In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Vivid.”
I love people who look a bit different, and this dad, pushing his daughter on the swings, was in no way conventional. What you can’t see is the huge earring through his left ear: I can tell you it was pretty impressive. However, it was the vividly tattooed legs that made me swing my camera round, especially when seen in the same frame as his daughter’s legs, untouched by needles or ink, their only adornment being little pink socks and white sandals. It was the pure contrast I loved.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Vivid.”
I’ve always loved bright colours, and have the clothes and the decor to prove it.
When I saw that this week’s photo challenge was ‘vivid’ I thought it would be easy to find an image that fitted the title. I was wrong. Much of my work is black and white street photography, and the rest is landscape or family, all of which can be striking but not necessarily vivid.
However, this image was tucked away in an old street album, and I knew it was the one to choose. I remember that day. It was cold but sunny, and as I got on the bus, I was struck by the bright seat colours. In contrast, a couple sitting with their backs to me, looked quite subdued and dull, the only light being from the sun that shone through the window, alternating with the shadows on their heads.
Living as I do, just off the Prom in Blackpool, I see the weather change sometimes as often as every hour. More than any other element we suffer from the high winds gusting in from the Irish sea, bringing with them clouds of sand that sting the eyes, score the walls and work their way insidiously into our attic and under our windowsills.
Last Thursday, I woke to rain pounding at the windows, which eased off as the morning drew to a close. The sun burst through as I finished my lunch, and by the time I left a meeting as early evening approached, the sky was a stunning mix of blue and yellow. I took a few photos as I waited for the tram, and uploaded them the following day.
Examining this picture in the light of the photo challenge I thought about how the pier had been ravaged by the elements. Wind, sand and water had joined forces to rip off cladding, graze the paintwork and rust the structure’s sturdy legs. Below it, the sand had been shaped by another mighty force, the sea. Rivulets curved gracefully across the beach, forming islands and pools where the waves had crashed and pulled and crashed again, until finally admitting defeat and retreating with reluctance back from whence they came.
Our family lives are full of intricacies. How do we cope with life and death? How do we deal with love? I spotted this sad bunch of daffodils with a note attached, marking the bench on the pier where two beloved parents used to sit. Next to it, scratched on the rail was a testament to two other, probably younger, lovers. At this moment, for a short time, till the flowers wilted and the note blew away, these people’s lives were intricately entwined….
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Intricate.”
It was only an hour, killing time whilst I waited to pick up a print. I wandered onto the pier, which was full of early season punters, I spotted the donkeys in the distance through the railings; I watched as families played and kids dug in the sand; dogs ran for frisbees; the big wheel turned slowly, mostly empty; the wurlitzer spun with its sole couple screaming, old men sat with mugs of tea and doorstep sandwiches; the steps, still wet from the sea, became makeshift seats, the sun shone and it looked like summer was on its way. It was a proper Blackpool afternoon
Standing at the tram stop the other night, I was messing with shutter speeds to pass the time, trying to get some blur on moving vehicles, when suddenly a police car came tearing along the tram tracks, leaving this blur of blue lines from its flashing lights. I decided I rather liked it, despite its technical faults.
Reading some of the articles on Minimalist Photography, and looking at the fabulous images (then reading a suggestion for minimalist street photography) got me thinking.
Although I’m a law-abiding citizen, I don’t really like rules. I never have. Maybe I’m just bolshy. I don’t mind a rule (and will abide by it) if there’s a good reason. And it needs to be a genuinely GOOD reason, such as, ‘No leaning over these rails,’ if there’s a forty foot drop the other side. I don’t need telling twice.
What I don’t like is rules for no reason. Sometimes, photography comes into this category. I suppose I like to think I work more instinctively than going through a check list of dos and don’ts. Maybe it’s because I come from an art, rather than a technical background. Don’t get me wrong, I love to know why things work, and I love to know the ins and outs of the camera. We all need the basic technical information before we attempt to shoot, but photography, for me, is all about experimentation: sometimes it works, more often than not, it doesn’t, but whatever happens, I’m more informed the next time I point that camera and click the shutter.
About a year ago, as part of a local art collective, Blott Artist Studios, I was asked to exhibit some work. As well as being bolshy and hating rules I am also the most indecisive person on this planet, so you can imagine the traumas of trying to decide on just six pieces of work. Eventually, after a lot of soul searching and changes of mind, I decided on a series of images which were part of a street photography project, “Passing the Time.”
The first image of the series was taken as I exited a room at an exhibition. Through a small gap, I spotted a man, leaning back against a wall, next to a bright lamp. With the camera on all the wrong settings, I pointed and shot. When I uploaded the image, I decided I liked it. It was stark, high contrast, and by chance, quite minimalistic. The others just followed.
I didn’t give the genre a name apart from ‘Street Photography.’ It was only after reading a recent article that I realised many of the images from the series also fitted into the minimalistic theme.
This next image was taken from North Pier. I watched a group of lads playing on the prom, when what looked like the smallest and youngest of the group, climbed over the railings and slid down onto the lower prom. He was showing off, trying to act big in front of his mates – but soon realised he couldn’t get back up again. He spent the next ten minutes flying up and down the steps as though that was what he’d intended all along. I gave it its title due to the boy’s activity and a lone seagull above him.
A prom shot, late afternoon. I liked the contrast of the man in his suit, reading, and the two girls in leather jackets against the curves of the seats and the lights. Another one on all the wrong settings.
The Comedy Carpet is one of Blackpool’s more recent attractions. Full of funny sayings from comedians, ancient and more recent, it draws holidaymakers and locals, alike. When I spotted this couple, eyes down, reading the quotes I loved the sense of space between them – they seemed lost in their own worlds.
Blackpool prom draws me like a magnet. I love the curves of the seats, the lines of the railings. Early evening is a favourite time, when people are strolling, cycling, heading home or back to hotels. This man was having a well earned rest after what looked like a long cycle ride. What made the picture for me was the gull, perched atop the lights, as though it, too, deserved a break.
Finally, the last of this six that I chose to exhibit, was back at North Pier, a family, picnicking behind the frosted glass, Blackpool Tower in the background. I loved the blurred shapes of the family, the shadows on the wooden boards. This last image is different from the rest: it’s not stark or under exposed, instead it’s busy. It’s not minimalist. To me, this picture sums up Blackpool.
Maybe this final image doesn’t belong in the series, but I like it, it has atmosphere. I chose it. It stays.