Monday 31 August 2009

WW - Stone Wall Sunset

Welsh stone wall at sunset - Summer 2003

We finish the Wales Week series of posts with the stonewall. Here is one of the colour shots taken of the stone wall featured at the start of August.The textures and colours, i think you will agree, really are wonderful and rich. Anyway I hope that you enjoyed the selection of photographs posted over the last few days. The blog will now return to it's usual posting pace... phew!

Sunday 30 August 2009

WW - Beaumaris Fishing Trip

Preparing to leave on a sea fishing trip

Another Kodachrome 25 transparency image. This merry band of men were off on a fishing trip going out to sea from Beaumaris on Anglesey. I've always found photographing people interesting. I think it's something to do with the expressive nature of body language and how groups of people physically interact towards one another.

Beaumaris is located on a beautiful part of the Anglesey coast. From there you can see the Snowdonia mountains and along the Menai Straits. Sadly, a thick sea haze, low cloud or rain can often hide this wonderful vista from view. The town also features the splendid, if not rather creepy, Beaumaris Gaol - a Victorian prison opened in 1826. Well worth a visit.

This should be, in theory, the last in the Wales week set of posts, however because it has been such fun to do, there will be one more photograph posted as a bonus tomorrow.

Saturday 29 August 2009

WW - White Water

Water flowing through rocks on the River Llugwy at Betws-y-Coed

I used to shoot a lot of 35mm transparency film many years ago. Although i never owned a slide projector, i found that the colour, sharpness and contrast inherent in transparency film always appealed to me much more than prints. The downside to shooting slides, especially in tricky lighting conditions, was always exposure - you had to be spot on with very little room for error.

The first roll of slide film i ever used was East German. Orwo film was cheap (in 1991 around £3.50 a roll - process paid) and came with it's own processing bag that you sent off. I only ever used the film once, in North Wales as it happens, but I've always retained a soft spot for it. The results were pretty good -not exactly Kodachrome 25 quality like the photograph above - but adequate for a young nineteen year old photographer just starting out. Fun times.

A couple of days ago, the main domain name for the new Darker Skies photoblog was altered to If you subscribed to the original wordpress feed, i would recommend changing to the new feedburner feed that can be found at:-

If you haven't subscribed to the Darker Skies Blog yet, then feel free to check out the website. The style of photography may be darker, but the tone and outlook certainly isn't. Moody, stylish photography is what the site is all about. Pop by and let me know what you think.

Friday 28 August 2009

WW - Sailing Away

Yachts anchored off Llandudno, North Wales

Freedom. That's what's this photograph represents to me. Just being able to sail off into the sunset has always been appealing, especially as the pace of life seems to get faster and faster. Imagine getting your own boat and sailing it anywhere you wanted to. My reasons for wanting the Lady Catherine are probably becoming much clearer now.

Sailing around the UK would make a brilliant photographic project. Documenting the voyage, the places, the people you meet, would be fascinating. If i ever win the lottery I'll probably do that, but I'd need some crew. Applications on a postcard can be sent to....

Thursday 27 August 2009

WW - Menai Straits

The Menai Suspension Bridge

Getting onto the island of Anglesey is a doddle. Just drive over the Menai Straits using the Menai Suspension Bridge designed by Thomas Telford. Prior to the completition of the bridge in 1826 there was no fixed connection to the mainland.

Nearby is Bangor, one of the smallest cities in Britain. It was there, at a yacht brokers called Dickies, that i spotted my perfect yacht - the Lady Catherine. I liked the boat and i liked the name, but sadly the rather large asking price for the Lady C was slightly out of my range. Never mind eh!

Wednesday 26 August 2009

WW - Betws-y-Coed

The Pont-y-Pair Bridge and River Llugwy at Betws-y-Coed, North Wales

If there is one place in North Wales to visit it's Betws-y-Coed pronounced Bets e coed. The name mean Prayer house in the wood, which describes the village's location to poetic perfection.

