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Studio journal #3 – October 2020

Welcome to my latest newsletter. October has been a pretty productive month for new work. A vague idea for a photo has evolved into a new project which I'm calling 'Reconstructed Nature'. I've produced  half a dozen or so images so far, and the project is still going strong – I feel there's lots of scope for moving it forward. See how the journey has progressed so far through my entries below.

On a practical front I've spent quite a lot of time putting together a 2021 calendar and adding a shop to my website. At the moment there are just a few items in there but more will be added over the coming weeks. As a subscriber (thank you!) you can use code NEWS15 for 15% off any order until the end of the year.

And, I almost forgot that my first public artwork, a collaborative project with artist Cherrie Mansfield, was installed in Worcester city centre early in the month. You can read more about it below…

Best wishes
Richard

A day of photography – 6 October
A day of photography at the studio today. Just the one visitor so I spent a couple of uninterrupted hours just immersed in the process. Music on loud, the shuffle sequence was perfect, might even have broken out in song at one point… (definitely need to be alone for that!)

The light was shifting constantly between the showers, I was shooting some strands of ornamental grass which I’d taped in position onto a thin sheet of paper which in turn was taped onto the window. It’s a long time since I’ve had the luxury to really explore a subject whilst actually shooting. I usually have a pre-conceived idea of the shot I’m after and that is usually achieved pretty quickly, and it either works or it doesn’t. However it’s only when you carry on shooting and the obvious shots are exhausted, that the experimentation kicks in and that’s when you sometimes stumble across something great, that wasn’t obvious, wasn’t pre-conceived. And that’s what I love about photography; in spite of all the preparation sometimes everything comes together completely by accident.
Nature reconstructed – 8 October
This piece has grown far beyond what I envisaged when I started out, but in a good way. The original composition was intentionally minimalistic with the straight grasses. As well as this full image, I took a number of shots of the details – the lines and the tape, to make some quite abstract images.

The second layer was added to break up some of the lines of the grasses with some less regimented elements but I felt that it then needed a foreground. That was introduced first thing today having harvested some more material from the garden and the compost bin which we share with my neighbour who is a keen gardener — there are often interesting bits of pruning to be found…

I like the introduction of the yellow-green palette, I think it adds another dimension to the image and makes it more pictorial but I am still drawn to the simplicity of the first version of the work.
Window Art – 11 October
It’s been a busy few days, the highlight being the installation of five pieces of public art in the former tailors in the Hop Market on Foregate Street. The artwork was created in collaboration with artist Cherrie Mansfield and forms part of an outdoor art gallery using the windows of empty shops around the city. We were two of nine artists commissioned by Worcester City Council, Worcester BID and Severn Arts. You can find out about our process and how the designs were created on this page on Cherrie’s website.
Flying sycamore seeds – 14 October
A second ‘taped down’ piece on the window with flying sycamore seeds. I put the composition together last week but felt it needed something else so gathered a handful of sycamore seeds from outside, set the camera to continuous shoot and threw the seeds. It took a couple of test shots to get the shutter speed fast enough to capture some movement but not so much that the seeds were too blurred. The final image is a ‘stacked’ photo from eight stills taken from the same throw of the seeds and because the leaves and stems were taped just at their base, the piece was taped upside down on the window. So in the uprighted image the seeds are actually floating upwards…
Reconstructed nature prints – 15 October
I’ve printed out some images from my new ‘Reconstructed nature’ project and reorganised the gallery to accommodate them. I cropped a couple of the close-up images to fit into some narrow frames, these are more abstract but work quite well in this format I think.
Interloper – 18 October
This is ‘Reconstructed Nature IV’ which I put together today having found the final piece – the yellow leaf – whilst out walking Maddie the dog this morning. I’d picked up the other leaves from the garden a couple of days ago and had an idea of the sort of image that I wanted to make but felt it needed something to add to the regimented layout I was thinking of. The yellow leaf gives a contrast of colour, shape and size and is a bit of a cliché I know but sometimes a pattern needs a break in it to make it stronger and draw attention to itself.
Three winter trees – 21 October
A set of three winter tree prints off to a new home.
Reconstructed nature leaves – 23 October
A new ‘Reconstructed nature’ print and two detail images framed up and on display.
Blurry abstract – 27 October
I thought I’d try a bit of paint throwing after I’d finished photographing Reconstructed Nature III – I thought it looked like it needed a bit of colour added to it. Let’s just say that wasn’t completely successful but once dried there were a few abstract macro shots to be had. This one was with my iPhone and a close-up lens attachment that I was playing with before I got started. The lens attachment blurs the image quite dramatically once away from the centre but there’s something about the angle and the colours in this shot, along with that small crater towards that middle that somehow makes it all work.
Pitchcroft images – 28 October
Today in the studio… finalised my selection of images for the 2021 Pitchcroft Calendar and sent the file off to the printers. Which may not sound like much, but it has taken me days of deliberation.
The Pitchcroft Calendar 2021 – 31 October
My 2021 Pitchcroft Calendar has arrived from the printers and I’m pleased with how it’s turned out. No matter how many print jobs I send off to the printers it’s always a bit nerve-wracking seeing how the job turns out. I spent the morning photographing the calendar pages in real life (so much better than photoshopping a mockup together) and setting it up in my new online shop so that it’s now available to purchase!

Thanks for subscribing to my ‘Studio journal’ newsletter.

To show my appreciation I’ve selected some images from my archive which you are welcome to download for your personal use. Images are formatted for use as computer desktop wallpaper, or for a tablet or mobile phone. Click to see the photo downloads on my website – using password SUBSCRIBE to access the page.

You can find my latest journal entries on Instagram and on the Studio journal section of my website.

Don't forget you can use code NEWS15 for 15% off any order from my website shop.

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