Good light vs ugly light

I’m in Iceland right now and today we visited one of my favourite lakes where we can get graphical shapes and tonal separation from the sand bars and water.

I’ve become more ‘accepting’ of shooting in the middle of the day, if the light is right. Where I once religiously stuck to sunrise and sunset only, I now shoot when I think the light is soft and gives me something to work with that is beautiful. But not all light is beautiful, and no amount of dynamic range in a digital camera will compensate for it. Beautiful light is beautiful light. And ugly light is ugly.

So here I was today, at around 10am at a lake in Iceland and the conditions were perfect as you can see from this iPhone shot. And so, I had to do a dance to celebrate it :-)

Image © Finnur Frodason

Image © Finnur Frodason

I'm going back to Harris next year

I’ve just published a photo workshop to the Isle of Harris for October next year (2020). If you’d like to join me?

Isle of Harris
448.00

October 26-31, 2020 (5-Nights)

Price: £1,595
Deposit: £448

5-Day Photographic Mentoring Workshop

Introduction

Harris is a beautifully compact island with wondrous expansive beaches and a rugged eastern side. The Isle of Lewis and the Calanish stones are only 1 hour away from our base and we will head there in the evening to shoot the stones during sunset.

This trip is specifically great for simplifying your compositions as most of the beaches have a lot of space where only light and tone are the predominant features.

Add To Cart

The trip is now fully booked. If you’d like to join the waiting list for any cancellations, please just email me at bruce@brucepercy.com

The Pendulum Swing of Colour use

I find that each time I edit a new set of images, my application of colour varies. Some times the work has very muted tones. Other times the work has too much colour and I find that a few days later I’m re-adjusting the work to be more muted.

Part of the problem is colour constancy, or the lack of ability in oneself to correctly gauge the strength of colour, the more that one stares at the work. Part of the problem is that I’m still figuring out what my style is, and I find as my mood changes, my feeling towards the work also changes. Sometimes the work is stark and monochromatic, devoid of any colour at all. Other times the work is very colourful, and I feel a need to tone it down.

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This is not just a case of my mood changing. It mostly has to do with how our brain ‘auto-white-balances’ what we see. Our visual system innately compensates. What we perceive is not always true .

And I’m sure I’m not alone. Most of us have a hard time judging the level of colour to use in our work.

I’ve seen some photographers who completely lack any colour judgement at all. The work is overly garish, the colours sci-fi, horrific in application because there’s just simply too many strong colours competing with each other. I am convinced that photographers who create this kind of work are at the beginning of their photographic journey. They haven’t developed their colour awareness yet, and are still very much in love with the need to over-excite the work they create. They are so enraptured by having strong colour in their work that we can’t get past it. I believe this, because I suffered from this in my early years.

When I look back at my earlier work, delicate application of colour is pretty non-existent. Despite thinking at the time that the colours were great in my photographs, I now realise that I was working from the belief that ‘more is good’. I had a lot to learn.

At the time, I had no idea about colour relationships, let alone that having too much colour, or competing colours in the frame could sabotage the composition. I also had no idea that composition was more than just the art of placing subjects within a frame. Composition is also about the application of colour, as well as tone and form. Each of these three elements has to work with the other for the composition to be successful. Simply plastering lots of strong colour across my images was clumsy at best, and at worst made my images look infantile.

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And now twenty years later I’m still wresting with colour. In that I’m wrestling with ‘just how much’ to use. In other words I struggle with the degree of colour to use. I appreciate that colour is dependent on the subject matter, what the actual landscape offered. Some places are simply more colourful while others are naturally less so. So I understand that some photos or portfolios call for very little colour, while others require the colour to be applied selectively to aid the composition.

My recent images from Brazil are interesting because there appears to be a return to stronger colour for me. They are the strongest set of colour images I’ve made in a while.

But if I look at how I used to use colour over a decade ago, I’m aware that the application was more broad, more clumsy back then. Nowadays, I’m more selective. I feel I can produce a colourful image, without swamping the composition.

Colour is a balancing act.

Put too much in and you can swamp your compositions and ruin your work. Put in too little, and the image can appear dead or lifeless. Some sets of images require more colour than others, and of course we have our visual perception of colour to struggle with while we are deciding upon just how much colour is required.

