Wednesday, 31 December 2008

End of year review 2008

West End Pub, London - My image of the year

As this is the final post of 2008, it's that time for me to have a look back at my work over the last year and choose six of my best images. 2008 has been a remarkably productive year for me - even stronger than 2007. It's a tough decision to pick six -there are so many images that i feel represent my best work this year. Anyway i have finally made a decision, so here are six of the best from 2008.

There was a strong start to the year when in February we had an usually bright and warm day with truly inspiring light. I was at Scarborough on the east coast of England and the mixture of bright light combined with haze created a wonderful mood. You couldn't move for seeing images. My favourite shot from this day was taken as i walked back to the car. The sun was getting lower in the sky and was diffused by the mist coming off the sea. The beach was full of people enjoying the sunny weather and in the background stood one of Scarborough's most impressive buildings - The Grand Hotel. The light in February was just stunning and lasted for most of the month. In late February, i had a trip up to Newcastle Upon Tyne where my next chosen image was taken.

All Saints graveyard in Newcastle was a surprise find for me. I walked around a corner and there it was. Walking through the iron gates into the graveyard was like going back in time. The age of the gravestones were part of the appeal. Many of the graves dated from the late 18th and early 19th century. When you realised the amount of history that had passed since those gravestones had been erected, it certainly put things into perspective. It was the nearest thing to time travel. One thing you do notice is how modern life surrounds this small churchyard. Office blocks, bungalows and modern luxury apartments overlook this small sanctuary of the past. Over the year i returned there a couple of times and I've always found something new to photograph. No doubt in 2009 i will visit again.

Norfolk has always been a source of inspiration for my work, and this year was no exception. The weather was excellent during the two week visit to the county and during my stay i managed to get some great images. I still have several rolls of film to process from that trip (oops) so there will be more to come in 2009 from this year's photo shoot. Most of the film is 120 roll film shot on the Bronica SQAi, a camera i have adored using. The square format is just wonderful to frame subjects with and combined with the speed grip, the camera handling has become so much easier. My favourite shot from Norfolk was taken on Sheringham beach with the Bronica. The detail, texture and look of the photograph is just how i wanted it to come out. From the pebbles in the foreground to the sky in the background, the image portrays the detailed dramatic beauty of the British coast. I just wish i could have captured the sounds and smells too. After a few years visiting Norfolk, I'm thinking about giving this project a break next year. Scotland's beautiful landscape looks as though it could be my destination for the summer of 2009.

My fourth image was taken in London in October. London is such a great place to take photographs - there is just so much going on that you can't help but get some fantastic images. I only took three rolls of film during the whole weekend i stayed there - i made some terrific images though. I took my Nikon F3 which turned out to be the perfect camera choice. First of all it was small - ideal when getting on and off the underground and not attracting attention. Secondly it was quiet. Just the sound of a shutter click when you take a picture with no whirring of a motordrive to attract attention. Thirdly it was simple to use which is ideal when taking photographs in a rapid documentary style. I was immensely pleased with the resulting images of which my favourite two make up the final images of the post.

Covent garden is a wonderful place to visit with a camera. It's such a lively place that you can't help but see potential photographs. During a walk to go and visit Chinatown, i noticed a juggler stood in the middle of the street with masses of people going by. Covent garden has a lively entertainment orientated culture, musicians, artists and street performers often perform there to massive audiences. I decided to grab a shot as i passed by. The first shot used a slow shutter speed of around 15th/sec which created a lot of movement blurt in the image. A second shot was taken with a faster shutter speed to capture the movement. The blurred elements of the first shot seemed to create a far greater visual impact than the second shot did. To me it captures the fast pace of modern life and how we have 'little time to stand and stare' these days. Everything happens so fast these days - maybe we should take some time to watch the jugglers.

And now to my 'favourite' image of 2008. This photograph was taken in a pub in the West End of London. My friend had left to take a phone call which gave me the opportunity to try and capture the scene inside the pub. The pub interior was lit by window light and overhead lighting which combined to give just enough shutter speed to capture the image. It was a gamble. If the man had moved during the exposure then he would have ruined the shot. Right after i took the first frame, he moved his position at the bar and the composition changed. It was a split second decision that worked well. It was part luck, part technical expertise combined with speed of execution that all added up to an atmospheric image inside a London pub.

So what about 2009? Well as I've mentioned before i want to get a regular photography podcast up and running for April 2009. As for the blog, well i intend to keep all the favourite segments going including the popular photographer profile posts. Photographer profiles for 2009 will include amongst others Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon and James Nachtwey. I intend to have a broader mix of profiles to include photographers outside of usual photojournalism topics. Other projects will include a book project that will present a number of challenges but should be fun. More news about that in the new year. Another project for 2009 will be to launch a range of calendars during the summer. As always news will be posted onto the blog as and when i have my brilliant ideas :-) The websites have undergone a small change as the company logos have been altered for 2009 - part of the rebranding of Richard Flint Photography.

Hmm.. have i forgotten something? Oh yes ! As for image number six... Well it's a shot of The Sage at Gateshead in North East England.The photograph was taken from the Newcastle side of the river Tyne . The Sage is a remarkable building used for conferences and concerts. The mirrored surface of the building reflects light all over the place. I was rather pleased with this shot of the building. I love architecture like this and i want to expand into doing more architectural photography next year.

Thank you so much for the comments and support over the last year. I really do love hearing from you all. A number of problems have been dealt with recently regarding my over zealous anti-spam software accidentally deleting legitimate emails. My apologies to anyone who has sent me something during the last few weeks and not heard a reply - please feel free to send me another email.

It just leaves me to say.. Have a super New Year and i hope to see you all in 2009... Rich x

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