Everest Here Continents Collided has now gone to the distributor. I expect the 160 page book to be available from eBookit in a couple of weeks and thereafter Amazon, iBookstore and Barnes and Noble by October.
I feel a bit odd at Glastonbury, and not because you are in a tent city with 180,000 people. And strangely at home at the same time. There is something for everyone and for me as a photographer there is a compelling photographic story from the moment you get up in the morning to when you crawl into your tent in the wee small hours. The older acts are inspirational and this year non more than BB King at 85 and Paul Simon at 70. There is something amazingly uplifting to see an 85 year old man playing the guitar sitting down and in front of 100k+ people. And then you have the young acts trying to make their mark, but few will be around when they are 70 I would guess!!!
Then there are the headline acts. U2 were outstanding however I am identifying my generation here. Coldplay no less so. For these events I stood up close wishing to photograph the individual artists. For Beyonce I decided to stand back on the hill to capture the broader perspective. Eventually when I made it up the hill I was sitting on my own watching it all beneath me like a surreal model, but in real life. The remarkable thing about this image is how clear Beyonce is on the stage. The image reminds me of a Gursky image I saw years ago where despite having thousands of people present at the event that one key person stands out. And so she did!!!
Beyonce Glastonbury 2011
U2 - The streets with no name
BB King - The Godfather of Jazz
Don Maclean - American Pie
Paul Simon - The Boy in the Bubble. An understatement to say a living legend
Four more days and we will head down the long M6 to Glastonbury on our annual pilgrimage. Al and I have reviewed the images from the previous two years and are fired up for it. Al for the music and me for the photographic opportunities which abound. And of course the music. I am excited to see the anarchistic Chubawamba and the consummate U2. On previous years we have seen 40 bands in a weekend and it remains astounding even on this the third run around. Difficult to convey other than say that it is a feast of what is good in contemporary culture. And in a way it keeps me contemporary. It allows me to slip thing into the conversation like the Bombay Bicycle Club or Let's Buy Happiness or Enter Chakari hopefully in the right places and context. My favourite spot where I normally have my Glastonbury moment is in the corner of the John Peel tent where I normally snooze in the morning sun and listen to the latest bands.
If you are there say hello.
The Late and Great Clarence Clemons The E Street Band
In April I drove back down memory lane across the Bourgogne in central France. It was one of those unexpected days. I had no plans to be there but was and it was wonderful. The fields were full of colourful rape seed and the countryside lay out in front of me like a regulated carpet. I could not believe the intensity of the landscape and the depth of my feelings. The yellows and greens in the brilliant sunshine were without parallel. France has it all.
I had been here 20 years before drilling an unsuccessful exploratory oil well. On the edge of the Champagne district. And here I was again driving thorough visiting my old haunts and reliving how beautiful and rich this part of France is. It is a paradise of agriculture and alcohol and when I was here in in 1989 they were celebrating 200 years of Republic. I stopped at the Champagne hotel and the Maitre D agreed with me that it is paradise but it is a tough time in France. Delivering the promise is no longer guaranteed.
The night before I stayed in the Grand Hotel Terminus Reine in Chaumont. It was one of those places you visit that is unforgettable. For two reasons. The owner was a hunter and in the middle of all the richness of decor and flowers and leopard skin upholstery there were these fabulous animal heads protruding everywhere from the walls and from all over the world. When I went upstairs it was completely transformed with bold colours, blue walls and orange doors and fabulous wall art. And why? Because this is the town that hosts the world poster competition - of course why didn't I know.
Grand Hotel Terminus Reine Chaumont - Heads and posters
Grand Hotel - Leopard skin furniture and stuffed pig
Rape Seed and Pylons
La Bourgogne at it's best - amazing empty roads and vistas
Maitre D Champagne Hotel - Would only serve a 5 course meal at 3 in the afternoon - where else?
