PEOPLE 294 – FARMER (MONO)

 

 


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Farmer and his sheep, northeast of West Littleton, South Gloucestershire.

Other images from the West Littleton area – the Outlands images – are here: 12, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 89,  1011, 12, 13, 14,  15, 16, 17 Each will open in its own window.

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art Process preset; 12 Apr 2017.
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PEOPLE 290 – SOULS

 

 


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What are these pictures?  Who are these people?  What am I trying to do here?

Well, for over a year now, I have been photographing Bristol’s morning rush hour, the daily surge of people into work.  But, increasingly, as retirement kicks further in and I get the opportunity to think more and more about what I see around me, two things have come increasingly to mind.

First, that many people, and especially young people, are becoming increasingly estranged from the Natural World – and increasingly wary of the Natural World too.  My car is usually plastered in mud and other less mentionable substances inherited from rural roads and, on apologising for this to a neighbour, he replied “Ah yes, but you go out into the country.”.  Whereas he, and others, do not – or, at best, their contact with the countryside is made from vehicles speeding along large main roads.  I am doing my best to develop in my granddaughters a recognition of and a love for the Natural World, but whether I’m having any lasting impact is anyone’s guess.

And then second, and leading on from this, and from talking to people and also from observing people in the rush hour, I do get the feeling that many are becoming alienated by the fast pace and time-poor quality of modern life, and by the whole materialism/consumerism thing too – not to mention our political systems.  It seems that the Grenfell Tower tragedy has struck a lasting chord with many, not least in terms of whether concerns over The Great God Cash should surmount concerns over human safety, welfare and wellbeing  – and especially so for the more vulnerable or less well off members of our society.

And so I’m posting these pictures because they do, for me at least, go a little way towards expressing these misgivings about estrangement and alienation.  Here are souls, individuals each with her or his own thoughts and fears, moving into the artificial environments of the city’s streets, offices, shops, cafes and workshops for the day – on five days out of every seven.  These are quite close up, intimate shots of people, but they were in fact mainly taken from some distance away with a telephoto; many of them are radical enlargements which have been made without regard for image quality.

Clicking onto these images will open larger versions in separate windows; clicking onto these again will in mist cases further enlarge them.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2; Bristol Bridge and Baldwin Street area, central Bristol; 16 Dec 2016.


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PEOPLE 289 – GOING TO WORK 32 (MONO)

 

 


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The bus to work: Bristol Bridge, 2 Dec 2016, 8.10am.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31. Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 25,600 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Strong Infrared High Contrast preset; central Bristol.
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STILL LIFE 146 – CONSUMERIST ICON: ALTAR WITH OBJECT OF ADULATION, FLANKED BY ACOLYTES

 

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Ha!!! just how cynical can I get???!!!

Or then again am I only reporting reality, the world (or at least the bit of it I know) as I see it?

Or am I trying to get into the Christmas spirit?  Because we are, after all, already in September, and there are Christmas things in the shops and various eateries are taking booking for office Christmas parties.  I do not in any case harbour Christian beliefs, but the vast, frenzied consumer festival that Christmas has become leaves me cold.  But there are only 114 days to go!

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

Technique: X-T2 with 10-24 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Capture NX2; Broadmead shopping centre, Bristol; 11 Aug 2017.
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ARCHIVE 314 – MEN DRINKING (MONO)

 

 


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Men drinking beer at a wedding reception near Bristol; 17 Aug 2011.

I took informal photos at a friends’ wedding reception sometime back.  The celebration was set high up above the Chew Valley, a beautiful area not far south of Bristol.  I took a lot of shots but, looking back on it now, I wish I’d taken more – and that I’d had the love of my life – the 70-300 lens – with me, as well as the 24-120.

Being a good friend of the happy couple I was given carte blanche to fire away as and when I chose, and very, very little was posed >>> I’d very much like to have another crack at something like this.

To me, the man in the foreground is a strong, even powerful figure, with his closely cropped dark hair and beard – someone swigging seriously from his bottle and wanting it, almost frowning, deeply enjoying it in a masculine way, with an almost bullish determination.

The drinker in the background is different.  He is tilting his head slightly further back – enjoying the experience in a lighter and slightly more gourmet way maybe? – and he has a rather “softer” and more conventional haircut, and his clothes are paler.  Perhaps he does not display quite the same solid determination.  And, certainly, his appearance there, slightly out of focus and duplicating his friend’s stance, provides a repeating pattern that adds to the shot.

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

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 1000 ISO; conversion to mono with Silver Efex Pro 2, jumping in at the Sepia Landscape preset.

