Fifty Five: Concerning artistry

Is it true that to be an artist it is enough to say “i am an artist”?

I mean obviously you have to do some art too but how much and how good does it have to be to call yourself an artist?


This is a photo of a photo i took some time ago, but i have recently been playing with transfer printing images onto fabric using acrylic gel medium. i am in the process of incorporating these pictures in to other works that involve other fabric and paper and collage…

I am just about comfortable enough to call myself a photographer…but I have no background in art apart from an appreciation of it given to me by my mum. I have no training, no ability when it comes to drawing stuff that is supposed to look like something and no idea what I am doing.

I can create things…this much i am sure of, i have created things and made things all my life, but is this enough? as an engineer and scientist I find myself annoyingly pretentious if I say that I am an artist… especially if I add the words mixed media into the mix.

To say that I am an artist, in my eyes elevates me above the stage I am at…but someone once said that in order to become something you have to become it…or words to that effect,

in other words, don’t just try to be something, be it…

but is calling myself an artist, and doing artistic things enough?

How do I know if I am good enough?

Sorry if that seemed a little self indulgent…It was just something I was thinking about…any opinions out there would be welcome…


Forty Eight

Originally posted 8th May 2011

Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable people get if you ask them to do something in a way that is unfamiliar to them? In some cases this discomfort edges over the line into anger and causes them to lash out at the people who are challenging them. My question to you is what is wrong with stepping out of your comfort zone for a while? Today’s photo is one taken when I was out of my comfort zone…

As you must be aware by now (if you have read more than one of these) my main photography obsessions encompass things like repeating patterns, abstract images and derelict buildings (or combinations thereof). As you can see this picture is none of those, and photographing people, let alone directing them on set is a long way out of my comfort zone, in addition to this Bryony had not modeled before and had not met me, however I think the results from the exploration into stepping out of the aforementioned comfort zone is not too bad.

So When asked to do something in a different way, embrace it as a challenge and you never know you may just come out of it a more balanced and interesting person. Take all the energy you would normally expend resisting change and ranting about how hard it all is and focus that on what you can learn and how you can benefit. You might even enjoy it if you just let yourself!


Thirty Four: Concerning dealing with things

Originally posted on 9th March 2011

I haven’t really been thinking about a great deal today, other than about work and how if you think with the surface of your brain and join in conversations and carry on as normal eventually the hard things go a little further away. They are not better but it is like keeping them in a box and you can go back to letting them out in small doses until all that is left are the happy memories!
I don’t really have much else to say for now so I thought I’d give you a poem, I didn’t write it a person called Mary Elizabeth Frye did in 1932. It was read at my Mum’s funeral (as it is at many) and I like it and the sentiments are good.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave bereft
I am not there. I have not left.
I thought I would also put up another picture taken of one of my Mum’s watercolours, one I have the original of in a case that I cannot open yet but will display soon!
Looking back over this blog, I have talked about finding beauty in the unexpected and finding inspiration and motivation all around, it therefore seems only fitting that I dedicate a couple of these posts to my mum who not only taught me this philosophy, but was and will always remain an inspiration.

Twenty Three: Concerning generation x and y and communications

Originally Posted 21st February 2011

It is often said that communication is key, but when people say this do they really think about what communication means these days. The number of communications systems and methods has grown beyond all recognition in recent years. In the space of my own lifetime I have seen, if not the invention, then the popularisation of communications technology that as a child I saw only as things of science fiction. Now however there are people alive who do not remember when the main viable alternatives we had to face to face communication were represented in today’s photo:

Today we are inundated with choices about how best to communicate with people, most people I know have in their pocket / bag a device which allows at least 5 different communication methods. Communication as well as being more varied in its form has also increased in speed, the concept of waiting to speak to someone has in a lot of cases become a thing of the past; from instant messaging and text messages to mobile phones and mobile internet, the capacity to be in constant contact is huge. Thanks to satellites and the vast network that is the internet not even physical distance is a barrier to instant communication, instead the antipodes are as linked to us as the house next door.

The main factor that differentiates generation x from gen y is the acceptance and familiarity with technology, as has been mentioned before I am from the last years of generation x which to be means that I can remember how things used to be. I am however fully immersed in the instant messaging culture and have not spent an evening with no phone and no internet in a lot of years. I can hardly remember how we coped without google, how I ever arranged things without Facebook and text messages. I am rapidly forgetting what it was like to keep my musings to myself and not indulge in the blatant self publication that I (and a multitude of others) engage in on a regular basis.

