August 2008

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For those wanting to know if there is a week evening course I teach at Central Saint Martins the answer is Art of the Snapshot. This course is great for those exploring photography and visual communication as a self actualisation process. In this course students develop skills and sensitivities towards photographic expression. Using the “snapshot aesthetic” they come to understand who they are as visual communicators and form a basic foundation in understanding what it is they want to say as artists – as photographers. The combination of photography and the senses exercises encourages the student to photograph not only with what they see but what they sense. Photography as a reaction is developed so the imagery becomes more about a knee jerk reaction to stimulus resulting in the photographic image.

A laboratory of experiments awaits and the final results will be put together for a self published book.

If you ahve any questions let me know but those interested in applying the DEADLINE IS SEPTEMBER 10th, 2008.

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A fabulous workshop come an gone and I am really mouth dropping amazed at the quality of the work from these artists in the making. A group of talent by far. I would like to thank Maribel, Emil, Misha, Cari, Sofia, John, Ariadna, and Lodovica for an absolutely fabulous week and drive to complete all the briefs. Another Toy Camera book coming around the corner, the work looks brilliant so watch this space folks!

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I was able to enjoy this view as my office today. Brighton is not a place that I feel too warm towards … but today it was absolutely spectacular. The surf was so fresh, and I certainly had a joy editing a colleague’s book while having a pedicure done by Mother Nature herself.

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There are times when you wake up and feel what you are doing. If you are lucky you wake up and realise the dream is a good one. And that the living day is still something that is fun to participate in. I look at this recent photo I took while on the way to an assignment – I think I was holding a workshop – and the spirit in this photo just sums up how I feel about the chasing of dreams, the spirit of pursuing your path. I’ll just leave it here but to those who I meet in my courses or as fellow friends in this industry and making it a fulfilling lifestyle — count how lucky we are to be here.

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Warsaw wedding

Well we are back from Poland. What an amazing place! And for you single guys out there, I HIGHLY recommend heading to the city to meet the women. The general population of ladies are so fit. It’s worth a trip back just to shoot street portraiture of the women. But that was not what we were there for. I had a multicultural wedding to shoot and what a day. 29c and humidity around 90% we were sweating just moving the gear down the steps of the apartment and the day had not even begun yet.

FYI: Here are some notes about the trip.

Flew with EasyJet. Airline was fine enough. No problems. Crew were nice and especially the flight deck I found very friendly and engaging with the travellers. One thing I didn’t find appealing is they do this charity raising thing where they come around with a plastic bag jingling with coins in it and asking for money — I just found it rather off — it’s probably a personal preference but there is something about being at 30,000 feet and being asked for spare change which tugs my strings. When I see the UK gov’t charging us a tax for leaving the country I think to myself – “Heck — I’d gladly give that to your charity instead” … but not likely. And we all know how the UK gov’t is spending our money these days don’t we?!

The new airport in Warsaw is spectacular. You enter the country in style. leaving the country on the other hand is another story — Etiuda Terminal is like taking off from some place in the middle of Nevada.

We had one bad cab experience while there, and we took many cabs , so not worth mentioning. Just make sure you take an accredited cab – otherwise – like taking a dodgy mini cab in London, you can pay double — which we did because we didn’t know.

Also don’t rely on the Euro. Yes Poland is now in the EU but they take pride in their Zloty as it’s inflating like a Olympic hopeful on steroids. Smalls shops and cabs won’t have Euro change. And shop around if you need to exchange your money. There is a huge difference in places and we got stuck in the tourist area and paid through the nose for our exchange.

The Polish language is tough – well it was for me – took me a week to learn to say “”dziekuje” or “thank you”. And do NOT assume everyone will know a bit of English – we were in large shopping centers and money exchange shops where they didn’t know any English. So I highly recommend carrying a phrase book.

Food yummy. Nuff said.

We stayed at this wonderful apartment in Old Town. Situated in the Old Town district with a view across the Vistual it was a real comfortable place to stay. Outside of the door we had wonderful outdoor restaurants in the square where we enjoyed Polish cuisine. And with the option to shop for our own meals and experience that aspect of “living” in the city with buying groceries and trying to figure out if what you are eating is what you think – I still think the butter we ate all week was really cooking lard and the bottle water was for contact lenses and not human consumption – then the apartment life is for you. The only think I would say is that if you are carrying heavy or many bags of luggage — think of getting an apartment on the periphery of Old Town. Cabs cannot drive into it and you end up walking your gear three blocks. The cobble stones are so rugged that wheeled luggage takes a beating. I really despised this rule, epsecially when we arrived at 10:30 at night and left at 7:00 am. And if it is a downpour you are stuck — there is no shelter to protect you. Also be prepared to pay a 15.00 Euro late arrival fee if you plan to arrive after 10:00 pm if you are staying with Old Town Apartments. But if you order a cab through them then they don’t charge that — which means a cab ride for 10 Euros from the airport which is cheap as borscht.

We didn’t get to see too much of the city as we were doing a bunch of reccees in the Old Town area and in the countryside for the wedding clients. But we did get caught in the Warsaw Uprising events and got to experience the sound of the air raid sirens in the center which ring out each year on August 1st from when the city was in the heat of the war. I get chills each time I speak of it because the sound of the sirens took us by surprise and then the city came to a stand still with people stopping their cars, getting out of them and standing with a hand to their heart and looking to the sky. Everyone just froze while the sirens rang out through the city. We were in the city center when it happened and it will be an experience never to be forgotten.

A photo to leave this blog with — shot by Julia — while we were working with the couple on the day of the shoot. Not the most flattering of me— think I was getting the light meter out of its pouch, but what a beautiful place to work in and a fabulous couple to work with. The shot that we should have here as well is the 150+ people gathered around on the square that stopped to watch us work the shoot. Complete theatre.

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