Picking favourites from your own work can feel like an almost impossibly difficult task so in true end of year review style, I’ve raided my Flickr favourites from 2016 and come up with a list of images, in no particular order, that made an impact or difference to me during the last year from other photographers.
I have a lot of contacts and photographers that I admire and follow – it’s impossible for me to put up everything here I like so someone’s probably going to feel disappointed, but you really shouldn’t – the point of this selection is to pick out particularly compelling work for 2016 and to give an explanation as to why I’m drawn to it, nothing more. Remember, all images are posted on Flickr too, it’s just easier to review from there as a collective. Anyway, on with the show… click any of the images below to view them on Flickr.
Image #1 – Matthew Dartford “Holme Fell”
I could have picked a pile of images from Matthew, he’s a photographer than can turn his hand to any subject matter, but this one jumped out at me straight away for a composition I would never have shot. The subject is largely in shadow, indeed much of the ‘interest’ in this particular photograph is in shadow, bar the top of the tree of course. It’s like anti-contrast and because of that it’s a scene I would have cursed at for its glory and walked straight by for being ‘wrong’. In truth it’s a triumph to my eye. The shadow of the tree on the right of the frame connects it beautifully too. I can’t remember if Matthew said that was an accidental inclusion or not, but either way I love it. An image that made me think twice about some of my future compositions for sure.
Image #2 – David Baker “Gulls And Snow Shower”
Mr Baker continues to build on his previous mantle as Outdoor Photographer Of The Year by producing some stunning imagery. Although many of David’s images tend to lean towards minimalism or perhaps very effective simplicity, indeed this one is heading in that direction (rock, sea, sky), this one pulls my eye right in just for the tiny white birds. I love the micro-details on this and the toning binds together an awesome visual treat. If there had been a busy sky in this one I’m not sure it would have been so effective and certainly looking at the larger version of this on Flickr the rock keeps your attention where it’s meant to be. This is a masterclass in photographing the obvious, love it.
Image #3 – Terry Gibbins “The Cleat”
Terry might not be the sort of landscape photographer that has the opportunity to pump out large numbers of images, but when he puts one up they are usually really wonderful (he very nearly had two in this list with his Elgol Pebble – I’m not going to link to it, I’ll leave it to you to search for it in his Stream so that you get to see his other work too). I have to tell you, I think this photograph may be my favourite from 2016. For me this is a totally evocative scene from Skye, I know others have done it but I love the soft background, the mossy greens, the lack of pretence in the water, it’s just a beautifully natural frame for me with light to die for. You might visit this place several times and not be as lucky as this, but I personally think Terry has pulled off a totally classic photograph here, and one I wish was attributable to me on my website.
Image #4 – Chris Friel “Winter”
Another year, another Chris Friel inclusion. I don’t even know how Chris makes half of his images and it doesn’t really matter of course – all I know is I love the mystery, I love the artistry, I love the continued use of darkness, all of which basically continues to add up to something magical for me. Chris is the one that keeps me most on my toes, keeps me thinking, keeps me looking for another approach or angle to photography. I may not be anywhere near as successful as he is in his approach, but his inspiration and presence reminds me that I need to think harder, blow off convention and do what I want, all things which are not very easy to do at times. A very gifted artist indeed.
Image #5 – Darren Ciolli-Leach “Golden Falls”
I’ve had the advantage of seeing this particular photograph printed up on A2 and I can tell you it’s mouth-watering. The frame filling colour which links the leaves on the tree and the background is really nice – just when I think that I need to create a contrast difference between foreground and background, this photograph proves that with careful composition it can very much work the other way too. I love the stripe of the flowing water here as well which breaks up the photograph a little so that it has more than one point of interest. Just like Terry’s shot further above, this is a classic landscape photographer’s scene – it’s the sort of image I often have in mind but very rarely deliver and Darren somehow has the eye to produce this type of photograph with ease. When you see work like this mixed in with his other printed output, I can tell you that you’ll leave in absolute awe.
Image #6 – Stephen McGill “Shelter From The Storm”
Stephen may not be a photographer that people talk about a lot or see much from on a regular basis, but this photograph amongst others which he captured during one of his trips to the USA delivers everything I would have looked for. This is an absolute stonker to my eye – the steel greys and toning in the barn, the enigmatic sky, the soft young Barley crop. Just beautiful. I wish we had more scenery like this in the UK because it would be an absolute magnet for me. It’s a reminder that there is beauty in almost anything and not to overlook buildings in the landscape as an intrusion or irritation. Would love to see more like this one…
Image #7 – Dave Fieldhouse “April Showers”
I try not to get too carried away when I see Dave’s photography, but it’s often difficult for me not to get pulled in emotionally. Dave could have had his own gallery in this 2016 lineup and is another photographer that I find myself feeling somewhat inadequate next to. Many of the photographs I’ve picked here in this list, pull me in by wishing I was there in that moment, and this one is no exception. Of course, moments like this are often fleeting but it doesn’t matter, you still have to be there, you still have to be set up pushing that shutter button at the right moment. I have massive respect for the miles that Dave must cover because he’s littered my favourites on Flickr all year but this view from The Roaches (and its partner image he took the same morning) are very strong indeed to my eye. Looking forward to your 2017 set Dave!
Image #8 – Lee Acaster “Victim”
Having met Lee for the first time only recently, he was everything I expected him to be. His passion for photography is difficult to match – every day and every subject is a new opportunity. Despite not having access to the most exciting of landscape in Norfolk (personally I love the minimalistic feel of the East coast) Lee often finds a way to deliver compositions which still make you wish you were there. I immediately loved this particular photograph as soon as I saw it earlier in the year – the tonal range is perfect and the exaggerated angles he often uses reminds me to keep taking my wide angle out, despite the fact I’m often addicted to telephoto focal lengths. I look forward to seeing more from Lee next year.
So that’s it for this year. Eight is a bit of an odd number, two short of ten, three more than five, but it feels right this time. There are so many more images I could easily put up here, but you’ll get bored and I’ll be here all night. I hope you enjoyed the selection – have a great Christmas in the meantime!