Tuesday, 29 May 2007

DIFFERENT WITH SIMILARITIES, about vision and individualism.

Some very personal thoughts that I care to share with you.
About the first image.
This is what makes me tick, an alternative and beyond the obvious view of things, I'm not claiming it is unique, just that it is what I favour the most, my vision.
Cornwall, Padstow, Easter Sunday… so many people in the narrow streets, eating and drinking, soaking up the local atmosphere, the warmth of the sun.
Me, I’m not too fond of crowds (I guess not many photographers are?), had been walking the different quays, taking a few photos as souvenirs, I knew that Padstow, also being a fishing harbour, had to have another side to it. As I eventually came to it, of course it was prohibited to the public…
I defied the law, broke it and walked on, that’s where the good stuff was, a few fishermen looked at me a bit suspiciously, but nothing a smile couldn’t fix, hihi.

I know most of you will not 'see' what I see in it, but that's ok, photography is a personal matter, I have to love it in the first place, in my 'free' photography I take images for myself, images that will mean something to me! And if others like it... well, that is a bonus!

I found myself standing on the edge of the quay, above a dredger, looking down at the sand in the hull, I looked up, the shadow of a huge crane behind me, light... shadow, colour, composition...photography...

It is ALL about the visual here where other images can have a more hidden message...
like the second one and what it says about me and means to me:

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the most celebrated inspirational fable of our time, tells the story of a bird determined to be more than ordinary. This bestselling modern classic, is a story for people who want to follow their dreams and make their own rules and has inspired people for decades.
'Most gulls don't bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight -- how to get from shore to food and back again,' writes author Richard Bach in this allegory about a unique bird named Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
'For most gulls it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight.' Flight is indeed the metaphor that makes this story soar.
This modern classic is a fable about seeking a higher purpose in life, even if your flock, tribe or neighbourhood finds your ambition threatening (at one point our beloved gull is even banished from his flock).
By not compromising his higher vision, Jonathan learns the meaning of love and kindness and gets the ultimate payoff -- transcendence.

It influenced my life, it fitted the philosophy I felt from a very young age, that I was an individualist, a loner, different, never part of anything really, being just me, not accepting anything that might hurt other people, like racism, bullying, fiercely standing up for my convictions... that can be intimidating to most, it invites fear and/or jealousy... however like with every choice you make in life, be careful, you have to live with the consequences... brace yourself for the hurt, disenchantment and loneliness.
People feel too often threatened by strong individuals, they shouldn't, just accept them.
My religion is that we are ALL born with a conscience, that we ALL know so well when we do wrong or right, sometimes the tone in which something is said is enough! AND WE KNOW IT!!!
I am still convinced that being a good human being is NOT a difficult achievement.

Have a great day, remember.. I DON'T DO BIRDS.. thanx, M, (*_*)

Monday, 14 May 2007


Most of us spend a lot of time in our cars.
Driving from A to B is not that simple anymore, it is fraught with obstacles which can cause us a lot of stress and frustration.
We have to plan journeys ahead, add lots of time to the 'actual' time, because, as you hear or see on your screen, you are going to face delays, from forever going on roadworks, to accidents, to traffic- jams, to freak weather conditions. The tarmac is melting, the gritting is not done, the road is flooded... You're smiling, it happened to you too he?
Another thing I tried to turn around for me, instead of fretting, now I take advantage of it.
When we're out together, Paul does most of the driving.
Me, I look around and love the challenge of shooting images from the car... hit and miss, but I have a whole series of 'hits' now and even more 'misses'... hihi, and I had a lot of fun.
What I have now noticed is how 'cluttered' the roadsides are with barriers, fences, lamp poles, cables and roadsigns and how parceled the land is with hedges, stonewalls and trees.
You get other cars and lorries blocking a fleeting stunning view.

At 70 miles/hour, there's bound to be something in your shot, or when the fraction in time and space is just perfect, yes, you guessed it, a bump or a pothole, grrr... only another type of frustration? Hihi.

Now I can't wait for the slow down or the complete stop. We pass so many places that you couldn't get to and see any other way!

I get a kick out of this type of challenge, only ONE chance, you either got it spot on, that is mainly the comp, or it's a complete flop.
Think: windows are mostly tinted now! No, not a natural filter.
Beware of glare and reflection, there is a knack and, ahem, 'logic' to this.

