
In the spirit of making it in B&W Photography, I have joined an online forum called the Film and Darkroom User (FADU). Its great for gaining further knowledge and developing skills in the area of B&W Film processing and printing. I shall follow it with interest and ample contribution.
Check it out and you shall be enlightened.
Therefore today's images:
Dog and Ball, a natural connection.
However, it will become a challenge if the ball is bigger than the 'gob'. 'Drop it!' is out of the question.
(Nikon F6, Nikkor 50mm 1.8D)
Fancied a play with a macro lens. (Nikon F6, Nikkor Micro 105mm G, F2.8/3s)
Most photographers that have been around for a few years started with film, transparencies or even Black and White Film. The challenge to go digital occupied photographers greatly in order to move with the markets and customer requirement.
I was fortunate enough to, or at least I had the money, start out with digital photography.
I have learnt to hate it.
I now spend far too much time in front of the computer and too little time taking good quality images. I never used to place enough effort into getting an image right in the first place and relied far too much on computer generated manipulation.
I have the honor to announce, on this very day, that I have given up digital photography! My Nikon F6 with its fantastic features has become my best friend and 'special' images will be shot on my trusted Mamiya RB 67. Quality will be placed at the forefront and quantity is a banned word.
So, if you want masses of pictures quickly: GO AWAY and don't come back!
If you want quality, be prepared to wait, as film processing takes time and effort by a specialist.
Conducting my duty in Iraq was stressful and draining and I often found myself looking for a quiet place to gather my thoughts in order to re-gain my emotional energy. Such a place was just round the corner of the entrance door to our operations room.
It was a set of two benches placed in a corner of our blast-walled compound forming the smoking area.
Some engineer or 'wanna-be' carpenter must have thrown them together with a few nails and some rough timber from pallets.
However, now that they have been placed in the same location for 6 years, baked and bone dry from the sun, barely seeing shade under the torn and dilapidated cam-net, the timbers are close to falling apart. The wood had shrunk under the dry climate barely giving the oversized nails anything to hold on to.
Many a soldier had sat here, smoking away and carving their marks in the edges of the boards. Some say each cut symbolizes a kill of enemy forces, others are the opinion that it must have been the desire to leave one's mark before perishing in combat.
The benches are part of the history of our unit.
I wanted to retrieve them and bring them home, however they were left to the US Forces taking over from us. I miss sitting on those benches. They symbolize peace and quiet, a place where I was able to gather my thoughts and recuperate from the daily stress whilst smoking my pipe. May they give US Soldiers the peace that I found whilst serving in Iraq.
All Images were shot on a Nikon F6 using Kodak TMax400 film.
Not that we are all living in a shade of grey and dull green, but that seems to what the world is coming to. We are wasting our planet away, either by poisoning it with crude oil or by destroying it by war. It will all end in tears if we do not do something about it.
Additionally, have we not all had enough of war and destruction, loss of life and sacrifice?
It also costs money... lots of it, and we are all paying for it, one way or another.
Whilst the Golf of Mexico is being poisoned by crude oil and New York City is planning to introduce a non-refundable $300.00 photography fee (only in America!), citizens of Iraq are facing far greater challenges... Life!
Meet Karim; a laborer for the British forces for the duration of the British campaign in Basra. He used to be a soldier of the republican guard of Iraq's forces during the war between Iraq and Iran. He was taken prisoner by Iran and tortured, mutilated and nearly beaten to death. He has no worries in life other than seeking happiness for his wives and children. He used to say that as long as he is alive and well and his family is looked after he will not desire anything else in this world. When the British troops pulled out of Iraq he was offered a sum of money for his service or a permit to reside in the UK with his family and make a life in Europe. He decided to stay in Iraq, his home, his country. He has great hopes for Iraq. He hopes for a better future; a future without razor wire and violence.
Whilst I do not always manage to take images every day, I do search the web for images that I find astoundingly impressive. Today I came across Washington-based photomicrographer Charles Krebs who does stunning stuff with his camera equipment.Take a look!
