Inside this issue
An Indoor Photography Challenge
Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.
A few weeks ago, during one of our lockdown podcasts, I challenged Joe Cornish and David Ward to take a few photographs as a 'mini lockdown project'. The idea was to produce a set of four photos on any subject matter but that had to be taken inside your house. We also opened the idea up to our readers to have a go. The idea was definitely not meant to be a real 'competitive challenge' but to motivate us into picking up a camera, if only for a short while. With the lockdown relaxing in England (and possibly in the devolved nations in the next week) we thought it a good time to edit them into together for your enjoyment.
Shadows on the Wall
When Austria started its lockdown in mid-March, I started to take photos of scenes inside my house - objects, reflections, shadows, abstractions. As a nature photographer, I look for the small things, the patterns of nature and always try to see the beauty in the mundane. As a lockdown photographer, I tried to transfer these principles to my house and found the shadows the sun cast on my kitchen and living room walls during different times of the day most enticing - the sun being the artist and the random objects in my house the props.
Colour and Luminance
I wanted to experiment with some intense colours on a high key field.
During this coronavirus lockdown period, I set up this wooden Kiwi model on my dining room table and added various other objects to try and put the bird into some kind of imaginary habitat. The images were made on my Nikon D800e fitted with a Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro lens and lit with Bowens studio flash.
When a home is not a home
There is nothing conventional about how my imagination views our home. It is very much like a Time Machine, my very own Tardis - often I’m travelling through space or finding myself surrounded by microscopic detail from the natural world. For some years I’ve been cooking up abstracts for what’s become known as my 'Kitchen Collection’. It has opened my eyes to another world, one that’s created through looking at things differently and responding to the unexpected or inconsequential. The consequence of cooking, of opening a store cupboard, freezer door, dishwasher or refuse bin is never dull, it’s always tinged with excitement and expectation as I’m never sure where in our universe I may end up. The four images are simply representative of that journey, all iPhone and processed in Snapseed. As ever, no explanations, but they do or did exist in and around the kitchen.
Bringing Outdoors Indoors
My wife is a fibre artist and our house is filled with the materials of her craft - this includes dried leaves, seedpods, rusty bits of metal, small tree limbs in various states of decay... So with a bit of hunting around, it was relatively easy to photograph things that one would normally find outdoors, in our indoor environment. With the added advantage of being able to do at least some of it in my pyjamas.
Hand-washing is one of the most obvious symbols of our current predicament, lots of it, and especially after every excursion into the world beyond our front doors.
A strong memory for me of the crisis is our son Sam being at home, a joy for us, and a highlight is to hear him improvising on the piano
We have eaten extremely well during the crisis, much of it from our garden; Jenny has nurtured our asparagus plants devotedly for several years now.
The view through a window is meaningful to many and although we are so lucky to have a garden the sense of virtual imprisonment in our homes can be hinted at by the window. I also associate windows with Matisse and Derain, two of my favourite painters… and still-life and windows seem essential. I have lost several good friends during this period, although strangely, none to coronavirus; the title also refers to that.
The pictures were all made with old manual focus Carl Zeiss 120 mm F 4 APO Macro Planar (for Contax 645). The shells were placed on a black glass plate in my living room using ambient light from a window softened by a white curtain and a piece of white cardboard as a reflector.
The Senescence Of Tulips
Tulips have long been one of my favourite flowers to photograph - they have a certain elegance throughout their lifetime and, it seems when all signs of life are long gone. These tulips are from the last cut flowers I bought - just before lockdown. Originally I planned to document their blooming and gradual demise, only to find that their demise lacked the usual elegance. However, several weeks later, they had one last gift to give and several of the flowers were looking wonderful in their deteriorated state. Above all, it was their texture and translucence that piqued my interest and at last, revived some feelings of creativity. I've taken a whole series of them, in various poses, some single, some as pairs, sharing a last slow dance. All shot with natural light, backlit by a bright (but draped) window and with the odd reflector bouncing light back onto the flowers.
I started this series back in March when we went into lockdown. Frustrated, because my favourite landscape location was closed to the public, I started noticing how the play of light, shadow, and reflections transforms familiar objects in the house. The project became a way to share with others how you can view ordinary things with new eyes.
A Beach in a 16x12 developing tray
I have been keeping occupied during isolation by learning to make Cyanotypes and it was while washing out a print that the idea came, to make a seashore in the developing tray. I had used the same tray just a few days before to wash some shells for an earlier image idea, but 4 related images called for something more ambitious. The idea was for the "tide" to come in, with the help of a hosepipe and to show the backwash and the shell beach both wet and then dry as the tide went out.
Taken in my 'home studio', in truth a simple background of white card on my dining table, lit from the side via a big window. Sometimes I use off-camera flash via a remote, but I try to use natural light with silver foil reflectors instead. Plants are from my garden - mainly weeds. I'd always want to try some macro work and this enforced social distancing and 'stay at home' has given me time to do it at last.
I was thinking about was missing during lockdown and I collected a few items together that represented them. The glass was the invisible limits (and also the thing I was drinking out of when I came up with the idea). I was trying to use random backgrounds from the house but with my iPad in hand, and a quick experiment with a tilt-shift lens, this came about.
Tracing a Path
Every morning - sunny ones at least - the sun traces a path across the staircase in my house by means of a patch of orange projected light. During lockdown I have watched the locus of colour gradually shift as the sun's path shifts towards summer. But it never reaches the mountains beyond. The colour is a result of a decorative glass plate sitting on the windowsill above. The mountains - a watercolour of Glen Nevis painted by a good friend.
And we had one more entry that wasn't indoors but we liked it so much we let David Cole off...