How positive can you get????? LOL.
DRIVE CAREFULLY! Thanx, M, (*_*)

1. Liverpool. By myself, waiting at the traffic lights... the corner building had a rounded mirror-glass facade, I loved what I saw, grabbed my camera... the lights changed to green... onto the next...

2. Always have a CLEAN windscreen, look up, blue sky and... power cables.

3. Through town you stand a better chance as they are all congested and there's lots to see, keep your eyes peeled!

4. This is what I mean about the land being parceled!

5. Almost in Cornwall, quite a landmark , this copse, I love the movement in the fg.

6. Use mirrors, they can add a creative aspect.

7. A HIT!!!
"Second Severn Crossing"-Ail Groesfan Hafren

The most southerly bridge over the river Severn is the viaduct and cable-stayed bridge which carries the motorway M4 between Wales and England. This was taken with the Nikkor 70-300.
You need a steady hand, a good driver and a smooth, 'whisper tarmacked' road.

8. A MISS!!!
I thought it was only fair to include one of my 'misses' or is it? Over to you.

Friday, 11 May 2007


Building up portfolios is becoming much more common, as people are becoming more and more confident in joining more and more sites (which can be dangerous places for novices, because there are other factors at play, egos, rivalry, jealousy, but that's for another blog).
No matter what most claim, they are not open to true assessment and criticism, some of our images are very personal and close to us, often been held back until ready to let go, when 'rejected' or rather not accepted, but mostly misunderstood, it can hurt.

Portfolios are usually compilations of achievements, including major and favourite pieces of their work, feedback comments from fellow amateurs and photographers and the reflective, explanatory notes, excuses and sometimes analysis by the photographers themselves.

Portfolios tell us more about the photographer, they can contain evidence reflecting a wide range of skills, attributes and a degree of artisticity and imagination.

Portfolios often reflect development, which I love seeing.

Portfolios can show attitudes and values as well as skills and knowledge.
It can be argued that presently we have far too much assessment, but that neither the quality nor the diversity of this assessment is right. We must take into account aspects such as originality, aesthetics,the level of difficulty.
It still remains a subjective and spontaneous response upon a first viewing, the immediate results of the objective properties of the image and the psychological processes of our perception.
Assessment is a private and intimate affair, because of the importance to people, it is probably the aspect of our profession that should be scrutinised most carefully.

I've trimmed down the whole debate for myself.
Simplified it to:

I could put that on 'my wall'.
Whenever I see an image I ask myself, would I have that on 'my wall', meaning could I live with it day after day, would I have 'a good' relationship with it? Would it give me visual and emotional pleasure each time my eyes touch it?
That is often the criterion with which I approach a photo.

The above photo IS on my wall... I am proud of it, even if NOBODY else ever likes it.
Strobe work in the studio.
I asked him to make a beautiful movement, fascinated as I was by trying to capture the emotion of motion in camera.
What I didn't know is that dancers need a point to fix on at each turn, to remain and land on the same spot.
The lighting technique I was using was in complete darkness, euuuhhh, which was a bit of a problem for him, however after a couple of tries, he (we)succeeded.
This is the result.
A very strong, lean and dynamic man, a joy to watch the human body at work.

Have a fine day and thanx, M, (*_*)

Thursday, 10 May 2007



Last w-e we drove to the South of England, to Bournemouth/ Dorset, to meet up with a visiting photographer from Canada. We'd never been there so we were full of anticipation and excitement. A new place to explore, something new in the lens is always good.
But of course, it is a compromise, like ALL 'meets' you want to chat and be together, on the other hand, photography requires all your focus and attention. So either you come home satisfied socially or artistically, it is not easy to combine the two.
We were there for 2 days, and I don't have many images of the first day.
The second day in Poole, next to Bournemouth, it was very smooth, we photographed along the promenade where there was a lot of activity, then we stopped and had a long pub lunch, sitting outside and with good conversation.
An elegant sailing boat called the Overlord came gliding in under ominous skies, turned and eventually moored alongside the quay, the skipper looked like a formidable man who had his crew well in hand, looked determined and kind.
Operation Overlord was the codename for the Allied invasion of northwest Europe, on the beaches of Normandy, which began on June 6, 1944, and ended on August 19, 1944.
it also means: An overlord was a lord having authority over other lords in medieval politics.
He looked the part. It's like a story book... hope you enjoy it.
Have a colourful day and thanx, M, (*_*)

From the top:
1. The Overlord comes gliding in.
2. The skipper and a member of the crew, I've been spotted!
3. They turned around , I captured him against YELLOW;
I drew a line,
I drew a line for you,
Oh what a thing to do,
And it was all yellow.

