Psychobabble Artists Statements


Woke up at stupid oc’clock this morning so after doing a bit of dawn chorus gardening I though I’d make a start on writing my artists statement. As I’m not terribly good at verbalising my thoughts I thought I would have a look on the internet for a few clues. There are a few really useful sites with hints and tips on how to write one.

http://www.artistsfoundation.org/art_pages/resources/resources_arts_statement.htm

Some statements just made me laugh with their pomposity.

This site was fun

http://www.beardsworth.co.uk/news/index.php?id=C0_21_1 and it led me to…

this site which held my attention for a while.

http://www.afterimagegallery.com/website.htm

Particularly the little word game at the bottom. Teehee.

Anyway, I now have the tools with which to write my statement so I’ll just pop off to join the campaign for plain English and then I’ll get it written

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Pagan Wedding Photography – market research


Thinking about fulfilling the market research element of the brief. Hmm, paganism, wicca and photography, not obvious bed fellows.

I didn’t think a seach on google about Pagan wedding photographers was going to get me very far – how wrong can you be!!

http://www.bluecrow-photography.co.uk/page5.htm

Very interesting site, I learnt a lot from looking round it, Pagan weddings are obviously completely different to ‘normal’ ones. Fascinating, I want to photograph one!

I have also found the website of a Wiccan artist and photographer, Angela Barnett, her images are heavily photoshopped and have a very ethereal feel to them.
http://www1.clikpic.com/angiebarnett/gallery.html

I also had a look for stock photography sites, this one was the first to pop up with anything relating to paganism.

There were 1079 results:

http://www.shutterstock.com/ not much there though and it was all very cliched.

I also looked at the Pagan Guild website as it has links to lots of other websites which may be of interest to Pagans, Celts and Wiccans. I didn’t find any more photographers though.

http://paganguild.gotop100.com/

Lightroom traumas


I have been printing out all of my contact sheets. Having set the printer running I have come back to discover that all the images have printed out really dark although they look great on the screen. It isn’t the first time I have come across this problem with lightroom, it’s extrememly irritating. All the contact sheets will have to go through photoshop and be reprinted. What a waste of time, ink and paper – not to mention money!!

Health and Safety


During the reshoot for Imbolc, once I had got all the elements together, I suddenly realised that there was a real health and safety issue with this shoot.

Not only did I have dead, dry trees in small tubs likely to topple over, I also had a paper backdrop, candles, a model dressed in voile and a fan to waft the very light fabric over the candles. A recipe for disaster if ever I’ve seen one!

We were extrememly cautious about where the candles were placed, we shot the images with the candles in front of the model before the fan was turned on and we moved them to the back where there was no possiblity of any fabric touching them when we used the fan.

We also had two fire extinguishers at the ready and an assistant in case of emergency.

Better safe than sorry.

Imbolc


Imbolc (pronounced eemolc) is the depest, coldest, and most miserable part of winter. Just at the point when you lose the will to live, you suddenly notice that there are shoots on the trees and things are beginnin to grow again, nature is in the process of renewal. Imbolc is on the 2nd February, also known as Candlemass Day, Brigids Day or Brides Day after the Celtic goddess who later became a Christian saint.. It is one of the four Celtic fire festivals

When I originally shot the pictures for winter, I didn’t really include much element of symbolism other than the dead trees, the symbolism was more about winter itself rather than of Imbolc and the renewal of life from the apparently dead. It is traditional to light every light in the house to honour the rebirth of the sun.

“In most parts of the British Isles, February is a harsh and bitter month. In old Scotland, the month fell in the middle of the period known as Faoilleach, the Wolf-month; it was also known as a’ marbh mhiòs, the Dead-month. But although this season was so cold and drear, small but sturdy signs of new life began to appear: Lambs were born and soft rain brought new grass. Ravens begin to build their nests and larks were said to sing with a clearer voice. “

http://www.chalicecentre.net/imbolc.htm

“As winter progressed, the spirits of the dead went back to their own world and the living went into a deep freeze. The farming cycle began anew with the end of winter, which was marked by the celebration of Imbolc. A rough translation of this word from the Celtic languages approximates the readying of ewes to give birth. The arrival of lambs means that winter is over and life can return, especially to the ground”

http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/ancient_british_history/113601

Having a rethink about it I decided to reshoot it using more symbolic elements: a white flower to symbolise The new growth and also the milk of the ewes. The candles to symbolise the return of the sun and also the dead trees to symbolise the fact that although spring was coming, life was still very harsh and cold, supplies were running low and life was extremely difficult.

Here are a couple of pics from that shoot.


Beltane, also revisited



The shoot I did with Sarah last week I have been having another look at the pics and found two or three that I really like, I have decided ( in the absence of any comments from you) to lose Brian from the images as he doesn’t really portray what I was after, I think more direction from me and a chunkier chap might have worked better. Still don’t know if it would have worked though, too much of an air of menace rather than joyful abandon.

Litha revisited


A couple came to see us about bookin their wedding photography yesterday. The girl, Becky is beautiful, she would make a great sun goddess. Dare I ask…..

Of course I dare!!!

Taking the shoot with Heather a stage further and making more use of the mirror was the plan for today.

Becky and her fiance Sam, turned up at 10.00 this morning all ready for a shoot. It had to be early because the weather forecast is showing that the sun will only last until about lunchtime. Actually, it was clouding up really quickly, we all kept a close eye on the weather and didn’t waste any time getting down to work.

Becky was lovely, she must have been freezing cold but she just carried on. As we walked onto the field I realised that it had very recently been sprayed with manure. Less said the better I think!

The police turned up. They didn’t question what we were doing but they did sit in the car watching us for quite some time. very offputting for poor Becky in a translucent outfit.

Of the two images above the preferred one for me is the top one, it has a nore biblical feel to it which makes it more dramatic. I have kept the little shrine to the sun god and the candle as a symbolic element.

Litha


“Leap the bonfire for purification and renewed energy. Ritually, use mirrors to capture the light of the Sun or the flames of the fire.”


The quote above is about the midsummer festival known to Pagans and practioners of Wicca as Litha. The Sun God is at the peak of his powers on midsummers day, after that he starts to weaken until he is finally overcome by autumn and ‘dies’ until the following year when he is once more reincarnated.

It is this element of trying to capture the Sun God while he was at the peak of his powers on Midsummers day that I wanted to create in the photographs. I had a candle in the middle of the flowers to symbolise the sun’s energy. not too successfully though as it kept blowing out. I think the whole thing just looks a bit too pretty. I liked the idea with the mirror though, think I will develop that one further.


The next idea was to use the horse as as symbol of masculine energy, that didn’t work at all! It completely moved away from what I was trying to achieve. Both horse and rider were on edge as they didn’t really know what was going to happen, the lawnmower that fired up in the next field didn’t help either, the horse nearly jumped out of his skin, and so did his rider. Heather and her friend Vicky, who kindly gave up her time to help out, did a great job of keeping him calm. Vicky is just outside the shot holding the other end of that long rein.

Time is a big issue for Heather and she did a great job with the limited time she has. Asking her to model again would be an imposition because she is so busy. Shame we didn’t quite get it in one shoot but such is life.

Rembrandt


I remember Richard talking about Rembrant et al painting backgrounds in very dark colours and painting the main subject in far more vivid colours. I can’t say that I consciously tried to recreate that look when I created the set for the Mabon pictures but maybe I was influenced by it. I can see similarities between my pics and this and other Rembrandt paintings. My God!! Me and Rembrandt in the same sentence!!!! I think his pictures may have a little extra something, haha.

Rembrandt The Night Watch (1642)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Golden_Age_painting

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