The use of colour is a skill. Just like working on composition is as life long learning experience that never ends, so too is our application of colour. For colour application cannot not mastered overnight and we should expect our perception of it to pendulum swing from too much to too little, and back again.

Harris 2019

The Scottish island of Harris is an old friend. I’ve been coming here since around 2009. It’s taught me so much and has been instructive in the development of my photographic style.

Harris-2019.jpg

 I’m not looking for the things I was looking for when I first came here. That’s what’s so special about revisiting a place after a few years have passed. You notice that you see new things, and not just because the landscape has changed, but because you have changed. What was once interesting to you has been cast aside, like the shedding of old skin, to be replaced by a new awareness.

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The island hasn’t changed much, despite it turning into a photography mecca these days. There are so many photographic workshops and tours that run here each year, yet when I am there, I feel I have it all to myself. Which is wonderful.

And as for Harris ‘being done’, I beg to differ. Most landscapes are seldom ‘done’. The mere fact that I find myself seeing things anew, is a telling reminder. The landscape always has something to show us, we just have to listen.

I feel alive when I create new work

I’ve just completed work on a new set of images. Well, to be honest, I have a backlog of around four portfolios worth of images right now, so the shooting has been done. I just need to edit and arrange the work. The new set of images were shot in May this year, but it’s only this week that I’ve had the free time and space to review the work and edit it.

Lençois Maranhenses, May 2019.

Lençois Maranhenses, May 2019.

For me, I feel alive and strong when I have finished new work. It’s always very empowering to find that I’m now sitting on top of a new set of images. There’s a freshness to it all: these are new! I’ve not seen them before, nor have I lived with them for many years…. they make me feel present, and they make me feel as though what I am doing is fluid, free, and on-going. Not creating any new work for many months gives me the feeling of being static, done, and tired.

“You’re only ever as good as the last great thing you did”, is a quote from a Prefab Sprout song. I’ve always remembered it, because it’s a reminder to keep creating, keep going forward. Keep producing new work. It’s the only way to feel that you ‘are’.

I ‘am’ a photographer when I create work. When I don’t create new work, but just go over my older work, I am no longer a photographer: I’m a curator. Curating one’s work is fine, but the reason why we do what we do, is to feel alive, and we feel alive when we are creating.

Keep creating. Keep moving forward.

Making art, or making product?

David Lynch expresses the difference between making ‘art’ and making ‘product’.

It’s quite insightful to see how frustrated he is with the workflow, schedules and budgets. How does one allow for some creative freedom while at the same time not go bankrupt? It’s a fine line.

On being strange

A few days ago I watched an interview with Jonsi (pronounced Yoncee) from the Icelandic band Sigur Ros. In it, the interviewer suggests his band is the ‘strangest band in the world’, to which he replies ‘Really?’, I like strange’.

I do too.

If you are a Sigur Ros fan, you will understand. This band does not follow trends. They are unique. They are not a taste for everyone, they are a band I personally took about a year or two to ‘get’ before I became a fan. Now I think they are incredibly talented. But I can appreciate that they are not for everyone, let alone accessible. .

But I’m a bit obstinate about these things. I hate following trends, I deliberately try to go away from what everyone else thinks is cool (unless it really IS cool),and I admire those that are willing to do something that may not be accepted by others.

I love lots of kinds of music, and I have an ear for some things that I realise others may not ‘get’. What I think is special about this band, is that they have found their own sound. You don’t get a sound like this from trying to be like othersd. You get a sound like this because you’re open to failure, to trying things out, to finding out who you are.

So I embrace ‘being strange’.

Being strange in my book amounts to ‘not conforming’ - to being willing to break away from convention, and to finding out who you are. Fitting in is for the playground.

It’s all about being authentic. It’s all about being vulnerable. It’s all about being willing to give something a go that others may not ‘get’.

It is to be applauded.

That’s why I like ‘being strange’. Strange is fine in my book.

Shana & Robert ParkeHarrison

This past week I’ve been travelling. No internet, no signal where I’ve been, so I had to resort to good old fashioned book reading and listening to music on my ancient iPod. I collect and buy a lot of music and sometimes I discover something on my music player that i’d forgotten I uploaded, or just didn’t gel with at the time of purchase.

