A terrible thing happened…

New Year’s Day 2011.  A terrible thing happened to me that day – something that I am still struggling to come to terms with almost 5 months later.  I turned 50.  Not the end of the world, you might think.  Maybe not for some people, but it felt very much like it for me, and it still does.

So what’s the problem?  Why does 50 feel so very very bad when 49 was kind of ok?

I think there are several things going on here but a big part of it for me is the inevitable looking back over the last 10 years.  Whatever happened to those years?  What did I do?  What did I achieve?  If I am honest, I have feelings of regret over projects that never got started, ideas that never saw the light of day, and dreams that remain unfulfilled.  On a very personal level, the death of my wife Teresa to cancer in the Autumn of 2000 was another 10 year anniversary that just happened to take place only a few months before my 50th birthday.  If ever I need a reminder of how fragile life can be, I need look no further.

So what can I do now to make myself feel better?

Well, I had a cathartic experience (not in the medical sense I hasten to add) at the Focus on Imaging (Photography) Exhibition in March 2011.  I made a point of being present at the Royal Photographic Society’s stand when Wimbledon accredited photographer Duncan Grove FRPS gave a presentation all about his transformation from a camera club photographer (like myself) into an accomplished semi professional photographer, who not only has his place in the Centre Court, but also regularly writes for photographic magazines.

His presentation was a revelation for me.  Why? For the simple reason that he clearly and concisely took his audience through each and every step as he explained how he had taken his dream and turned it into a highly succesful reality.  Not only that, the software he uses to manage his workflow, and update his website turned out to be exactly the same software (Adobe Lightroom) that I have already been using myself for several years.

The result of all this?  Well, there’s this blog for a start.  Somewhere to note down my thoughts and track my progress as I travel on my photographic journey of discovery.

Then there’s my web site, the showcase for my own photography.  If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Duncan should feel very flattered as I have attempted to follow his instructions as closely as I could.

Now all that remains is for me to furnish my site with images of a similar quality.  That is the big challenge…


Exhibitions Journal

A visit to the Usher Gallery in Lincoln

I was fortunate over the Easter weekend to visit the Usher Gallery in Lincoln.  The guest exhibition was called Food Chain and featured the work of documentary photographers Nick May and Ben Holland. The images and accompanying video footage portray the working lives of workers, many of them migrants, in the food production and packaging industries in the south of Lincolnshire.

I got a strong sense of the terrific work ethic of all the workers portrayed, especially from the descriptive notices accompanying each image, and the video footage.

What I got from the photos was a strong sense of the humanity and dignity of the workers, young and old, and their determination to do their utmost to support themselves and their families.

The role of the gangmasters, and that of the big supermarkets was also portrayed very clearly, a real eye-opener.  I found the exhibition both disturbing and uplifting at the same, uplifting because of the human spirit that shines clearly through the portraits of the workers despite the long hours, poor conditions and low pay they endure.

The exhibition runs until 30th May 2011

Click here for further information


My Photographic Journey

Welcome to the very first post of my blog.

I have titled it “My Photographic Journey” because I am planning to embark on a photographic journey of discovery which will (hopefully) improve my appreciation of photography in general and photographic art in particular.  At this stage, I’m not 100% clear on where the journey is going to take me (which is good), or what I ultimately aim to have achieved by the end of it.  What I do know is that I am looking forward to learning all about the great photographers of the past and present, and I am looking forward to challenging my preconceived ideas about contemporary art and the slightly mysterious (to me) world of fine art photography.  I am also hoping that a better appreciation of the art of photography will allow me to be more critical and objective about my own work, a process that will hopefully enable me to take my photography to a higher level.