Hillary Roberts, Research Curator of Photography at the Imperial War Museum was asked by TIME OUT Magazine to chooses her ten favorite shots of London, I’m very honored that one of them is mine. Thank you Hillary for your friendship and support.
Link Here to the article Top Ten Pictures of London.
Well its really all starting to come together now as well as some wacky ideas of how to display my photographic work. Its so liberating having complete control over you own exhibition space, you have to accept the consequences of your choices but hey that’s what its all about.
My latest plan is to have a special section of the exhibition dedicated solely to images of cows that I have made on Greenham Common, it seems to have been an unconscious thread of mine for some time. The summer house will temporarily become THE COW SHED, somewhere different and quite to while away your time. In the next few weeks I’ll be letting you know all the finer details of where and when to visit and what you can expect to see, its going to be such fun.
In the mean time have a look at the OPEN STUDIOS Facebook site for more info on what its all about.
This morning I had the pleasure of meeting with John Brazendale, one of the exhibition curators and organisers for Open Studio 2016. What a delight it was to have a chat with him and get some very helpful pointers for the way ahead. The more I get involved with this inspirational project the more I become gently and calmly confident of my future as a documentary photographer within my home town of Newbury. As will all things the more you look the more you see and as I’m finding out with each new day there is just so much to see.
So another good day today starting the editing process of which images I’ll be showing at the Insight Exhibition at New Greenham Arts which starts off the whole month long program in late April. Once that is done then the real challenge of curating my exhibition starts, just wonderful.
There is a wonderful word that for me says everything about how I’m currently working as a documentary photographer. Serendipity, which means a “fortunate happenstance” or “pleasant surprise” is exactly what happened recently with a number of projects I’ve been working on. Added to this the chance to be part of the OPEN STUDIOS 2016 and all seems to be going very well indeed. Click HERE for the Facebook link.
Open Studios West Berkshire and North Hampshire was set up in 1987 by the late Pat Eastop as a non-profit organisation to celebrate the diversity of visual arts available within the local community. It strives to create a dialogue between artists and the community by encouraging members of the public to visit artists’ studios.
I’m working on a long term documentary photo project about Newbury and part one is coming to completion and needs to be shown to the wider world, well at least Newbury to start with. Serendipitous dont you think, a wonderful opportunity to display my photographs in the comfort of my own garden and a chance to engage with members of my local community as well as fellow artists. Today is day one on my prep for the exhibition and I’ll be writing about the progress as the weeks go on, not that I have too much time on my hands as it all starts on the 30th April – 22nd May.
I’ll give you more information as the project develops as well as exciting snippets about the “free talks with tea” I’ll be hosting. So stay tuned for more exciting info coming soon.
On Greenham Common this morning again walking with my dog Henry and contemplating the year ahead and what images I will see and create. The Common is such a beautiful place to be and delights me with each and every visit. While the physical layout changes very little it is the light that provides variation and heart stopping difference which demands time and slow consideration.
No matter the location or circumstance I always feel at peace when making landscape images, no guilt, no angst no sorrow and no permission needed.
The vast majority of my images are seen and created in monochrome but just occasionally the colour of a scene touches me in a different way. Here are three images taken over the past two days that exemplify this perfectly for me .
I’m delighted to introduce you to this very new and exciting adventure of mine and I hope that you will spend some time with me on this crazy ride. Pictures on a Page is a 132 page photo magazine dedicated to telling stories with photographic images. While it will include text, the image is the most important feature and will dominate the layout. To quote Elliot Erwitt “The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.” There is no specific genre for it to enslave itself to, all forms of photographic expression that tell a story are open to exploration. For me personally the driving force of the magazine is to give some impetus and inspiration to my own work and provide a real and tangible place for my images and photo stories to be shown.
In this wonderful and delightful world of digital photography and internet marvels, my aim is to provide an alternative for my work to the immediate and transient nature of rushed photography. This is not about being famous or about getting as many likes as possible, it’s about communicating in a wonderfully slow and perhaps arcane way that makes me happy and you my viewer see my work as it should be seen. I’m not special or important but the people and places in my images are and I passionately believe they deserve to be given more time and consideration than is afford on other more mainstream means.
This is not an attack on all things digital or a stick with which to beat Social Media with, it’s more of a desire for me to do something different, well at least different to the current norm. The magazine will has no adverts because it needs no income and therefore I have a free hand to include the work that I love and believe in. Pictures on a Page will also feature the work of other photographers I like and admire, giving them the space to express their work in whatever way they feel most appropriate.
My intention is to publish a minimum of two issues a year with some additional special editions dedicated to a single topic, from my current or past work. It will only be available in printed form and while some information about it will be made available on Social Media and my blog most communication with subscribers will be by good old fashioned letter.
