Monthly Archives: January 2014


From classic b/w over to a burst of colour.

Beauty shot

Virtually unedited. There was not much need. She was perfect the way she looked and the way she posed. She let go and was not afraid to follow my directions. Despite 20 people surrounding us and observing her. The haughty look was just as good as the photos where she laughed and flashed a full-on smile. I took 24 pictures of her in total, and every single one was a winner. If anything was wrong, it was only my technical mistakes – focus off, or bad framing. Amazing. It just proves the point that the best results in photography come out when the sitter is either reckless or self-assured enough to not care what she actually looks like. Or if she trusts the photographer. I hope the latter was also the case.

Hahahahave Made It

If you remember my post on falling into work mode rather than fangirling at the red carpet, you’ll recall how unhappy I was with my resulting photographs due to bad decision making. Turns out the fans were not as critical as I was. Well, I weaved some post-production magic over the ten two images that were miiiiiildly acceptable and threw them out there. The old b/w trick worked particularly well, and it also helped that in the following image the subject was incidentally lit by the flash of someone else’s camera.

IMG_4896Still fuzzy and I am not talking about Mister’s stubble there. But a razor-sharp picture of the hair. Maybe Pantene will come calling?

I was laughing out loud today, though, and not entirely ironically when I saw that a fan had actually used my pic above to have an iPhone case printed. I have made it as a photographer! iPhone cases are only the start. I expect tote bags, coasters and t-shirts next.

Under a Blood-Red Sky

Not kidding:


This is the sky this morning, 8.30 am. No filter, no mumbo-jumbo. Just a crisp, cold winter morning in the city centre of Dublin. We are back to the time where I just about finish my morning work and get up from the desk – to notice the colour of the sky outside. (In deeper, darker winter the sun has not yet risen when I take my breakfast break.)

The image comes with a reminder for all Dublin readers that the annual Turner show is on in the National Gallery of Ireland. I make my pilgrimage to the exhibition every year. It is all the more special because the Turner watercolours are only ever shown in the month of January (as stipulated in the Vaughan Bequest from 1900 that stated the Turner watercolours were to be shown every year in the month of January – as the light was least damaging in the muddy grey of the Irish winter… too right). They match the sunrise in their pinks, reds and oranges – although Turner does not paint with a wide, wet brush or however else we usually see watercolours. There is an amazing amount of detail in the vague, the occasional stronger brushstrokes and the carefully unpainted parts of the images. I find these paintings so un-watercolour-ish, I am astounded every time I see them.

My photo does not reach the lofty heights of artistic expression that Turner perfected. But the view of the sky certainly connects me with him. The beauty of colour. Amazing.

Landscape at Night

As we are nearing the end of week 2, I better get my skates on and spoil the world with another image *ahem*.

Killarney small

I have always been fascinated by night photography. Because it is difficult – and more a less a contradiction in terms. If photography is painting with light, then how do you paint if there is no light on your brush? Well, ok, there is *some* light available even in the darkest of nights. The moon, the stars and the little Prince, and, in our civilisation-pestered time, street lights etc.

Above picture was taken early last summer in Killarney. This is the Castlelough Castle which is situated in the grounds of the plush Lake Hotel. No doubt, thousands of hotel guests have taken pictures of the suitably dramatic medieval ruin, built in the 12th century. But maybe not quite so many did so at night. Or if they did, with rather grainy, shaky outcome.

Of course I did not have my tripod with me on this trip. I was travelling light – by train. No, space for a kilo and a half courtesy of Manfrotto. But who needs a tripod when there is infinite scope for shitty rigs? All you need is a bench – on the shore and suitably provided by the hotel. I had to balance the camera on lenscap and finger in order to get the horizon vaguely straight. Matters were complicated by an annoying outside light that kept going on and off, f*cking up my WB with interfering neon light (or whatever light it was). I spent at least 15 minutes manually releasing the shutter and avoiding to breathe while capturing this image. And time was of the essence as the atmospheric, misty mountains (…cold, to dungeons deep and caverns old… no chance wasted to refer back to the film du jour) were in and out of cloud coverage. Without the strong illumination of the castle the image would not have been possible (save myself freezing my butt off and holding the bloody shutter open for an hour and a half).

I like the ghostly fingers of the tree trunks.

The Bowels of the Bourgeoisie

There is a neat little “game” going around FB at the moment. Under the header of “Filling Facebook with Art!”, people are encouraged to post an image from the oeuvre of a given artist:


If you *like* this image I’ll give you the name of an artist for you to google and post a work that grabs you. You post a similar status with the picture and get to recommend artists to your friends. It just keeps going like that..

It is a commendable idea – getting away from the shite trivia and instead focussing on something worth-while. I could not resist taking part, and my partner in crime sent me the name of German photographer Andreas Gursky.

Instant response. I know Gursky. Well, I know his *work*. Famed LF photographer, one of Hilla and Bernd Becher’s pupils, he is particularly well-known for having the dubitable reputation of having sold the most expensive photograph. His colour photograph “Rhein II” was sold for 3.1 million Euro in 2011. Instead of publishing that particular image (which I am not so enamoured with) for my FB art game, I settled on another image,¬† “Shanghai 2000“. It’s a typical Gursky creation – all lines and symmetry and repetition. Abstract and still realistic. The reason I chose it, however, was that I actually know the place he photographed. Yes, this time I *know* – I have been there myself and I have photographed it myself.

Hyatt Shanghai crop

Hyatt Shanghai by me

This is a slightly different perspective – but unmistakably the same hotel. It is the Hyatt Hotel in Shanghai, situated in the top 38 storeys of the Hyatt JinMao. While Gursky set up his LF camera somewhere between floor 53 and 87 of the Hyatt, mere plebs like myself was obviously not given access to the plush interior of the luxury hotel… My image was taken from the observation deck of the JinMao tower which includes a handy window down into the bowels of the bourgeoisie interior of the hotel. Nauseating. One way or another *sour socialist grin*. Well, it makes for an interesting photographic vista, I’ll give it that.

But hey, I revel in the great feeling of thinking that I took a similar picture as Gursky. Well, sort of. Mind you, noone is gonna pay 3 million Euro for *that*. The memory is priceless, though!

Happy New Year

The new year is still fresh enough to announce resolutions. Mine is 72ppi.

Ok, lame joke. But nonetheless I am starting off the new year with resolutions good intentions. Same procedure as every year, James.

2014 I want to…

  • take make more pictures
  • try more new things with photography
  • finish at least *one* photography project
  • get more photography work
  • make my blog live up to its name (TWO pics a week, for Cod’s sake, can’t be *that* hard, can it?)

The last one is possibly the easiest resolution to reach. I am making my start now – on the penultimate day of week 1 in year 2014. At least that gives me the opportunity to post the second image tomorrow…


Whitepark Bay, Co. Antrim

Happy new year, everyone!