STILL LIFE 231 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 22

 

 


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This is the final post of Looking at Chairs – hope you’ve enjoyed the series.

So, lastly, two chairs, back to back, beside a window.

Sitting in Browns, waiting for the third breakfast of a long morning’s photography – a repast which might have equated to what we Brits call Elevenses … except that it was only just after 10am …

In Browns, I always sit at any table that looks across the room towards the windows onto the street, because these provide good cross- and backlighting.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 .  Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and then click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom; Browns Restaurant, Bristol; 19 May 2017.
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STILL LIFE 229 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 21 (MONO)

 

 


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Chairs beside a table at the Hurtwood Inn Hotel in Peaslake, Surrey;  25 Mar 2012.

An assemblage of shapes, shadows and textures with – especially in the background – obscure and abstract shapes.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 .  Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor at 120mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono, and toned, in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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STILL LIFE 228 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 20 (MONO)

 

 


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Well, what is here?  A park bench, silhouetted, that has been styled to defeat both vandalism and rough sleepers.  It has signally failed in the former, its right hand end having been broken off – I suppose by someone jumping up and down on it.

And then a walker, an anonymous someone going somewhere; though not to this bench, as I can testify.

And the first fallen leaves of autumn scattered on the ground.

What is least apparent of all is the wall glimpsed behind those striding legs, which is a part the gaunt skeleton of St Peter’s Church, burnt out by incendiary bombs in 1940 and now preserved as a memorial to the city’s WWII civilian dead.

I have been going through something of an uninspired patch with my photography, things just haven’t been flowing as freely as usual.  I’d gone down to town to hear a lecture on, of all things, the institutionalised treatment of inebriated women in days gone by.  But it was a lovely sunny morning and the little camera was in my pocket, so I opted instead for a quartet of favourite pastimes, namely strolling, looking and taking photos, and then buying some Belgian beer of great quality – compared to a lecture, all things far more uplifting for the soul!

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 .  Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to see a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot at 140mm (equivalent); 100 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Architectural preset and adding a slightly blue tone; Castle Park, in Bristol city centre; 20 Oct 2015.

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STILL LIFE 226 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 19 (MONO)

 

 


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Seating for passersby, on the pavement at the bottom of Park Street, central Bristol; 6 Jan 2017.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 .  Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom; Capture NX2; rotated.

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STILL LIFE 222 – BROWN CHAIR WITH ORCHIDS AND POTTERY

 

 


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This is a totally ad lib shot that I took while sitting at the breakfast table (which sounds distinctly grand, doesn’t it, until you find out that it is in fact our only table …) to see if a camera was working properly.  Just how honest and up front can I get???  I looked through the large and rather wonderful electronic viewfinder, liked what I saw, and snapped it.

This rather cluttered still life is lit by that most wonderful (and gratis) of light sources, window light, and it also benefits from the fact that this light is filtered through net curtains.

It is a totally natural (i.e. unarranged) still life, which has three main subjects.  On the right is a lovely old chair, bought second hand at least 25 years ago, and probably originating in the generation before mine, if not earlier.  Then there are two examples from my wife’s orchid collection, one in flower and the other looking rather ravaged and destitute, though with abundant aerial roots.

And finally, at the back, two pieces of pottery, the one at the front having been made by John Leach, the grandson of Bernard Leach, at his pottery in Muchelney, on the Somerset Levels.

I like this picture.  Well, it is a part of my home, so I’m probably biassed.  But what do I like most?  Well, without a doubt, the light spilling over the warm colours of that old chair.  The objects on the left of the picture are well lit and, in their way, visually interesting.  But the chair is more snugly in the shadows, the light and shadow are washing over its surfaces, amplifying its wonderful old creases and textures >>> a metaphor for myself perhaps …..

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 83mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Chez Moi!; 3 May 2018.
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STILL LIFE 213 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 18

 

 


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Public seating, after rain.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 15 16 17 .  Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Bristol Waterside; 15 Dec 2017.

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STILL LIFE 211 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 17 (MONO)

 

 


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Roadside seat, in the rain; Bath, Somerset; 4 Sept 2009.

Wet metal – hard and without warmth – about as inviting as selling cold fish, straight from the fridge, on a raw day.

The FATman Guide to the contents of this picture (don’t say you don’t get value for money on this blog … OK, so it doesn’t cost you anything … yes, well … there is that … 😦 …)  anyway, the left hand half of the shot is the bit of the seat that you actually sit on; and this curls up to upper right, which is the seat’s back, the bit you lean on; in the lower right corner is the end of another seat with the same design; and over on the right the pale areas seen through the black bars of the seats show the faint outlines of paving stones.

