Any old iron

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I’m beginning to think that I should turn this into a ‘sculpture appreciation’ blog as that’s what I seem to have been doing lately; my latest exhibition being that of ‘Invisible Reality‘ by Subodh Gupta, a New-Delhi based artist, at Hauser & Wirth Somerset.

Much of the promotional material is very ‘arty’ in it’s description but basically most of the pieces are made from, or inspired by, old cooking pots. I wasn’t particularly struck by any of the promotional photos but was interested enough in the ‘wackiness’ of cooking pot sculpture to go and see for myself. What can I say – I was enthralled and have now been twice; seeing them in the flesh, so to speak, has to be experienced to be believed.

(Select a picture to open the gallery)

As it was with me, I doubt these photos have done much for you but if you have the chance to see Subodh Gupta’s work – go!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Another Place

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With my day not going according to plan I picked up the ongoing task of importing old photos into Lightroom. It can be a laborious process but every now and then the effort is rewarded, both in terms of reliving the moments but also by coming across something that, with the benefit of a growing idea of what I’m doing and a little rework, finally emerges as I’d originally hoped for.

Mono fine art panoramic photo of Anthony Gormley's Another Place on Crosby Beach

My only visit to Crosby Beach (about four years ago) was late autumn, on a bitterly cold and windy day. The wide open sands, pounded by an icy sea beneath an insipid sky, looked bleak and uninviting; wind whipped tears from my eyes and stung sand at my face and hands and the loosely scattered figures of Antony Gormley’sAnother Place‘, with their stares frozen to the far horizon, compound the sense of desolation.

There’s something strangely enjoyable about ‘bad’ conditions and, with this image finally coming into it’s own, with hindsight it wasn’t such a bad day after all :)

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Quietude

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After my recent experiments with off camera flash I felt the need to get back to more ‘instinctive’ photography where everything seems to happen without effort and I am lost in the moment.

As if to order, I was blessed with a perfect morning and headed down to the lakes. Mist floated lightly in a muted world and the only signs of life were a distant pair of courteous grebes and a nearby warbler flitting low among the reeds. All was quiet – even the lone Canada Goose that glided into view barely rippled the lake surface …

Mono photograph of a Canada Goose and jetty on a misty pond

… and for a few moments, time stood still.

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Dancing Ladies

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Sophie Ryder’s sculptures aren’t to everyone’s taste; many finding the human form with an animal head to be unsettling – as I did at first. However, having spent some time with them I’ve changed my view.

Her claim is that a human head makes the piece takes on a specific personality whereas an animal head allows the viewer to see what the work is about, to see beyond the simple portrayal of a person. She’s absolutely right; these dancing hares would look very ‘ordinary’ as dancing ladies but as Hares they are transformed into something magical.

Off camera flash photograph of Sophie Ryder's Dancing Ladies at Salisbury Cathedral

With the growing dark and the warm glow of the Cathedral lights the Ladies’ dance seemed to change from one of simple joy to one of celebration …

… and I felt I should join them as my experiments with off camera flash finally resulted in a photograph I was happy with!

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Light manoeuvres

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Another installation from Sophie Ryder’s ‘Relationships’ exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral; the straightforward title of ‘Minotaur & Lady Hare Torsos’ plays down the emotion in the relationship between these two – I had the distinct impression they’d had a blazing row and each was waiting expectantly for the other to apologise!

Dramatic photo of Sophie Ryder's Minotaur & Lady Hare Torso at Salisbury Cathedral

My preferred low viewpoint resulted in the usual problems of shooting against the sky –  and led to my first experimental foray into off camera flash. Having eventually worked out how to get the bits of kit to talk to each other and listen to me (this is all about relationships!) I realised that my flash, although very good, just wasn’t powerful enough.  My shoot rapidly descended into a Benny Hill type farce as I scuttled between Torsos and camera brandishing a flashgun – You’ve Been Framed, here I come😀
It was an interesting experiment and a new technique to play with – but I think I should have invested as much effort in the composition as I did with the technical shenanigans.

A rethink and change of perspective resulted in a far better photograph – more flattering to the subjects and more interest in the detail; no flash this time, just a simple HDR …. and aren’t  those ears fantastic?!

Forgive and forget?

