It’s not free (part 1)

I need someone to fix my car. A friend of mine has a spanner but I thought it would be easier if you did it. I'll tell everyone that you fixed my car and you’ll get more clients.
I just need you to install my washing machine. It’ll only take a couple of minutes so you won’t want paying, will you?
I know my house cost a lot of money. That's why I don't have much money left to paint it, so can you do it for free?
My friend had arranged give me a lift to the airport but he's ill. Could you take me instead?

Would you say this to a mechanic, plumber, decorator or taxi driver?

Assuming you wouldn’t, why do so many people say these things to photographers (and musicians, dancers, etc)?

There is not even the slightest hint at payment. If the sentence started with ‘
How much would it cost’ or ‘What would you charge me’, it would sound so much better. It’s the supposition that the work will be done free of charge that annoys. Whether an artist charges should be their decision, not yours.

To be continued Happy
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The future

dad008

Just a photo of a boy with a ball in the late 1940s, however, I owe this young man an enormous debt of gratitude. He is responsible for what you see now. 65 years ago, when this photo was taken, who could have suspected where I would end up or what I would be doing.
But back to the kid in the photo. He managed to escape the steelmills of Sheffield by enlisting in the army. This took him to a small town on the English Welsh border. After being posted to the south of England, the south of Wales, and then Germany he came back to this small town, but lived across the border inside Wales. While in Germany he bought a camera a Canon FP which he later gave to me in exchange for a point and shoot. It was my first SLR, although not my first camera, and before that he had instilled an interest in photography in me. Now, with the Canon, I suddenly had a whole new world open up in front of me. And he was always on hand to guide me through this new world.
In the same way that when you learn to cycle, you don't realise that your parents are not holding onto the seat anymore because you're too busy looking where you're going, now is when I realise how important he was in sending me on my way into the world.
Thanks dad.



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Exhibitions

Exhib004

Like buses, nothing for ages and then three come along at once!
First, with the Plec Collective in Res Non Verba, next with El Mirall Que Ens Mira in the Department of Culture, Lleida.
Finally, with Albert Bonet, Caballer Sumalla and Ermengol in Malignum Castrum, Os de Balaguer.
Thank you to everyone who worked to make this possible.


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Photos are for everyone

unknown

Late last year I did a photo shoot with a friend. It's difficult to know what to call her, I suppose the most common term would be cancer survivor, certainly not a victim of cancer. She, like many others, has fought very hard to overcome the disease and she decided to have some photos to remember what she looked like after she had finished her chemotherapy. It is easy to forget things as they slip into the past, photography helps us to remember: by freezing time, we create moments that live forever.

While I was waiting for her I started to get nervous, I had never shot anyone suffering from an illness, or at least that I was aware of. All sorts of things were going through my head: all the ‘what ifs’ of a normal shoot plus the added unknown quality of someone who has been through a lot of varying treatment and has lost her hair as a result. A bald man is not unusual, a woman without hair is. When the wig came off she seemed just as beautiful, only differently so. We chatted about what she had been through and how she was, the effect on her family, and very soon the shoot was over.

What made it special for me was that I was being allowed to show something which is normally hidden from society, and in my view I was empowering someone to feel better about the way they looked. In this society, obsessed with image, it's good to show things as they are, especially if this helps people come to terms with difficulties, whether they be mental or physical, from illness or injury.

Check out the work by
Jade Beale and David Jay, both of whom are working hard to challenge popular conception of what is attractive in this modern world.

To the memory of MHG 1939-1999
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Lines, details and shadows

You don’t need to use a dSLR to take photos which are good enough (referring to quality not taste) to put on social media.
You can use a compact camera or your phone (provided it has a camera!) and the results will be postable (PetaPixel - relative sensor sizes).

You will need to look around, though.

Attachment-1

The photo above was taken at a pedestrian crossing. I noticed the stones first of all, and wanting to use their tiny shadows to best effect, I took the shot looking down. That was when I saw that the yellow markings added a splash of muted colour to the dull concrete and cement. Don’t be in too much of a hurry, take your time to see.

photo

I took this shot a couple of minutes later. The shadow of the tree caught my eye and, with the fortunate positioning of the sun at this time of year and that time of day, the buildings across the street added their own geometry. Again, the muted colours add enough interest to enliven the image.

