1. Photograph Things, Not People

    (Photo by the author)

    Today I had 22 frames shot into a 36 frame film.  33 frames of a recent holiday to Vanuatu.  I really wanted to rattle through those frames and get the film to my favourite lab: ASAP.  So I left the office at lunch time with a camera slung over my shoulder and an intent to snap some shots.

    As I brought the viewfinder to eye to capture an interesting sort of a human I heard a quote loud in my subconscious: ‘photography things not people’.  I can’t tell you where I read/heard/saw/absorbed this - but today it was clear to me.  So, I photographed flowers, roadsigns, pavement, street scenes (wide and not people focussed).

    I can tell you, it’s really very hard, and reminds me of my fledgling photography efforts - where everything was interesting!  A feather in some pebbles, or indeed anything else at all that was a shape, a streak of light, or a ‘thing’.  Before I was brave enough to shoot people.

     
  2. Happiness

    (Photo from the author - http://instagram.com/p/rLC1GnqZmMartwork by https://www.etsy.com/shop/thegryllus)

    I am reading a book about Happiness.  Please, please understand, I am not some mountebank here to flog you a self-help-tome.  Nor am I unhappy or indeed in need of a book on happiness.  It had a pretty cover and I was in an airport.

    Ahem, I am reading a book about happiness.  It has occurred to me to consider what makes me happy.  Bill Murray makes me happy - hence he now is lofted proudly upon the wall in the study above the fireplace, his rightful home.  I look at him and smile, broadly.

    The book on happiness has also given me a more tangible notion: to publish my own blog in hardcover, dust jacketed, coffee table, book form.  The number of copies? 1.  This is for me.  So that my ramblings and interests and other uninteresting dalliances are captured in a hardcopy for me and my loved ones to idly turn pages of and …well, hopefully, smile.

    As it is suggest, lulu.com seems to be the place - and when I suggested publishing a “Volume I” to a friend, they swiftly suggest a delineation in blogs as a end point for the first volume.  Here it is… Pre 21 Jan 2014 is the first volume.  Post is the beginning of “Volume II”. 

    I reviewed my first ever blog post today, and had a smile reading it, immediately dropping the grin to a consternated frown as I realised some of the links were already dead.  So for the next while I shall be downloading content and formatting my blogs for a coffee table book.  I relish the challenge and the opportunity to review what I wrote 3 years, 6 months and a whole other life ago …pre 21 Jan 2014.

     
  3. Seasons

    (Photos by the author, Oxfordshire Spring Rape, Whangamata Harbour Summer, Hamilton City Autumn LeavesNew Forest Winter Ponies)

    PRAY but one prayer for me ‘twixt thy closed lips,
    Think but one thought of me up in the stars.
    The summer night waneth, the morning light slips,
      Faint and gray ‘twixt the leaves of the aspen, betwixt the cloud-bars,
    That are patiently waiting there for the dawn:
      Patient and colourless, though Heaven’s gold
    Waits to float through them along with the sun.
    Far out in the meadows, above the young corn,
      The heavy elms wait, and restless and cold
    The uneasy wind rises; the roses are dun;
    Through the long twilight they pray for the dawn
    Round the lone house in the midst of the corn.
      Speak but one word to me over the corn,
      Over the tender, bow’d locks of the corn.
    Summer Dawn - William Morris 1843-1896

    Morris’ ill ease and anticipation speak to me.  Thirteen days from Spring, a daffodil stands brashly in the garden claiming it’s place.  The cherry blossoms line the sun kiss’d side of the road and bud on the cold.  We are near a change in season - and I am jactitating about my soul for it.

    Seasons change.  It is an axiom of autumn, a certainty of spring, wrested into winter and soaring in the summer - it happens.  Yet, my observation of thus was always not so measured.  Perhaps it was immaturity but in days past I never sat in a park bench and pondered over the petals of primula as a precursor of spring.  It is not until I lived in a hemisphere almost entirely antipode of my home that I understood or cherished the seasons.  It is when I lived in a truly temperate oceanic climate askance of a continental cousin that I started to pay attention.  When winters became short freezing and staying frozen days, when spring heralded and explosion of growth from tilled soils, when summer baked out into long dry days - reading by sunlight outdoors long past 10pm… autumn came and set afire the colours of the leaves, huge swathes of country side aglow in orange.  It is experiencing this and the genuine changes in temperature, wind, rain and sky that I learned to love seasons.

