A Soundscape The banks of the River Oder on the German/Polish border. To see and hear this click on this link
One form of creative work that I really enjoy, and find hugely fulfilling, is working with other artists. The poet Bob Burden has used my photography as a touchstone for his work. The products of this joint work have resulted in the, and here I use the old film developing term,”super-additivity” of “The Keeper´s Cottage” and “Soldier´s Rock“. And now I´ve just finished a project with Mike Stanton. Mike, a Texan who lives in Munich Germany, is not only an excellent mountaineer but also an extremely accomplished composer and musician. A few months ago I listend to his piece, “Alone”, and was immediately captivated by it, and wanted to set the emotions it generated in me to pictures. The result is this video, which I shot with my wife over two evenings, and which I spent the better part of last week editing. For me it had to be black and white and at night. I´ve tried to illustrate not only the feelings of isolation and “aloneness” but also the counterpoint of strength that I felt within this piece. I love this subtle piece of music and have tried to do justice to it with my pictures and edit.
A few months ago I visited the new wind turbine that´s been erected near where I live. Visually it´s obviously eye catching, but what really caught my attention were the noises emanating from it, so I decided to return not just armed with my photographic gear, but also my sound recording equipment too. To capture the sound I used a stereo microphone set to 120 degrees, a shotgun microphone and a contact microphone. The contact microphone was attached to various parts of the structure – most of the sounds picked up by the contact microphone were generated by the turbine but a few were caused by me either striking or stroking the structure. I then edited the sounds together, some of them have been slightly manipulated. This is best heard with either good speakers or headphones.
It´s been a busy time recently, hence the gap in posting here. Last Saturday I held my first photography workshop here in Landshut, it was hosted by a local photography store, Foto Petzold. The subject was abstract city photography. It went well and I had a load of fun leading it – hopefully the four participants did too! I´ll be presenting this workshop twice next year – I´ll posting more details about it soon.
I´ve just finished quite a challenging video project. An electricity supplier has built a new fish ladder which runs between two hydro power station on the River Isar here in Lower Bavaria. Kerstin Erbe and I had the job of documenting the path of fish along it, from it´s beginning at the hydro power plant at Niederaichbach to their exit at Altheim. This video has a number of firsts for me. Firstly it´s the first time I´ve used my Nikon D800 for a complete video. That entailed buying a new camera rig with follow focus and production monitor. I was really pleased with the results from it. Secondly, because we also wanted underwater footage of the fish swimming against the current, I bought a GoPro Hero 4. This worked well and shooting at 2.7K allowed me room in the edit to do some zooming and pans. The water tight case that comes with it was excellent and when placed on the extra pole, got me into a few interesting corners. The big third were the drone shots! Yes I´ve now got a DJI Phantom 3 Pro Drone. That was a real quantum leap for me, involving a pretty steep learning curve! Anyway, after a few piloting problems, I got the hang of it pretty quickly. I´m still pretty cautious with my flying though and am keeping it simple. This can film up to 4k video as well as taking stills. I´m really pleased with it and can recommend it. Here is the link to my video on Vimeo, I hope you enjoy it!
This is another collaboration with Robert Burden who wrote and spoke a poem to my photograph of Soldier´s Rock on Islay, Scotland.
I just thought I´d put this video back up. I shot it in 2009, 20 years after the Wall came down. It´s appropriate, I think, to show it again on the 25th anniversary.
I shot this video in 2009, twenty years after the Berlin Wall fell. On a few very wet and windy days in October I visited various places along the length of the Wall in Berlin, some well known like Checkpoint Charlie, but others not so, like the Peter Fechter Memorial. Peter Fechter and a friend tried to escape across the Wall at 2.15pm on the 17th August 1962. His friend made it, but he was shot and fell back into the east side. Despite shouting for help, he received none and he slowly bled to death – he was just 18 years old. This is one of the most chilling of the “Wall Stories” and, for me, sums up the inhuman and brutal nature of the East German system.
I´ve run through the edit again, improving the soundscape and tidying up the edits. But most of all I´ve tried to improve the look of it – the weather was mostly grey (fitting for such a subject, one might say) and the light flat, so I´ve tried to brighten it up a bit and have played with the contrast and colours. The narrator is me – so I apalogise for the somewhat stilted “Merseyside German” accent. Click the screengrab below to get to my Vimeo page