I've been busy lately shooting in the UK. Even though I have been back in Germany since my last trip to the UK, I had to fly to Birmingham again to attend a conference and shoot some covers for some boring magazines. Don't get me wrong, the images are not boring at all, I just don't think that the magazine is interesting in any shape or form. I will not buy it.
Also, I dug out my 12 year old Olympus Mju II again and loaded it with some TMax 400 B&W Film. Results will be shown here soon.
Been back to the UK last week. It really aggravated me that I was unable to link up to the net in order to maintain my updates. I had loads to share.
For starters, I went back to see to some business that occupied me for only 16 hours in total. Driving over there from Germany by car seemed lunacy as I was away from my accommodation in NRW for over 4 days... just to attend 2 meeting that were no more work than 16 hours?
I am not doing that one again! I will fly across next time, no matter the cost.
Well, this time round I may have been stuck due to the volcano's eruption in Iceland.
My brother is stuck in Madrid with his wife on a forced holiday extension. Lucky him!
The driver of this Range Rover actually transported this Gas Bottle on the back seat of his vehicle... until the coppers stopped him and passed on a hefty fine; just as he deserved.
I have finally finished scanning the latest batch of images. I can tell you that I am sick and tired of sitting at the computer now. I am a photographer, not a computer operator. I hope that in future I ill be able to farm the scanning out to others... its soooo boring.
So, now that I am done I have to look at each image and edit what is good and chuck what is bad. That will also take ages...
I am not doing that again. I left it far too long to develop films. I racked up 28 rolls of 35mm and 8 rolls of medium format. That is just too much!
Dog Handler in Iraq 2008
(Edited, not retouched)
One of many Dog Handlers of the British Army that risked life and limb of his dog and himself in order to provide security to his comrades and the people of Iraq. He never questioned why he was sent there, nor did he take sides in a conflict that was understood to be of questionable legality from the onset. What counts is that both pictured above returned safely after contributing to one of history's events in this world.
Watering Time! 2008
A military Working Dog of the British Armed Forces being offered water during the hottest time of the day in the area of Basra, Iraq. Daytime temperatures during November may reach up to 40 degrees Celsius. Cool water can be a life safer for man and canine.
Crash in North Wales! 2007
Excessive speed and wet roads turn into a recipe for disaster when not respected in traffic.
Went shopping with the wife today for our weekly food-shop. She thrives on that and leaves me in peace sipping a coffee in a cafe. That gives me a chance to catch up with all the news in the photography world by reading the newest magazines and papers.
After this 'exciting' event I returned to scanning. I have reached the 542 mark but there is still no end in sight. Find below another edit. Its nothing great, just an edit that I made whilst waiting for the scanner to do its thing.
The wife is also starting to irritate me now with her naggin' about what I need to do for her. She keeps interrupting me, bothering me with niff'naff' and trivia. I think she doesn't really want me occupied with anything that hasn't to do with her.
I am at it again... scanning that is. Whilst the light beam covers the negatives I managed to re-touch one of the images. I was all surprised that my computer didn't freeze up by doing too many things at once.
Gas Cock! Its what is left of the ancient barn! Demolished!
I have decided that scanning is my fate. It is after all my own fault for pursuing a career in photography.
Images scanned so far: 412
Images edited so far:2
= NOT GOOD
= NOT COST EFFECTIVE:-(
Its my brother's birthday today. I must ring him. Last year I forgot..... (BAD Duncan!)
This scanning is doing my head in. I have been bogged down with this for far too long. I have to find the money to farm this out to others!
Also I found another 6 rolls of film that I hadn't even developed yet. I bet it is loads of documentation of last year's Basra visit. If there is anything decent in it I'll show it here.
The wife is getting aggrevated because I am glued to the computer all the time when I should be mowing the lawn and she has threatened to starve me if I don't tend to my husbandly duties!!! Buggr! I can't have that! I love food!
I'll be seeing my printer on Friday. Hopefully I will get my first hand print back by then. If he is good, I'll have all by images done by him... let's hope.