It’s a good few months since the nation seemed to descend on the Tower of London to not only wonder at the remarkable scene of almost 900,000 ceramic poppies but also pay respect to what each one of those poppies signified – a British and Colonial life lost in the First World War between 1914-1918.
Obviously with the original artwork Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red built and located in London for the few weeks it stayed in place in late 2014, money and a travel anxiety kept me firmly in the North East looking from afar through media reports and friends photo streams who had made the effort to see it first hand, and do battle with the crowds.
I was excited and relieved when it was announced earlier this year that sections of the artwork by Paul Cummings and Tom Piper would tour the UK and we in the North East were lucky enough to be first in line with the Weeping Window section being installed at the Woodhorn Museum and Northumberland Archives, once Woodhorn Colliery.
The setup is that the Weeping Window is now cascading from the top of one of the two winding wheel constructions that remain at Woodhorn rather than from a window as it did at the Tower of London. Its almost as if the poppies in this location tell of the blood spilt by the sacrifice of the miners from the region during the conflict 100 years ago.
With this part of the tour opening a few weeks ago I sat back and waited to see what others did with it photographically (and wait for the crowds to calm down a bit), and as I expected it was lots of sunny blue skies images of almost every obvious angle that is available. I knew that while the angles would be similar to everyone else’s, my style and techniques would give a unique take on most other efforts so far.
A desire to emphasise more details and sections of the work, especially the contrast between the galvanised fencework and the vivid red of the poppies “seeping” between them, I shot most of my intentional camera movement images with my telephoto lens the 70-200mm. Most of these finished images are multiple exposures, blended together in Photoshop CC with some colour and contrast adjustments. I deliberately chose a duller grey day to help in achieving a longer exposure time than would have been possible on a bright day, still by using my preferred 6 stop ND filter.
All images are available as Limited Edition prints, just drop me a line with your requirements!
14-18 NOW – http://www.1418now.org.uk/
Woodhorn Museum – http://www.experiencewoodhorn.com/