Betws-y-Coed features an assortment of shops, including several well equipped outdoor sports stores that any certified mountain biking, fell running, canoe paddling, rock climbing nut would adore. I've actually seen people dive of this bridge into the pools of water below as part of outdoor pursuits courses. Not something i'd recommend.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

WW - Welsh Hills

Welsh Hills near Bangor, North Wales

Remember the photographs of the stone wall that i posted at the start of this month? Well this was the scenery on the other side of that wall. The diversity of the U.K landscape is something that tends to be ignored by Brits. You can go from completely flat to mountainous in the space of a few hours drive.

The reason why Wales seems to be such a popular tourist destination for many people is due to the diversity of the landscape. You can leave the sea and sandy beaches behind you, drive for twenty minutes and then be alone in a mountainous landscape. Absolute bliss!

Top Blog

blog promotion

I received this rather nice E-mail yesterday:-

Congratulations! Your blog has been named a Top Blog at YouSayToo. As a Top Blog, you are included in our Top Blogger section.

Well what can i say. Thank you very much. It's always nice to get a little recognition for all the hard work put in. Well i say hard work... i love it really ;o)

Monday 24 August 2009

Wales Week

A fiery sunset over the mountains near Llangollen - 2003

This week, the blog will be hosting the Wales week series of posts. A colour photograph, from my trip to Wales in 2003, will be posted everyday this week starting with the 'sunset near Llangollen' image above. The V shaped collection of white objects in the foreground is a caravan site. I especially like the silvery glow of a large puddle near to the site entrance and the shadows of the trees on the fields.

Like all good sunset photos, you have to wait for the right moment. I spent a rather spiritual and magical 25 minutes on the mountain side, just watching the sun slowly set, waiting for that decisive moment to take the photograph. Moments like that stay with you forever.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Darker Skies

Those of you familar with my black and white landscape work might have already guessed how i got the title for my new photoblog. Yes, i've launched a second photoblog called Darker Skies, that will enable me to write about certain photography issues that aren't really suited to this photoblog's topic list. A couple of articles have already been posted and more will follow soon, including one about the faults with the photographic eduction system. Let me know what you think.

Darker Skies can be found at

Friday 21 August 2009

Things to Come

A Norfolk barley field in late evening summer sunlight - early July, 2009

I finally got around to looking through this year's crop of photographs from Norfolk. I'm rather pleased with a number of them including this gorgeously lit picture taken in a Norfolk field. I think it has a wonderful old English summer feel to it, although it certainly doesn't reflect the majority of the disappointing weather we've had so far this summer in the U.K. Hopefully September will bring some warm sunny days that are perfect for a bit of photography.

A few new bits and pieces are on the way regarding the websites. Along with the regular twitter feed, two new additions will be arriving soon. I've already talked about AudioBoo in a previous post but a new exciting addition to this 'podcasting' service will be TweetReel. TweetReel is video, shot on an iPhone, uploaded to a website to form a video blog. I'm rather excited about adding both AudioBoo and TweetReel to the blogging output. I hope to release the first short (a maximum of two minutes per episode) TweetReel videoblog around the middle of next month, filmed in a great location up in the north of England. It should be lots of fun and will, most probably, be filmed in a slightly experimental way to see what works and what doesn't.

Other online developments include adding more material to my ImageKind and Redbubble pages. This is a pretty slow process as much of the material has to be scanned, and edited before uploading. ImageKind has recently updated it's business terms so that an unlimited number of images can now be placed on the website for free. The third photograph sales area that requires more work is located on the main website, and this will also be expanded to include far more images over the coming months. I will have lots of work to do this winter.

Tuesday 18 August 2009

Tough at the Top

Annie Leibovitz

A freelance photographer's life is not an easy one. Uncertainty is a constant factor that has to be dealt with. You need nerves of steel at times, but the rewards of the job can be immense including meeting a lot of very nice people. You also meet some not so nice ones too. However, at the end of it all, we are in photography to make a living - you can't live on air alone.

The financial concerns of a photographer can be complex, and most of us would LOVE to become the next big name, earning obscene truckloads of cash. We all would like to be recognised as a photographic master, but the following article on Annie Leibovitz might make you stop and think for a moment. I will let you, dear reader, judge the story and you can draw your own conclusions.

Saturday 15 August 2009

Photojournalism vs Future

Are online multimedia presentations the future outlets for photojournalism?

