Slowly and steadily, I have been out there making pictures.  Three yesterday and two today…  Working with 5 x 4 is so different to using any other medium!  I’m nervous though about processing the negs as in my last batch I had weird things going on in half of them.  But is it a problem with the film itself (a dodgy batch) or an issue with the C-41 machine?  I’ve really got to get an answer soon, otherwise I will be selling the family silver to pay for processing in a professional lab!

What do you think?

Weird light i

Weird light ii

Weird light iii

Good news:  I’ve had three meetings with my graphic designer, Christie and hopefully we are all set to present a dummy of the first design to Stuart Smith and Paul Reas.  We’ve gone from wanting a big book, to something very different…  Let’s see what the experts think.

Taking inspiration from the view?




Panic over!

March 8, 2012

Seemingly one person did actually choose to work with me… But they forgot to put their contact details on the form!  I don’t know whether or not Paul was simply being kind and making up this story to ease the pain – but because of my panic and utter humiliating misery, he assigned a different designer to me.  I am very happy to be working with the only graphics student that I actually know, and a lovely person with pink hair to boot…  She, on the other hand has to deal with two of us: her first choice and yours truly.  So here is my promise to Christie:  I vow to be good and to supply a kitten to cuddle at times of greatest stress!  Big hugs and all best wishes to all of us for this next bit of the Doc Phot journey.

So, this is the current state of affairs. Whilst the majority of photographers have been paired with designers, three of us seem to have been left on the pitch, our knees knocking together from the metaphorical cold.

There are two most obvious possibilities here. Firstly, that there has been some gross administrative error which will be speedily rectified. Or secondly, that no-one, literally no-one wants to work with us…

Whilst I could understand why someone young and funky would rather not work with a middle-aged, strong-willed ex-teacher, I don’t understand why Sam and James are left shivering on the side line with me whilst everyone else gets started.

Time to learn how to use in-design and have split personality conversations with myself in the pitch and planning meetings. The latter will not be difficult – after all, I am a gemini.

Embarrassedly yours,


Dragons and Tides

March 7, 2012

An interesting day…  Presenting to the Graphic Designers was just a tad nerve-inducing.  It’s just not the same as talking to a class full of Year 8s: no-one was fidgeting nor throwing things (so actually, it was a bit easier!) The main problem with my presentation was that I failed to talk about the possibility of including old maps and early 19th century drawings/illustrations in the final book…  Hopefully my designer won’t freak out when I mention this to them…

This is actually the weird bit: wondering if anyone at all ticked the ‘Yes’ (I would like to work with Denise on her book) column.  Next to all of the other projects, mine is just so quiet and straight forward.  As long as one person ticked, ‘maybe’ I will have a designer…

The day ended with a trip out to Portskewett to photograph Black Rocks at high tide.  This would have been the sort of tide that would have brought Manby to the Welsh shores.  I discovered a few things whilst trying to make the images.  Firstly, that placing the tripod VERY NEAR to the edge of the wall made me horribly anxious.  Secondly, that it was almost impossible to focus as the light faded – I really need to get a torch or a laser pen.  Thirdly, that worrying about losing my balance and/or my camera into the water meant that I really couldn’t concentrate on making a picture.  More than once I forgot to remove the dark slide…

The highlight of the day though, had to be drinking hot chocolate and watching the full moon across the water.  Thank you, Lucy Fell for keeping me company and for hanging on to the Wista a couple of times when I needed an extra pair of hands.

Image by Lucy Fell.

Trying hard not to over balance. Image by Lucy Fell.

It’s been a while…

March 6, 2012

I haven’t updated this for ages: sorry!  But as I have to present my idea to the graphic design students tomorrow, I thought I would have a little airing of the new project on here too.

I may have mentioned before that the end product of this semester will be an ‘artist book’ – namely something constructed to present my photographs in the best way possible.  Luckily, I will be working alongside a GD student and together we will create something rather special.  Well, that is the intention/hope anyway…

Inspired by the 1802 text, ‘An Historic and Picturesque Guide from Clifton, Through the Counties of Monmouth, Glamorgan, and Brecknock, with Representations of Ruins, Interesting Antiquities, &C. &C’ , I have decided to follow the route of Captain George William Manby and make contemporary landscape pictures that will say something about Wales in the 21st Century.  Whilst visiting sites described in the book, it is not simply my intention to work out where he stood and make a new picture on the spot: I will also be keeping my eyes open for anything along the way which speaks to me.

Whilst using my beloved Wista (oh, the expense), I am also aware that in making this work I am following in the metaphorical footsteps of other photographers who have chosen to focus on a journey.  All the ones I know (and admire) seem to be blokes: Alec Soth, Simon Roberts, Mark Power and Rob Hornstra and I would be VERY GRATEFUL indeed if anyone could point me in the direction of any women landscape photographers who have also got in a car, bus or campervan and headed out into the great unknown…  Answers on a postcard please to…  Actually, you could always leave me a comment!

Here are some scans (with strange colours, dust and bits of hairy stuff)…  Work in Progress:

Tredegar 6 x 6: not to be included.

To be re-shot - in order to reduce the foreground. Advice from Clive... Get a cherry-picker!

And the tree is the punctum.

Bring it in at the sides - just a little. Lose a bit of the foreground...

'Everyone back to me'.


I just had to make this picture.