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!! 

 

The Falkirk Wheel

Taken on iPhone X

Taken on iPhone X

The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift in Scotland, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. The lift is named after the town it resides in of Falkirk in central Scotland. It opened in 2002, reconnecting the two canals for the first time since the 1933. Before the Forth & Clyde and Union canals were connected by a staircase of 11 locks which took nearly a day to transit. The design is claimed to have been inspired by a Celtic double headed spear. Work started on the project in 1998 at a cost of £84.5 million.

The plan to regenerate central Scotland's canals and reconnect Glasgow with Edinburgh was led by British Waterways with support and funding from seven local authorities, the Scottish Enterprise Network, the European Regional Development Fund, and the Millennium Commission. Planners decided early on to create a dramatic 21st-century landmark structure to reconnect the canals, instead of simply recreating the historic lock flight.

The wheel raises boats by 24 metres (79 ft), but the Union Canal is still 11 metres (36 ft) higher than the aqueduct which meets the wheel. Boats must also pass through a pair of locks between the top of the wheel and the Union Canal. The Falkirk Wheel is the only rotating boat lift of its kind in the world. 

I have been trying to get some night shots of the wheel when it is lit up, but unfortunately I haven't managed to pass when it is. But I did manger to get these shots on Sunday,

First Impressions: iPhone X

iPhone X

Although I wasn't expecting to get it for another week or two, my iPhone X (Silver 256GB) arrived on Friday. My excitement of receiving the email on Thursday alerting me that it would arrive on Friday was quickly swapped with the thought of my bank account taking a massive hit.

Yes, it is expensive, the most expensive iPhone yet. It costs about the annual GDP of a small country. I did a lot of thinking about purchasing it before its was released, or whether to go for the iPhone 8 and know that I still had the home button to push that has been the identifying feature of the phone since the original. So was it worth it? Time will tell, but at this point these are my impressions after a weekends worth of use.

  • OLED Screen - Although advertised as a full screen, that's not quite true, there is part taken out at the top for the true depth camera and earpiece. Still, the 5.8 inch super retina screen is stunning. Simply stunning, There is no doubt that it is a cut above the last iPhone.
  • Face ID - So far it has recognised me every time, even with sunglasses and a hat on. Have also tested it in the dark and it still works. It takes a little getting used to but it does become natural after a couple of hours.
  • Wireless charging - now that a standard has been accepted wireless charging has been incorporated: Qi. Belkin and Mophie currently have charger that work and Apple is releasing a charging mat early in 2018 (I shudder to think how much it will cost).
  • Size - It's smaller than my previous iPhone due to the removal of the home button and it feels like a better size, it goes into pockets more easily.
  • Camera - True depth camera on the front (7 megapixels) with two 12 megapixel rear lenses, f1.8 and f2.4 positioned vertically to each other, both with Optical Image Stabilisation. The (beta) portrait modes are impressive and I will post some images when I find a suitable model. Both the front and rear cameras are auto HDR, which was a little confusing when I was looking for the HDR option earlier.
  • Location - Covered by GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS, which if memory serves is the first time that it is covered by four different global navigation satellite systems.
  • Connections - Yep, no 3.5mm 100 year old technology, move on people if it's not wireless your living in the past. Apple decided to still include a dongle for the backward thinking, which personally I think is a mistake it would be better that they made people move on. I cannot see the next iPhone coming with the free dongle.
  • Glass - front and back, i have seen pictures and videos of the drop test. I shudder to think of the cost of replacing this, I would expect painful. It annoys me that I have to cover such a beautiful piece of technology into a leather case to give it some protection from the horror of dropping it. Apple claims that it is the most durable glass ever... but it is still glass.
  • Animoji - I can't even...

In summary, the Face ID has impressed me, and the iOS11 gesturing is natural once you get the idea that there is no home button. The screen has blown me away, in all light conditions it really is stunning. The camera's, as you would expect are better, faster and more stabler than the previous models.

Worth the money? That's a tough question. I think this is going to be the price of the higher end iPhones from now on and that is a serious chunk of change if you are a yearly updater.

 

Birks o' Aberfeldy

The  next stop after The Hermitage with @alycoste saw us stop at the Birks o' Aberfeldy. This beautiful short walk is extremely popular. The walk up a steep gorge alongside the Moness Burn was popularised by Scotlands Bard (Robert Burns) in a song suitably titled 'The Birks o' Aberfeldy'.


Robert Burns

 

"Bonie lassie, will ye go, 
Will ye go, will ye go, 
Bonie lassie, will ye go
To the birks of Aberfeldy!"

 

 


As you can see from the photo's below, Autumn was definitely going on here! Have never seen so many auburn and red leaves in one place. The beauty of the areas end in a crescendo of waterfalls, The Moness Falls. It's a beautiful area and I was really happy that I got to see it for the first time at this time of year.

I often forget how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful country that is relatively at peace, moderately prosperous and generally safe.

The Hermitage, Dunkeld

Finally posting some photos from The Hermitage from my visit on the 29th of October. Mental note never to visit again when the weather is good...everyone and there dog was there and it felt like the entire population of Scotland was on the road when heading back that evening.

Nestled in the north of Perthshire amid towering Douglas Firs is a pleasure ground built in the 18th century for the Dukes of Atholl. The River Braan runs through this area with many waterfalls the most impressive of which is overlooked by Ossian's Hall. The hall was built in 1757 as the focal point and is a splendid spot to watch the waterfall that roars beneath.