    I was worried that when I flew south and back to places I could call home - only a degree or two from humid subtropical that I would lose the opportunity to appreciate my new found love of solstices.  I needn’t have fretted.  I have, so far, been home through a long baking summer of sun, sand, sea, seafaring, sequester and sordidness; all of the auspices of autumn and now the withering winter.  I have noticed these three seasons clearly and distinct delineations of one-another.

    Now with the heralding of the hopes of spring by some of the talismans and tells of that season I find myself ready for long days and the rich smell of spring rainfall on hot asphalts.  Because I have learnt to accept the seasons and in and along with their metaphor for life, that things change.  The bold and aromatic Basil which was so pronounced through summer will blacken and die at the first frosts.  The ground will be cold and hard and the adjustment savage.  But things will change. Winter will wane and a new day comes.  Things, times, purposes, reasons, changes, regrets, losses, life.   

     
  4. Slow Down

    (Photo by the author, December 2013, between Abu Dhabi and Dubai with the lovely Ms. Julia Ormond)

    Look at me, hair blown, 120km h−1, rather a lot in love with life.  I am in the fast lane and happy.  Sometimes that’s all you want, a fast car, a good friend and a destination.  Yet, at others you need and want to go slow, have time to stop and appreciate things… to photograph.  

    It was a delicious day today, as I awoke, preempting my alarm by 7 minutes, I felt the crisp cool near frost temperatures of a clear winter morning, seeping under drapes and into the bedroom.  I had two cameras with films nearly used and I knew I would be covering some beautiful and varied scenery.

    I had every intention of taking my time and driving slow.  I had to pick up my grandmother in a town 35km up SH1, then we would travel to my mothers through 115km of farm land, plains, river gorges and costal roads.  Lunch on the orchard and then 105km over a pronounced range with stunning views and then a lakeside drive.  Primula planting and then, lastly, 35km home - at sunset with a massive golden orb against pure azure skies.

    Guess how many photos I took today?  None.  Not one.  I didn’t slow down 20km into my journey for whisky tendrils of fog sliding down a hillside.  I didn’t stop for early and sharp sun framing a mountain peak.  I certainly didn’t even hazard a glance at warm afternoon sun striking through a glade.  I didn’t take a single photo.

    Instead I tore nearly 300km around this beautiful island, never once backtracking, and didn’t take a single photo.  Instead I growled at Sunday drivers, focused on the tripmeter in the dash and was to focused on the timings of the day to consider the splendour.

    I hope that’s a lesson learned :)

     
  5. Loving it.

    (Source: photosforae)

     
  6. This is where it comes from.

     
  7.  

  8. Stop Somewhere and Wait

    I am at a photography event, the most wonderful classic Kiwi artist (wild haired, pounamu, sandles, candour) just told me to do one thing:

    Find somewhere which is a non-space, with the right light, sit and wait for something to happen.

     
  9. The Lost Film

    You know, it always seems to be black and white films that I lose.  I once wrote here; about the joy of rediscovering photos you took more than a little while ago.  The last time it happened it was unquestionably my fault.  This time, however, I can’t take all the blame.  I shot the Abu Dhabi films and then sent them away to be developed and scanned.  I exfiltrated myself back to New Zealand via the charity of friends and family, one day finally feeling settled enough to review the UAE.

    I had carried home with me the CD of scans, not the negatives and alway felt slightly ajar at feeling there was more than the 5 films scanned.  But, my negatives were with friends in England and buried in a rude pile of abandoned belongings.  So, for the last 6 months, I have mulled, mentally ruminated and subconsciously remonstrated (the film lab who may have short changed me a scan).

    In an unexpected but truly cherished display of friendship, my abandoned belongings have been sorted, packed and shipped to me.  Carefully chosen and placed in the parcels was an envelope of negatives.  The joy of being reunited with trinkets and curios which hold unexpected sentimental value is a true joy.  But the vindication of 6 months of subconscious wringing and throes is a sublime delight indeed.

    After a visit to my local and so far faultless lab I have been reunited with 37 frames I had lost.  Which are 37 frames I almost didn’t care for.  I carried black and white film with me to Abu Dhabi, and immediately regretted my decision, when assaulted by the quality and quantity of light.  Desert winter light is rich but subtle, abundant and rewarding.

    This film was loaded and shot in haste: perhaps this is why I find it so rewarding?  Partly as it was lost, but partly as it was never worth much to begin with.  Much like the worn and sea tumbled slate tile I picked up from a Purbeck beach, I use it as a coaster, and it has only just been reunited with me.  I like it, despite because of its lack of obvious value. 

     
  10. Sometimes when I am watching the world through a lens, I am being watched through a lens…

    Exhibits 1a, 1b; 2a, 2b; 3a, 3b.