Birmingham’s Blooming Town Hall

Modern stories of Victoria Square, Birmingham #1 – here is the first of three photographic narratives I, ahem, carefully planned today in Victoria and Chamberlain Square in central Birmingham, courtesy of stories week at Matt & Pete’s Photo School. They’re also running a Spaghetti Junction photo walk and picnic on 29 July, if anyone fancies joining.

Went for three different focuses, zooming out. Could also work in reverse, I guess. Hopefully it brings out the idea that Brum is not the concrete jungle many think it is.

Blooming Birmingham 1
Continue reading “Birmingham’s Blooming Town Hall”

Snail slideshow

The endless UK drizzle this summer has some advantages. One is a rather lush garden. The other is the resulting ecosystem of wildlife that this brings. So today I decided to test out the ‘new’ secondhand macro lens to snap some garden fauna in the rain. Is it me or can snails be quite cute? Also, check out the depth of field from such a narrow focus – the backgrounds are beautifully blurry.

Abstract Birmingham

Photo School abstracts lamppost

This Sunday sees the fourth and final session (for me) of Photographing the City – Matt and Pete’s sociable, how-to photography course set on the streets of Birmingham and featuring a pleasant mix of arty/techy teaching, walking, socialising, photographing stuff (more egs below) and peer review.

More adventures from Photo School… Continue reading “Abstract Birmingham”

My favourite 15 photos of 2011-12

Every year, around the time of renewing my Flickr account, I pick out my favourite shots. I don’t know if I’m getting more critical of my work, or not taking as many good shots, but last year I selected 75 for the final cut; this year it’s just 15. So what’s in them?

Well, seven water-based photos (eight if you count snow), two dogs, one swan, a flock of seagulls, three Petes, one Michael Grimes and a famous Berber. Two I included for reminding me of painters: a Vermeeresque hound and a Turneresque sunset. Two more are a direct result of Matt & Pete’s Photo School. Enjoy the slideshow (or the static set)!

PS. I think this one is still my favourite. It speaks of spies going to secret rooftop rendezvous, or is that just me?

Photographing the Dachshund UN

Dachshund UK

The Fierce Festival is a wonderful art/performance thing that happens in/to Birmingham each year. But this year festival artistic directors Laura McDermott and Harun Morrison really outdid themselves with the promise of 40-50 sausage dog delegates attending a scale replica of the United Nations General Assembly.

The live art installation is by Aussie artist Bennett Miller – more info here… Wonderful to attend, amusing to watch and great fun to photograph.

Aerial Dachshund UN

The rest of the set is here: Dachshund UN.

Meanwhie tomorrow, as part of the Fierce’s Curious Sounds in Curious Spaces, Pete will be DJing his beepy 8-Bit Lounge set at the Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

More strange events on their What’s On page.

Photographing the landscapes of Birmingham

Photo School Landscapes-23

So today was week two (of four) of Matt & Pete’s Photo School. Last month, we played with finding the decisive moment in street photography, this time it was landscapes and creating huge panoramic vistas using the iconic buildings of Birmingham.

More adventures from Photo School… Continue reading “Photographing the landscapes of Birmingham”

McCullin – A film by Jacqui Morris – a first review

Tonight I was privileged to see the (first-edit) premiere of ‘McCULLIN – a film by Jacqui Morris’. Here’s the trailer…

McCullin Trailer from Jacqui Morris on Vimeo.

This cinema-quality documentary film recalls the work of Don McCullin, the celebrated war photographer who has taken some of the most affecting war, famine and humanitarian photos of the 20th century. He is 75 now and made the film, well, because he was seriously ill and told Morris to come and film quickly before he died. (He has had an operation and is recovering well.)

Continue reading “McCullin – A film by Jacqui Morris – a first review”

Street photography and the discomfort of strangers

Today was the inaugural five-hour lesson of Matt & Pete’s Photo School in which 10 strangers met upstairs in Birmingham’s Victoria pub to learn more about photography and how to improve our own efforts.

Photo School Feb-10

The framework of the day – after tea and coffee – involved an hour of learning a bit about the technical side of how a camera works, a bit about Henri Cartier-Bresson and a bit about the theory and style of street photography.

Then Matt and Pete set out three rules for our photowalk around Birmingham: Continue reading “Street photography and the discomfort of strangers”

Following the North Cotswold Hunt 2012

Being in the Cotswolds at the start of the new year has been lovely and surprisingly mild and sunny. Today we happened on the North Cotswold Hunt – no longer of foxes but of a scented trail laid down just ahead of the hunt by a set of runners on all-terrain quad bikes. I caught the start on video, setting out from the Lygon Arms in Chipping Campden and we were lucky enough to bump into them again on a cross-country walk to Blockley. In a rather working class, urban way, I stared agog at it all: the hound pack, beautiful horses, clopping of hooves and the vivid scarlet jackets. I’m afraid I was quite impressed.