Excerpt from Yellow by Coldplay.
4. The skipper in his 'oils', roping into the mooring. The maneuver here was to pulling the boat onto its moorings.

5. His portrait in black and white, it seemed so obvious, HEAVE HO; the term heave ho is a call used to coordinate the efforts of several seamen hauling on a line. Please let me know what you prefer and why?

Friday, 4 May 2007



It was late summer, walking towards the entrance of the harbour on the walls, towards the end on the thick parapet, I thought how much this lady enjoyed the warm sun rays stroking her legs. I looked for the right comp and took the photo… as I walked closer I started to realize not all was what it seemed…
She was sobbing.
She had just scattered her mum’s ashes and was watching the waves taking her beloved on an eternal voyage…
Emotional, but not evident, it is clear that that appearances can be quite deceptive and we should be aware of first impression!

As a photographer it is all about the image, as a human being it is only about the person.

I had a tough dilemma here, I was faced with 2 choices, it was a moral decision, to upload or not?
Did I make this story up or not, is the image true or false?

I’d be very interested in your view, so please do not just view, let me know, it means a lot to me. THANX, and have a fine day, Magda, (*_*)

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

CONFESSION & LESSON. Amitabh Bachchan

Please do not COPY or use any of my images on websites, blogs or any other media without my explicit permission. © All rights reserved.

Amitabh Bachchan

Son of well known poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan..
The trademark deep baritone voice, the tall, brooding persona, and intense eyes, made Amitabh Bachchan the ideal "Angry Young Man" in the 1970s, thereby changing the face of Hindi cinema.
He left films in 1985 to become a Member of Parliament from Allahabad constituency as a Congress party candidate, as a favor to his family friend Rajiv Gandhi - the new Prime Minister of India.
He’s been awarded all over the world with prestigious titles and medals like the Legion d’Honneur.
He presided over the last ‘Bollywood Oscars’ in Dubai, this year’s held in Yorkshire, yes he’s back in town!

The first Asian actor having a wax model of his likeness displayed at Madame Tussaud's in London.
Was named Actor of the Millennium in a BBC News Poll ahead of such luminaries as Charlie Chaplin, Sir Lawrence Olivier and Marlon Brando. Here he’s often called the Asian Sean Connery. (For more go to Amitabh Bachchan Wikipedia)

We photographed the great man, the big B as he is called… He allowed us to take portraits of him.
It is indeed the height (1, 91) and elegance, the voice and the penetrating look that leaves a lasting impression of this extremely kind and distinguished gentleman.
I saw a few hairs slightly over his eye and brow, walked up to him, gently put it back in place, we smiled at each other…

The set-up was two soft boxes and a back light with honeycomb.
I only wanted some rim or edge light, but he moved his head, hence the highlight on his cheek, no matter...l loved the pose and intensity, took it... it is my personal favourite. You know how for me... IT IS OFTEN ABOUT THE EMOTION MUCH MORE THAN THE TECHNICAL PROWESS!

I was scanning those 6x6 negs (Hasselblad), it is done one by one, strips of three, by the second strip, I realised I had put the first in the holder the wrong way round.
Its not easy to see and I was in a hurry. (A big no no!)
Rescanned it correctly, but came to the conclusion that I actually preferred the wrong one.
No one spotted it, although it was quite clear in the lighting and the whole setting.

Since the beginnings of photographic portraiture there's an old trick that has been in use.
Early portrait photographers found they had more success selling mirror images (horizontally flipped over) pictures of their subjects than the normal straight view provided by the camera. The reason is that people are more used to seeing themselves in a mirror than as other people see them. Nowadays we're far more used to seeing pictures of ourselves but to a certain extent the preference probably still exists. (Maybe we should do a scientific study).
That could account for one of the reasons why most people run, screaming; " I hate being photographed..." Sounds familiar?

There is a difference in the portraits, because of the neg emulsion, I guess I could have corrected it?

The bottom one is is the correct (photographic) way.
The top one is how he sees himself in the mirror.

Fun and interesting?

Have a great day and thanx, M, (*_*)

Ps: please let me know what you think?