The life of this blog so far has been intermittent, which somewhat overstates its output. It has briefly sparked into life when we have been to an event, taken a series of photographs, and handed out some cards to competitors so that they have a way of finding where the images will be uploaded.
However, I have recently had my enthusiasm for photography rekindled by a combination of circumstances. Firstly, our local gallery, Pomfret Gallery, advertised a photography competition. A very open-ended one, with the criteria simply an “eye catching” image taken in West Yorshire. It had previously been suggested to me by Andrew Scriven that a good way to develop my photography would be to enter some competitions, so I decided to try and come up with something for this, and I knew that I wanted to submit a photograph taken with the competition in mind, rather than peruse my collection for one that would be suitable.
Friday, 8 August was traumatic for many people in this area of West Yorkshire: I noticed around 1600 that rain had started to fall quite heavily, then when it was time to collect Mrs Gosney from the railway station around 1745 the rain was pouring down. I grabbed the Canon on the way out of the house, anticipating that there might some interesting images to be had, but the weather was too bad to get out of the car with the Canon, and instead we drove home and I grabbed the baby Fuji, my walking boots and a cagoule. Some imperfect shots of the bad weather were picked up from Twitter by both ITV Calendar News and our local newspaper, so I felt that getting drenched was worthwhile, and two of the images made the front page of the Pontefract & Castleford Express the following Thursday.
The Pontefract Grand Prix cycle event was scheduled for the Sunday following the heavy rain, and we’d already decided to go along to take some photographs, but we were even more determined when I managed to grab two VIP passes on Twitter. It was great fun to photograph, despite the rain, and was only 10 minutes walk away to allow for the occasional dry off. Reaction to the photographs was very positive (images are here, and whilst shooting I realised that one of them could become my competition entry: taken after the competition’s launch, in Pontefract, on an exciting day for the town.
After many weeks of on and off attempts at us organising something, my old photography teacher and I finally met up for a couple of drinks. It was great both from a social perspective, but from a photographic perspective to talk to someone who is prepared to be bluntly critical. The flip side is that appreciation of images is worth significantly more when you’re confident that there would be no hesitation to provide constructive criticism should it be needed.
The combination of these situations has really fired my enthusiasm for photography, and specifically going back to basics with a camera that I treated myself to last year and which has been so far very under-used, my Leica M6. Having shot b&w film at school (certainly not with a Leica), the attraction of having the option of film that I could develop myself briefly fired before we moved house, and it is now back: a roll of Ilford FP4 that was mainly shot in London either side of a customer visit was developed at home and scanned with a Plustek 8100 (eventually selected after months of debating the economics of commercial processing / scanning against short term costs of scanner to go with the developing kit already purchased).
I’m now determined to continue to enjoy the Leica, and enjoy the relaxation of shooting with film and a light, fully manual camera. I’m hoping that documentary photography, primarily focusing on our local area, will drive my engagement with photography even further forward, helped by some great online resources and inspirational photo books. Further to this, the intention is to publish a blog post once a week with an image or two, and some observations on where I’ve got to and what’s planned. This weekend a brief trip to York’s on the agenda followed by an evening with friends where I suspect the merits of digital vs film will be heavily debated over a bottle or two of wine.
Enjoy the weekend!