Monday, 30 May 2011

When At The Crossroads

When At The Crossroads

When you're plodding along, often times at full speed ahead, it is inevitable that you lose sight of everything in the peripheral. Everything may seem to be going right or everything may seem to be going wrong. In some cases and certainly in my own, everything may very well look the same. Each step brings the same stretch of of monotony. Imagine it, if you will, as you were walking down one of the many straight and distraction free roads in Kansas. Hundreds of miles of nothing but featureless landscape and empty concrete.

Eventually; however, you have to get somewhere and sticking with the metaphor above, that will usually be a crossroads. Do you just continue straight ahead with no thought? Do you quickly make a decision and go where the roads may take you? Or, do you sit down, have a breather and ponder what has led you here, to this grave stretch of monotony.

Clearly, nobody likes to feel they've lost their way or to feel they've gone wrong somewhere, but in my own case I feel that I have.

After much thought, I realise that this result has happened because of other people, through no fault of their own, offering their input on what I should be doing. It is I that have taken on all those advices and criticisms without flinching. It is my fault that I haven't fully considered whether each piece fits my puzzle or not. So, in taking on everything that's come to me, I became lost, muddled and clouded in judgement, following a path set out by the whims of others.

That's no good.

In doing so, I've lost sight of my own goals; of which I don't even remember if I had any. Instead, just putting one foot in front of the other in order to reach a destination that I'm truly unaware of whether or not it exists. Walking to my own grave if you will.

Now if you've read this far, I am immensely sorry that this is such a personal post; however, it is not a negative one, I promise that at least if you'll only bear with me.

So here I sit, at an intersection and I've been here for quite some time.

Do I ignore the consequences, pick myself up and keep going? Do I say "Screw it" and take a path unknown? Or do I sit here longer, pull out an atlas and plan my own journey; thorough and concise.

Two options are easy. The third, in theory, should be just as easy, yet I find it the most frightening and intimidating of the lot.

However, I am quite exhausted of this free roaming existence with no end result in sight. No goals and no purpose. In that statement alone, I believe I have my answer.

So here it is; a mandate to myself.

Don't do it to yourself anymore. I will plot my own course through this journey. I will take steps as quickly or slowly as each leg requires. But most of all, after each step, I will quantify the results and if that particular facet of the journey does not lead me closer to a goal, then it shall not be repeated.

Most of all, I will strive to enjoy and learn from every single moment on the way.

I am still at the crossroads, but now I'm sat here diligently planning my next move.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Project: Yorkshire Fashion Industry

Project: Yorkshire Fashion Industry

For one of my University assignments this semester, I have been tasked with creating a body of work that encapsulates a genre of photography. In my case, I was more or less directed to stay away from fashion and contemporary portraiture for obvious reasons. With those limitations in mind, I also thought it would behoove me to steer away from still-life and music photography as well. 

It took a few weeks of very hard thinking to conceptualise a project that would maintain my interest as well as help to further my individual pursuits. Inspiration finally came after I remembered a little snippet I read on Joe McNally's blog quite a while ago regarding how National Geographic spreads are shot. Now, I know most people associate National Geographic with wildlife and pretty landscapes, but I associate it with brilliant reportage and documentary on all manner of subjects; the article I always think of first when I think of National Geographic is one on Caffeine. In Joe's post, he reflected that it used to be 1500 rolls of film used to be shot for a single article. That single sentence provided incredible insight to the quality of photography that National Geographic is famed for. Also stuck in my brain, were that these articles were not comprised of any one genre of photography, but rather encompassed all genres.

With these two notions in my head, I proposed to my tutor that I actually prepare a documentary article on the subject of the Yorkshire based fashion industry (focusing on South and West Yorkshire) and present the final product in the form of a magazine. 

Once I had her approval, I began evolving the idea further. More inspiration for the project came from the unlikely source of Magnum photographer Martin Parr during a lecture he gave in Huddersfield. Mr. Parr is currently working on a project based on his fashion work in which his output is no other than a magazine. The inspiration comes from the fact that he is actually including advertising (produced himself) in his magazine as well as the content. 

Along with my own ideas for the project, the bits of inspiration from these two legendary documentary photographers helped me to provide a solid plan for my project as outlined below:

Goal: To create a photographic and journalistic article that documents the current state and history of the fashion industry in the region of South and West Yorkshire and produce  the final output in a magazine format with intent to exhibit the body of work at a later date.

In order to achieve this enormous task, I intend to research and document the following:

  • Independent Designers and their workspaces
  • Fashion Retail
  • Independent Boutiques
  • Street Fashion
  • Textile Industries
  • Independent Craft Fairs
  • Fashion Recycling/ Charity Shops
  • Shopping Culture
  • Beauty Industries
  • Fashion Shows and Trade shows
  • Fashion Related Advertising (Billboards, shop windows, etc)
I need to have the majority of the work done for the beginning of May in order to prepare the final output for the hand-in date, but it should be entirely possible to finish the project in that time frame.

I am open to virtually anyone getting involved in the project as long as it is fashion and beauty based (even if it's not covered in the list above). Please feel free to get in touch via the comments section, the contact forms on my website or by Facebook.

I'm very excited about undertaking a project with huge potential and I very much appreciate the time you took to read this! If you can help in anyway, please don't hesitate!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Back To School

Two weeks ago today, I turned 30. Shut up. I'm still rather devastated by that little fact. However, one week ago today, I finally began something that has been listed as one of my major "priorities" in life. I started University. Funny how life gets in the way of something you dictate to be "one of the most vital things you need to do in life".

Beautifully, the course is for a Foundation Degree in Commercial Photography through Leeds Metropolitan University via Wakefield College. This should be thoroughly interesting. So far, the first three days have been rather droll; mostly consisting of enrolment and a few very basic camera craft assignments. However, there already is brightness in the future.