Obviously, you will need time to take photos, so allow an extra five minutes to your journey to work. Even better, use photography to get more exercise, go for a walk around and see what you can find. Keep your eyes open. Look up, down, all around - don’t forget to look behind you!
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Cultural magazine

Plec

It’s a bit late, but better late than never!

A new cultural magazine for Lleida covering (we hope) a niche in the market. 32 pages to be published quarterly, although we are thinking of fattening it up to 40 pages for the next edition.
We hope to show that there has always been, is and will be culture outside Barcelona, and that it’s good.

If you can’t get hold of a copy (or would like to contribute or feature), drop me a line.
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Red is not the only colour

Rose (6)

Flowers are a good thing, a sweet thing to give a lady. But it is always roses, always red, and always perfect hothouse blooms when they can come by them.

Patrick Rothfuss


Sometimes that which appears most beautiful, is not at all fragrant.
Close your eyes! Do not be misled by them.

Me Winking

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Vision

Rose (4)

What do you see here?

A long-nosed bespectacled man with a duck on the back of his head?

Whatever it is, it would smell as good by any other name Happy

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More water

Vall de Cardos 2012-08-19 at 20-44-47 - Version 2

Higher than the last water post (26/03/13).

With the state of the weather this weekend you could be forgiven for not wanting to think about water, but it’s still a problem. Not only is shortage an issue, a surfeit also causes difficulties.

Here is a idea to reduce the risk of flooding.
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St George

Lleida 2012-11-27 at 15-55-57 - Version 2

After a short break (hours went missing from my days), I’m back with a little reflection on 23rd April in Catalonia.

What’s wrong with this photo?
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Storm clouds

Lleida 2012-07-28 at 19-02-54 - Version 2

Storm clouds behind. Storm clouds ahead.

Gimme shelter.

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Mammatus

Lleida 2012-07-28 at 18-29-42 - Version 2

A relatively unusual cloud formation seen over Lleida in July.

Lleida 2012-07-28 at 18-36-33 - Version 2

If you would like to know more about clouds go to the Cloud Appreciation Society
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Under a Blood Red Sky

Silencio 2013-03-29 at 09-13-18 - Version 2

Not really a reference the their last good record.

There’s a bit of everything here - from capillary, a nick while shaving, to spurting artery.

Maybe I should use it to illustrate the book of Revelation (there’s no moon, but you can’t have everything, can you?).
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The past

Llywyngwril058

One of the first photos that I ever took and still have.

It was taken at Llwyngwril, on the Welsh coast, in 1974. My dad had given me a 120 format camera, mostly plastic, which I took with me.

Some things have not changed, of the seven remaining images, five are landscapes!
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Man & Nature

Silencio 2013-03-29 at 09-05-16 - Version 2

This is a common theme in my work. I like to observe how the man-made elements and the natural elements fit together. I usually show how man encroaches into nature, if possible, from a different viewpoint.

Typically, we don’t tend to notice nature when we are in a man-made environment. In contrast, when we are enjoying nature, concrete and steel intrude.

Next time you’re driving along the motorway, take a look around (while keeping an eye on the road!), nature will be there for you.
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Salmon sky

Lleida 2011-12-18 at 18-28-17 - Version 2

After a cold, windy, overcast day, a little color to brighten things up.

(Taken Dec. 2011)
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Full moon

Silencio 2013-03-29 at 00-30-01 - Version 2

Moon over Governador Moncada.

It’s not Bourbon Street, but it’ll do.
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Talking head

Miravall 2013-04-01 at 17-11-50 - Version 2

Due to direct natural light, and a complex set of reflections from a tiled, sloping windowsill, the speaker’s shadow was projected in an unusual way. The fact that there was a mantlepiece just at the right height was a bonus.
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Hidden faces

Lleida 2013-03-31 at 23-31-52 - Version 2

A fresco in Albi cathedral with hidden faces; how many can you find?

Apologies for the quality, no flash was allowed and I was traveling without a tripod.

Taken with an EOS 600.
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Nest building

Lleida 2013-03-30 at 18-56-16 - Version 2

Spring is here and this stork is dedicating itself to a spot of nest building.
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A crock of gold

Silencio 2013-03-29 at 08-55-52 - Version 2

If you’re looking for riches, head to Alfés, Lleida.

This photo shows rainbow coming out of the village, so according the legend, that’s where you’ll find the gold.

Bearing in mind that the photo was taken on Good Friday, there may be a more spiritual, and less material, meaning.
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Family day out

Dog driver 2013-03-28 at 19-47-35 - Version 2

Always have your camera ready, which is much easier nowadays with smartphone cameras.