So how does this all work? Well the first thing to do is to send me your postal address details either via Social Media Private Message (just search for Pictures on a Page or Giles Penfound on Facebook), Email, via my WEBSITE or by post. . Once I receive your details I’ll enter this all on a hand written register and give you a membership number. I’ll then send you, by post, details of how you can order the current issue and have it delivered directly to you. I’m doing it like this to make each issue as cost effective as possible, this is a not for profit magazine.
Each time there is a new edition I’ll send you a hand written notification with details of what’s in the issue as well as an A4 print from one of the stories. I’ll also include a ‘subscription voucher’ so you can pass it onto anyone you feel would enjoy the magazine. There is no pressure to buy any or all the copies, this is up to you and of course all your contact details will be kept completely confidential and off line (in a new and wonderfully resurrected hand written register). There is no pressure selling or minimum subscription time etc and if you want to be removed from the membership register just let me know and I’ll get my big black sharpie out and delete the entry. So if you are interested just send me your postal address details and I’ll get all the info sent to you with a free print asap.
I really appreciate your time and support and hope that you will enjoy this different and perhaps quirky ride with me and Pictures on a Page. I so look forward to welcoming you and sharing with you my true passion and delight in photography and the photo story.
Warmest regards and tootle pip
Giles Penfound – Pictures on a page
The cold hard fact that probably next to no one will read this blog post is a sobering lesson in reality for me and one which I welcome with great acceptance. This is a personal reflection on how I have and intend to work and my comments should not be regarded as an instruction to anyone else.
Throughout my career as a professional photographer I have for reasons not clear to me now been a bit too concerned, at times, with the name on the front of my camera. While there have been moments of some sanity and clarity I have to admit to believing in the hype and nonsense espoused by myself and others about one particular brand of kit.
Leica, and in particular the M rangefinder variant has been at my side for more than 25 years and I have been a willing devotee and worshiper at the temple of that brand. Prior to the true revolution of digital photography there may have been many advantages of the ‘little red dot’ but increasingly I’ve come to realise that a monumental amount of complete crap, yes crap, is connected with this brand and those ( yes I have been one of the advocates too) who need to proselytize about its supposed and mythical unrivaled excellence and quality. Like all myths there may have once been a germ of truth but this I believe has long since vanished.
The cherry on the cake of this loss of faith in the brand came very recently when, as a member of a Social Media Leica group, I committed the cardinal sin of posting a really good image (in all respects of composition, and exposure etc) but with an unauthorized model. One would think that a Leica used group would welcome any make or model in the ‘red dot pantheon” but no it seems some Leica cameras are more ‘Leica’ than others. I think what also really infuriated me was the off hand and dare I say it rude order from the high-priest of that particular site to remove the offending image forthwith, with an admonishment to never darken the doors of the hallowed temple with the inferior family member. Poor thing it may only be a D-Lux 4 but actually its a great camera and cost less that the usual mortgage payment so evident with other more notable models.
Perhaps this was the issue, here was this out of date, reasonably priced camera possibly competing with the masters of the M universe and in all honesty doing it pretty well. I can only stand so much Bull S**T so I left the FB group gracefully. My private message to the Grand High Priest who so righteously admonished me, thanked him for providing me with the final straw that has broken a massively overladen and over-hyped camels back to breaking point.
So as of this morning I decided to free myself of the complete and utter nonsense I believe this particular brand of camera has come to represent. I have seen the light and realise once again that the camera one makes images on is completely and utterly irrelevant, in truth no one really cares. The nomenclature of ones technical photographic attachments have become so much of a distraction from the point and purpose of the image as to require somewhat of a revulsion of current doctrine. So I have ‘seen the light’ and realise once again that the means of production is just that and all that matters are the images I make and how I feel about them.
Whether or not I sell or continue to use my current stock of Leica cameras is now thankfully of no consequence because their name brand and ability to render the images I seen in my heart are no longer linked. As with any future camera, be it smart phone or DSLR, it will just become an anonymous tool with which to mechanically capture the light that touches my photographic soul.
I have left the cult of Leica and recognize it for what it is (to me), an over hyped distraction from the purity of the image and as one of my friend so pointedly observed ‘the ultimate male jewellery’. So being free to think more about the image rather than the kit I went out this morning and borrowed my daughters cheap camera and made these image. I have to admit that they may do nothing for anyone else but me and in the final analysis that is surely the whole point…
SO… “So Long and thanks for all the fish” (Douglas Adams, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)
Some time ago I was approached by my good friend Neale James with a request to make a short documentary film about me and my work. It took some time to persuade me to do it and I must admit to being somewhat skeptical, not about the quality of his work, but more of the validity of me talking about mine.
This film is the result of his exceptional film making talent and my desire to somehow compartmentalise my photographic life into ‘before and after’ this point. This film is for me a wonderful opportunity to provide my children and grandchildren with a visual legacy of who I used to be. It is also a testament to the remarkable investment of photographic training, time, energy and confidence I have been given by so many people over the past twenty five years.
I’m so grateful to Neale for giving me this gift and humbled by his remarkable talent. Please have a look at his other wonderful films at Breathe Pictures.