As the end of another year approaches, it’s the time when we all relax and sit back and start to reflect on the past year, but also time to ponder where we are heading in the new year, both in our personal lives and also in our photographic journey. We’ve already got a calendar packed with workshops, talks, fairs and trips to interesting places, so we’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2018.
However, I’ve digressed from what I originally sat down to write about. I was sat having a coffee the other day whilst looking through a friend’s website, as you do. And I found my going, oh I like that, and I like that, and I wish I’d taken that and I’ll have to go there. I’m sure we’ve all done it, but then I thought that’s exactly what I don’t want to do. I really don’t want a portfolio full of copies of other people’s work, I want to do my own thing.
Now before anyone points out that I’ve got loads of images of iconic, well known locations, I accept that I need some of these for commercial reasons, but it’s images taken in little, or unknown locations that give me the most satisfaction and I want to follow my own path more this coming year.
I’m happy with the direction of my monochrome work, I just need to figure out how to produce more of it, but the saturated colour work doesn’t please me anymore. My recent image of Kingthorpe didn’t exactly set the social media on fire, but I don’t care, I like it so much it’s going to be printed and hung on the wall and I’m sure there will be more, softer, subtler images to follow this coming year.
Constantly photographing the same place may seem like a waste of time at first, but in reality, the light and the conditions are never the same twice, so it can be an interesting and challenging project. By constantly going back to a location, you get to know the place and learn which times of day work and when the light will be favourable. It also allows you to “work” a location to get the most out of it.
I’m lucky as I live close to two streams. Ten minutes’ walk in either direction and I can be on the river bank and it’s a place that is good for the soul. Life feels as though it slows down, keeping pace with the slow-moving river. I see deer and rabbits, kingfishers and egrets and never tire of the peace and tranquillity and this puts me in a good frame of mind for photography.
I took my first successful image of Costa Beck way back in 2008 and it has always been the benchmark for me as an image I’ve never bettered.
As the seasons roll by, the vegetation at the side of the beck constantly changes, bringing new challenges, but also offering new images. Summer 2011 brought a wonderful display of rose bay willow herb that gave a colourful display that is such a contrast to the frosty images I regularly take.
The banks of the river are often overgrown, but in 2015 the banks had been mown giving me un-rivalled access to shoot reflections in the water.
Whereas today the banks are very overgrown, bringing its own challenge and giving me an image that I’m not happy with.
However I’m sure I’ll be back along the banks of Costa beck again one day soon and who knows I might just better the 2008 image!