Matt Pinner, Shed Artist of the Week.

What first drew you to photography? 
My Grandad left me his tripod in his will. I thought it was good out of respect to buy a camera. I fell in love and never looked back!
Corfe castle in the mist by Matt Pinner

Corfe castle in the mist by Matt Pinner

What is your favourite photographic memory, and why? 
Corfe Castle Sunrise I took on 22/11/15and then waking up to it going global on social media.
Who is your favourite photographer, and why? 
Stephen Banks AKA Dorset Scouser – he’s inspiring by being the first Dorset landscaper photographer doing the Milky Way at night.
What would be your ideal camera, and where would you take it? 
The Sony Alpha A7S Mark II or Phase One, the level for details are amazing.
Tell us what you enjoy most about your own work, and what has inspired you recently.
What I enjoy most is being outdoors and the freedom. What I most like about my own work is getting the feedback even the negative comments as they help me the most. What has inspired me most recently is watching my work go global.It’s an amazing feeling watching one photo hit every news paper in the UK and EU and being my own work is something I’m really proud of.
Do you have bursts of creativity – and when/where are you most creative?
What are the most important elements of a successful photo? A successful photo is the one you have to be out here to take. You ’miss every photo you don’t take’.
Corfe Castle by Matt Pinner

Corfe Castle by Matt Pinner

How do you spend a creative day? 
Out in Dorset’s amazing Landscapes which is some of the best in the UK in my opinion!

Andy Lyons, Shed Artist of the Week.

My road into the photography world has only just begun though I’m hoping it is going to be a long and successful one.
I’m quite a techno geek, by that what I really mean is that I love my toys and that’s how the photography thing began. I bought a Nikon D3200 a few years ago with the main aim behind this being to try and highlight the work we as volunteers do on the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) charity saving lives at sea. A fellow lifeboat crew member based down in Torbay (Nigel Millard) was busy publicising the work with dramatic shots at sea during rescues and training exercises and has subsequently published a book about it. This was my initial idea too, albeit on a much smaller scale. However, trying to hold on to a camera and not fall over the side of the boat is certainly challenging so while you may not see that many pictures on here currently involving the lifeboat its not through a lack of trying!
With this all in mind landscape and seascape photography was starting to take over my mind set. I live in a beautiful part of the world and so try to publicise that to others to appreciate. I think we take for granted where we live sometimes.
A splash at the Banjo by Andy Lyons

A splash at the Banjo by Andy Lyons

The first picture that had some ‘wow’ to it was caught the day after a storm had gone threw, the clouds were clearing away, the sun was rising and the occasional wave would smash against the end of the ‘Banjo Pier’ in Swanage – I captured this one shot, hand held and on a programmed setting on the camera. People still comment on this shot but nearly two years down the line I look at it and know given the chance I could do it so much better, partly because of new camera and lenses!
There’s a certain amount of ‘copying’ within the photo industry, I think that’s a given and probably has been and always will be and I’ve certainly learnt an awful lot from others in the area. I’m lucky enough to be friends with Andy Farrer who has just been awarded the Landscape Photographer of the year award who’s work I’ve studied, read his blogs and been lucky enough to shoot with on occasions.
That all said, I do love to get a shot that no-on else can get which got me thinking of how can I get a shot that no-one else can get. One idea I had was during the exceptionally strong tides which married up nicely with sunrise for an idea at Old Harry Rocks. The rock formations there have been photographed millions of times I expect but after a 3.30am Sunday morning alarm call, long and slippery walk I was greeted with this superb opportunity to shoot it all from the base of the cliffs instead of above it! We have done plenty of training on the lifeboats there and have clambered around the cliff bases so I had an idea of what I wanted and thankfully it all married up nicely.
I’ve had so many nice comments on this picture but the one comment that comes across a lot is the fact that you feel as if you are actually there looking through the arch! Nice comments and positive feedback is always nice to hear but one thing I like most about this picture is that no one can try to replicate it…. well not till next August at least :)
Where my onward journey in the photography world takes me who knows….. I just hope it has a slightly different or unique flavour to it mixed with some of the ‘classics’ that ultimately people will appreciate (and perhaps buy from the Shed Gallery of course :) )

Caring about the community, Caroline Collett.

 

The Shed is very much a community and, for many of us, that’s a really important aspect of the whole thing.

I love the summer and winter shows in Lyme Regis, for example and discovering new talent there, such as artist and ceramicist Odile Moreno, whose work is all over my house and my friends’ houses too, now that I’ve got into the dangerous new habit of commissioning. Ceramics Anonymous, here I come!

And so, in the spirit of community, I shall finish my much-appreciated ‘Artist of the Week’ slot by highlighting the work of four other Shedders, whose work is particularly catching my eye right now.

Lois Wakeman

I have one of Lois’s images in my living room and I can’t think of a greater compliment than to want to live with someone’s work day in and day out!

Her subject matter is often similar to that of many of us living and working on the Jurassic coast – the sun, sea and beach, coastal buildings or found objects. But whilst many seek simply to capture nature at its best, Lois’s own eye meets the world head-on. She seems able to clear away all the visual clutter and the noise and really hone in, with great simplicity and compositional skill, on a single element or colour.

Roller Coaster’ encapsulates this ability perfectly:

Roller Coaster by Lois Wakeman

Roller Coaster by Lois Wakeman

 

Tim Starkey

A new-ish arrival to The Shed (I think), who has only posted a small number of images – but they’re all absolutely great: strong silhouettes, vibrant colour and original composition. This image is my favourite because it’s so cinematic – ‘Misty Forest‘.