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Rising

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Another monumental sculpture from Sophie Ryder at Salisbury Cathedral; a 20’ tall crouching Lady Hare entitled ‘Rising’.

Despite its size, there was something in the transparent wire construction, location and pose that gave the sculpture an air of fragility and vulnerability – and I experienced the slightly disconcerting sensation of feeling protective towards it. I wanted to fend off the clambering kids and casual kickers; to tell the groups of cheesy snappers and selfie grabbers to show a little respect, to slow down, to see, to think, to feel ….

Sophie Ryder sculpture Rising at Salisbury Cathedral

Sophie Ryder sculpture Rising at Salisbury Cathedral

I thought mono would work best to capture these feelings but I’m not sure – I like the colours of the … err … colour version:) Any thoughts …. ?

Closer consideration of this introspective sculpture reveals a smaller, kneeling hare hiding within.

Hiding hare in Sp[hie Ryder sculpture Rising at Salisbury Cathedral

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

The (Glasgow) Kiss

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The Glasgow Kiss – otherwise known as a headbutt ….

‘The Kiss’, an impressive 20 foot high sculpture forming an arch across a pathway at Salisbury Cathedral, had to be moved to prevent people walking into it. Something that  sizeable; how could you miss it – or not, as it turns out?!

Apparently the lure of the glowing mobile phone screen outshone the impressive artwork, the serenity of its location and the magnificence of the Cathedral itself. The sculpture forms part of a Sophie Ryder exhibition entitled ‘Relationships’ which is intended to “challenge us to consider how we interact with each other” – somewhat ironic for those who encountered The Kiss in such a Glaswegian manner!:)

Sophie Ryder - The Kiss at Salisbury Cathedral

Having got the ‘standard shot’ I wanted to try something in B&W but the limited tonal range made for a dull conversion – time for a different approach. After a frustrating few hours spent persuading my flash gun and camera to talk to each other – and cooperate with me – I returned for a second attempt ….Sophie Ryder - a B&W photograph of The Kiss at Salisbury Cathedral

Clasped

Update 26/02/16: Increased contrast applied to the second image.

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Kimmeridge Bay

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For some time I’ve been wanting to photograph the WWII defences at Kimmeridge Bay but have always found inspiration deserting me the minute I set foot on the pebbled shore – it seemed that the closer I approached the more distant I became.

This time was different; maybe the particularly high tide and wild, rushing sea; maybe the buffeting wind tearing at my clothes and bringing tears to my eyes; maybe the steely cold of the pre dawn light – somehow, in all the chaos I finally really saw them and, struck by their stoic calm and ever watchfulness, I knew what I wanted …

Square format B&W image of sea defences at Kimmerdige Bay

I’ve also never really succeeded in getting a decent photograph of the bay and sloping headland surmounted by Clavell Tower – I’m still not quite there but at least now I know what I want!

B&W fine art image of Clavell's Tower at Kimmeridge Bay

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Scuffy the Tugboat

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As I said in the first of my Swange posts, I had a rewarding visit with a good selection of varied photographs – helped no end by the slightly dodgy weather! This was another; whilst I hunkered down beneath my wind beaten umbrella this fishing boat braved the elements to cross the choppy waters of Durlston Bay …

Fishing boat facing storming weather

Due to the virtually monotonal nature of this (and the fact that I quite like it!) it has been added to the Touch of Colour gallery of my website. The site is basically dedicated to my B&W photography and many images don’t appear on this Blog – I thought it was about time I gave it plug!😀

Postscript: I forgot to title this post when first published but was inspired by feedback from Leecleland.
Scuffy the Tugboat wanted a life more adventurous than that of the bath tub; one day his wish came true and he floated gently down a brook, which grew into a stream that eventually swelled to a large river. He was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the world around him and, just as he was about to head off into the endless ocean, he was rescued and returned to the bathtub.
Although not a tugboat it seemed a very appropriate title – Thanks Lee!:)

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

Passing time

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This has waited patiently on my hard drive for the last three weeks waiting for me to find the right words for it, for how I was feeling when I took it and for what it means to me.

I still can’t, at least not in a way that I want to share with the world, so I’ll let it speak for itself ….

Panoramic view of old and new Swanage Piers with a rainbow

(All images are copyright to Noeline Smith)

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