Saturday, 28 September 2013

and so begins the rest of my life in which the trees are full of gold and the sheep have antlers

in which the trees are full of gold

And so begins the rest of my life................

in which I am devoid of regular employment, having resigned from a very good but completely exhausting job, and am now a free agent

free to go to New Zealand in 2014

free to work where I like, when I like

free to say 'no thank you'  to starting work at 7.30am and finishing at 8pm

free to be penniless if I choose..........which I almost certainly won't, as I always always need new camera gear and will want to travel to wild and beautiful places starting with Scotland.

So here I am in Nairn.

Where the days are warm and balmy, and I am sunburnt at the end of September.

Where the carpets are green and swirly

where the carpets are green and swirly

and the ice cream now comes in Irn Bru flavour, where once vanilla was all that one could possibly require or imagine, being creamy and soft and quite the most delicious treat at the Links tearoom that I visited  every August as a child.

Irn Bru ice cream

The road signs in Nairn are very different from those in suburban south east England.

There are signs for cows, signs for sheep and signs for passing places. One of the wonderful things about the town is the fact that you only have to drive 5 or 6 miles before the scenery changes from gentle farmland into moorland with rolling hills of heather. Passing places appear as the roads narrow to a single track, and the managed forest gives way to a more traditional landscape.

and the sheep have antlers 

The leaves are turning sooner than down south

the leaves are turning

at Loch an Eilein
and at Loch an Eilein the bracken on the hillside is the colour of custard when seen from a distance.

My friend and I ran up Cairngorm mountain , chiefly to avoid paying £16 to take a guided walk at the top. If you walk up you are allowed to ascend right to the summit. Those who take the easy way up, in the funicular railway, not only miss the pleasure of puffing and panting for 2 hours on the ascent, but also are not allowed to walk to the summit unless they take a guided tour for a tidy sum.

As the vast majority of punters don't take the healthy and somewhat more challenging option, we had the summit to ourselves on what must have been one of the most wind free days of the year in a place where the winds can gust up to 200mph.

Cairngorm summit; the proof 

So day one of my new regime included a mountain climb, a red squirrel lunch stop, a hike around a loch and a whisky mint julep.

This is definitely the life.

OH informs me that one of my walls back home has been painted a striking shade of blue........ oh horror of horror; what happened to off-white or hints of dingy and magnolia?

I am keeping quietly out of the way in the hope that it will be finished by the time I return and he will be over the shock.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

making a new website - caroline fraser photography goes live

garden wall, Portugal © caroline fraser
I have been busy. Not happy with my current website host for a number of reasons I came across Weebly after looking at the beautiful hand stitched drawings of Shelley Morrow at Pure Arts Autumn Fair in Battle and later checking out her website.

I have tried Clikpic for a number of years, but find their interface difficult to use and it is very difficult to alter the look of the pages unless you are a techical wizard, which I am not. Then I tried ISendYouThis, but unfortunately they don't always answer my queries, and I am still waiting for them to get back to me about transferring my original domain name to my new site.

Weebly, by comparison is a doddle. And their follow up emails after the site goes live with instructions on SEO ( search engine optimisation) are straightforward and easy to understand. I am now an expert on purchasing my own domain, and linking it to my website, so that in future I have complete control should I wish to change again in the future to a different website host. I can hardly believe I have managed all of this in the space of a week.

I purchased my domain name from GoDaddy, and weebly conveniently have specific instructions on how to tie up your domain name at GoDaddy with your weebly site.

All good, and I am pleased with the new site.

You can take a look here

Meanwhile I have just heard that I am a finalist in the Urban Photo Fest 2013 competition. I submitted two images in two different categories. I don't yet know which of the two is a finalist, but one is the image above in the urban architecture section, and the other is the one below in the environment section. My guess would be for the lower one, as it is more unusual, but I won't find out until 7th October.

without due regard © Caroline Fraser

I would like it to be the one of the plastic bottle in the gutter, as I have a thing about litter, and it would be good to think that my efforts on expressing this had come to something worthwhile.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

what's on your mantlepiece - episode 2, in which mine gets onto the front page of The Guardian

Here is the front page of today's Guardian, on the topic of mantlepieces, with a colourful photo of my very own mantlepiece. If you look very carefully I am in the photo shown on the mantlepiece as a baby wrapped in a shawl, held by my grandmother.

mantlepiece for the Guardian
You may remember I wrote on this topic some months back; well probably you won't as I checked and it was over 2 years ago, back when I was exploring 'home' as a topic for my photography.

See the original post here.

Now the Guardian newspaper has become interested in the topic too; asking 'what does your mantelpiece say about you?' as one of their 'witness series'

You can make you own contribution here and you will be in with a chance of getting your photo shown at the Photographers gallery in London.

mantlepiece © caroline fraser
This is my original contribution to the Guardian Witness site.

The image is from my bedroom, and features artwork in clay from my youngest when he was much much younger, some candlesticks that were a gift from my aunt and uncle, a heart shaped stone, and a bottle that my sister gave me.

All very personal items. All treasured and all have been there for years. Comfort in familiarity and a link to the past. Colour, clay and candlesticks. Nothing worth much at all............except to me who considers them irreplaceable.

Monday, 16 September 2013

pictures that pose questions

winner ; best painting at Pure Autumn Art Fair

This is the winner in the 'best painting' category at the Pure Autumn Art Fair by Paul O'Brien, entitled
'Rapunzel 091 12001'

When guests at the preview discussed it, they seemed to like the untold story that it evokes. Why is the telephone off the hook? And why is it an old phone? You can let your imagination run wild, and I am sure each viewer will make their own interpretation.

So I was surprised to read that Paul made the work as a commission and that it is based on purity. His ideas were expressed before the painting was finished in an interview here

His artist statement says

'Paul plays with the immaterial, sometimes pairing objects with birds, animals or natural elements to enhance their insignificance or by positioning them in situations foreign to their natural purpose. 

His work features dial phones, typewriters and audio cassettes, items once so important in our lives, but have since been left behind by the modern world.'   


All of which got me thinking about some balloons that I found in a field this afternoon.

As I walked past them I was reminded of the pillow that I talked about over a year ago that I found in the woods. The reason for their being there was a mystery. And it was the mystery that I enjoyed.

Which got me thinking about constructed images, (which these were not), and how some artists and photographers set up photographs to look like reality, or to look like something that doesn't seem quite real but that tells a story............or poses questions.

Which got me thinking that it would be fun to take everyday objects into nature and set up my own constructed reality rather than making images of objects that I find by chance.

big blue with stalk

All of which made me think about what I might photograph when I visit Scotland next week.

Teacups in a field?

wooden spoons by a river?

books on a wall?

a thermos flask on a highland road?

all of which have no meaning at all unless I can think of one.

Given the fact that I completely missed Paul O'Brien's intention to convey purity, yet love the painting for it's simple shapes and colours and suggestion of an incident in a time past, surely I don't need a meaning or intention other than to pose some questions of the viewer or to create something that is visually pleasing.



untitled © Caroline Fraser 2013

This is my favourite.

What should I call it?