An image from my last days of using film.  Not long previously I’d bought a really good DSLR, one that I still use and treasure (the Nikon D700), but back then digital black and white just wasn’t doing it for me.  And so here I was, out in Bath with a top flight Olympus film camera and a wide lens, looking for grain and atmosphere.  Trouble was, I hadn’t yet realised that by far the best way of achieving good digital black and white is by starting with a full colour digital raw file.  So here is that long ago jpeg, given the recent benefit of SEP2 and a cyanotype tone.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 15 16 .  Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to see a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: OM-4 Ti with 21mm Zuiko lens; Ilford HP5 black and white film, rated at 1600 ISO; commercially scanned; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset and adding a heavy cyanotype tone.

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STILL LIFE 210 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 16 (MONO)

 

 


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Two chairs outside The Hole in the Wall pub, at Bristol’s Harbourside; 5 August 2016.

The two curving and tapering shapes advancing out towards the camera – apparently for a closer look at it – are the exception here.  Almost everything else is either coated by hard, precise, rectilinear patterns, or in shadow.

At last I’m starting to use the X-T1’s tilting LCD screen a little more.  Its already proved very useful in getting an extreme wide angle lens down to ground level, as in this shot.

And now, as I approached these chairs, it was much easier to get the camera down to their level by looking down into the screen – that is, much easier than it would be getting me down to their level to look at them horizontally though the viewfinder ->>> its an age thing 😦 !!!

And this pub’s strange name?  Its due to a spy hole in the pub’s wall, where centuries ago smugglers might keep a look out for customs and excise men – and any man might keep a look out for the press gangs that roved this busy port, snatching men for the harsh and dangerous life endured by sailors on the Royal Navy’s warships.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found here Subsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 15 .  Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and then click onto that image to enlarge it yet again – recommended.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 96mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Silver Efex Pro2.

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STILL LIFE 205 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 15

 

 


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I usually post these Looking At Chairs images with only their original text but, in this case, because I’m looking at chairs, I’d like to add a little more.  The post’s original text is down below.

In a way, I suppose, this is a family arranged around a chair.  I don’t know if this is their best chair or if there are more like it in the house behind, but I had just photographed them with an elderly man, this man’s father I think, and this very solid chair had been brought out for him to sit on, whereas this man and his wife are sitting on humbler stools.  In Kenya, the family’s eldest male is accorded special respect, and having him seated on this particular chair no doubt reflected that.

I’m not a great one for symbolism, most of the time I fail to understand what symbols mean, but maybe there is something – intentional or unintentional – here, with the place of eldest male being then used for the youngest.

And, as always with these very valued images, I wonder where these individuals are now, 39 years later.  They have no doubt forgotten me and, were it not for this photo, I would no doubt have forgotten them – which says something very solid about the value of portraits in any medium.

THE ORIGINAL TEXT, AND THE USUAL LINKS, ARE BELOW

Luo family on a farm near Akala, in the far west of Kenya; April 1979.

The backdrop is the painted wall of a wattle and daub hut, the smooth surface layer of which is starting to flake off on the far right.  Minor points, maybe that I’ve only really appreciated now, after all these years, are the Vicks poster and the kitten.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 14 .  Each will open in a new window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko lens; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO.

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STILL LIFE 204 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 14 (MONO)

 

 


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Two sunlit chairs outside the Hurtwood Inn Hotel in Peaslake, Surrey;  25 Mar 2012.

Another image from Peaslake’s blazing sunshine.  I focused on the nearer chair, and made sure that it exits the frame through the top right corner.  The second chair is left semi-focused, and is reduced to three elements – its rear, left hand leg, which casts a shadow on the ground; the lit but unfocused wickerwork of its left side; and the shadow cast by its upright back.  All structure (ie detail) has been taken out of the backdrop, to remove any distraction from the chairs.

The result is a combination of two, featureless black areas (the shadow from the unfocused chair’s back, and its black leg), the variously lit and textured, illuminated parts of the chairs, and the shapes made by the creamish (toned), negative space between them.

The first post in this series on chairs, which contains context and an image, can be found hereSubsequent posts are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  9  10  11 12 13 .  Each will open in a new window.

Click onto this image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 24mm-120mm Nikkor lens at 120mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono, and toned, in Silver Efex Pro 2.

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