Keeping up to date

I’ve been struggling to think of ways to keep a blog going regularly. Being honest with myself and whoever is reading this, I don’t and won’t always have something insightful to share about Photography, or anything else for that matter, on a regular basis. I do, however, wish to share the work I’m producing on a regular basis in a more meaningful way than fleeting Instagram posts, and therefore a blog does have its appeal.

I make no secret of the fact that I’m not a full-time photographer, although I am thinking about Photography most of the time, and making work as often as possible. There have been times when Photography has lost out to work and social demands on my time. However, since late 2018 I’ve made finding time for Photography a priority, and in that time I try to be photographing deliberately and with intent rather than simply carrying a camera while engaging in another activity.

In 2019 I decided that I would try to make at least one photograph per week that I could be pleased with, and that was a fair reflection of the work I’m trying to produce. It sounds pretty easy, and in reality it wasn’t too difficult either but I do think that it was useful as a motivator to ensure I was getting out with my camera and making work that I could be pleased with on a regular basis. As such, I decided to stick with the idea in 2020 and have decided that a good way of making regular blog posts, and sharing the work I’m producing, is to post some of the photographs I make each week to this website.

I’m likely to always be a little bit behind because I now predominantly make photographs using my Leica M4 – a film camera – and as such I have to wait for the photographs to be developed and scanned before I can share them. That does have its own benefits – it creates some distance between the photograph and my emotions at the moment of making it. A week or perhaps two later I am able to more objectively assess whether the resulting photograph is a good representation of what I was seeking to document. As someone who has always struggled with editing work down, this is certainly a benefit to me.

Anyway, I’m already far enough behind on sharing work from this year, so without further ado (about nothing) I’m going to play catch-up as quickly as possible … and before I forget which photographs we made in which week.

Week One – Wednesday 1st to Sunday 5th January 2020.

I was at ‘home’ (what is Home when you’ve lived abroad for almost a decade?) over Christmas and the New Year, and spent the latter with my Dad. On New Year’s Day we went to see a friend of his, also a farmer, and I was really happy to be able to photograph the two of them. Before leaving for the UK, I decided to pack Black and White film based on my experience of the UK from … well, living there for the first 23 years of my life. Winter is often quite grey and flat in terms of lighting, and there often isn’t much colour around anyway. I packed Kodak Tri-X and pushed it to 1600.

Week Two – Monday 6th to Sunday 12th January 2020.

I remained in the UK until January 10th when I flew back ‘home’ (see above) to Spain. During the week I mostly wandered around Bath and also helped my Dad put up a fence in one of the fields he keeps. I had underestimated my appetite for Tri-X and had to resort to Ilford HP5, also pushed to 1600, which I didn’t find as pleasing in terms of results given that I favour contrast in my Black and White photographs.

Week Three – Monday 13th to Sunday 19th January 2020.

This week was the first of a handful of difficult weeks for making photographs I could really be pleased with. I arrived in Spain with a half-finished roll of pushed HP5 which is not my favourite film in what is not my favourite medium for the place where I live with its abundance of warm tones. We also began moving house which took up a lot of time both during the week and on weekends. The only photograph from that week I can be vaguely content with, at least in terms of intent, is this one of some childish graffiti on a post.

Week Four – Monday 20th to Sunday 26th January 2020.

This was the week in which Spain, including but not strictly limited to the Mediterranean, was battered by the strong wings, heavy rains and high tides of Storm Gloria. The first picture shows the heavy rain as seen through our window, with the second being from a trip onto the roof to assess for any damage from the high winds. It still wasn’t so much the storm affecting my creativity as the move.

Week Five – Monday 27th January to Sunday 2nd February 2020.

The final of three weeks adversely affected by moving house, reflected in one final photograph from the balcony of our old place, and a couple of pictures made while exploring the new neighbourhood. Having finally finished off the roll of HP5, I loaded up a roll of Portra 400 that had accompanied me on the trip to the UK so as to use it before it might be exposed to any more airport scanners.

Week Six – Monday 3rd to Sunday 9th February 2020.

This was a much more productive week. I went for a cycle out through the Albufera near Valencia, an area I always find to have a unique beauty and to be very inspiring. I have since added a gallery to this website with photographs taken on this trip. On the weekend I explored another part of the Huerta Valenciana near our new home. As I continue to explore this new area I may add another gallery page in the future. With these photographs already featuring on the website, or likely to feature soon, I’ll share a few different pictures from the week.

Week Seven – Monday 10th to Sunday 16th February 2020.

Another quite productive week with some more exploration of the new neighbourhood, although another trip out across the Albufera with a visiting friend didn’t produce quite such satisfactory results as my previous trip … we had a lovely lunch in El Palmar, though.

Week Eight – Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd February 2020.

Moving to a new neighbourhood means there are still new things to observe and document almost every time I go out with my camera. However, I tried to keep my emulsion dry before a weekend away with friends in the village of Planes, Alicante. I’ve realised that I prefer making photographs in rural or sub-urban areas rather than in large urban centres such as the cities where I have lived for the past eight years. This is an important realisation because while I still live in the city, and am likely to for some time to come, I can be more deliberate with my free time and take myself to places I am more likely to be inspired, rather than fruitlessly seeking inspiration in places that don’t ‘speak’ to me personally. I may well write a further post on this since I do have some more ideas I would like to share.

I’m going to finish here for this post. I do have one or two frames from the end of a roll made during Week 9, but I would prefer to wait for the results of a second roll finished at the weekend, and begin to dedicate separate posts to each week from here onwards. This post has grouped together most of the first two months of the year in order to play catch-up but hopefully that won’t be necessary from here on in.

I hope – and if you have made it this far, am tentatively inclined to suspect – that you have enjoyed this roundup (not the weed killer) of 2020 so far, and I look forward to sharing more soon.

3 Comentarios

  1. Great stuff! I like how you see B&W in the UK and colour in Spain. Makes sense to me. Is it an intentional choice because of different vibes in respective countries or something else? Cheers

    1. Hello again Yuri,

      I think it was mostly because of the season – Winter in the UK is often quite grey, trees have no leaves and those that have fallen on the ground are no longer vibrant browns but muddy, sodden browns. In general, there isn’t a lot that’s vibrant and colourful, so I thought it best to just work with the tones of Black and White. Were it summer, I might have chosen Colour. Spain (at least where I live), even in Winter, has bright, warm sunny days so Colour still works well. I do want to challenge myself to work in black and white here, though. I just can’t go out and buy film at the moment.

      Thanks again for commenting.

      1. I understand completely your choices as while in France, I’d mostly photograph winter in b&w and summer in color. This country can take give you both options:)

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