Saturday, 26 August 2017


i have a feeling that my son-in-law would describe this blog as an existential crisis. Well, if Elizabeth Barton can write lots of blogs about the problem of abstract art when she is a renown quilter, I do not see why I cannot do the same for photography. My problem . what is photography supposed to be about?
But how did I get into photography in the first place? By deciding to enter yardage into the Conference competition. They require photos for the juried exhibition and I found this difficult. I consulted with Stacey Harvey-Brown and she said, outside under an overcast sky. But there are all sorts of other problems. You need to get the focus good over the whole length of fabric/yardage. And will a straight hanging be better than an artistic arrangement? You are only allowed to send in two photos which they expect to be the full thing and a detail. So I was driven to trying harder and ended up joining the local camera club which like all camera club goes in for competitions.

Now I can (mostly) get the technical bit right. What I am unsure of is the composition. And I have spent time and money trying to sort this out. The current crisis which makes me think of throwing it all up comes from several things happening together. I went round to have coffee with some members of the camera club and came away feeling defeated? Certainly dismayed. They do a lot of processing in Photoshop. And the results are NOT what the eye saw but what will make a good competition entry. The most I ever do is to crop the photo. In other words, I rely on getting it right through the camera. I asked whether this post processing was allowed and they said yes. It seems to me that I could stitch together several photos and enter that.

The next thing to happen was that I was in Waterstones on Thursday and bought a copy of Susan Dontag's book on photography. Now agreed the book is written in her usual elegant and well crafted prose, but she does not like photos. And the whole book is about that. We are not talking about post processing here (that is not mentioned) but the whole gamut of photography and she is very scathing about family photographs. Did you know that when a couple have children, one of the first things they do is buy a camera to record family events. But I fail to see why people should not record events. On the whole, they will use point and click and I do not see any problem with that. After all, I took a very good photo of Michael in his wheelchair in front of his favourite maple in its full autumn livery. And I still look at it from time to time.

So what is bothering me? Well what is a good photo? I except photos taken to record events, like the childrens' parties and the first flowering of a new shrub.  It needs to tell the viewer something. But what? What I have taken to doing when I see a photo I like, is ask the question Why do I like it? And often I do not know. Maybe I can appreciate a good photo without the artistic ability to identify why. 

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About Me

I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.