Sunday, June 07, 2015

Photographic memories

A classic view of Brugge at night. Millions of photos have been taken from where I stood, but I still think this image has something special. During the day Bruges is filled with tourists and nearly every one of them has a camera of some description.

The trick is to find a different way to photograph a place. I'm not saying nobody has shot this scene at night but it is certainly a more rare and special view. The dramatic lighting makes it stand out and a good image is all about special light.

I'm happy with the result and it will always bring back a fond memory of standing there with my wife in one of my favourite cities in the world.

Sometimes we photograph to sell to clients, other times for our own artistic endevours and always to preserve those precious memories. Our photographs have become our diaries.

Till soon,

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Selfie obsessed

A tourist poses for a self portrait using his selfie-stick.  His selfie will probably be posted straight to a social media site; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any number of others with a caption along the lines, "Look how much fun I'm having in Bruges."

In 2015 we noticed lots of people doing the selfie-on-a-stick thing  in Brugge. When people pose for these selfies their smiles often look forced. Or they pull weird expressions. They appear oblivious to the world around them, all attention focused on the small smartphone screen.

Getting creative with a high viewpoint.

And some people do it the old fashioned way, holding their smartphones.

Three young ladies get ready to pose for a group selfie in Brugge.

Are people becoming selfie-obsessed? Is it a good or a bad thing, or doesn't it matter? I remember when most of us would stop a friendly looking passer-by and ask them if they would mind taking a picture of us. Usually there was a bit of banter. Now most people seem to be into the DIY approach.

So what do you think?

Till soon,

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Inspirational National Geographic photographers on photography

What does it take to make the gold standard images we see in National Geographic magazine and what type of photographer does it take to get the job done?

Since I was a kid, curled up on the sofa, with a copy of National Geographic, I've admired the beautiful, informative images on the pages of my favourite magazine.

The photographers follow strict ethical guidelines forbidding any overt manipulation. This means that you can trust what you see in the magazine. The images accurately represent what the photographer saw. The photographer is our witness on the spot transporting us to exotic locations, adding a visual story to the well researched articles by National Geographic's writers.

The video below offers a fascinating and inspirational insight.

The video features the following photographers:
Lynsey Addario
William Albert Allard
James Balog
Marcus Bleasdale
Jodi Cobb
David Doubilet
David Guttenfelder
David Alan Harvey
Aaron Huey
Lynn Johnson
Ed Kashi
Tim Laman
David Littschwager
Gerd Ludwig
Michael Nichols
Paul Nicklen
Randy Olson
Jim Richardson
Joel Sartore
Stephanie Sinclair
Brian Skerry
Brent Stirton
Amy Toensing
Michael Yamashita

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Over the last year and a half I've watched it numerous times. Always a pleasure.

Till soon,

Saturday, February 21, 2015

New photo-story platform

Launched in September 2014, still in beta, Immersive is an online platform designed to help individual storytellers create and publish beautiful, visually rich stories. I published my first story on the platform and I must say I think it looks good. It's optimised for mobile and tablet too and supports stills and video.

Spanish fishing nets. Image from my photo story, Catch of the Day.

Overall Immersive is easy to use. Some buttons are hidden, revealing themselves when you hover over an area on the screen. But I got to grips with the system quite quickly.

Check out my photo story Catch of the day, about the local fishing industry in Spain.

Till soon,

Thursday, January 15, 2015

176 Portraits

January 2015 is well under way.  It seems like a good time to look back at one of my favourite photography genres, portraits.

I love photographing people. A good portrait is usually the result of collaboration between photographer and subject. It may result from a few minutes of conversation. Or happen after hours spent together, chatting, planning and travelling.

I try to make authentic portraits. They happen when the person I'm photographing engages with me. A good portrait is a gift, 'given' to the photographer's lens. Those moments are awesome to experience.

I am extremely grateful to everyone in my 176 portraits collection for allowing me to photograph them.

Visit the full gallery to browse the portraits at your leisure here:

If you would like a quick two and half minute overview then take a look at my YouTube video below.

What makes a good portrait for you?

Till soon,

Friday, December 19, 2014

Art in glass photo story

In 2014 one of my highlights was photographing a glass blowing session, together with my wife and fellow photographer Magda, at Marcel Vlamynck's Art in Glass studio in Brugge, Belgium.

During the session I concentrated mainly on shooting still images but also took a moment to film Anneleen who was working together with her father, master glass artist, Marcel Vlamynck. She is a talented glass artist too.

The famous Flemish actor and photogenic artist, Luk D'Heu, a keen glassblower himself, was also there adding his good humoured comments to the ambiance.

Master glass artist Marcel Vlamynck and daughter Anneleen put the finishing touches to a vase while Flemish artist and actor Luk D'Heu looks on.

Master glass artist Marcel Vlamynck uses a wad of wet newspaper in his hand to shape a piece of molten glass.
Marcel and Anneleen examine a glass vase, glowing hot at around 1,000 °C, as he rolls his blowpipe on the rails of his work station. Gravity is used to help shape the glass.
When glass is at around 1,090 °C it glows orange. Marcel Vlamynck uses a tool to shape molten glass.
Marcel Vlamynck concentrates as he blows down a blowpipe (or blow tube) to inflate molten glass so that it forms a bubble (or parison).
Master glass artist Marcel Vlamynck clearly enjoys his work as he stands in front of the furnace waiting for his molten glass creation to reach the right temperature for the next stage of the process.
A tense moment as the glass vase Marcel is working on is transferred from his blowpipe to Anneleen’s ponty.
Master glass artist Marcel Vlamynck adds the finishing touches to Anneleen’s vase.
Marcel and Anneleen high-five each other with their heat resistant gloves in celebration after their glass creation is put into the annealer machine. There it will slowly cool down so that the glass is as free of stress as possible.

The video shows a number of other exciting still images from the session and selection of 22 images from are viewable on Flickr.

I hope you've enjoyed the photo story. Comments always welcome.

Till soon,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

World War One Centenary

The video below shows a series of photographs I made in 2014 to tell the story of the centenary of the First World War. The images in the video plus more from this story, with full details about each image can be viewed on Flickr:

I recorded the Last Post live during the remembrance ceremony. The music accompanies the images I made at the Menin Gate, Ieper, Belgium.

Lest we forget...