Sunday, 14 October 2012

breathing lessons..............

My other half was dragged along to the NFT on Friday night to see the results of the Valtari mystery film experiment ; my obsession with all things Icelandic not having yet ended.

To sit in the theatre and listen to music from the album Valtari whilst watching some beautiful and incredibly imaginative films created in response to tracks from the album was a real treat.

You can see more of the creations here, but the one that stuck in my mind for it's sheer cleverness and power to save lives was the one shown above. I have been to many workshops on cardiopulmonary resuscitation ( CPR), but never have I felt able to remember in such graphic detail the requirements for the Heimlich manoevre to save the life of someone who is choking on a foreign body, be it a juicy piece of steak or a child's toy. The film starts quietly, and the change of tack mid way through comes a a real surprise, making it all the more powerful.

Watch the video above and you too might gain the tools to save a life. Then go to the Sigur Ros website and wallow in the beauty of the other movies and soundtracks. I particularly enjoyed

the surreal animal /city/carwash one set to the same track as the unexpected life saving one above.

If anyone can tell me what it all means I will be most interested. I am aware that eg anda means to breathe, and whilst the fish is clearly struggling to breathe, all the other creatures appear relaxed and quite serene in the beautifully photographed film. Each animal portrait is worthy of a photographic portrait competition in itself, being subtly lit and poignant.

I also admired  Rembihnútur by Arni & Kinski (above) for its meditative feel and beautiful ending.

The band have succeeded in creating worldwide interest through this project that allows self expression and individuality to thrive. 

still taken from 
Sigur Rós 'Valtari' Mystery Film Experiment: Ég anda by Ramin Bahrani

bigger is better..............going Tokyo

Hebridean series by Caroline Fraser on show in Tokyo
It is somewhat exciting to be able to show the image above; my Hebridean series of impressionistic seascapes on show in a smart gallery in Tokyo courtesy of Subject Matter who promote my work on permalure . Seeing these works printed to such a scale confirms my already held view that bigger is usually better when it comes to looking at photographic landscapes.

If you are wondering which one in the picture is me, the answer is neither...............I  am sadly not in Tokyo but trucking on with my 'ordinary'  life in south east London. Still..... this event feels far from ordinary, so big thanks to Jon and Liezel at Subject Matter for putting on such a good show.

I must now return to the ironing................  joy of my life whilst I ponder why this blog suddenly got hundreds of hits yesterday for no clear reason.

Friday, 5 October 2012

you can take a horse to water................

but you can't make it drink.........................

I am physically unable to take a photo of a waterfall and gain pleasure from the experience. I can only think of calendars, and supersaturated images with long exposures that leave me cold.

Iceland has many very spectacular waterfalls, but I will never be able to do them justice. Instead you will find me turning my back, looking at the ground, and seeing what I can find.

At the site above ( see if you can spot the photographer up at the top) there was a little mass hysteria from some of the fairer sex on our Icelandic adventure, who had reached their saturation point where waterfalls were concerned. We wandered around, and admired the concrete bridge that made this particular waterfall a little less attractive than some others ; the intended perfect photo being in the other direction with a mountain in the background..........

I really don't like being told how other people do it, just as I don't like reading about places before I get there, in order not to have preconceived ideas about what a place will be like. I had a mini rebellion, taking out my smallest camera , a tiny Lumix, and making some double exposures of the colourful plants beneath my feet. I didn't compose, just snapped away, more concerned with the colour than the forms.

The rebellious girls  mused on the idea of a girls only photo tour that allowed stops whenever someone requested one, be it for a flower, mountain, sheep, cat, dog, house or just to go shopping. It seems that someone has already taken up this idea , offering a tour  for women only with tuition and hiking, but no shopping. But what fun we had with a balance of sexes. I am not sure I could manage without some male entertainment; we had yoga demonstrations, ice-cream eating and endless logging into phones, laptops and iPads to amuse us. It transpires that some groups of male photographers don't feel the need to talk to each other at meals, preferring to interact with their apple devices at the table.

There was so much that we saw that we would like to return to capture. The waterfalls were impressive but not what I came for. Men with massive back-packs dutifully composed the "standard" shot which I didn't attempt,  and went home happy...............

Iceland is a photographer's dream. Whether you like the bigger or the smaller picture you cannot fail to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape.  The mosses and lichens are worthy of a tour in themselves. Dawn at the glacial lagoon is to die for, with low light on the fragments of glacial ice.

We vowed to come back. I would have returned already if I had any annual leave left from my day job.

I have started having nightmares in which I am on my way back, but the plane is overbooked, and I am offered a flight to Vienna or Paris instead.

 It seems that I have been hooked by this beautiful landscape, and I know that I will be back next year.

 I am well and truly smitten.

We had a great time, thanks to Daniel Bergmann, author of Iceland Landscapes our expert local guide and lover of nature.

The colours are extraordinary,  and I hardly know where to begin in creating something meaningful from the 1000 images that sit on my laptop waiting for the editing process to begin.

I will have to make do with listening to the music of Sigur Ros which transports me back there, and working on my images during the long winter evenings that lie ahead. In writing this I find that I can see the results of their Valtari mystery film experiment at the NFT next week; something to really look forward to as I have fallen in love with their music.