TRAVEL & PLACE | Caersws Magic

I hope you can forgive me, but when it comes to my home country I have a very soft heart, I seem to go all glossy eyed and romantic when I think of this beautiful piece of the world.

Wales, it rains a lot, but without that rain you wouldn’t have Wales. The smell of the earth, it’s life. No wonder there was so much industry in this little country, the ground on which we walk hides a wealth of minerals that seemed to keep the world moving forward at one stage. Now, Wales give’s great pleasure and relaxation to the millions who visit it every year to go walking it’s great peaks, and it caters for the hardier as well as the less hardy or merely the ones who want to lie on one of it’s outstanding coastal beaches if the thought of walking makes you come over all tired. On some days though you become witness to scenes like this and you can still believe your an explorer. You could also be forgiven in thinking you have seen the dragon of Wales silently glide from around that distant mountain and clear the mist just long enough to catch a glimpse but still not sure what you saw. It is true you know, if you stand still long enough you can hear the sounds of gurgling streams, the sound of sheep on the mountain sides depending on the time of year. But for me as a photographer it’s light that gets my creative juices flowing and on this day God was putting on one incredible show, after all this is His favourite country.

I was staying with my brother on one of my bi-annual visits from Australia. He lives in the small hamlet village of Carno, Powys in the Parish of Montgomeryshire, it’s one of those places you seem to pass through on your way to greater things. His cottage, I might add you can now hire for your next Welsh escape, lies alongside the main A470, the main road that takes from the south to the north but being so rural you wouldn’t think so. The name of the village is said to have derived from the welsh word for cairn (carnedd), as there are many ancient cairns on the hills surrounding the village. One claim to fame for this little place is the designer and entrepreneur Laura Ashley who is buried in the churchyard. Anyway. I woke one autumn morning to witness this beautiful show of weather moving down through the valley. Grabbing my camera I photographed some of these scenes from the bedroom window, until I couldn’t contain myself any more and just had to get out and soak up the best of Welsh mountain weather and we hadn’t even eaten breakfast as yet. It was early and very still with a quietness you can expect in such a beautiful piece of Wales, no cars, no walkers, just this peacefulness with a smell of earth. We drove up to the top of the mountain pulling into the side of the country lane just the once to let the local farmer through with his tractor, not quite at the top we pulled over to make more images, the valley of Caersws seemed to want to be photographed this day.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

ARTS & CULTURE | Finding Inspiration

Have you noticed the art of photography has now been been regulated to the status of the enthusiast. Everybody makes pictures, But because its easy doesn’t mean its less difficult. Over the last couple of decades there has been an explosion in the photographic world, it’s cool to take photographs, anybody can copy trends or styles. But only a vision-that is what one must have.

Although Im a photographer I don’t look to other photographers for inspiration, unless it’s the greats like Walker Evans, Bill Brandt and Ernst Haas, then you cannot help but be inspired. But it’s painter’s that teach me more about light than any other creative. I mean take a close look at J. M. W. Turners work, now that man knew how to convey a feeling by just placing pigment on a canvas. But I’m a photographer and the only means I have to express whats in my head is to use a camera to record light. So its light I look to first, then when I feel I have that worked out I can make pictures.

This series of portraits of a talented artist friend of mine, Paul Macklin I approached with Rembrandt in my thinking. I love the way Rembrandt lights portraits, rich and full of depth. these where shot under Paul’s awning with one light fired through a honey comb grid and another fired back out of shot but angled just enough to catch the right amount of light fall off I needed under Paul’s right eye and cheek bone. I wanted richness and depth to this series and it appears I caught it.

CANT YOU SEE?

An artist makes his art through his head, heart and his hands. This is the idea behind my new set of pictures of Christopher Dewar.
My inspiration for the grid shots came from Bernd and Hilla Becher, a husband and wife photography team who taught photography in Germany. What the Bechers sought from their subjects was a way in which a single type of structure (watertower, blast furnace, etc.) varied wildly in its external appearance due to its specific historical, geographical context. So I looked at this grid system to explore the way we look at a person, by photographing Chris with the same light, same angle, it’s then you can start to explore with your eye and start to see the differences between each image. Forget about getting the soul of a person in a photograph, that’s just a load of old bull, when we make a picture of person we bring our own baggage with us and what we want to happen, so there is very little chance your going to see who they really are.

The idea behind the floating image is that sometimes we dream our art, we, the artist, can see the beauty in what we create, why can’t others. So in a dream state we float, hands out as though. Look! look what I have created for you. Cant you see?

 

The hands. This is what we use to create, communicate our creativeness to you. So we now  have the whole story of an artist. As told by another artist, art is again created and another story is told. But who’s, mine or Chris’s?