Spring has finally started to show signs of life here in the North Wessex Downs and it seems to have been a slow start for many of the garden plants. Last year, by now, I would have been busy capturing those early spring shows for a number of my clients who are garden designers and creators. Yet, this year we’ve had to wait a little longer for the snowdrops and quince to really start doing their thing!
However, that’s not to say there aren’t dramatic statements of spring to be found and photographed – a couple of weekends ago whilst out cycling with a mate of mine we happened across a wood with a bed of snowdrops so large and dense, it literally looked like it had snowed beneath the trees and covered the ground in a blanket of white. Excited by our ‘discovery’, I took the first opportunity I could to return with my camera, a bag of lenses and a few visualised photographs in my head.
The discovery, however, is clearly no secret to those who live locally – as it turned out. Welford Park happens to be a large manor house gardens which once a year are opened to the public in order to allow access to the stunning snowdrop display and raise funds for a selection of local charities. This of course created a few challenges when coming to make photographs that look natural and absent from crowds of tourists like me!
Apart from the delicious tea and cakes, it was a truly rewarding trip… two new photographs worthy of my landscape photography portfolio which will also be added to a growing collection of woodland photographs I have been creating. These will eventually make up a follow up to last years ‘The Downs’ landscape exhibition.
As I sit here writing this, my printer is sat behind me working overtime to get the final 3 prints completed in time for hanging my latest exhibition and third, of a very busy 2014.
I say, ‘working overtime’ as if my printer has got a mind of its own and needs the extra cash or is simply dedicated and passionate about its job – the truth is, it’s an inanimate object with no true feelings or capacity to think and therefore it’s really all zeros and ones being forced down the line in the form of commands. When thought of like that, today’s digital darkroom is no where near as romantic as the days of wet processing prints. The days when waiting 16 minutes for a test strip to pop out – enough time for a smoke and a few more pages of a good (hopefully) book! In the days I was printing using enlargers, blacked out rooms and feeding paper blind into the rollers of a colour processor I smoked and read… a lot. I may hope to achieve a handful of satisfactory prints in a full day – if I was lucky.
The exhibition opens on Monday 11th August 2014 and runs until the 23rd August 2014 at the Vale & Downland Museum, Wantage. It’s a wonderful and intimate space with a great cafe for a welcome bite or drink. Set in Wantage town centre, it’s the perfect venue to show my latest collection of landscape photography, all of which are taken in and around the North Wessex Downs, in which Wantage nestles. The work itself took 3 years to pull together with the latest photographs from as recent as the end of July this year, and was driven by a desire to create a series of photographs that focus on this stunning, precious and mesmerising part of Britain that I feel very fortunate to live and work in.
Please do take the time to drop in and have a look at my latest exhibition – I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed and got pleasure and inspiration from creating the individual pieces.
Times are busy and for the next few months I have lots of exciting things happening, not least two photography exhibitions that are on for you to see right now.
My photographic documentary and portrait of Andy, ‘The Farrier’ has now been successfully installed in the West Window Wall at the fantastic Cornerstone arts centre in Didcot, South Oxfordshire. It’s part of the yearly Art Weeks arts festival that takes across the county and there are some great artists who have opened the doors to their studios. If you love art, then please take the time to support this great event – it’s incredible just how many artists across a huge range if media, there are. It really does show how strong the art community is in Oxfordshire and it’s great to be a part of it all.
My own show about The Farrier runs until 7th June so if your able to get to see it, you’ve plenty of time to do so. For those of you who saw it at the Vale & Downland Museum in Wantage, there is the chance to see new work from the project.
I’ve also just come from a great day at the Anise gallery in Shad Thames, for the annual Society of Architectural Illustration AGM, ‘soft’ members book launch and the opening of our ‘Drawing on Architecture’ exhibition, which accompanies the book. It is on from the 4th – 25th May 2014. More details can be found here. The book launches on the 13th May to the press and for anyone looking for a great reference book on architectural illustrators in the UK, look no further.
As always, it’s a wonderful day – being amongst such incredible illustrators and artists makes me feel privileged and humbled to be a member of such an illustrious and prestigious society.
For anyone interested in architecture or urban scenes, I would highly recommend a trip to London to catch the exhibition. You can even take a print from the show away with you for a staggeringly reasonable £45 – It’s a real steal.
Up next is the Wallingford Car Rally, which should prove a lot of fun then it’s the London Festival of Architecture in June – lots to do, work to create, deadlines to meet! More on that to follow.
Happy New Year everyone!!!
It’s been another really busy and fantastic few weeks with the festive holidays suddenly seem like a long time ago! Last week was very much taken up with preparing for the opening of my exhibition at the Vale & Downland Museum, Wantage, Oxfordshire. It was really great to be able to stand back and relax at the private viewing held on Monday evening and celebrate it with friends, family and a selection of clients. Many thanks to all of those that managed to make it on a cold and wet Monday night.
The exhibition opened to the public yesterday and will run until the 8th February. Please do go and see it if you get the chance.
All being well there will be printed copies of the Exhibition Catalogue available from this weekend but you can also purchase your copy here. A book is also in progress and I’m excited to be getting the draft copy early next week. I hope to be able to put it on sale shortly after so keep your eyes open for that.
I’m also pleased to be able to say that the photographs featuring in ‘The Farrier’ exhibition are now available to purchase in a range of sizes by visiting ‘The Farrier’ page on the website and clicking on the photos you’d like to buy. They all come on heavyweight archival stable fibre based papers and are signed by me. All payments are securely processed through Paypal – don’t worry if you don’t have an account as they take and all major credit cards too.
‘The Farrier’ documentary photography project has now been completed and I will be having a first public exhibition at the Vale & Downland Museum, Wantage.
It would be great to see you there – I’ll be holding ‘Meet the Photographer’ sessions, which I’ve listed below. So if you’re in the area please do pop in, have a look at my photographs and please do say ‘hello’. It would be great to see you and get your feedback. As well as the work on the walls, there will be a number of photographic prints from the project available to purchase. I’ll be at the exhibition and available to chat to on the following dates:
Later in the year, ‘The Farrier’ will be transformed into a photographic installation at The Cornerstone, Didcot, which will also be part of the highly popular and successful Oxfordshire Art Weeks. I’m also working on a photography book to accompany both exhibitions, which I hope to have published in time. I’ll keep you posted on that separately.
I hope everyone reading this has had a wonderful December and is all ready for the festive celebrations on Christmas Day and New Year? Here at Elms Cottages I think we are just about there, although I may find myself wrapping Claire’s present’s very late on Christmas Eve (generally after a few drinks at the pub) – this seems to have become a bit of a tradition in our house. I hope unlike me, you’re all far further ahead of the game!
However you are planning to spend your time over Christmas and New Year, I’d just like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Thank you for all your support and interest in 2013 and I very much look forward to more exciting photography adventures in 2014.