Precipice by Shana & Robert ParkeHarrison. Photographic art work I came across while listening to The Gloaming’s beautiful first album.

Precipice by Shana & Robert ParkeHarrison. Photographic art work I came across while listening to The Gloaming’s beautiful first album.

One band I really got into during my recent travels was The Gloaming, an Irish / American band. Some very beautiful imagery in my mind courtesy of the lyrics being sung in ancient Gaelic.

One aspect of The Gloaming’s work is their choice of album artwork. Photographs produced by Shana & Robert ParkeHarrison. I love what they do; the images are very emotive.

I love how one thing can lead to another. By simply browsing my iPod for some music to listen to, I end up looking at some photography that I’ve not seen before. Now that I am back in the land of the internet, I wanted to take a detailed look at the work of ParkeHarrison’s photographs, so I visited their website.

The visual arts are always developing and I think the division line between illustration and photography (verbatim work) is blurring more and more as time goes by. It’s great, and looking at the ParkeHarrison’s work reminds me that there are so many possibilities for photographers to create an individual style.

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I often get photographers telling me that I have a unique style, or that they can recognise my work. It’s a huge compliment, but I always feel that what I do is not too far away from classic traditional photography. In other words: the world of photography as an art form is much more diverse than anything I do and I am sometimes reminded that my own style could grow so much more. There are much more opportunities to go beyond the classical style of what most of us consider as ‘fine art’ Landscape photography.

I found myself getting lost in the ParkeHarrison’s work. It put a smile on my face at times - the imagery, the imagination that was employed to make these photographs clearly started in the minds of their creators. So I thought I would show some more of their work, and if you feel inclined, you can visit their website here: https://www.parkeharrison.com/

Why stop at making pictures of what’s before you? Why restrict yourself to thinking there are rules or ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ways of messing around with a camera? I love photographic work when it departs from reality in some kind of visual story telling way, so I enjoyed the ParkeHarrison’s work very much.

Screenshot 2019-08-27 at 18.50.43.png

Don't get a job

Malcolm Gladwell has often been misquoted that you just need to apply 10,000 hours to become great at something. He didn’t really quite say that. In his book he talks about those hours being quality hours. In other words, some people are great self-learners and if they apply themselves the right way, they can improve. Others spend hours on something and never get any better.

Well, I hate to put particular formulas on the arts, but I do think you have to be driven, and passionate and I think most people who are great at what they do, most probably found that they spent all their waking free hours doing what they do. It’s not guaranteed to get you there, but certainly putting the work in goes a long way towards it. And conversely, spending little time on it and applying little effort is going to get you nowhere fast.

I like Eno’s belief in (admittedly a very old interview) where he says that getting a job will just get in the way of what it is you are wanting to do.

Well, I’m not going to argue with this, but I’m not exactly telling you to drop your job either if you want to improve as a photographer. My point of showing you his video, is that I think to be a better artist, you need to immerse yourself in what you do.

His argument isn’t really to ‘not get a job’, but more about ‘using your free time more efficiently to spend on your passion’. Or perhaps ‘re organising your life so that you can spend more time on the things that are important to you’.

How many of us are time efficient? How many of you have heard others say ‘I’d really like to do that but I don’t have the time’. I’ve always felt this is a bit of a cop-out argument. If you really want to do something, you tend to find a way don’t you? You can’t not do the thing you want to do, because you so badly want to do them. So when I hear ‘I’d really like to do that but I don’t have the time’, I’m hearing that they have different priorities (which is fine).

If something is that important to you - you make the time, you find it some way, somehow. You just can’t not do the thing you are burning to do.

I also think that in the process of re-arranging your life to spend more time on the things you value most, things just start to change, and it’s almost as if the universe starts to give you more of what you want.

Venturer Ball head BH-1 Review

About a year ago, I was looking for a light weight tripod ball head, that is Arca-Swiss compatible for a hiking project I had in mind. Since I already owned a few Really Right Stuff ball heads, I was tempted to buy one of their more light-weight models. But one thing held me back: the cost.