Photojournalism has reached a crossroads. For years, the state of the industry has been in decline, but it's only recently that photojournalists have REALLY started to get concerned. The reasons for the decline in photojournalism have been ongoing for over 40 years. Although conflicts like Vietnam created the modern persona of what we now regard as the photojournalist, the fall in interest for photo stories goes back to the late 1950's, when demand for human interest stories fell and celebrity orientated stories started to replace them.

Many of the newspapers that used to cover news stories in their weekend magazines, now cover lifestyle and celebrity stories instead. The main reason why Don McCullin ended up leaving The Sunday Times was purely because of a that change in the U.K newspaper industry during the early 1980's. Wars were out and lifestyle was in. Some would later claim that it was a much needed modernising of the newspaper industry. It is therefore ironic that less that 30 years later, many of the very same newspapers are fighting for their very survival. Some may go. In the United States newspapers, like The Rocky Mountain News, have already gone. Others like the Los Angeles Times remain in a precarious financial situation. To a large extent, the future of photojournalism is entwined with the future of the 'newspaper' industry and both need to change drastically to adapt to this new media world. For photojournalism, the choices are simple - photojournalists need to change the stories they shoot. Far too many of the same types of images and stories are being shot. Maybe we need fewer photojournalists. Yes, we need images of war and famine, but there are plenty of stories to be covered outside of those areas. We need variety in our images. We need photography that covers a huge swathe of stories, and i think we are starting to see the beginning of that change. Just look at the vast range of superb images that The Big Picture and Wall Street Journal photoblogs regularly post.

As for the newspapers, the choices are less clear. Many are finding the current business landscape a tough one to work in. The newspapers have been hit hard by the Internet. Only last week, Rupert Murdoch announced that the websites for The Times, The Sun and News of the World newspapers would charge for access to new stories. In a world where most online news content is free, it is hard to see how Murdoch's pay-per-view websites will work. Other newspapers, however, seem to be embracing the Internet and all it can offer. The best by far is The New York Times which has one of the best photoblogs on the web. The multimedia audio/visual presentations are very, very impressive, both visually and as story telling tools. Several pro cameras now come with video capabilities so that photographers can capture moving images alongside stills. A growing number of photographers now shoot both. Maybe multimedia is the future for photojournalism. Maybe photojournalism's future lies online rather than on the printed page. Who really knows? What is certain is that 21st century photojournalism faces it's toughest challenge, and it really needs to change and adapt fast to this new multimedia world.

Friday 14 August 2009

Twin Paths

Reading around the various photography blogs this week, one topic seems to appear again and again - the state of photojournalism today. It's no secret that the photo story is under threat due to financial constraints and changing markets. Put simply, photojournalism is often no longer a viable option for newspapers and agencies that are under financial strain anyway. Celebrity sells and images of dying kids in Africa don't, so you go where the money is. It's that simple.

I studied documentary photography at college and I LOVE photojournalism, but even i had to take a step back to see how i was going to make a living. In the last post i talked about Elliott Erwitt, a Magnum photographer who is regarded as one of the best documentary photographers of the 20th century. Erwitt has been a big influence on my artistic understanding of photography, but he has also been a massive influence on my understanding of the business of photography for Elliott Erwitt is a successful commercial photographer too. He combines the income of commercial work with the passion for photojournalism, which enables him to live his life as he wishes. I choose that commercial/photojournalism balanced business model too. I compromised.

I admire immensely those photographers who are loyal to their photojournalism roots. Maybe i sold out. I don't know, but what i do know is photography is a real bitch to make money out of. Trying to make a good living from photojournalism is bordering on impossible. Even the best photojournalists earn surprising low amounts of money, and these are award winning, top of their game types. Being a photojournalist is for many akin to a religion - there is no financial reward but you are following a calling. It's all about passion and faith... in photography. Photojournalism isn't going to die out but it is going through immense change. Many outlets for images are under threat, and tomorrow, I'll post about how photojournalism might change in the years ahead.

