Sunday 28 February 2010

Three Years

The blog is three years old today. To say it was one of my better ideas would be an understatement. Like many of you bloggers out there, i love my little blog. It really did help my photography move onto the next level. Instead of hiding work away i can simply publish it. The Richard Flint Photography blog is an outlet for new and old work, i can chat about whatever i want, and maybe most importantly of all, it helps keep me sane. Let's face it, a blog is an essential tool for any photographer who has something to say.

As always i would just like to thank all of you who has taken the time to follow the blog. This last year has seen the number of subscribers increase nicely. I especially offer a warm welcome to those of you who may have just discovered the blog. I've got a few new items planned for publication on the blog in the months ahead, including a trip to a rather lovely part of Britain I've never visited before. The popular 'photographer profile' series returns next month (delayed this month due to work) starting with a classic portrait photographer.

I have loads of new ideas for this coming year, some will work (probably) and others may end up on the cutting room floor, but it'll be fun trying so stay tuned for more mayhem. :o)

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Mr Comment

There seems to be a growing amount of needless negativity online. Like many people, i use the internet for all sorts of things from photography to researching a film/actor/TV series I've seen. It was while i was checking out an article on a newspaper website, that i came across a comment by a reader that really sums up one of the problems with the online world.

I have no problem with constructive criticism, but there seem to be more and more people commenting online who just seem angry, frustrated individuals. We've all come across them. An article i was reading last night compared the British and Swedish versions of a popular TV cop show called Wallander. I really enjoy the programme with its great characters, stories and its Swedish location. Most cop shows in Britain are, naturally, set either in the UK or the USA so it's a refreshing change to see a set of stories set in a completely different country. The landscape, people and culture offer something new and that is among one of the strengths Wallander has as a TV programme. The cinematography on the show takes TV to new areas and has won BAFTA awards. The TV shows look and feel more like films than a TV series.

The Independent article did a great job of showing the similarities and differences between the two versions. At the bottom of the page was one comment. Just one, but the tone, length and negativity of the comment stood out. For me it represents that element online who have nothing better to do than attack anything they don't agree with.They seem to believe that their opinion matters above everyone else's. Complete with idiotic statements about why Wallander is set in Sweden and how superior other 'British'  police dramas were, the guy launched into a tirade about how it was recommended to him by a friend. Within fifteen minutes of the start of the show,  he thought it was poorly shot, badly written and badly acted. He then writes that he spent the next fifteen minutes writing an e-mail to his friend telling them never to recommend anything to him again. What a nice fella eh.

All that negativity again, you see. Me and you, dear reader, would have probably said 'Not my cup of tea' and switched off. End of story. Mr Comment obviously thinks his opinion is so very important. Interesting that these people always think that they SHOULD be heard. I think they should just all shut up unless they have something constructive to say.

Sunday 21 February 2010 or out.

Looking back towards Whitby - October 2009

At the time of writing, I'm rather pleased with variety and quality of my internet presence. Over the years, I've added to the main site and blog with pages on MySpace, Twitter and , more recently, Facebook. It's all about advertising the business, my photography and the services i provide, in a loose kinda fun sort of way, but it remains an advert nonetheless.

One site I've never really done much with is Flickr, although that may start to change this year. I do have a presence on Flickr, but i can't say that I've really used the site that much. That is partially due to the limitations of a free account and also because I've yet to develop a role for the website, something i mentioned a couple of posts ago. Exactly what do i do with the Flickr service? How would i use it? I just can't envisage that yet.

Is it yet another website to display my photography on? To get the best out of the website I'll have to pay, and when it comes to paying for a service, i like to know how i benefit from using it. What does it provide that is currently missing? I suppose it will add another small element to my online presence, but to be honest I'm getting to the maximum number of websites i can regularly update or interact with. The other thing that slightly concerns me are the recent stories involving various photographers who have had work 'borrowed', by large media companies, from their Flickr site. Not good. It's something i'll think about and decide upon in the Spring.

Thursday 18 February 2010

Film and Ready Brek

Cromer car park - Norfolk, UK

The backlog of film has reached a tipping point. Next week will see me attempt to blitz through as many films as possible. Time, as usual, is the key reason for the backlog developing which has increased by around 33% since the summer of last year. I don't think i've ever caught up, well maybe just once, usually there are a number of film canisters sitting on the shelf awaiting the finishing touches. Work in progress.

