Tuesday 29 March 2011

Nashville Portraits

Portrait of Gillian by Mark Tucker

Ah i love film, i love Polaroid and i LOVE 5x4 cameras even though sadly I don't currently own one . It was with this thought in mind, while perusing through the mass menagerie of photography tweets, that i came across this little gem called 'My Day With'.

Taken on Polaroid film using a Graflex 5x4 camera with a lens older than my parents, several of these superb portraits show why film still has a place in any photographer's arsenal. Film photography just has such a unique look plus you have to work that little bit harder to get great results. No wonder Polaroid film has recently made quite a comeback via The Impossible Project.

Photographer Mark Tucker is the guy taking these wonderful portraits and he explains:-

 'I’m doing this side personal project, where I’m documenting offbeat characters in my town of Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve acquired an old 1942 custom made Graflex camera that shoots 4×5 Polaroid, and I’m shooting that, plus some Nikon, plus some video. I scan the Polaroids and then work with them. The lens is from 1941, and it’s amazing, how you never know how it’s going to render a scene.'

If you want a super photography blog to look at then I'd certainly recommend http://mydaywith.com/. A blog packed full to the rafters with truly great photography. Enjoy.

Monday 28 March 2011

Heart of Glass

I don't often post about my client work but i'll make an exception for once. The photo above is a test shot for a local artist called Wendy who works with glass in such a fabulous and original way.

Lighting the glass in a way to see the full potential of the artwork has been the main issue to deal with. Standard lighting does nothing for the piece at all so I've had to think 'outside the box' with this commission.

This shot has a slightly more contrasty and experimental feel to it than the other glass artwork photograph i posted on my Facebook page. A series of images with the artwork in rural locations is also planned.

Sunday 27 March 2011

Uber Prints

Blakeney Harbour, Norfolk, UK

With the spring sunshine comes the realisation that i have to get some ideas put together for two projects this summer. Although I have quite a bit of time before Solo Photo Book Month starts again this year, I really do need to have a good think about how much of a challenge I want to give myself this year.

Last year I used my iPhone to take the photographs for the book submission but this year it'll be shot on film - probably medium format 6x6 black and white. This will add a substantial amount of time and effort to creating the book but I need to challenge myself more this year. As for book subject matter, i have no idea as of yet. One thing has been decided upon and that is that this year's book will be made available in print form.

My Norfolk project returns this year to help me retain some of my sanity. I did miss it greatly last year but the break from shooting was necessary. Again i need to find an angle to attack the project in a new and fresh way. As many of you know , the Norfolk project is a long term/until death photo project of mine roughly based on photographer John Tordai's fabulous 1992 Northumberland photography book that documented the northern English county.

In January, along with a new main website design, i launched yet another photography blog to feature my landscape photography. The Photography Print Shop is part photo print shop and part landscape photography blog. Work is added weekly that can be purchased as a standard photographic print or as a uber high quality limited edition Giclée digital archive print using the excellent Fotomoto e-commerce engine.

Thursday 24 March 2011

Three Headlines

Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi explode after an air strike by coalition forces. Image copyright of Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

The recent success of a photograph by Goran Tomasevic goes to show how just one image can fire up the media's creative talents for summing up a news story - in this case the current conflict in Libya. Considering that the 'explosive' photograph, impressive though it is, doesn't really tell us that much, it has been used widely by the international press online and on the front pages of a huge number of newspapers.

What fascinates me the most is how the image has been used to visualise and add impact to three very different headlines. The New York Post used the not very subtle, if slightly amusing, headline 'Khadaffy Dead Duck'. Obviously the headline writer at the Post must be a big Tex Avery fan.

The UK's Daily Mail went with the more conservative 'Yes we would Kill Gaddafi' aimed to shock Brits over the breakfast table, and referring to the contradictory messages coming from the British government and the Ministry of Defence. The former saying that they would kill him if necessary and the latter saying they couldn't legally do it even if they wanted to. The final headline comes from i, a British newspaper that has the simple headline 'Allies divided over Libya'. 

Three hugely different styles of front page headline that have used the very same photograph. A good result for the Reuters photographer no less but it also shows how the context of a photograph can be changed by a few words of a headline. From gung ho attack through to an allied force divided.

Reuters have a great blog article about the photograph's use around the world that can be viewed HERE

Saturday 19 March 2011

Involved in the Story

Gerd Ludwig's Chernobyl project - 167% funded via Kickstarter

In a world where there is so much going on, you would expect that photojournalists would be able to gain the financing required to shoot their stories. Of course, sadly this is far from what is happening, but a new funding concept has appeared recently that may just change how photojournalism, and indeed many projects, are funded.

Emphas.is a new crowd funding website that enables photojournalists to pitch their projects directly to the public.  Instead of having an organisation fund a story, the idea is that a set of ordinary individuals can donate the required amount of cash needed to shoot the story. If your project need $6000 funding then it figures that you will need just 600 people to donate $10 to get the money you need. Simple. Emphas.is has already taken $15,000 in funding in its first week online.

So is this the future for funding photojournalism? Well it looks as though it offers a fresh alternative for getting the money needed and Emphas.is is not the only website doing this. Kickstarter is another website that offers a similar funding model to Emphas.is, however, Kickstarter offers that crowd sourced fund raising option to a broader range of people including artists, animators, designers, film makers, journalists, photographers, explorers and more. Like the Emphas.is system, Kickstarter requires you to raise the full amount you asked for to get the cash - all pledges are cancelled if you don't get total funding. It's all or nothing.

