As I look outside at an autumnal rain shower hammering at my window this morning, I’m reflecting on the fact that somehow I managed to create something in each month during the summer that I was actually happy with. Looking back now I’m not even sure how I managed that given that I set out with purpose to take some images on no more than three or four occasions if that. However after a hopeful weather forecast I decided to get myself up to the Peak District to visit some views while the heather was in bloom and what I got was an additional unexpected treat at sunrise. I timed my arrival almost a little too optimistically and pulled my car over at the side of the road somewhere on the hills above Hathersage. The light was pretty spectacular by anyone’s account, the low layers of mist giving way to a full on pink and purple sunrise. The problem with the Peak District (or should I say the value of the Peak District?) is that it can be pretty featureless across certain views, a landscape stripped of most defining objects, a tundra with a handful of trees dotted around at best.
What a great track, Freddie Mercury and Queen were the sound for a whole generation, but that’s not what this blog post is about today… It may or may not have skipped your attention that I have finally broken free of Zenfolio as my photo and website host, switching instead to what you see right here which is a WordPress website (https://wordpress.com/) hosted on some cloud based servers, in this case my choice has been Tsohost (https://www.tsohost.com/).
As I said in last month’s Image Of The Month, the summer of 2015 has totally flattened my spirit some how. Autumn certainly can’t come soon enough. I’m not great in the sun and burn far too easily, I can’t stand biting insects which drive me to distraction and despite having an Infrared option up my sleeve the idea of actually using it had become uninspiring. When I get like this I often seek out a change of scenery and there’s nothing I like more than the peace and tranquility of North Devon so I went down on a whim in the middle of the month.
Although late spring was finished off beautifully with a trip to the Brecon Beacons, June fell somewhat flat for me with the conditions somehow sapping my enthusiasm. This is often the case for many landscape photographers in the summer months of course and even a trip to the Kent coast did little to lift my mood. Inevitably I find landscape photography is linked to my general state of mind and ever earlier starts become wearing ensuring it all feels a lot less enticing.
Those of you who follow this blog and my various social media posts will know that I declared 2015 to be my year of print. I was very serious about this objective – I’ve already completed a significant slip-cased A3 sized general portfolio of work with a fabulous high-end product from Hartnack & Co (see the mini-series which STARTS HERE) and I always had in mind to produce something a little more intimate to contain a project series like Backwater.
Once again I find myself way behind on these blog commitments! Writing my May pick of the month towards the end of June really needs to improve, though hopefully you’ll have got something out of my three part Building A Print Legacy mini series which took priority instead. The final product is fantastic but once again the learning journey was significant.
In Part 1 of this series I set out the arguments to printing more of my work and although it’s arguably taken far too long to get to this point, it’s still felt like a natural journey. When I first started out in photography, I actually printed more than I do now. I think there was definitely a naivety on my part back then, I perhaps didn’t care what others thought about my photography, I blindly and plainly didn’t see what I regard today as obvious flaws in my earlier work but I certainly didn’t have the attention to detail or the benchmark I set for myself now.
I’ve read a few articles recently which talked about the risks to a digital legacy. The crux and central theme of these views are that if we create a purely digital portfolio as photographers then eventually this is at real risk of being lost, more so, it’s pretty much guaranteed. All the backups in the world won’t protect your photography if no one else knows how to easily view or access it after you’re gone – our paranoia with web security and using cheap cloud based services utilising some faceless corporate servers somewhere are adding to these issues too. I’ve certainly sat up and paid attention to this sentiment – it all seems so utterly pointless if all we do as photographers is create JPEGs that even our own family take little more than a passing or casual interest in. Once you’re gone, that vital link to your work is also gone – and will anyone really care? Even if they do all will inevitably be easily lost on some hard drive which gets dropped in a landfill soon enough. Personally I’m now compelled to create more than fresh air for my efforts…