Misty Forest by Tim Starkey

Misty Forest by Tim Starkey

 

Beatriz Chamussy

I’m not usually particularly drawn to travel photography, but Beatriz’s images of India and Morocco are just delightful. She obviously has a major love affair with colour and her shots also have a very sophisticated, photo-journalist’s sense of composition and human drama. There’s a really fresh sense of fun and humour at play here too – ‘Door and bicycle in Varanasi.

Door and bicycle in Varanasi by Beatriz Chamussy

Door and bicycle in Varanasi by Beatriz Chamussy

 

Paul Taylor

Paul’s work for me is the work of an artist using photography as a preferred medium. There’s a strong pull towards the abstract, a brilliant sense of colour and a love of things that aren’t quite right or are perhaps about to unravel.

Of the four photographers I’ve chosen here, I definitely see an overlap of the kind of subject matter or mood I’m attracted to myself in Paul’s photography.

I could easily live with several of his shots – Pink Star Seaweed, for example, or Caravan in Lichen or the wonderful Cocteau Tadpoles – but especially this beauty, ‘Toxic.

Toxic by Paul Taylor

Toxic by Paul Taylor

 

 

 

Seeing things in black and white by Caroline Collett.

 

I’ve never really done much black and white photography – just a few experiments here and there and a couple of one-day portrait courses with the wonderful Ron Frampton over at Dillington House.

I’m a fan of it for sure – most of my photography books are of black and white photographers – but personally I’m usually much more attracted to very bright and intense natural colour.

Trying out black and white a little more in recent times, I would have thought I’d like creating very high-contrast images, to continue that same aesthetic, but in fact the opposite is true. It seems to be very subtle light that works best in black and white, such as these two images, both taken in the crypt of an Italian church this summer in Umbria:

Umbrian crypt by Caroline Collett

Umbrian crypt by Caroline Collett

Crucifix by Caroline Collett

Crucifix by Caroline Collett

Simple shapes work well in black and white too, as if simplifying the colour calls for everything to get simpler, as with these images of Carsten Höller’s spiralling slide from his summer exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London or these barley-sugar spiral columns outside the Citta di Castello cathedral in Italy:

Slide by Caroline Collett

Slide by Caroline Collett

Sugar Spiral Columns by Caroline Collett

Sugar Spiral Columns by Caroline Collett

Strong silhouettes also make for great subject matter. These two images show the Oxo Tower (an image that was chosen for an exhibition by the London Photo Gallery this summer) alongside one of Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures from her studio-and-garden museum in St Ives:

Oxo Tower by Caroline Collett

Oxo Tower by Caroline Collett

Hepworth sculpture by Caroline Collett

Hepworth sculpture by Caroline Collett

Images revealing detail and texture, always a favourite subject matter, seem to work in black and white better than in colour when the colour simply isn’t that interesting – or else where it detracts from what’s more interesting, as in these final images of an old wooden door in Umbria and the pattern made by rippling water over a Cornish beach:

Old Wooden Gate, Umbria by Caroline Collett

Old Wooden Gate, Umbria by Caroline Collett

Snakeskin Ripples by Caroline Collett

Snakeskin Ripples by Caroline Collett

All these images are available to buy from my full black and white collection on the Shed Gallery.

Discovery of an icon by Caroline Collett.

 

Being a photography fan is one of the greatest ways to keep learning and evolving, so I go and see as many exhibitions and buy as many volumes of photography as my purse can afford and my bookshelves can cope with.

I wrote a piece for The Shed back in 2012 on the ten photographers whose work I consider the most inspirational and, looking at it again now, I’d pretty much keep to that list, though perhaps with a few additions I’ve been keener on in recent years – Diane Arbus, Todd Hido, Josef Koudelka, Gordon Parks, Harry Gruyaert…

Contemporary photography can be a fairly overwhelming prospect and it’s impossible to know all that’s going on; there’s just so much more of it for a start! – but I did think I knew all the major players of the 20th century pretty well, especially from the golden age of the 1920s and 30s, when so many important photographic subjects were first defined and ring-fenced. But, as it turns out, there are still surprises to be found.

At the end of the summer I was looking through the postcard display at Tate St Ives, when I came across some intriguing black and white images with a real 1920s, Man Ray feel. The subject was a strange, other-worldly, androgynous being and the photographer someone called Claude Cahun. Intrigued, I did a bit of further digging when I got home and ended up buying a book called ‘Don’t Kiss Me; the art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore.’

It turns out that both photographer and subject were the same person and not a man at all, but a woman using a male pseudonym. What a story followed! Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe (who created their art under the names of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore) were step-sisters and lovers, who joined the Paris Surrealists in the 20s before moving to Jersey, where they lived and worked together on their extraordinary photographs and drawings, which play brilliantly with gender and identity (long before Cindy Sherman et al).

When the Nazis invaded, the two artists created resistance propaganda aimed at German troops, in spite of Cahun’s Jewish origins and the dangers that brought, eventually being found out, arrested and sentenced to death. They survived simply because the war ended in time, but their work very nearly didn’t.

Their archive only really came to light when it was bought by a private collector from an auction house in Jersey in the 1970s, before coming into the hands of the Jersey Museum in the 1990s. A very familiar-sounding story for anyone who’s followed the recent Vivian Maier phenomenon.

It’s amazing to think how often lesser lights in art are so nearly extinguished and there are certainly lessons here for museum curators in taking photography seriously and being aware at regional as well as at national level of bodies of work building up in the here and now. US museums have led the way in photography curation and the UK is beginning to catch up, but discoveries such as Claude Cahun show there’s plenty still to be done.