If nothing else, I've already found out that I will be able to sign out both the Mamiya 645 and the Rolleiflex TLR. Consequentially, I've already ordered 12 rolls of 120 so I can get that show on the road.

As I get deeper into the course as well as my own work outside of the University, I promise I shall not neglect this blog as I have. Furthermore, as a class, we've been informed that we shall be required to start a new Blogspot blog as of next week. I will link to that as well and if nothing else, I can ascertain that that one will be very regularly updated as it is considered part of the coursework.

Okay. I'll stop for now. Updates with images will be on the way soon!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Frolicking About and Playing Around

Frolicking About and Playing Around

Earlier, I tweeted: "I want to fall in love with my camera again . . ."  Well, I was kind of serious. Through everything that goes into starting up and running a photography business, it's quite well documented that the actually taking of photographs isn't the largest time consumer. 

It was time to play. In fact, it was long over due.

Enter my grandmother-in-laws garden; add a dash of exquisite late afternoon light and a sprinkle of shallow depth of field and I just spent half an hour playing around.

None of the results are perfect and a lot of the post-processing is clearly even more playing around, but it was fun and even though all the fashion and beauty and stuff is tremendous fun that has no equal, this sort of fun is totally stress free (especially when were talking about someone who's whole system shuts down around other people!)

So, without further ado, here's the results of an afternoon just mucking about with the light tight box and its requisite hole in the front.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Follow Friday - Or - Lots Of Twitter Love

Follow Friday - Or - Lots Of Twitter Love

Okay! As I said in my last post, it's time to give credit where credit is due! If you're on Twitter, then you should be following these people. They epitomise wonderfulness! If you're not on Twitter, well, this list should tell you that you're missing out on a lot!


@ImmortalRStar - It's scary how well I know this guy. Some might think we were the same person!

@amandarecker - Amazing photographer. Amazing person. Amazing friend. Stalking her is a must!

@LaurenIntegra - Because she's all sorts of pleasant wonderfulness and one hell of a model!

@kittiwakekate - Tis' Kate. The very first victim of my tattoo project and many many other times shooting her in the facepalms! Seriously, the world just wouldn't be complete without her!

@tamaramarie89 - The multi-talented, hugely versatile and utterly lovely Tamara-Marie. Model, Stylist, Photographer! She rox0rs!

@raychelperks – Creative Genius. Amazing friend, cohort, mentor, co conspirator!

@piratephoto - After meeting her in person, I can certainly say she's as lovely as she comes across! Fabulous photographer! Do not miss! Ever!

@violaceouslatex - This brand new latex designer is utterly amazing! I've already had the pleasure of collaborating with her several times and can only hope there's much more to come! This woman is going places!

@tattoo_23 – He’s the one the only! Joyously insane!

@HeleneAtsuko - I had the pleasure of working witht his incredible model for the first time the other week! Incredibly lovely and extremely talented!
@BlackLotu5 – Amazing alternative model with whom I can only hope the future allows for many more collaborations! She also single-handedly keeps several tea plantations in business!

@Panda_Face - The Brain to my Pinky. We will take over the world one day! But in the meantime, alt model and photographer goodness not to be missed!

@Rudigo - Because she’s awesome and lovely and prettyful and nice!

@Misscobweb - Another amazing model! Definitely one of the best around!

@misslilystark - Had the pleasure of working with her for my tattoo project recently! Great poser, lovely person! :D

@Cottonarts – Great friend, brilliant designer, genius artist and an immensely talented photographer!

@ASYLUMseventy7 -  No one person should be allowed this much creative genius! 

@zivity – Zivity = blissful interwebs. What, you’re not a member yet? For shame. For shame.

@nicesmilesir- Nice Smile Sir is a 365 project that I'm currently taking part in.

@thejeangenie10  - A charity event with a difference! Get creative and revamp/recycle/mutilate an old pair of jeans for charity and possibly win a prize! What could be more fun?!

Of course, if you're not following me, please do!! @macjw2

There it is for now. I'm utterly positive it's not complete, but the beauty is, this will be an evolving process. This list is certain to grow over time and I'll likely be expanding on why these wonderful persons should have a place in your "follow" list

Follow Friday Chaos - What to Do?

Follow Friday - Or - Lots of Twitter Love

The Problem!

For those of you who use Twitter (that should be everyone) you all to well know the concept of "Follow Friday".  In it's bare simplicity, it is nothing more than a tool to recommend other Twitter users you "follow" to your "followers". It's a brilliant concept and as such, it has been a mainstay of the networking site on every Friday since it's inception.

Now, everything isn't without complication. There's one huge problem with "Follow Friday". It's messy. Every Friday, hundreds if not thousands of random screen names come flying through my feed. It's difficult, if not impossible, to separate the wheat from the chaff.

I also don't like putting random names out there without any inclination as to why I recommend whom I do. That means, when I have the time or remember to do my #FF recommendations, I'm suddenly quick-firing 20-30 tweets into the Twitterverse. That, of course, doesn't help the chaos either. As I hinted, that is also time consuming, which means often I forget and that's no good either. It's hard to give credit where credit is due when you're not actually giving the credit.

The Solution

I've noticed a few small trends recently of different ways people are trying to clean up the "system". To me, this one, in all it's simplicity and brevity, makes the most sense. Quite basically, I'm going to put all my "Follow Friday" recommendations into the next post on this blog. I'll then tweet that every Friday, once in the morning or afternoon for the UK crowd and once in the evening for the US crowd. I'll update it everytime I have new recommendations and most of all, my favouritest of Twitterers will never be forgotten!

I do hope this works the way I see it in my head! Anyways, off to go make my recommendations!