So it has come to that time of year to reflect on the Images I have made and the stories (intentional and otherwise) that they tell of my 2016. In the spirit of self reflection, I present to you 10 images that, I feel tell that story best. It has been a year of a major transition for me and has seen me become much more focused on pinhole photography and move away from street work. Of a lot of travel and of a continuing battle with depression.
Image 1: Watling Street. London, January 2016
This image represents the old me. I was superficially pleased with this one, still am in some ways but something was gnawing at me that, beyond the pleasing aesthetics, there was nothing else there. I'm probably being too hard on myself but I see this image as my point of departure from street work and towards my pinhole self.
Image 2: Stepanakert, Nagorno Karabakh/ Artsakh, February 2016
I'm sure we film photographers have all been there. That 'one' image you think you nailed. The roll cosseted until you can get home and develop it. The anticipation as you prepare to develop and then...it won't go on the damn spiral! I admit, I suck at developing and I was devastated when, after the months of planning my Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh trip, the shots were not what I had hoped for. However. Looking back, the damage this poor negative suffered at my hands actually enhanced the look I was already going for. Happy accidents!
Image 3: Zurich, Switzerland, February 2016
I hate business travel. My colleague hated me for making her wait for the 7 minutes this exposure took while the freezing rain of a Swiss winter beat down on us. Later I bought her cake and coffee to make up for it and she did like the picture once she saw it. I will always take my Titan with me on business trips now. They afford a moment on peace amid all the stress,
Image 4+5: Switch House, External and Internal. Bankside, London June 2016
Possibly the best thing to happen to me this year was that someone in the London planning authority made a huge mistake and allowed the Tate gallery to build a huge neo-brutalist extension to Tate modern. I have spoken to numerous photography friends about this building and almost all agree it is a photographer's paradise inside and out.
Image 6: Wittenham Clumps, Oxfordshire July 2016
I have traveled too much this year. Armenia, though exhilarating, left me exhausted. My wife and I decided we needed a relaxing domestic trip. I think it was the happiest time I have had this year. Conventionally speaking this is a horrible image but I love it, it reminds me of that trip and the walk we had in the missling rain to the top of the Iron Age Hillforts, known as the Wittenham Clumps (No, I have no idea what caused those effects in development....possible the paper got very wet).
Image 7: Lloyds of London: The City, August 2016
My Good friend @ujhphoto was kind enough to sell me his 10x8 pinhole camera this year. I call it 'The Pinholemoth' beloved by small children and security guards throughout London and the suburbs! It is a box capable of making truly spectacular images if used correctly. So wide it vignettes every image and makes you stand 2ft away from a large tower. I recommend trying 10x8 via the pinhole route. Relatively cheap and nothing beats developing a negative this large!
Not really sure how I didn't get accosted taking this picture of Lloyds but, as one of my favourite London buildings, I hope I have done it justice here,
Image 8: Balfron Tower/ Tower 42, Poplar, The City, London August(ish) 2016
Speaking of being accosted... This image is a double exposure of the Goldfinger masterpiece that is Balfron Tower and Tower 42 (Natwest Tower). The latter shot had to be abandoned due to terrible light and since then I have been cursed by bad rain and over officious security guards never to take a photograph of that building. The cops turned up during the Balfron exposure too but they were actually kind of interested and looking out for me...'so it goes'.
Image 9: Blackfriars, London October 2016
i'm not sure what happened with this image. I may have a dud batch of direct positive paper, I may just have screwed up developing or had a crappy expired developer. I don't actually care. This is a picture of a lovely but very ordinary housing estate I was going through a very bad creative spell but the light on this pretty humble building was very cheering!
Image 10: The Barbican, London, December 2016
The Barbican is the home I have never had, my refuge. Imagine a huge concrete fortress of calm right in the middle of the busiest city in Europe and that is the Barbican. One day I want to live there. Right now, I soothe my aching heart by taking pictures of it. Like this one.
So there it is, my not very cerebral tour of personal photography in 2016, as a community many of you have made 2016 a good year despite all the awfulness. Thank you.