I just wanted a very cheap ball head. Something for the hiking I planned to do, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it. So I chose to look around e-Bay and found the Venturer Ball Head BH-1. It looks like a Chinese copy of the Arca-Swiss Monoball . So I thought at £49 I’d give it a go.

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I think I should first say that I’m not usually the kind of person that weighs price over quality. Most of the time I would much prefer to pay $$$ to have something that works well, rather than spend a lot less on something that works poorly.

So I was curious as to what I’d make of a £49 ball head, and whether it would be any good? Would it fall apart after a few months? Or rust inside (like my Arca Swiss Monoball Z did just after six months of use - where Arca Swiss did not accept it as a warranty repair and told me I’d have to pay to have it fixed). I was also curious if this £49 ball head would have ball-head-creep - a condition where you lock the ball head in one position and let go and the camera sags……

So I’ve now owned this ball head for over a year now, and I took it with me to Patagonia and also across the sand dunes of Lencois Maranhensis in Brazil this summer. The ball head is still in one piece, and I found it was pretty robust. I also found that it didn’t have ball-head-creep - wherever I set it : it stayed. It is also light weight.

So I’ve found that a £49 ball head has pretty much replaced the other ball heads I’ve been using. Because it works, it’s light weight enough, and it also has the very nice friction mechanism that the Arca-Swiss monoball has - all my other ball heads - the friction setting is an independent dial that always gets knocked. With this ball head - it’s recessed into the main big knob and stays where I set it. And it hasn’t rusted inside like my Arca-swiss Monoball did after six months of use.

If you’re looking for a cheap alternative to the costly ball-heads out there by some very high profile brands, I would recommend this ball head. It’s a bit of a bargain for the money. It’s of similar build quality to the Really Right stuff ball heads, and has an arca-swiss clamp. It’s also pretty light, and it does what you want it to do : it keeps your camera steady and it stays where you lock it, with no creep. And it does all this for a fraction of the cost of an Arca Swss monoball, or Really Right Stuff BH model ball heads.

You can get it on eBay here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Venturer-BH-1-46mm-Tripod-Ball-Head-Arca-Swiss-RRS-Compatible/273750526091?hash=item3fbccd888b:g:zxQAAOSwT6pV3DvR

Staying your ground, while everyone thinks you're wrong

About four years ago, I left Facebook, because I felt that it was getting in the way of my own inner aspirations. I was slowly but surely, starting to feel that I had to please my audience with what I posted, and that was making me very uncomfortable. Images that I thought were my best, I found would sometimes be received less enthusiastically than I had anticipated, while others that I thought were either very traditional or average would get more interest than I felt they deserved. I started to feel as if I was letting my audience dictate to me what I do as an artist.

I know they of course weren’t deliberately putting any pressure upon me, but I did start to wonder : “Just how much attention am I paying to others points of view about what I do?”

And that’s not good.

I’d been interested in Lencois Maranhenses in Brazil for around 5 years. I had a hunch there was great potential there for photography, yet when I searched on google images, I found very few inspiring images of the place.  We are living in an age where photographers are crowd gathering in certain key hot-spots around the world now. This is an example of everyone following everyone else. But you can find your own landscapes, your own place if you decide to go against the current trends and look elsewhere.

I’d been interested in Lencois Maranhenses in Brazil for around 5 years. I had a hunch there was great potential there for photography, yet when I searched on google images, I found very few inspiring images of the place.

We are living in an age where photographers are crowd gathering in certain key hot-spots around the world now. This is an example of everyone following everyone else. But you can find your own landscapes, your own place if you decide to go against the current trends and look elsewhere.

But it’s what most of us do. We value our own work based on the validation we get from others. And I think this is a problem we all have to overcome to some degree, if we want our work to be individualistic, rather than looking like everyone else’s work.

You see, I believe that to create work that stands out from everyone else’s, you have to go it alone. Pandering to trends or what others think, ultimately will dilute who you are. You become a mix of other people’s ideas and you lose yourself in trying to belong.