The inevitable question is does this constant connectivity between people benefit us? Does it make a more social society or does it cause us to retreat into our own little bubbles which are filing up with text and electronic beeping? Does increased connectivity actually lead to greater disconnection? I suppose only time will tell and I am very sure that thinking about these things is not going to break me of my text/IM habit!

Twenty Two: Concerning inspiration

Originally Posted 20th February 2011

It is a miserable grey day that even I am finding it hard to see the positive in, but they are there if you look really hard. It was the ideal day to do some indoor stuff that I have been meaning to get done for ages. In the process of this I found some photos which do pretty much what I have been saying, they find the positive in an unlikely place. Looking at these reminded me that you can find interesting images in just about anything you look at, so here are a couple of examples of turning the ordinary into something special…


These were both taken in my local town of a bench that I am sure people sit on every day without considering its potential as abstract art! It just goes to show as I have said before there is a photograph everywhere and an interesting image in the most mundane objects. I just need to remember this on grey days in February when I am struggling for inspiration!

Nineteen: Concerning Pigeon Holes

Originally posted 17th February 2011

Talking about music yesterday made me think of the somewhat eclectic mixture of music that I own and love listening to, I have everything from Radiohead to Metallica, I have even been known to go out and buy Steps and Plup in the same outing and listen to and enjoy them both. This tendency to disregard genre and go with what sounds good is a tendency that is relatively rare in the general population. It is a tendency that I have run into quite a lot amongst my friends, and this speaks volumes. This tied in well with a photo that I found when going through my backlog of shots from the last year:

This is a shot taken on a mail train and follows the, now familiar themes that run through my photos, of patterns and repetition. It is here today on this blog as it represents the pigeon holes we often put ourselves and others into based on musical taste, dress sense, occupation, religion and a multitude of other things. It made me wonder how much of this we do to ourselves and how much is imposed by society. Does the idea that ‘all accountants are boring’ or ‘all lawyers are unscrupulous’ have a basis in reality or is it a myth perpetuated by the media? I makes me wonder why it is necessary to believe these things about people, why people have such trouble believing that the same person can enjoy cross stitch and know about diesel engines. Is it safer for people to act only in an expected way, comply with the norms, do not threaten the social order!

Speaking as someone who spends a lot of time trying to do unexpected things, I refuse to fit into the pigeon-hole that society has prepared for me. In fact I have such wide-ranging interests and views that I have yet to find the my assigned pigeon-hole but rest assured when I do I will find a pigeon to go in it and continue to defy stereotypes as much as I can!

Fifteen: Concerning the lack of excuses for feeling uninspired

Originally Posted 13th Feb 2011

Fifteen has proven to be a difficult post. I have just been complaining that I am suffering from a lack of inspiration. I then remembered that there is really no excuse for this! I have been looking back over the pictures I have been posting and there have been a lot of them which were taken in San Francisco and on excursions and adventures that I have had travelling about the place. I have at the same time been talking about wanting to make ordinary every day things seem more exciting and extolling the virtues of looking at things more closely. I decided it was about time for me to show that I can do these things and post a picture that was taken less than half an hour from my house.

Taken in Littlehampton on the south coast as i said, less than half an hour from my house, it is full of the beauty of repeating patterns and symmetry that I previously expressed a liking for.

Then there is this one:

Taken less that 10 mins walk from my house this picture is one of my favorites, it is neither geometric of a repeating pattern but it speaks to me of something else. It speaks of the strength in nature, both physical and metaphorical. It is in a place that is 10 mins walk from a housing estate in a large village and on the edge of an area that used to be the site of an industrial brickworks. It is however in an area that could be miles from anywhere!

The point of this is there is no excuse for lack of inspiration, we all have a tendency to look far afield to spectacular foreign parts and dramatic scenes for inspiration. We seem to believe that it takes travel to find an area worth investigating. We must remember to look closer to home, something that is close to your house would, after all, be a travel destination if you lived somewhere else! Inspiration is everywhere, there is beauty and interest in every thing we see wherever we are, we just need to look for it.