There's no better place to catch the wind than the trees. Here we see a blustery dance along the River Miño in Galicia, Spain.
what I hadn't expected was the light display the swaying branches would produce.
This video is part of my ongoing #thefourelements project
It is really all around us. Who'd have thought that Japanese artist, Hokusai, might have found inspiration in a glass vase in Asturias, Spain, for his famous Great Wave off Kanagawa?
No matter how much of a routine you have; batteries charged, memory cards empty, mic on, (lens cap off), there's always going to come a time when something fails, with varying degrees of disaster factor. I think the difference is in how you handle it. How do you handle it? There's always the fear that other photographers simply do not make these mistakes, the classic "schoolboy error". This is when the panic sets in and the internal dialogue goes something like this,
Are people going to see you for the fraud you really are?
Are you a fraud?
Oh God, you probably are.
Yet it's an inevitable part of the job. Certainly, the most rigorous checks I carry out now are a direct consequence of a silly oversight in the past. Like the time I tripped on my tripod whilst filming the only chance I had for catching a plane taking off in Niger. Or, again in Niger, when I forgot to drop the ISO back down once outside the darkness of the plane. That is, once I stepped out into the blinding Nigerien sun. I didn't even realise until I got back home and could see the grainy noise in all one thousand images I'd taken.
Yes, it was most definitely a schoolboy error. I should have realised something was wrong immediately (I was having to pump up the shutter speed something ridiculous). But I didn't and there was no turning back. I had photographs to produce and made the best of a bad job. In every other aspect, the images were satisfactory so I bit the bullet and got the job done.
And that's all it is, biting the bullet. Even the worst-case scenario of no working camera available can usually be overcome. Use your phone, borrow someone else's. It's not going to be the result you planned for (or didn't plan for!) but it's better than nothing. Once you've accepted your situation you can begin to act and given the fact that you're a working photographer, or anything else for that matter, you're capable of finding a solution.
Street Soundtracks is a project I've just started that looks at taking street music and using it as a soundtrack to images from the very street it's being played on.
It's mobile phone recording of course, but it seems to work. Here I've included the first three videos made on a visit to the UK. You'll see how they develop from the first to the third.
I spent April 2015 working with Cheshire Homes Swaziland, a rehabilitation centre for adults and children with disability, to develop a video that would raise both awareness about the work they do and hopefully funding with which to carry on that work.
I had the privilege of getting to know the patients and staff, a group of truly inspiring individuals.
I encourage you to take ten minutes to watch this video, feel alive and spread the word.
Every Sunday a crowd gathers on the riverbank in Arcos de Valdevez, Portugal, to play music and dance. Nothing more: no alcohol needed, no pro dancers or musicians brought in to entertain. Just the neighbours - young and old (although mostly old) getting together for a shindig.
Recorded on a mobile phone (not gonna tell you which one)
I've just spent the last week working in rural Lesotho with a small organisation called Paleng ("Place of Stories" in Sesotho). The initiative is run by Marion Drew and Khotatso Ranoosi and revolves around a small library where children can come and read books of varying levels in both English and Sesotho. As well as offering a much-needed safe space for children to read and play, Paleng is also involved in the African Storybook Project (ASP). The ASP is an initiative that aims to create an opensource database of African stories in book format that can be translated, adapted and downloaded for use in different countries and different languages. Paleng is the Lesotho test site for the ASP.
I was there to explore the potential of using accessible technology in the further exploitation of existing stories and the development of new ones. By offering teachers, parents etc. alternatives to simply reading, we can not only provide them with a wider array of options, but also increase literacy in children who may be less inclined to read.
The different approaches we tried included recording a film on a mobile phone camera, audio recording of storytelling, and "raw material" audiovisual recording of stories for further development.
Paleng is a non-profit organisation who are currently looking for the means with which to obtain their own premises. For more information and contact details, see www.paleng.weebly.com
I've always considered IKEA to be a special type of Hell. A soul-sucking mix of everything I dislike about current society and my own weaknesses, alongside an impressive display of creativeness and inventive minds. The very real danger of coming out with hundreds of times more than ever needed (if you ever even really needed anything before you went in) is the result of the effort of an army of designers who successfully appeal to the gatherer/Diogenes in all of us.
It occurred to me that we now browse through huge generic department stores in much the same way as we have for a long time browsed these flea markets. But with one important difference - variety. Yes, there's a huge amount of product variety in an IKEA store but the products themselves are all exactly the same. My IKEA wooden spoon will be exactly the same as yours. Whereas in a flea market you're almost guaranteed something unique.
It's almost all junk at the end of the day but what you're offered is a much broader playing field upon which to express your own individual taste. A spoon is not just a spoon and does not only serve the bowl-to-mouth purpose which places like IKEA have assigned it.
There is a reason to think twice before entering IKEA and if your soul isn't worth fighting for, start with your cupboards.
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