I first came across this Ian MacDonald print at the Impressions Gallery In York, and on that occasion I got a postcard of this image. We were probably visiting my wife Jane’s sister Felicity, during her few years in the city. The Impressions Gallery was at the the time one of the few galleries where you could go to see great photography being properly treated as ‘art’. Alas we aren’t much better here in the UK 45 years on…there still aren’t many ‘photography galleries’!
Ian MacDonald is a photographer working in the Cleveland area of the North East and many of his photos illustrate the industrial nature of the area, as indeed does this one, showing Cote Hill Island at Greatham Creek in Teesmouth.
This looks like a landscape…but the overgrown island and the Tees industry in the distance certainly don’t conform to the ‘pastoral landscapes’ that still dominate landscape photography to this day. However, with the perfect framing of this image, I find myself wanting to walk into the picture and explore that place…that’s something that the most interesting photography…and painting is able to make you want to do.
I love the elevated viewpoint looking down onto the temporary looking huts on the island with it’s rickety wooden walkway and the ‘still’ but bright water, accentuated by those heavy clouds hanging over the scene. It was part of Ian’s work around Greatham Creek between 1974 and 75 and was indeed exhibited at the Impressions Gallery in the early 1980’s and this image is on the front cover of Ian’s book ‘Images of the Tees’
George Wright is a freelance photographer living near my local town of Bridport in Dorset. On the 23rd January, at the Bridport Arts Centre and accompanied by the writer Horatio Morpurgo, George gave a very interesting talk, in a relaxed, fluid style, explaining his influences and photographic career. This was to coincide with an exhibition of George’s recent work upstairs at The Allsop Gallery
After returning from a posting in Germany, my father ended up at a pretty boring RAF camp in Norfolk. This was RAF Feltwell, once a wartime bomber base that now had no aircraft, just three enormous Thor Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles. The Thor’s…just sat there. Well when in ‘firing position’ they did, otherwise they lay down in their enormous concrete housings, masking their fearsome nuclear capabilities. We moved from an RAF quarter at Feltwell and bought a bungalow at a nearby village, Weeting and I started at Thetford Boys Grammar School, a somewhat long bus ride away.
It was at this time, when I was 12 going on 13, in early 1960 that I fell in love with ‘planes’. Alas with none immediately nearby, I started cycling to visit the US base at Lakenheath and subsequently continued on the few more miles to Mildenhall.
I’m a film photographer again….having been through the ‘digital phase’ …and come out the other side. I love shooting film in my 30 year old Hasselblads. But V Series Hasselblads come with wonderful interchangeable film backs of course…and they can use digital backs instead of film and yes I do now also have a digital back. Not a Hasselblad CFV-50C or a Phase One, but very old Leaf Aptus 22MP model from way back in 2005. Even I know there are many advantages to digital…as sometimes I want to see or use an image immediately and it’s great for portrait work. So lets see what was required to change the old dead internal battery in my Leaf Aptus 22.
For a few years I have been scanning film, originally my old negatives and more recently my new Hasselblad film images. I started with an Epson 4870 flat bed and soon learned that it wasn’t giving me the quality of scan that I knew my negatives deserved. There was a trouble with a flat bed like that, it didn’t have any accurate focusing instead relying on a pre-set focus. That required the negative to be at the exact focus point the manufacturer had pre-set. Alas the Epson holders weren’t engineered accurately enough and my images were not ‘grain’ sharp. Just as in the old dark-room printing days I judged the sharpness by the film grain.
Driving past Chichester on Wednesday last week, I couldn’t help dropping in to see more of Michael Kenna’s prints at the superb Bosham Gallery.
In my previous post I talked about my delight at the ‘Michael Kenna – 45 Retrospective Exhibition’ that was showing through the summer. They had followed it up with another featuring his work called ‘New and Rare Works’ running from 2nd to 28th September…so just a few days left to see it as I write this.
I was able to chat with the owner Luke Whittaker, who had obviously set up a very good relationship with Michael to get more prints personally produced by him to show. There were indeed some ‘New’ ones but also some that had ‘sold out’ of the artists 45 print editions. For these Michael had released ‘Artist Proofs’ from his archives.
I was bold over by one of his images taken in Hokkaido back in 2002. A picture I had never seen before.
I’ve finally made it to the wonderful 45 year retrospective exhibition of Michael Kenna’s work at the lovely little gallery at Bosham, near Chichester.
It was pleasing to see the care with which the owner Luke Whitaker and manager Angus Heywood had put into choosing and hanging the 42 prints from Michael’s years of image making since the 1970’s through to this year.
Michael has always been the most intelligent and thoughtful of photographers and you can’t help but notice how consistent his photographic style has been since his earliest days. Quite remarkable in fact to have distilled your ‘vision’ into something so long ago and not feel the need to change it, only to refine it.
I’ve been shooting long exposures of the moon ‘rising and setting’ ever since I went back to using a film camera, a few years ago now. I was taken with an image by, once again, Michael Kenna, of the moon rising over the Chausey Islands off the French coast. I realised that over the years I had photographed the moon many times, but never as a really, really long exposure. The magic that happens during an excessively long exposure is quite wonderful and Kenna had started a whole ‘minimalism movement’ in monochrome photography with his ‘frozen water’ and also his many images by moonlight. Others had done long exposures before but Kenna did lots of it and made some outstanding pictures…as he still does.
My last post was about the recent Hasselblad product announcements and particularly about the slim little ‘body’, that Hasselblad is calling the 907X.
The Hasselblad press announcement stated that it would be able to take, in addition to the obvious XCD lenses from the X-1D camera, the H Series lenses and also the ancient V Series.
Here’s a look at what I think that means. Hasselblad, along with others like FotoDiox, Klipon and Cambo, have all been making Hasselblad lens adapters for sometime. But let’s start with the Hasselblad adapters currently for the X-1D camera.
Hasselblad just made a set of surprise announcements. They are going to be selling a Mark 2 version of their most beautiful looking digital camera to date, the X-1D. It has a better touch screen and I do hope it will fix some of the things they omitted when the original X-1D came out. I hope they’ve remembered that photographers need a proper ‘remote release’…you can’t rely on being tethered to remotely fire a camera. Also they must fix the small built in delay the camera suffers from. Pressing a shutter must be instant!
Although staying with the 50Meg pixel resolution, the X-1D also gets another new lens…fine, but the best news for ‘old dinosaurs’ like me who love their old V Series film cameras is that we haven’t been forgotten.