2017 Part 1

I thought it would be a good idea to flick through the photographs that I had been taking through 2017 as this year is drawing to a close. I have selected one of my favourite photographs from each month with a small description of where it came from. Most of them will also be found in my instagram feed.

 

Jens in Mourning.

 It was taken at the Glasgow Necropolis. It was one of the first (of many) instameets that I went on this year. This was the first time that I had been to Glasgow to take photographs, it was a very long day and I think I came back with over 300 photographs, but this was my favourite. It's a bit dark, but then it was a cemetery. The person in it is Jens @jensinscotland

 

 

But Why?

February saw a number of friends meeting up in Edinburgh, all instagrammers of course. Although we started up in the town centre we ended up in Leith. I caught this shot of @alycoste and @davidgulliver_photography at Newhaven Harbour. The way I caught Alayne's hand made me think she was asking for an explanation from David. I didn't really notice this until the day after. Amusingly the first two photographs from the year actually had people in the shots which usually isn't my style.

 

The Cloisters.

Another visit to Glasgow in March, this time with @davidgulliver_photography  and @ashcharlton. There were a number of shots that I liked from this trip, especially the light trails from Charing Cross, but ultimately this was my favourite from the cloisters at Glasgow University. It took a while to get the photograph without any people in it. So many shots are about patience more than anything else.

 

The Working Palace

The first of my many trips to my second home this year allowed me to take a lot of photographs of places that I hadn't shot since 2013. This is the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague, also know as the working palace. See the comment above about patience... I live close to this palace and it has various ceremonies each year which can be nice to watch. Noordeinde is also my favourite street in The Hague, so much to see and do.

Socks

Stance

Something for all those that have teased me about buying expensive Stance socks for the past couple of years, said so well by The Brooks Review:

"Shitty socks are fucking annoying. Spend $30 on a pair, and your socks will go from being annoying to being something you love, because $30 merino wool socks are magic."

It also worth reading the rest of the article. Needless to say my last visit to The Hague involved selecting several pairs of Stance socks.

December

I'll start by explaining the photograph, it is the entrance to the harbour (haven in Dutch) at Scheveningen, The Hague. It has taken me what can only be described as a ridiculous amount of time to learn Port (left)  and Starboard (right). Even now I laugh at myself about how very simple things can trip me up. As a geographer probably the most embarrassing thing to admit is that I still sometimes use NESW (never eat shredded wheat) when I think about east and west. 

So back to the point of this post, apart from the pretty photo of a storm brewing.


All my living in the moment went straight out the window when I realised that December is here and good lord where the hell did the rest of the year go? No seriously, where the hell did the rest of the year go? I have stuff to finish and do, December is not a productive month. To many mince pies to eat and sweet tea to drink. :-)

I reflect once again on achievements made over the year, the new people I have met, reconnecting with those that I had lost touch with and personal achievements that I feel good about. It's easy to look and find the things that I feel good about, so I have been trying to deconstruct the parts of the year that I don't feel good about or that went wrong.

I was once taught to remove my emotions from criticism and to try to look at criticism objectively and rationally. It's amazing how useful this has been throughout my life. It has allowed me to think about any problems or criticism and not react "all guns blazing". It has provided a useful technique in thinking about what I could have done better and how this could have been achieved and can be avoided in the future.

In every December I look forward to the winter solstice. I have always felt that this is a much more significant day in the calendar than any other, the general thought of our planet spinning through a vast universe in almost perfect balance makes me laugh at how insignificant we are. So spare some time on the 21st December at 16:28 for the point where the day starts getting longer again.

Thanks for reading!

The Hague

I travelled back to The Hague last week to take care of some administration and to catch up with friends. It's getting harder to meet with friends there of late primarily because they keep leaving to pastures new.

The city is changing, every time I visit I notice these changes, cafes disappearing, new shops appearing and of course new tram routes just to confuse me. It makes me wonder how much changed during the time I lived there that I didn't notice. Change, it seems to me, is more evident when you don't look for a period of time.

I had a lot of time to think while walking around the city (roughly 16km each day I was there) and I was able to bring my attention to the present instead of rooting around in my mind at things I have experienced in the past in The Hague. It was nice to be there and to have a still mind.

I still love this city. It almost defies explanation. I feel so comfortable there. There is no single thing that I can say that makes it such a great place for me, but when it is all combined there is no place I would rather be. Perhaps, I just haven't travelled enough. Of course, there is always a difference between travelling to new locations and living in new locations.

I didn't get much time to take photographs but these are the ones that I like when I did manage to get time. These photographs are from Scheveningen, a modern seaside resort with a long, sandy beach, an esplanade, a pier, and a lighthouse. Click on them for the full size if your on a desktop or tablet. Oh, the photograph of the fishing vessel, I have almost this exact shot from 2013. I think I like the shot below more as you can see the industry of Rotterdam in the background.

So much change, yet so much the same.

 

David Gulliver & Tenth Floor Photography

As some of my readers may know I have been involved with a project called Tenth Floor Photography, primarily setting up the website. It has almost been a year since the project started and I thought this would be a good time to find out more about the founder and how the project is going. Tenth Floor Photography is also promoting a Black Friday sale on their prints from 24th - 27th November, pop over to the site.