Thursday 13 August 2009

A Touch of Erwitt

Dogs waiting for a haircut, Stoke On Trent - 1996

That would be Elliott Erwitt, a Magnum photographer who has become best known for his quirky and often funny photographs of dogs. I purchased an excellent book of Erwitt's work called Snaps while i was in Norfolk this year, which i thoroughly enjoyed looking through and regard as one of the best photography books you can buy. Not many photographers manage to combine thoughtful humour and documentary image making, but Erwitt does it with style.

I came across the above photograph, one weekend in Stoke on Trent as i was going into town. It's the only photograph that really comes to mind if I'm asked about carrying a camera at all times. This scene, when i saw it, instantly made me think of Elliott Erwitt and fortunately i had my camera with me. It's not as clever as his images tend to be, but it does have at least some humour in it.

Does it pay to carry a camera at all times? Sometimes it does.

Sunday 9 August 2009

Portrait of Andy

Portrait of Andy - 1992

Last week, i started adding some of my old college photos to my Facebook page. I took loads of photographs of friends/classmates including the one above of Andy, a Geordie who was my housemate, a good friend and a great jazz photographer. I used the camera as a sort of visual notebook. In many respects, photographing my college years was like a big ongoing photography project, running alongside the normal college work. To say I'm glad i did it is an understatement, although i had no idea at the time what i would use them for. The internet and websites like Facebook have provided that answer. These photographs now have a home.

As I've been going through these photographs, I've had mixed emotions. They've made me laugh, but I've also felt sad. As my friend Matt said ' If i could go back, it would be back to those days'. Sadly we can't return and all we have are these photographs to remind us. It's a bittersweet feeling. Another question that remains unanswered is do photographs actually help keep memories of events and people fresh? I don't know if they do, although maybe it depends on the person, place or event. I can't help but think of a girl i knew (and loved) whenever i smell a certain specific perfume on someone in the street, so it's not just the visual that can take us back.

I'm going to continue to put my collection of college images up on Facebook. They were taken with no real purpose in mind, but now they have a function. A role. Besides, it is better to have the photographs on show, making people laugh or smile, than to have them hidden away in a draw somewhere. Photography and emotional attachment have always gone together. They are often strongly bound together in the form of a family album or a portrait of a friend, so take as many pictures as you can, because once that moment in time has gone... it's gone for good.

Wednesday 5 August 2009

Google it

Over the last few months, I've been adding Richard Flint Photography to a number of social networks, the most recent of which is Facebook. The main reason for developing these sites is to gain publicity for my work. They are adverts that may, or may not, create commissions and get new clients. Best of all these sites are free to set up, so for any photographer setting up a business there really is no excuse to not have some sort of online presence.

This week i added Google ads to that list of online promotion. I have to admit that the only reason i did so was because of a Google voucher that entitled me to £50 of free advertising. The only cost i have to bare is a £5.00 set up fee. For an advertising cost that's a pretty good deal. Will it work? Well, it's hard to say at the moment but judging from previous experiences I've had, I'm not too optimistic. You can have a million people view your website, but if no one hires you what exactly have you gained apart from a million people viewing your work. A bit of publicity and that's about it.

I'll be keeping my eye on this over the coming weeks to see if the website viewing statistics change drastically.... if at all.

Sunday 2 August 2009

Stonewall Still-life II

Stone wall still-life II, North Wales - July 2003.

This image, and the one in the previous post, were both taken from the rather large archive of negatives that I'm attempting to file properly. It's not an easy task, in fact it's pretty daunting, but it needs to be done. Dates, times and places all need to be added and logged, like i should have done in the first place. I started doing this a couple of years ago, so it's a kind of work in progress thing really. One day I'm sure to come to the end of it. Maybe.

If i stopped taking photographs tomorrow, i would still have a healthy supply of images to accompany the blog text. I wouldn't like to calculate the number of shots held in those negative binders, but i suppose it could be as high as 20,000. Maybe more. It's great revisiting old pre-blog photographs like this one. The light was wonderful the evening i took this. The rain clouds had just cleared and a golden orange sunlight shone down onto the wall, so i quickly grabbed the camera and spent twenty minutes or so shooting this stonewall before the light went. There are some wonderful colour images too that I'll post later this month.

Saturday 1 August 2009