Wednesday, 25 February 2009

So - what is a hero?

Yes an interesting question. I think we are all born wanting to be heroes. I can remember the feeling as I swaggered out of the cinema after Star Wars - Return Of The Jedi! I wanted to be Luke Skywalker!

My son dressed as Sportacus for the first time and looked in a mirror - the look said everything - he WAS Sportacus!

I am very aware that my son thinks I am a superhero right now, capable of anything - I am most definitely HIS hero. But then one day this will become more realistic. I can remember feeling the same about my dad, and eventually I realised that he is in fact mortal, is capable of making mistakes and (occasionally) failing - but he never stopped being my hero!

Society throws the word around rather carelessly these days to describe footballers, rock stars etc etc - but what is a REAL hero?

Is it somebody who died in a war? Seigfried Sassoon tends to suggest that this isn't always the case - and perhaps our guilt at such a futile and pointless death causes us to label unfortunate young men who unlike Norman in my previous post, never got a chance to prove themselves as heroes.

Some men and women do indeed prove that they are heroes during war - but what about all the other heroes? The lady who works tirelessly for years looking after and raising other people's kids? The old lady who saves all her spare money to pay for charities to save people's lives in another country? The guy who takes away the rubbish every week?

Dave Grohl wrote "There goes my hero - he's ordinary".

My definition of a hero - ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things. This is what I think I want to pursue on my photography course!

The Hero

The Hero
Originally uploaded by Luke Y
I am preparing for an interview for college for a photography degree. One of the themes that I would like to pursue is "The Hero". I started thinking about this in relation to the picture here of Norman - my wife's granddad. Not only did he serve in the navy during and after WW2, he then went on to become a fireman, and doubtless saved many lives - both in war and peace times.

I snapped this photo of him and was instantly aware that something of this character could be seen - a tough, dependable man, probably having seen a lot of scary/shocking stuff in his time. Experiences have hardened him, left him with memories and probably scarred him for life in many ways. And yet here is a man who loves life, and lives every second of it far better and more gratefully than some lucky git like me will probably ever manage.

Having lived my whole life as I want, with no threat of being dragged off to war, I owe Norman and others a huge debt. In some way perhaps I can say thank you to these guys thru photography.

Monday, 23 February 2009

This might actually be working!

What a Friday I had - first I sold some stock photos - which means I currently have one WHOLE Dollar in my account - but - far more importantly - it means I am officially "professional" - i.e. I've been PAID for my photos! :)

Then I sold a photo on eBay, which I never expected to happen (albeit to a lovely friend of mine - but still - I sold one!)

And finally I got in touch with a local pub/restaurant owner, and offered him a look at my website, and consequently I am now looking at a month long exhibition! Which is just fantastic!!!

Slowly.... things might be starting to happen!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

I fought the law...

I fought the law...
Originally uploaded by Luke Y
An old, wise friend warned me today - "Let the pictures do the talking". He's almost always right... so I've listened to him in this photo.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Security ramped up at local shopping Outlet

Popped into McArthurGlen Designer Outlet earlier, only to discover that they are really taking security seriously these days, with a very visible presence of armed guards...
See? This is why they tell you always carry your camera EVERYWHERE. You never know when a Stormtrooper might suddenly pop up!
There's one - set for flourescant....!!!

This is what I'm talking about

Today was good. Today I took photos, and spent time with my family. Today I felt inspired again. And today I got this shot of a kestrel (along with lots of other birds of prey, and some lovely shots of my kids having a great time!). That's what it's all about!

Feeling the loss...

Yesterday morning I was not at my best. I had had a fairly long sleepless night - my poor wife had been up and down with what we suspect to be food poisoning. As a result neither she or myself were at our best when the kids tumbled out of bed at 6.45 demanding food and attention.

Eventually I staggered to the computer and decided that as it was going to be a long day, looking after both the patient AND the kids, I'd do something useful - and set a backup of all my files running... I keyed in the cmd line (being an IT guy I feel clever and smug being able to use command line applications like Robocopy and in fact, there is no better backup program IMHO - as long as the user has a brain, and is WIDE AWAKE!)

After a good 10 mins (and a cup of coffee) I realised I'd been a very silly boy and mirrored my laptop's files over the hard disk in my backup drive, not usually a problem except I'd archived a bunch of 2008 photos to it (try several thousand...) and these were now deleted and partially written over. As you can imagine, I panicked...

Now before I get lots of posts suggesting ways to prevent this, or recover the files, bear in mind I was an IT guy for 15 years. I SHOULD know better. But - the bottom line is that we ALL make mistakes, and we ALL lose files sometimes. Backups are essential to minimise the risk of this, but sometimes, things just go wrong...

I accept this fully; I made a dumb, tired mistake - I should have wrote a little script that I clicked on each time -to avoid any dumb, tired mistakes... But I didn't.

As a result I lost some files. I managed to recover an awful lot using a wonderful free file recovery program called Undelete Plus, which I would have no hesitation in recommending, should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate position of having deleted/lost files.

But here's the thing. I realised that most of the files I lost were worthless - RAWs I'd never need to process, or look at ever again. And of the more "valuable" ones - well - it made me realise that I can't bask in past glories forever, constantly playing with old "great shots" I took at rock festivals or other memorable events. As a photographer, as an artist, as a creative creation, I am only as good as the last thing I did. If I don't keep taking photos I am no longer a photographer (good or bad!). I *was* a photographer.

So in a way I'm quite GLAD I had this upset - it's made me think ahead, and "archive" my past achievements. Bring on the jobs, the magazines the degree - I'm ready!

And this time I'll be backing up my photos properly too!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Up and running!

I finally got my bank account sorted, and Paypal linked and FINALLY I am selling some work on eBay!!!

Very exciting. Also very scary. If you feel sorry for me go and have a peek eh? Gawdblessya!

Snow Good, I Can't Do Winter Landscapes...

Just been trekking around in my 4x4 trying to take photos (emulating one of my heroes, Kieran Dodds on the DVD that came with the EOS cameras!). Snow everywhere - I drove, I walked, I climbed, I sat. No muse, no inspiration, no excitement...

I love portraits. I love rock music photography. I want intense, exciting moments. I just don't seem to be able to find the inspiration to photograph a lump of mud and clay and rock, covered in white stuff. I even took to turning the camera on myself and pulling faces...

Maybe I was just meant to shoot people?

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Self Portraits And Me...

Luke The Guitarist
Originally uploaded by Luke Y
One of the things I've recently been challenged on as a photographer - is that there are not that many photos of me. This stems from a childhood hatred of having my picture taken, but I plan to overcome this. An old chum recently advised me to participate in "Self Portrait Thursday" on Flickr - and I have to admit I'm enjoying it!

So far the photos are very staged, or attempting to make people laugh; they don't feel like "me" yet. But they are forcing me to be a little more "introversial" than I care to be usually - and I guess it's something to work on - it's nice to have a personal goal like this!

My first blog

Am just finding my way in the world of Bloggerising. I am a 35 year old freelance photographer, based in the South East of the UK, and am trying to promote my photography work, using the power of the InterWeb...

Not getting to do a lot of photography at present - there's a LOT to consider when setting up a business!