The end of another year of a photographic journey, and one I feel didn’t quite deliver for much of it. More restrictive time for making images and a misbehaving mind at other times, I think I halved my normal number of images captured through the year and therefore with my techniques small hit rate I’ve come out with a tiny amount of strong finished images.
With social media and blogs being a place where we generally ignore the negatives of life and only paint positive pictures of our own lives, I thought instead of being my usual downtrodden self I’d mention some of the positive achievements from 2016 even if i do class it a relatively disappointing year. Early in the year in WEX’s weekly twitter competition #WexMondays I bagged a 1st place one week which means that early in 2017 that winning entry is featured as part of an exhibition of weekly winners in London and then in Leeds. So of course I can now put in my bio that I’ve exhibited in London can’t I?! 😉 Also with WEX I got asked to feature in a blog post about my ICM work.
2016 saw me place in my first “proper” competition, gaining a Commended in the Urban category of Scottish Landscape Photographer of the Year for 2015 and therefore the image also was placed in the companion book. Yet again I got a single image shortlisted in the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year competition, but no further.
So on with the show… Below are the what I consider my 10 favourites taken in 2016 (along with a bonus), they have no bearing on the number of likes etc garnered on social media, or indeed number of sales (actually only one of these has had any sales), its all just my taste at the end of the year as I look back and remembering what the hell I was doing for half of it!
In no particular order…
Opening it all up with one of those rare occasions in ICM photography where you see a scene unrelated to the one infront of you appear in the back of the camera, even before processing and layering in more exposures, immediately Turner’s “Odysseus Deriding Polyphemus“ sprung to mind and hence we now have the “Arrival…”.
This image from the banks of the Coquet at Warkworth with its distinctive ruined keep above the landscape was made on a 1-2-1 session whilst I demonstrated some camera “wafting” techniques to that days client. I never thought that anything would come from the very sketchy images when I wasn’t even aiming. Happy I did though!
This image from a small series comes from late summer when I was really struggling to either get out to shoot or make anything pleasing to me, but summer is often a barren time for landscape photographers due to the length of days and brighter sunlight. This was made deep into a late summer evening of a landscape of stubble fields after harvest.
My other occurrence of the year of a new scene appearing, late summer moorland (I missed the heather in full bloom) turned into a seascape in my mind. See previously in my blog for more details about how this image came about.
This is one that resonated with me all year from the moment I made it, even if no one else seemed to appreciate it. This years ugly ducking! The dunes to the north of Bamburgh Castle has a famous spot on the roadside where poppies grow. Also growing near and expanding each year is an area of yellow lupins. Needless to say I was a bit late for the best of the poppies, so more time was spent with the lupins.
I had a small phase in the middle of the year where I formed images in post with areas of negative space using layering, this one comes from that short phase.
The main highlight of the year was a long weekend in North Wales with fellow northern lads, Andrew Atkinson, Ian Burton and Damien Taylor. If it wasn’t for those guys getting me out and away from my little corner of the North East the last 2 years, I wouldn’t have two little adventures to look on fondly on the many days I can’t get out.
This image was made in Bangor in the first evening of the trip. I also made some brighter romanticised evening images here, but this darker, intimidating version pleases me more at the end of the year.
Another from North Wales, this time up Cwmorthin Quarry. Experimenting with mixing layers in Photoshop brought this one about – don’t ask me how I did it, I’ve forgotten already and have indeed struggled to recreate the “white” effect since…
A hyper local image, taken of the village church made when I was struggling to go anywhere interesting I hadn’t been to several times before. Staying at home brought me one of my favourite 3 images of the year!
In most of my images, evidence of man, especially modern man, is removed through the flick of a wrist during capture, people disappear, cars on a street are no longer there, usually only long built stone structures and their silhouettes remain on the sketchy landscape, so this is the opposite – the landscape removed and only the people remain. A beach scene in the dead of winter with some hardy souls – it was bloody freezing!
The initial data captured back in October from an adjacent field to my house while trapped at home due to a broken car but only put together in the last few weeks whilst picking through the archive desperately looking for images to possibly work on. For it being recent and not an image I’ve lived with for long, I’m still very much enjoying the lack of colour, ambiguity of the actual weather and how sketchy the whole image is.
Remember all these images are available as prints, direct from me, personally printed to ensure you only get something I am happy to send out.
Seeing my niece and nephew grow and interact has been great this year and Jemima especially, as her character begins to come through. This image still makes me laugh out loud.
Which is your favourite of these? Leave a comment below!
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