STILL LIFE 226 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 19 (MONO)

 

 


.

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.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 222 – BROWN CHAIR WITH ORCHIDS AND POTTERY

 

 


.
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.
.
.
.

STILL LIFE 213 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 18

 

 


.

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.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 211 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 17 (MONO)

 

 


.

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.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 210 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 16 (MONO)

 

 


.

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.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 205 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 15

 

 


.

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.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 204 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 14 (MONO)

 

 


.

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.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 197 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 13

 

 


.

Upstairs in The Victoria Tea Room, Penzance, Cornwall; 25 Apr 2012.

We returned yesterday from a few days in the far southwest of Cornwall, based between Penzance and St Ives.  And in a week of awful weather all over England we were far enough southwest to miss it all – it only rained at night, and the days were dry and even sunny!

Whenever we’re in Penzance we always visit this tearoom.  Amongst many other tasty goodies it serves up 11 item English breakfasts – which I hold a profound reverence for – and we like to sit beside the windows upstairs, looking out over Penzance’s main street.

In this cafe there are many bentwood chairs in a beautiful green, and the place has an over all low key, Minimalist, green and grey decor that I like very much.  This cup and saucer provided a good foil for its low key surroundings, and the chairbacks on the right resemble the curving stems of some exotic plant.

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 12Each will open in a new window.

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

Technique: Canon G11 PowerShot; 400 ISO.

UPDATE: this excellent eatery has closed down – a great loss.  And while I’m talking about this image – I can say that its a great favourite of mine.  I have always loved its vast simplicity.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 196 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 12 (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


.

Table and chair, with daffodils, in the William Bray, a restaurant and bar in the village of Shere, Surrey; 24 Mar 2012.

This restaurant is on different levels, and I was able to get up onto one floor and look down on the one below.  The wonderful lines and forms made the by the chairs, tables and floorboards – and the colourful flowers –  caught my eye, and I took several photos, none of which were “THE ONE!”, to work on later.  With all these lines and textures, I knew that there was something there – and that it was screaming out for mono conversion, with the plant’s colours restored.

It took quite a time to find this crop, but it has what I searched for – the lines and textures, the great contrast between the wooden and metallic structures, and the great contrast between the daffodil’s leaves and flowers and everything else.

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 .  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: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 24mm; 6400 ISO; converted to mono and manipulated (including selective restoration of colour) in Silver Efex Pro 2, and then manipulated further in Nikon’s Capture NX2.

.
.
.

STILL LIFE 187 – LOOKING AT CHAIRS 11: SOMETHING FROM THE HEART

 

 


.

UPDATE: a post written nearly two years ago now, but I can’t see my feelings about this ever changing.

We’ve had a death in the family, we have been low.  And, in due course,  we attended the crematorium and, because I’m me, with an almost unbreakable (some would say, unbearable) compulsion to be early, we were early, very early.  Those attending earlier services ebbed and flowed, grieving, around us and, it being a nice day, a cold but beautifully sunny day,  I decided to take myself off for a stroll around the site’s gardens and memorials.

Most of the latter were fairly conventional stuff, sincerely meant no doubt, but with formal words, names, dates and so on – which made me reflect that I certainly don’t want this sort of treatment when I die – and no, I’m not going to say that I wouldn’t be seen dead in a place like this …  its just that I want my ashes scattered anonymously out at a favourite spot on the Somerset Levels – the Magic Carpark –  where the cattle, tractors, farmers and walkers will trample, grumble and rumble unknowingly over me, gradually grinding me down ever further into a place that I have a vast affinity for.  I shall be below sea level and I can’t swim, but then again perhaps that won’t matter by then.

But, anyway >>> anyway!!! >>>  away towards the back of the little enclosure that I was in, and approached by a curving gravel path, stood a garden bench, with bunches of bright daffodils and other flowers tied to it.  And looking at that bench, I just felt that there was something about it that made me want to get closer to it.  I suppose you might say that I could feel it drawing me towards it.  In short, I was intrigued, totally curious, such that not getting any closer was unthinkable.

And walking on up to that seat, alone and with no sound but that of the gravel crunching under my feet, I found the plaque pictured below, mounted on its backrest – and, quite simply, it was one of those moments that you know, instantly, are special.  Life-enhancing might be overdoing it, but spiritually uplifting certainly isn’t.

For here were two things.  One of which of course was the record of a loving relationship, which is in itself uplifting, a cause for warm thoughts and happiness.  But what really got to me – and what still very much really gets to me – is that, this relationship having been struck by the death of the man,  the woman decided to say exactly what was in her heart, and to have it displayed on this bench for all to see.  Having been but moments before wading through a sea of conventional tributes and endearments – phrases that I too have had engraved onto loved ones’ tombstones –  I just loved the freshness and loving vibrance of this.

Its all simple, wonderful and straight from the heart, but MY BIG STRONG NORTHERNER really gets inside me and stirs me up – wow!  And the kisses too, simply so downright, so fundamentally, human.

.

.

Normally I wouldn’t picture words like this from a cemetery, but they do strongly affect me, and having them placed so prominently on this seat, Jac wants others to see them too.  Now they will have a wider than anticipated audience.

And I may have almost got to meet Jac – for between the time when our service started, and the time after our service when I took these photos, someone had come and changed the flowers on the bench, replacing those going over with fresh blooms.  I should have loved to have had that encounter – and, without the slightest doubt, would have made my feelings about her words clear.  It would have been wonderful to meet her.

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  .  Each will open in a new window.

.
.

.

%d bloggers like this: