I’m pleased to tell you that I’ve put my Nepal portfolio on-line now.
If I’m honest, I’ve not completed the Nepal collection of images, but I feel I have enough, more than enough, to share.
I’m dreading the prospect of working on my India images because there are simply too many.
I hope you enjoy the images from the Kathmandu valley. I felt very privileged to experience some amazing characters on my travels and there were a few golden moments in there to keep me satisfied as a photographer too.
Nepal allowed me time to consider the impact of my approaches to photography – perhaps best described as my photographic-karma!
Please click on the image to play the podcast
This podcast covers my trip to the Kathmandu valley in Nepal earlier this year. I recorded a lot of audio source material while I was there.
Hope you enjoy it.
I’ve just finalised some plans for a 5 day long week workshop on the Isle of Harris, situated in the outer Hebrides.
I was really taken with this island on a recent visit. The beaches are expansive and really photogenic and the light there is something else.
The trip is scheduled for the later part of November – the 20th to the 25th. We’ll be staying at the lovely Harris hotel in Tarbert, which is a good base for exploring the entire of Harris and also making a stop over on Lewis to photograph the Calanais stones.
If you’re interested in coming, it would be a good idea to book earlier rather than later, because you can get some really cheap deals on flights from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness to Stornoway on Lewis (I will be picking you up from there) for as little as £25 one way if you go with FlyBe.com.
The trip is limited to six places, with single occupancy of the rooms and the price is £1,100 for the duration of the trip.
I expect that we will get a lot of varied weather on Harris in November and this should present us with some dramatic light over the duration of the course. Please email me if you’re interested.
A few nights ago I was slowly (but surely) getting through my images of Nepal when I came upon this image.
Photographed at the Bodnath Stupa in Boudha, Kathmandu, I’d completely forgotten about it until I gazed upon it this week.
This was a ‘defining’ image for me on my trip – one of those where the experience of capturing it leaves a lasting impression on me, and I’m keen to see how it turns out when I get home.
So when I gazed upon this image this week, I was taken right back to the moment I clicked the shutter.
A woman was lighting some of the butter lamps inside the Bodnath Stupa. There is a little courtyard there with a small tent. It all looks rather precarious to me and it’s not something I’d be happy to stand inside – a black tent with around 1,000 candles in close proximity to flammable walls, but that’s just me. Regardless, I was standing on the outside of this tent looking in and noticed this scene. I was very discreet – the photographic interaction was quiet and quick and I doubt very much that she even noticed me taking her photograph.
But what surprised me this week when I gazed upon this image after so many months is the little girl in the bottom part of the frame – who is being helped to light one of the butter lamps. I don’t recall seeing her at the time of capture. Perhaps I’ve forgotten, but I just don’t think I consciously registered that she was there when I shot this.
Our minds are capable of clocking and mapping objects / people in our periphery vision and I’m often left to believe that photography entails subconcious, gut decisions that guide our concious minds.
Sometimes, all it takes is a simple smile to make me feel that I’ve captured a portrait well. In this instance, the pose was natural and that smile of her’s really got to me. There’s a glow in her eyes too and I can’t help smiling inside because of it.
That’s one thing I like about photographing people from undeveloped regions. They’ve not been conditioned from an early age to go into a rigid stance and turn on the most horrific ‘cheese-mode’ smile. I use the word ‘horrific’ appropriately.
So this lady in Baktapur, Kathmandu Valley, due to decades of not being photographed has responded well considering she’s probably never had a camera weilded in front of her before. Of course I’d like to give all credit to that part of the image making process to myself, but I think it’s more to do with spontenaety and lack of conditioning on her part.
There is now only one space left for the Glencoe weekend workshop in October.
It can be really beautiful at this time of year in the coe, with very settled weather as the picture below suggests.
Blackmount in October
So if you’ve been thinking of coming on this trip, bite now, or forever hold your peace…!
The trip commences on Friday evening October 16th and ends on Sunday the 18th at 1pm. Price is £349.
For booking and contact, please email me.
Following on again from yesterdays post about Bodnath Stupa, here is yet another perspective of the same location. You really don’t have to keep traveling to different places each day to get something new. I simply just got up each morning and headed back to where I was the day before, and yet I always came back to my B&B with something new.
I’d seen him praying on one of the platforms on the stupa, rather than from the ground level. I’d not seen anyone do this on previous days, so I couldn’t help be attracted to the possibilities it presented.
With the image above I wasn’t trying to convey a sense of scale . I was really trying to put the Tibetan in a ‘space’. Using Bodnath as a backdrop worked nicely because he’s praying directly towards it.
But now that I’m at my desk, several months down the line from the moment I shot this, I’m able to review what I shot and I feel that although I love this image, there are others which convey the sense of scale much more effectively.
Here’s another picture, taken slightly later, under different light. Same praying man:
The sense of scale is much improved (I feel). The praying man is now a tiny object in the scheme of the main structure and it’s clear that Bodnath is quite a dominant force in this setting.
But now I’ve lost the close connection I felt with the praying man in the previous image. I’m less involved, more an onlooker than someone who is within the scene.
And again, I spent another day roaming Bodnath Stupa, hoping to get a different perspective from my previous days. So it was with surprise when I realised I’d missed a small passage way which leads to an area for Tibetans to pray and do their prostrations.
Prostrations are done to purify the body, speech and mind. There was an order or dicipline to how they run through their prayers each morning. I wanted to illustrate that yet I found it hard to find a vantage point where I could capture what I was seeing, until I saw this shot. It’s one of those occasions where you have to blot out everything else around you to visualise it.
Two figures, side by side facing a wall, the picture is about dress, it’s also about stature. Well, these are the things I feel it’s about. You may feel otherwise. I just remember having to stay for a while and try to time the shutter going off at the exact moment when one of the women would raise her hands. What’s not apparent from this image is the constant movement they were both in – un-synchronised, it was a game of chance waiting for a moment when both women would be up from the boards, side by side, and doubly so to get one of them with their hands raised before the other continued downward with her prostrations.
Sometimes, you don’t have to go too far to find new images. Ok, I admit, I’d traveled all the way to Nepal in the first place, but the point I’m making is that once you’re at your destination, you don’t need to keep moving every day to get new images.
I found the Bodhua stupa a really interesting place to photograph. Yet it felt like each day I was looking for hens teeth. A difficult place to photograph because the Tibetans who live here are constantly on the move, cicumnavigating the Stupa each morning and evening, and for the rest of the time, the place was almost deserted.
Yet it was a captivating place and although I came back to my bed and breakfast each morning (after getting up at 5am) with small pickings, I felt that going back, morning after morning was producing a collection of images. Sure it was slow and it was hard work most of the time too. But repeatedly going back made all the difference.
There’s a difference in attitude and process to photographing people compared to photographing landscapes. But there are similarities too.
As much as we say that people are unpredictable and that we don’t know the outcome of the interaction, the same can be said of landscapes too. We tend to think that landscapes are static, unchanging, but I’ve had my fair share of unpredictable weather conditions and many images that have ‘got away from me’ for reasons I had no control over – usually weather / light related.
But I think making images of people is very similar to making images of landscapes from an asthetic point of view. Take the picture of the old lady above. I think I was attracted to the image of her because of the complimentary colours. I’m sure that this attraction is similar when making photographs of landscapes – we’re not simply attracted by the compositional aspects or the subject matter alone: we’re attracted by the bringing together of colour, shape, form, light. Many aspects which I feel are the same for people images.