So far both websites seem to be doing well and i fully expect to see other websites start up that follow a similar funding model. The system isn't a totally level playing field of course. A photographer from Magnum would have the 'celebrity' status to gain funding that an ordinary snapper (like me) would not. Just being associated with Magnum or National Geographic will give you that extra kudos. That thought aside though, I do believe that this funding option will work for many. Just how many we will have to wait and see.

Photojournalists needs to cover the stories and anything that can help them do that should be encouraged. I just hope that the up and coming photographers get a fair shot at the money and don't suffer due to the attraction of funding certain better known agency and magazine photographers who are also vying for cash.

Monday 14 March 2011

Top Left

Just a tinge of pride and a modest ego boost was gained this weekend from an E-mail sent by RedBubble:

'Congratulations Richard! Your work is featured on the RedBubble homepage today. One of our homepage curators picked your image because they thought it was brilliant. Less than 3 in a thousand works make it onto the homepage – so that’s a great achievement!'

Sadly i didn't get to see the homepage (11th March) featuring my speedway photograph in the top left hand corner. Not that it matters, they did send me a great screen shot of it.

The feedback about my photograph from other RedBubble users was brilliant too. One guy described it as gritty (that is a compliment, yes?) also liking the tonality of the photograph. Another used the word awesome which is... awesome. :o)

I must admit that I've always liked the way that speedway photograph hints at the decisive moment of a sudden release of immense engine power. To me, it captures the essence of what motorsport is all about.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Podcast Progress

Certain issues with the podcast have come to light recently that have needed my attention.The podcast has been online nearly one year so it seems the right time to make a few adjustments to improve things.

The biggest change regards the podcast hosting which has been moved from PodcastMachine due to the lack of, for the want of a better word, bandwidth. The new host at jellycast offers a considerably larger data transfer allowance which is desperately needed to maintain podcast access. The success and demand for the podcast has, ironically, caused it quite a few problems.

Many people were unable to download any of the podcasts when the PodcastMachine hosting data transfer allowance  ran out. There was no point recording a podcast that no one could listen to. An efficient solution had to be found, so today i decided to move the podcast's home to jellycast. A new iTunes page for this feed should be available very soon.

Currently the February podcast is available to download from the new host. The PodcastMachine podcasts will remain online but no further podcasts will be added to that feed.

To subscribe to the brand new jellycast powered Richard Flint Photography Podcast go to: http://richardflintphotography.jellycast.com/

Sunday 6 March 2011

The tale of two routers

Burnham Overy Staithe - Norfolk, UK

Yesterday evening the Internet suddenly went dead. Nothing. Zilch. Kersplat. The router just needs restarting i thought to myself as i wandered into the living room where the troublesome Belkin router was located. Oddly it appeared to be restarting itself over and over again so I unplugged it. From then on my Belkin N1 router failed to light up at all. My WiFi router was dead...gone... or so i thought.

One aspect of dealing with tech problems is that they seem to catch me out nearly every time when it comes to how simple the solution can be. It's a box not ticked or just a number or letter out of place that causes no end of problems. Being a bit of a tech enthusiast, i always tend to over-think problems. No power means that the electronics have fried and my router is dead. That theory concluded my brief post mortem of my electronic device. How wrong I was.

Yesterday afternoon, i buy a new WiFi gizmo, get it home and decide to just try the  new power adapter included with my new router on the old 'faulty' Belkin N1. Power! Lights come on and hey presto, the old router is back up and running. Bah! A simple faulty power adapter was the culprit for all the hassle.

A simple answer you see. I never seem to learn. Still, at least I have a backup WiFi router now.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Richie's Memorial

Richie's Memorial - Hunstanton, Norfolk, UK

The above photographs has resided on my computer hard drive for years and yet I've never been inclined to post it until now. Taken in 2004, the story of how i came to make the photograph is typical of how photographers can come across images.

The photograph was taken in Hunstanton on the North Norfolk coast. The town is a typical seaside resort, but it does have a darker side. Due to the height of the cliffs and easy access, these seaside places usually become suicide areas. Posters offering telephone help to those thinking of ending their lives is often seen in seaside resorts along the coastal paths.

Dotted along the cliff top are memorials, erected by families to loved ones lost. Some of them feature just flowers (often dead) with a hand written note, to more established memorials with forlorn weather beaten cuddly toys that add an extra layer of vulnerability and sadness to the scene.

I was walking along the cliff top back to the car when i  suddenly remembered that i seen a memorial, the previous year before, at a point in the walk i was coming to. At first i thought i had gone too far but then, among the cliff fencing appeared the cross and the cuddly toys. Someone had been back and rebuilt the memorial.

Richie. Who was he and what was his story?

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Settling Dust

February 28th marked the fourth birthday of this very blog which, i must admit, fills me with both a feeling of pride and regret. The blog has suffered from neglect over the last few months. Yes, neglect is the right word to use, as events, places and people have got in the way, however that is about to change.

Tomorrow i will start posting regularly again and in a month's time the photographer profile series will start again with the photographer Lee Miller. For those of you subscribed to the podcast, I'll be recording the February edition tomorrow and i have some brilliant website links for you.

Until tomorrow...