It all comes down to confidence.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about the importance of confidence in one’s own abilities. Confidence is required to be brave enough to do things that no one else is doing, and to maybe just ignore that just because everyone else is doing something, you don’t need to follow suit. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that I tend to have an aversion to going where everyone else is going. I despise trends to the point that when I start to find everyone wants to go to the same places as I do, I’d much rather stop going there, and find somewhere new to go to.

Being creative is about being willing to go in directions where no one else is going, or to mix up styles in a way that haven’t been attempted. It’s about trying to work outside your normal parameters of what you usually do.

Creativity is also about not giving a damn what others think, because most of the time, most others opinions are based on what is generally accepted. Show someone a new idea and you’ll find it often take time to be accepted. Being first at doing something is rarely rewarded in the arts.

This is why I feel that looking for acceptance on social media platforms doesn’t work, because these platforms work by the lowest common denominator : images that the majority will like, tend to do well. Which means to get any attention on these platforms, you have to create work that appeals to the middle road. As a result of this, your work becomes safe, and predictable, and again, you lose yourself in a sea of ubiquity.

Whereas being individual in your work means you’re probably not going to do appeal to the masses. Instead, you’re going to appeal to an underground group of people who like your particular thing.

This means you’re not going to get big like counts, and some folks just won’t get what it is that you do. So you have to toughen up, and that’s where confidence comes in. If you can build in a degree of belief in yourself, then you’ll feel more able to ride out the knocks and lack of acceptance you get from those that are looking for something more middle of the road.

But having confidence will enable you to be more committed to staying your ground even while others around you may think you are wrong.

Acceptance by others, often equates to conforming, fitting in, and most probably going down a well beaten path to accomplished mediocrity.

If you’re looking to find a style or find yourself in what you do, you have to learn to let go of needing other people’s validation. It takes guts and a degree of bravery to be different. But being different is the rarest currency you possess, because no one else can do you, like you can :-)

Protecting yourself from Burn out

This September will be the ten year anniversary of me starting my workshop and tour business.

I’ve decided to avoid using the phrase ‘going pro’, because ‘going pro’ is meaningless. Getting paid for what you do does not, in my book, mean you are any good at what you do. Nor does it mean that you are above others who ‘aren’t pro’ in terms of ability.

There are many, many talented beings on this planet who for whatever reason aren’t pursuing their passion / love as a career - and that is OK in my book. Just because you are talented, or good at what you do, you do not have to turn it into your vocation. I think it is just as admirable to do what you love, as a past time. It does not make it any less valid.

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Turning what you do, into a business is fraught with many potential problems. I’m going to avoid writing about ‘running a business’ here, and focus more on the personal relationship that you have to develop with yourself. You have to figure out a way to live with your art and somehow let it co-exist with the commerce side of things. Above all else, you have to protect your art from yourself, because it can be very easy to sell yourself out at some point - throw what you value away in the pursuit of making a living. It can be for some a fine line, or for many a grey area where the love for what they have ‘soon leaves the building’ as they unknowingly sell out in pursuit of doing what it takes to make a living.

I’m one of the lucky ones.

I’ve never done anything in my business with the aim of ‘this will make money’. I’ve always looked at all the workshops and tours I’ve set up as ‘pretty cool things that I want to do’, and I’ve been lucky enough that there are enough people out there who agree with me, and want to come on these trips (Thank you to those of you who’ve chosen to come along with me on these trips).

My philosophy is: ‘If it feels good, then you can’t go wrong’.

Staying focussed on what you think is cool, rather than what you think will sell, is paramount. It not only means you’re tapping into what inspires you, but it also avoids you selling your soul.

The only downside I have with my business over the past ten years, is of balancing my working life with some rest.

I need to disengage every once in a while. And rather than feel guilty about it (which I often do, because I’ve been programmed all my life to work, and if I’m not working - I must be slacking). I understand that time away from my business, time away from photography, time to re-charge by doing something entirely different - is not only important for me, but it is also a very healthy thing to do for my business if I want it to keep it flourishing.

I have to work at protecting myself from burn out. And rather than giving myself some guilty complex about taking some time out, and doing something that is entirely non-photography related, I know that I need to embrace it. It allows me to re-charge, so I am ready to go back to the workshop / tour schedule, and most importantly, to go back with an excited, ‘I can’t wait’ feeling. Which is what happens when each September rolls around, and I’ve given myself sufficient time away from what I love doing.

You can’t keep focussing on your passion all of the time. Thinking, living and breathing photography as a hobby is fine, but you do need to take time away from it. Trust me on this - give yourself a break from your passion / hobby / obsession and do something entirely different for a while. It will reap dividends in so many avenues of your life, as well as in your photography when you do return to it.

Managing Time

I’m very creative and productive, and I rarely procrastinate.

But I never work all the time. When I don’t know how to proceed with something, I’ll quite happily shelve it and go and do something else while my subconscious figures out what the next step is.

I just know how to manage my time - if something isn’t working - I’ll go and do something else instead.

Those that don’t manage their time, waste it by sitting in front of their computers trying to figure out what to do next. I’d much rather use the time for something I do feel like doing.

In this short video, Dr. Ken Atchity explains how creative people manage their time.

Visualising the future

Everything we see that is human made in the world, started off as an idea.

Ideas are powerful things.

Tonight I’ve been dreaming of a book, a physical one. Let’s see where my dreams take me (this is not a hint, nor an indication of what’s to come. I’m just illustrating that for me, I tend to visualise the things I want to come to fruition). I would really like to do a book about the my process. I think I am going to have to give this some serious thought……

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Letting go of completed work

When is our work finished? When do we decide it’s done, and put it to bed? When do we move on?

These are difficult questions because often, truth is hard.

It’s very hard to let go. Not just of our completed work, but of everything. But I believe that it’s necessary, let alone paramount to staying healthy, to do so. At some point, what we have poured our efforts into, has to be shelved in the ‘done’, or ‘past’ shelf. Otherwise we never move forward and more importantly, we never create the space required to let the future come in.

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But when does one know when work is complete?

I think the answer is: it never is.

Work is never complete. But we have to realise at some point, that we’ve gone as far as we can go with it. Perhaps an older self, a version of us much later in the future may know how to take it further, but the truth is - if you’re feeling you’re at the end of the road with the work - then it’s complete.

There’s a tendency to overwork stuff. Spoil it. Part of your skillset as a photographer is to know when you’ve done enough, and to understand when the time is right to let go.

For me, I don’t like to dwell on my older work. I seldom look at it. I think for me, it’s more the creation of new work that inspires me, rather than dwelling on what I already have created. By not looking at my older work, I feel I’m allowed to free myself from the past. You see, revisiting what you did, and endlessly toying with it - is just far too unhealthy in my book. It smacks of someone who’s got no new ideas.

There’s a line in a song by a British band called Prefab Sprout that goes:

‘You surely are a truly gifted kid,
but you’re only as good as, the last great thing you did’
-
Moving the River by Prefab Sprout

It’s a line that’s stayed with me for most of my life. It’s a reminder that tinkering with images and never leaving them alone, means I’m stuck in the past. I’d much rather be out there creating new work, and discovering more about what i’m capable of producing. Everything I create is a vignette. It’s only ever a shadow of what could have been. I know I’ll never complete anything, so everything I do is unfinished. Rather than get wound up about it, it’s much healthier to assume that everything is a prototype, a moment in time, just a moment. It makes it less precious, and allows me to move forward.

Letting to let go is hard. I hope you don’t think that at any point in this post I suggest it’s easy - for you - for me. It’s just hard. But it is necessary.

Taking a much needed rest

There’s just so much still to be done….. but even I know, that everyone needs a rest.

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I’m going to be quiet on this blog for the next month. Just to let you know.

After running so many workshops and tours this year, I’m stepping back and taking some time away from photography. I’ll be spending the time doing some trekking, kayaking and messing around with music.

Everyone needs a break, even if you love what you do. Take it from me, too much time on your passion or hobby can be unhealthy. Some time away, doing other things will allow you to return to it with the same fresh wonder that you had when you first encountered it.

So right now, that’s what I’m going to do.

Shooting the non obvious

I must admit that the three images below, were only caught because of rare climatic conditions.

One of my favourite national parks - Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia is still offering up new things for me, despite us being old friends. I have been travelling here since 2003. Since that time, I’ve seen my photography flourish from a keen amateur into something else entirely.