I came across this ‘family’ in a supermarket car-park in Montpellier. The characters of the dogs hit me immediately: the ‘macho’ driver, angry with everyone; the long-suffering passenger-wife, almost embarrassed by the fuss being made by the driver-husband; the teenager sitting in the back, ignoring what’s going on up front.

Taken with an EOS 600.
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Taking a break

Lleida 2013-03-26 at 10-30-50 - Version 2

This worker nearly got squashed as she rested on my pedal. For a moment I thought she was blossom from one of the trees, but something didn’t seem right and I took a closer look.

Bees are at more risk from nenicotinoids and loss of habitat than my big feet.
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Water

Lleida 2013-03-26 at 10-46-17 - Version 2

H20

It covers 70% of the earth’s surface.
It’s the thing we look for on other planets in the solar system.
Its solid state marks 0, and its gaseous state 100, on the Celsius scale. Its triple point is 0.01º C.
It features as an element in many ancient beliefs.
It can be destructive, or have a jewel-like quality (as in the photo).
It can blight a British barbeque, spoil Semana Santa in Seville, or wash out a wedding in Wales.

In some parts of the world, you turn on the tap and out it comes. Whereas in too many other areas people have to walk miles to get theirs, which is all too frequently polluted or carrying disease. According to water.org, 3.4 million people die each year due to this, and a total of 783 million people, worldwide, lack access to clean drinking water.

So next time you’re near a river, lake or the sea (or getting rained on), remember how valuable water is, and when you turn on the tap - give thanks!



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More Vincent

Vincent HRD Black Prince 2013-03-24 at 20-13-53 - Version 2
Another shot from the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull.

This time it’s a Vincent Black Prince. A swan-song from the Vincent HRD company. Production began in the spring of ’55 but the company folded before Christmas that year. Basically, it’s an enclosed Black Shadow (the less sporty version of yesterday’s Black Lightning).

Vincent Owner’s Club

Taken with a 1964 Canon FP.

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Vincent HRD

Vincent HRD 2013-03-24 at 18-25-33 - Version 2
A (now scanned) photo I took at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, sometime in the late 80s.

A Vincent Black Lightning 1000cc V-twin.

There was a bit of ‘clean space’ behind and I made the most of it. I loved the light, but I’d forgotten my light meter! A bit of guesswork and it didn’t come out too badly.

Taken with a 1964 Canon FP.
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Parhelion

Cloud
A sundog seen from Lleida, February 2013.

If you want to know more about this phenomenon, check out this entry from the Cloud Appreciation Society.
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Don’t just look behind - look all around

Web

Looking behind you is always good advice. It’s easy to miss a great shot because you only look forwards, but how many do you miss because you didn’t look up and down. The spider’s web in the photo was nestled between the handrail, upright and glass panel of a footbridge over the river Segre.

On a cold, foggy morning, the bridge wasn’t bustling with pedestrians. Even so, nobody noticed the jewelled engineering that was hidden in full view. Perhaps it is a lot to expect ‘ordinary’ people to notice these things, no-one looked beyond the figure of the crouching photographer to see what he was photographing. However, as photographers we have to notice these small things, they are ephemeral, begging to be recorded before time erases their existence.

The next time you go out, take your time, look around.

Look all around.

Look for the moments of life.


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How well ... part 1.5

Just a mini post as opposed to a full on post with a picture.


It’s related to my previous post ‘
How well do you know yourself?’. I was reminded of this when I read an article in Wired about HBO’s Witness series. In the article, Eros Hoagland relates how he took photos of young man in a car who had just been shot, while others (including police officers) stood around and did nothing to help.
As the photographer leaves the scene, he explains his actions by saying he was there only to photograph it. That is exactly right. If he had wanted to save lives, he could have become a medical, or social, worker. The photographer’s job is to record what they see, Hoagland says, “I’m there so show you what I saw, what happened to me and then you can come upon your own conclusion.” That does not mean that what appears in the image is the ‘truth’. Evidently, we all see things in our own way, this is perfectly normal and also unavoidable. However, it is vital that these images are captured as they will affect others and effect change.



Last minute addition:
this from PetaPixel
A totally different situation, but similar questions.


