Blog, Culture, Photography

Gourd Artist

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Happy autumn, my friends! I wanted to get out and take some photos of beautiful, crisp autumn scenery this weekend but it’s been raining all week and the only thing to take photos of is a heavy grey sky and wet leaves. And who wants to see photos of wet leaves? I hate wet leaves. They’re slippery and they stick to your shoe and if you kick a pile of them you’ll regret it.
I’m being a halloween scrooge this year, not participating in any festivities – I haven’t even purchased a pumpkin to deface! Which is probably an attitude quite common among the wider public but doesn’t sit well with my philosophy for celebrating every season and occasion. Oh well. If you don’t feel like celebrating then I suppose that’s fine – no one should force themselves to carve triangle eyes and a half moon mouth into a vegetable, especially when secret gourd artists suddenly appear all over facebook revealing their pumpkin rendition of Bruce Willis in Die Hard 2. Quite frankly it’s wasteful. Poor pumpkins.
Well anyway, I’ve learned to appreciate autumn (in spite of halloween). I wouldn’t like to live in a place without seasons, and I think we in the UK forget how beautiful our little island is and how amazing our spring and autumns are. Permanent summer would be boring, so with that logic one must appreciate the season even when it gets dark at five in the afternoon and wet leaves get stuck to your shoe.

It feels wrong to post a post without including any photos, so here are a couple I took earlier in the month before the rain came. If you’re feeling the autumn blues I highly recommend getting out for a walk in the countryside. Even if it’s raining! Nature always makes me feel better, plus I’m fortunate enough to live in the Westcountry – a beautiful place to experience autumn.



Blog, Photography

Videos and Whatnot

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Recently I’ve been feeling quite annoyed with the elitism that exists in, well, so many industries but in particular, it seems, the creative industries. It’s absolutely crazy how many hoops employers expect graduates to jump through (graduates, who already worked their arse off for a degree) just to get an entry-level, underpaid, pretty boring job. I can’t even comprehend how many talented artists or film makers or graphic designers etc are out there slogging away in a job that’s completely unrelated (some godforsaken pub or insurance company), wasting their talents, just because no company – no individual, even – has given them a chance.
And, on the other hand, there’s the financial sting of the cost of some of the kit that creatives need in order to produce the quality stuff that they need to produce in order to be taken seriously. Think of the cost of a film camera, for example (it’s hundreds of pounds) and then the ridiculous price tag on fancy Adobe software to edit or to create your graphic design logos (again, it’s hundreds). Crazy. You could dissect the issue all day long and not get anywhere because there are many factors affecting the current sorry state of affairs for graduates seeking employment, and, I think, as many myths (the economy is to blame; you must have a degree; only people born on a Wednesday will get a good job).
So, fired up on frustration with – dare I say it – ‘the system’ I became hellbent on proving that you don’t need a whole load of fancy equipment to get creative and produce something that looks nice. Besides, the kind of ‘thinking outside the box’ that this requires is a very valuable skill. You’re not relying on your equipment to get the effect you want, but you are instead thinking how you might create that effect some other way.
And this is what I ended up with. I used my phone to capture footage of the garden during mid-summer, trying to make flowers and nature look cool and interesting. I fashioned a microphone from a pair of old headphones to record birds tweeting to accompany my footage. I’m actually impressed with the quality of my phone’s video – it manages to hold together even in full screen. Good job, phone. I’m also secretly fond of my Franken-mic. It looks like crap, but, who cares? It didn’t cost me anything! The film’s not going to win any awards, let’s not kid ourselves here, but, hey, it was a fun project and it got me filming and editing again.

Ok, enough ranting now. Check out the video below, and never, ever, be put off by people telling you you need this or that expensive thing in order to be a creative or produce something worthwhile. Of course you don’t need that stuff. That kind of narrow-minded attitude goes against everything it means to be an artist.

Culture, Photography

A Complaint About August

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What the hell happened to August? And why are we tricked every year – by ‘them,’ whoever they are; the combine; the machine; the turner of the hamster wheel – into thinking it’s going to be ‘the hottest August on record’. Perhaps more importantly, why do we fall for it every time? It starts off on BBC Radio 4, I reckon, where the stuffy BBC elite decide it will be fun to  trick us common folk who can’t afford a holiday to Gibraltar or Dubai or wherever the hell they go on their summer holidays. “It’s going to be the hottest August on record” they snigger live on air, “be sure to book your camping holiday in Cornwall”.
The ‘wettest August on record’ would have been more fitting and I think I speak for most of us here when I say we’ve been throughly let down by the weather-makers and, dare I say it, by BBC Radio 4.

Besides, even when they predict the ‘hottest August on record’, the South West is in some sort of good weather exclusion zone where it never, ever, gets above 19 degrees. Us lot down here, then, should exercise extra caution about falling for the annual good weather false hope conspiracy.

Anyway, during the two or three hours of nice weather this month I managed to get some decent snaps. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about photography – actually, it’s pretty much the only thing I’ve learned about photography – it’s that if you see a shot, RUN for your camera. And I mean RUN, because for some reason nice shots don’t hang about for long. That, and it’s kind of fun to suddenly sprint somewhere – appearing to everyone else like a magnificent blur.

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The moon at midday (well, just after 11.00)





Blog, Photography

Horrible Old Shoe

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I found this horrible old shoe at the beach. For some reason it pleases me. For years I’ve marvelled at the concept of a horrible old leather shoe that looks exactly like this one (I’ve even drawn pictures of it!) and suddenly, there it is in the flesh! I mean, even when it was new it was a God-awful shoe, but washed up and alone gives a strange ugly charm.

It made my day, and, since discovering it, I think about it every now and then.

I wonder what that horrible shoe is doing right now?