I was rather interested to hear the former war photographer Don McCullin on a radio programme state about how he still only uses film. He likes the process of film photography and going into the darkroom. It's a refuge from the world that i imagine many photographers miss. I certainly do. Don may underestimate the amount of film photographers out there though, he seems to believe that digital has irrradicated analogue. Film remains an important part of the creative arsenal for many snappers who, like me, love digital as well.

The Don McCullin interview on the BBC Radio 4 travel programme 'Excess Baggage' is a recommended listen, especially if you want ot find out why McCullin packed a packet of Ready Brek along with three camera bodies, a lightmeter and his lenses before a big trip. This superb interview, detailing various aspects of McCullin's career, can be found HERE, or if you are viewing this post after Saturday 20th 2010, the podcast can be found among this list HERE dated 13th February 2010.

Sunday 14 February 2010

Twitter Logic

Twice. Two times. That's the amount of times I've tried to explain Twitter to someone. On both occasions i failed miserably and the reason was quite simple. The persons involved failed to see the relevance of the service. Technology is great, but it's needs to be the correct tool for that person. I signed up to Twitter nearly four months before i really started using the service. Why? I just didn't know what what to do with it.

Sixteen weeks or so later, i had it. I would use the service as a link distributor. I find brilliant photo websites all the time with photography that i adore/love//loathe/admire, so it made sense that i could use the 140 characters available on Twitter to briefly describe the photography and link to it. Brilliant! To that role i also added some of my own photographs/snapshots and the occasional mention of what I'm up to. Twelve months on, the formula seems to work. The technology works... for me.

So why am i mentioning all this? Well I've noticed recently that many people seem to expect easy answers from technology. They don't give things time to ferment and develop. People want things instantaneously. In the end, the creative process comes from within us, ourselves, and we need to realise that that technology is just an instrument , a tool to create, interpret and distribute this creativity, nothing else. In the end technology can't do the creative work for us, and would we want it to do so if it could.

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Still & Moving

A February winter sky - North Yorkshire, UK

Many years ago, a film and TV lecturer of mine stated that he could always tell a photographer who had become a film maker. John never elaborated how he could tell, but from what he disclosed in the conversation, it sounded as though it was the lack of camera movement that gave the game away. The more the camera moved about during the film, the less likely that the director/film maker had a background in still image making.

At the time i disagreed with that simplistic visual analysis of someone's film making style. I still do. The comment was made in such a fashion to make it sound  like photography and film making were world's apart creatively. I don't believe they are. Photography is, to me at least, a basic, but essential element in film making, after all, if the film is badly photographed, no matter how good the story is, the film will fail to capture the viewers attention. Photographers can move into film making and vice versus, and the change isn't that radical. I started my photo education on a TV, film and photography course, and over the years I've noticed that the TV/film part has become more and more relevant to contemporary photography. Multimedia production and the introduction of digital video recording to many top Pro SLR cameras means that photographers are often shooting video too. Within ten years, almost all SLR digital cameras will have some sort of video capability. The divides between the moving image and the still image are really starting to blur now.

All of those lessons i had in video and audio work, many years ago now, are taking on a new importance. Yes the technology may have changed but the processes of creating work haven't. As you may have heard in various audioBoo podcasts and blog posts, i am the director of photography for a vampire film being filmed in nearby Whitby. My role is mainly a creative visual one, I'm tasked to develop the film's visual style through the use of the lenses, angles and lighting. It'll be a challenge to work with the moving image after many years of shooting still images, but I'm looking forward to creating some great vampire movie moments on camera, and eventually seeing them on the big screen itself. Photography and the moving image.... in perfect harmony.

Sunday 7 February 2010

Whiteout, Blackout

Snow falls on the grounds of Capitol Hill, Washington DC. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

This photograph stood out from a snowy series of images posted on the Guardian newspaper website. The snowfall in and around Washington DC has been huge. With all its delicate beauty, the snow has brought with it some serious problems.

The snow storm has left 300,000 people without electricity in Maryland and Virginia. Another 250,000 customers were hit by blackouts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A rather good collection of images submiited by readers of the BBC News website can be found HERE.