My three days in London photographing the royal wedding were unmissable. For those that think why photograph a wedding? Then think again!!!I didn't have permission to enter the Abbey. But the circus that developed around it was fascinating. The worlds media were there in force and they worked themselves up into a frenzy. Witness the cream of world "anchors" out on the streets around Buck House and the Abbey. and the cameras everywhere and of every type. Days of building small camera platforms for coverage and then all the hand held video camera crews roaming the street searching for the "soul" of the population. What they found of course was a lot of unusual people many of whom had travelled from the US and Australia etc to camp out in front of the Abbey. And on them photographers pounced. A little like Catch 22 they could not sleep in their pop up tents because they were always being woken by CNN or CNBC or XYZ.
And then the Royals arrived and they ran a show that involved thousands of military and police and it all played out in front of us on the Mall with an energy and verve which was remarkable to observe. And to photograph. The Lord of the Rings like rush of the Death Eaters swept down the Mall with a determination that cannot be seen on the television screens. The video images will move on but the still image captures the moment for posterity!!!!!
Attached are some rush images. The important ones will come later after some reflection.
Kate and Wills on the Mall
Family Wedding Image
Andrew and family
Cavalry rush down the Mall
All that shinny brass not to forget the head gear
Demonstration against war
Stan Peppar 91. Friend of the Beatles and Chelsea Pensioner
Channel 5 Presenter for the Kate and Wills Wedding
I have just returned from a joyous three weeks in France. What was planned as an Easter holiday was in fact more like a summer holiday. Daily temperatures were up in the mid to high 20's and the smaller resorts were closed. There was a lack of good snow on the Grandes Montet except up high. And even then under ski it was a dusting of powder on top of an icy basement. All thoughts of skiing the Vallee Blanche disappeared when I saw the "dry" and rocky nature of the bottom half of the glacier.
All around was bare ice where normally there is snow cover. And evidence of crevasses opening up where previously they did not exist. I attach some photographic evidence.
Shrinking and collapsing Glacier Du Bossons
Bossons and Gouter
Classic view of Mont Blanc and icy Aiguilles Du Midi
A short update on my photography and where it is going and what decisions have been made. This review will be expanded on my website under the title "state of play".
So here goes. The dilemma is do I shoot film i.e. large format film or do I shoot digital. Well having shot both I have a very good comparison. The tool of choice for comparison has become an iMac with a 27" screen running Aperture 3 with the full NIK software range of add ons. So how do they compare. Firstly having come back from Nepal more than a year ago with 18000+ images, something I am not particularly proud of, I had a major challenge to manage this material. Out of this has come an understanding of how to manage a large dataset and that means, for me, Aperture 3.0. And Aperture means an Apple iMAC. A really key thing is the ordering and management of the database. Aperture in conjunctions with the 27" screen allows me to manage and review the large group of images more quickly and more efficiently than anything I have used in the PC world. It helps me to get to the best image. With the addition of the NIK software for black and white conversion and local colour control.
So what criteria do I apply. Quality and quality and finally quality is the starting point. Sharp well exposed images. And here is where digital technically wins out. The exposure in digital is always better than in analogue. For as much as I try. Period. It is also sharper. On Large format analogue the optics are better. Strange that but the area of focus and depth of field control is better on my large Format camera than my Nikon D700.
So where does it take me. If all things are equal, and they are not, then you would go digital for the convenience. So why are they not. The digital images on the iMac are clearly sharper. Finally for those stuck on film who believe that film has a quality that is missing in digital I suggest they try NIK software’s Silver Efex Pro 2. A truely remarkable piece of software. For those of us who were brought up in the dark room. We could never have imagined that such a magical tool would be invented. The black and white conversion tools can reproduce anything you can imagine that is “filmic” and beyond.
I saw out the old year and ushered in the New Year in the dark at the Loch Morlich campsite. Tip - toeing around on wet sheet ice, photographing the caravans and campervans. They had an infectious optimism that I hope comes through in these three images. They decorated their "vans" as if they were Christmas trees. And a fine, surreal sight it was with the bright , vibrant colours reflecting off the ice. The twinkling of fairy lights.