Tell us a little  about yourself, your background and how you became interested in photography.

Well, my name is David Gulliver, and I am the Director of Tenth Floor Photography. Growing up, photography was always around me. My Great Aunt and my Uncle were avid photographers, but I never really paid attention. In those days, SLR cameras were only fully manual, so the only thing that intrigued me was the amount of strange numbers on the dials.

Come 2005 I was accepted into Edinburgh College of Art. There was a foundation year where you studied multiple disciplines; one of which was photography. Although digital photography existed, they were adament that we learn from the start; manual. Hours swearing in the dark  room when you find you have chosen the wrong ISO film, or that your photos are blurry. Ultimately, I specialised in sculpture and painting, however photography was still a key part of this. I used photos to not only document my work, but to draw from, and so the perfect composition and rules needed to apply: the only difference being that now I had a cheap compact digital camera. Over the next few years, I would continue to take 1000's of photos, but took my ability to create good photos for granted. As I became dissatisfied with my day job, I began to dream of creating my own photography project early 2016. I began to study the market, modern equipment, and joined Instagram to secretly source talent for my project that I hadn't even told my wife about. I secretly created a 3 year business plan with the help of a business advisor at Edinburgh University. With the help of the 'Architect', Adam, Tenth Floor Photography was created, and it's dynamics and unique sellings points grew. We began making money earlier than expected, and this took me by surprise; but now photography is my life.

And your particular style, how would you describe it?

Very much reflecting my drawings and paintings, my work focuses on looking closer, and looking up on urban decay, and carries themes such as disease, poverty, and decay. Initially I used black and white to portray this, but have grown into using a complex editing method using Lightroom, into Photoshop, and then back to Lightroom to create a particular style, which involves some colour. 

 

Has there been a particular influence  place or person in your photographic style?

Although he is a painter, from a young age I have been obsessed with the work of Ken Currie; one of the New Glasgow Boys. His work of the 1980s portrayed the poverty and decay of Glasgow at that time. I feel I take my best work in run down areas, factories and industrial zones. 

Tell us about The Tenth Floor Photography, it’s concept and aims.

Tenth Floor Photography is still very young, and as I said, has grown faster than expected. It was always going to be a collaboration of excellent artists, and obviously that hasn't gone unnoticed, with interest from Edinburgh College of Art, members of the public, and even companies for advertising events. So, in terms of aims, it's already succeeding in money terms, but other goals are to raise money for charity and help up and coming talent showcase their work. 

Every business needs to have something catchy, something people will remember. The Tenth Floor came from Joy Division lyrics from the song 'Disorder'. I always imagined it as a space for artists: an online space, or floor, for talent. That's why each photographer has a code, it's like their room number on the Tenth Floor. 

What is your goal for TFP?

Come 2018, I would like more events, more marketing and really just to get our name out there, and work more closely with the photographers.

After it’s first year how do you feel about the progress that has been made inTFP?

Delighted. I had no idea it would take off like it has. I now work part time in a bar to top up the income, and when you tell a stranger about the Tenth Floor and they say they have heard of it, there's a sense of pride, and this is just the start. 

TFP have featured photographers, what do you look for in a photographer that you would be happy featuring?

Having studied art for so many years, you see the work of so many successful photographers and you gain an ability to see talent or potential in people. Just like music, it's about the feeling that goes into any work. I could sit for a year and learn a Mozart on the piano, but if I didn't like the piece, then the listeners would notice it was flat. Passion for your subject is everything, and those with an artistic eye can see that. If I feature a photo, then I can usually spot the feeling the photographer had at that moment in time and why they chose that shot. That's what makes a beautiful and unique shot. 

As a photographer are you ever in the position of turning down a project because it doesn’t fit your particular philosophy?

Yes, but we are a team. For example, just this coming Wednesday we have been invited to an interview to be the photographers at a corporate event. That event, however, involves pets. I don't do pets. I hate pet photography, but it is one of the specialities of our Assistant Directors, so I'll be able to step back from that one! I am yet to have the opportunity to take a step back from child photography, as that is something I refuse to do also, but maybe one of the team would take that on if we ever get an offer!!

Increasingly in these particular times almost everyone with a phone is crafting content in various social media sites, in particular Instagram. Do you think this is diluting ‘real fine art photography’  or do you think it is an opportunity for photographers to get there work out to a global audience?

Instagram is great! It allows people with no training or expensive equipment to get their work out there. But that and the art world itself should never be confused. Instagram is an app and a game. Personally, I gained the followers I have through a combination of decent photos and liking other peoples work regardless of its quality. That gives room for false likes and a mis-representation of your work. We use Instagram to promote the business, but no longer play the 'like for like' game to gain followers; we need that to happen naturally. Instagram is just a handy tool for us, and our Social Media Manager does a good job of taking care of that and Facebook. Saying that, I use Instagram to look at others' work for inspiration. Ultimately though, I look to famous, modern photographers to see what they are up to. They are always striving for an originality that can't be found in Instagram communities. I find that Instagram discourages people from going outside the box. Much like if I look at a watercolour painting of a river. Might be technically well done, but I could find the exact same thing in a charity shop. People are taking photos for likes and not for themselves. It's good fun all the same!!