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Wu-wei (intro)

PP Lleida 2012-11-09 at 21-20-14 - Version 2

Normally I’m busy on Friday evenings, however, earlier this week I had a cancellation so I was relatively free. Then on Thursday evening I was offered the chance to become a photojournalist for a short time.
Although humans tend to see patterns, or links, where there are none, I felt that one event was giving me the opportunity to do something completely new. I try to apply the Taoist tenet of wu-wei in my life. It is not inaction or doing nothing; it is ‘going with the flow’, listening to your life so you can follow your path more easily.
This will be explored more fully in a future post, but right now it allows me to plug my photos!

Demotix

Photoshelter
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A new dawn

A New Dawn (1)

This is a thought which was recently published on Photographer’s Selection (original here), and, in general, applies to any hobby/passion.


A new dawn.

When you set the alarm it seemed like a good idea. You would get up early to catch the dawn light and subsequent sunrise. Now, in the reality of the darkness before dawn, lying in a warm bed, perhaps next to a still sleeping partner, it doesn’t make so much sense. Having young children in the house helps to tip the balance, but it’s still hard to throw back the covers and advance into a new day.

There is the key: it is a new day. It is unwritten, fresh, a new opportunity, and that’s why you should make the effort. You may well have an idea of what you want to achieve, perhaps even a plan. Plans are good, they give you focus, however, remember to be flexible in this respect. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve come back home with images I couldn’t have even imagined a few hours before. Often, I find features in an image on the screen that I hadn’t consciously seen at the time I took it, but something impelled me to frame that particular scene. Keep your eyes (and mind) open; observe and reflect; don’t forget to look around and behind you; immerse yourself in your surroundings. That’s when you will really see, and only when you see can you capture
your images, the images that reflect what is deep inside you. It’s a form of meditation which will lead you to where you need to be, although not necessarily where you think you need to be or where you want to go.

Life is a journey which each of us documents through photography. Therefore, photography should also be a journey, usually one which is intertwined with our lives. Take your photography, and your life, out into a new dawn, who knows where it will take you!







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Blue Moon

blue moon
Not a real blue moon*, or the song, but something blue with the moon in a blue evening sky.

* I was always told that a blue moon was the second full moon in a calendar month. However, there is an older usage to mean the third full moon in a season with four full moons. The idiom ‘once in a blue moon’ means very rarely.
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Trapped?

SculptMoon 2012-05-01 at 17-09-48
It only looks that way from this angle. Just move and you’re free Happy
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Getting things into perspective

Bridge new WM B sc
Look at the pictures taken by the cameras they cannot lie
The truth is in what you see - Bruce Foxton (The Jam)

The camera does not lie, it merely distorts the truth in the eye of the observer.

Try looking at things in a new way.
Don’t accept what others say.
Find out for yourself.
Experiment.
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Mother & Child

clouds 2012-04-14 at 19-35-03
Well, use your imagination!
These are ‘statues’ in Plaça Blas Infante, Lleida. The square, designed by Mamen Domingo and Ernest Ferré, features these Torres de las Palabras (towers of (the) words) which represent the eight cities of Andalucia. They are particularly photogenic if the backdrop is moody.

Here is another ‘statue’ (with a magpie on top).
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Stop! Reflect.

Lleida 2012-04-14 at 19-36-12
I’ve had a really busy weekend (no posts - but now I’m back). And, despite not stopping all weekend, I have had time to reflect.
I was helped by all the drummers who attended the Planeta Bateria weekend, especially by Isabel Romeo and her Taiko drumming.
Take five minutes out of your day to think, reflect, meditate or practice ‘mindfulness’. You may be surprised by what you see if you stop and take a look from the ‘outside’.
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For Oscar

Leaf and star
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Lord Darlington, Act III, Lady Windermere’s Fan.
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Invisible (3)

Vilanova 2012-04-08 at 17-29-44
Not at all, but invisible to those who don’t take the time to stop and observe.
It is strange the shapes that appear on surfaces. Some see the face of Jesus on a slice of toast, or the virgin Mary on a sandwich or in a puddle. This shape is far less personalised, but very clear.
It is interesting that the “ermita de Ntra. Sra. de Montserrat” is behind the cross. Coincidence?
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Can you see the light?

The Light
Obviously there is the use of light in religious metaphor, but it is also what photographers paint with. Thanks to another photographer (or at least someone with a camera), this shot has been made more interesting. If only the torch bearer to the right had positioned the torch slightly closer to his (or her) body, then the flare would not be so obvious (I nearly got away with it!).
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