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I had wondered if I’d reached the end of where I can go with Torres del Paine. To some, it may seem as if this landscape is overly busy, complex, and not for the minimalist photographer. I’m often at pains to say to everyone who will listen to me, that I think the biggest limitations in our photography - is us. It’s us who holds us back.

Not the landscape. The landscape has no concept of us, and it’s just going to do what it does without us. So us wishing it to be a certain way, is just us dealing with our own expectations…. badly I might add.

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I could never have guaranteed these shots. And I think that’s what’s just most inspiring about photography: we never know when we’re going to strike gold, or create a set of images we couldn’t have anticipated.

It teaches me that I always need to be open. I need to be ready, and able to look laterally at a place. I’m not immune to the same problems we all have: I get disappointed, despondent when I think a place isn’t working. I also know I need to rise above it, and that I can’t control what the landscape provides. Even so - I still get downbeat when things aren’t working in my favour. I know it’s my problem. Not the landscape’s.

I just love that if someone had shown me these three images a year ago, even a month or so ago, I would never have imagined it possible to make such minimalistic shots in Torres del Paine. It’s no back slapping here - just simple wonderment that I should always try to expect the unexpected, that life is always full of surprises, and the best in what we shoot is always still to come.

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Next book project is underway.....

Book No.5. Who would have thought it?

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…. I’ve got over 100 images for my next book. But I feel there’s a missing gap, so this summer I aim to fill that gap with a return to a special place that I’ve gotten to know over the past while.

Thanks for buying my books. It has allowed me to be the creative person I am. I could not live on running workshops and tours alone. I need to have my own personal projects / art to do, and producing books, working on the concepts behind them, the layout, and the images is all very fulfilling for me.

Sorry for being so quiet

Just wanted to write tonight to say that I know I’ve been quiet.

I’d much rather write when I have something to say, rather than writing for the sake of it.

Right now, I’m taking some time out. I’ve been super busy this year : Hokkaido, Romania, Iceland, Chile, Brazil and soon Bolivia.

Even though I love photography and feel I found my true vocation in life with it, I still feel I need time away. I have other interests such as music writing / production.

We all need to step back and take a rest from whatever it is we love. It allows us to return fresh and with excitement.

I will be back in touch in a short while. I have some new images and some other things I want to share.

Right now, I’m just enjoying working in my home studio. It’s a lot of fun !

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Thank You

A few nights ago, I put out a mini-newsletter, advertising that I had some soiled stock remaining from the print run of my Altiplano book. And also, that I had found some copies of my Iceland and Art of Adventure book.

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I just want to thank everybody who bought a copy.

Upon reading the ‘comments’ section of the orders I found the following wonderful words:

“Thank you for making this available!”

and

“Thank you! I so admire your work.”

and also

“Hi Bruce, it will be just wonderful to own one of your stunning Iceland books. Thanks so much for the opportunity!”

Apart from comments like this stroking my own ego (something I keep denying that I have), It was simply just so nice to feel appreciated.

Because feeling appreciated means a lot. And I think that’s why we all look for compliments in what we do, whether it’s seeking approval through being commended in a competition, or simply someone saying to you ‘your image touches me in some way’.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg.

You see, the truth is, although we all love photography, and admire people’s talents for creating wonderful work, most of us seldom patronise it.

A little digression: the word patronise has several meanings. One of them is this:

“to give encouragement and financial support to (a person, especially an artist, or a cause): local churches and voluntary organisations were patronised by the family. “

That’s the kind of patronage I’m talking about here.

As a working ‘artist’ (I find that term rather pompous, but I don’t feel I’m a photographer), the fact is: earning a living at what you do is tough. And if someone puts their hand in their pocket for you - that’s a pretty big thing. Whether it’s them coming on a workshop or tour with you, or buying your books - it means they are supporting you.

I would therefore like to extend my thanks beyond those of you who have bought my books. I wish to also thank those of you who have chosen to come on my workshops and tours over the years. I realise that for all of you, you had to take a leap of faith and hope that I would be either a good teacher, or that I could at least offer something worth going home with. I am fully aware of the risk it has been for all of you to commit, and I thank you.

To all of you who have helped contribute to me doing what I do, I can only thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Bruce.