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ARCHIVE 310 – ON A FARM IN WESTERN KENYA … AND WITH HOPES FOR A PEACEFUL GENERAL ELECTION

 

 


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

I love these portraits.  The man is at ease with me and my camera, he knows me well, and in his expression we see nothing contrived, just a calm and direct gaze.  The little boy is nervous, but is being reassured by the man’s closeness – while the little girl’s radiant smile is a delight.

This smile reminds me powerfully of African children in general!  I was often in out of the way areas in Kenya, often far off the well beaten tourist tracks, searching for unusual birdlife.  And I can remember entering villages where white people were only infrequently seen – and being beset by a tide of brightly smiling little children like these, chanting “mazungu, mazungu!” – swahili for “white man, white man!”.

And sometimes they were so curious to see me, maybe not having had close contact with a european before, that they came and wondered at the pale hair on my pale arms – and touched my arms and head as if they couldn’t quite believe what they were seeing – it was a real, uninhibited examination!

I like children anyway, I vastly enjoy interacting with them – and especially so when they can talk – and these were simply wonderful and fascinating experiences.  And I also want to mention here how friendly Kenyan people were in general, throughout my years there – friendly, hospitable and humorous.

On the negative side of things though, it was on this trip that I first contracted malaria – and that is something truly unpleasant.

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

Technique: OM-1 with 50mm Zuiko; Agfa CT18 colour slide, rated at 64 ISO; converted to mono in Silver Efex Pro.

UPDATE:  Today there is a general election in Kenya and, regardless of who wins, I can only hope that the whole thing goes off peacefully.  In many instances, the colonising powers of not so long ago drew lines around areas of the Earth’s surface and called them countries, regardless of the often extremely diverse ethnic mixes within those areas.  And so it is in Kenya.  Although I don’t see the fact on any of the news broadcasts, the current Kenyan president and his main challenger are from two very diverse ethnic backgrounds, and the recipe for violence, killing and yet more killing is sitting ready in the mixing bowl.  The current president has called for a peaceful vote and promised to abide by the result of the vote, and I can only hope that everyone listens to him.  Why do I hope this?  Well, I am mortally tired of the endless rounds of violence and killing that regularly break out around the world – I suppose that’s idealism.  On a more practical level, I spent many years in Kenya and found the Kenyans friendly and hospitable.  I can only wish them well – and hope that today’s election is proceeding peacefully, and that it will help improve the lives of everyone in that country.

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PEOPLE 287 – WAITING FOR A BUS (MONO)

 

 


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Conversation at a bus stop.

A busy picture, lots of detail, lots to look at – Let’s go ANYWHERE!  Two people caught in conversation – friends?  – chance acquaintances? – the start of a lifelong thing? – trivialities to pass the time until the bus arrives?

And two other women.  The one passing by on the left has a tumbling mane.  The other, sitting in the shelter, looks unhappy about something – and its either him or me!

There is another black and white picture of people waiting at a bus stop here.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art High Key preset; Broad Quay, Bristol city centre; 14 July 2016.
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PEOPLE 286 – GOING TO WORK 30

 

 


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Upstairs on the bus, early on a cold morning.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28  and 29.   Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Provia/Standard film simulation; on Bristol Bridge, in the city centre; 11 Nov 2016.
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STILL LIFE 137 – RED, WHITE AND BLUE

 

 


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High Street, central Bristol, 9 Sept 2016.

Door Handle might be an alternative title here, because that and the pock-marked wall left of it are all that is in focus.  But should we always focus on what is in focus, or focus instead (sorry, couldn’t resist the repetition!  Its a Brit thing …) on the larger scene?  Which in this case included the passerby on this warm day, and the red rubbish bin away over on the other side of the road.  There is another photo of a reflection, far more abstract than this one, here.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation.
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PEOPLE 285 – GOING TO WORK 29 (MONO)

 

 


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Going to work.  The bike beats the jams but he’s jammed in – anonymous, wary, vulnerable, claustrophobically picking his way between shifting walls of gleaming metal and glass; lungs poisoned by fumes, ears blasted by engines and horns, and always the thought that he’ll fare worst in any tussle with these mechanised beings.

Oh come, you’ll say, mechanised beings?each has a human driver!  Well, the way things are going, that may not be true for too much longer – so, thinking of the Terminator films – is this Rise Of The Machines???

Technique: this is tight crop, aimed at accentuating how the cyclist is being hemmed in, to accentuate how the “mobile metal monsters” are queuing up to squeeze closely past him.  And these feelings of claustrophobia are (hopefully!) added to by cropping The Man Himself; and especially so his eyes, which at once renders him anonymous and unknown; leaving only his mouth, which looks rather taut, stressed and ready for the worst.

And here also something that I very rarely do – using Lightroom to completely produce a black and white image.

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27 and 28.     Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom; Capture NX2; Baldwin Street, central Bristol; 19 July 2016.
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