What to keep & what to delete…….

One thing I have not learned over this last year is to back up my files. I’ve been told time & time again but as of yet I have not really done very much about it.

This is probably because I have been lucky and not lost huge amounts of images or documents.

However it is something I am going to do over the next week.

The reason I have had to have a rethink on this is because I delete loads of images once I have finished with them…. gasps of horror I can hear being echoed as you’ve read that.

You might even have given your eyes a rub and re-read it to make sure you weren’t seeing things.

Some of my class mates also had looks of disbelief. Firstly that I don’t back up my images when it is so easy to do and also that I delete so many.

The thing is, I remove them to save space on my laptop. Yes Yes I know…. external storage. Like I said, I’m on it next week.

What has happened to make me document it to the www today?

Well, as I have said all along, this blog is my photography diary.

Today I wanted to find a couple of portraits I took a while ago; there are two reasons:

First off, the person is well known in certain circles and has a web page. It wouldn’t have done me any harm to send him a couple of jpegs in the hope that he would publish them to his page with a link to my work.

Hey, I’m just being honest & the reality is that is how it works. I want some exposure. Tell me a photographer that doesn’t….. Okay maybe a police officer in the forward intelligence team (FIT) doesn’t but that is an entirely different ball game.

Secondly and actually the primary reason I wanted to find the images was to re-edit them.

I have a better understanding of white balance, I have discovered the skin retouching tool in Lightroom & I just think I am equipped to do a better job with the photographs.

They were already of a good standard but I still think they could be improved.

Alas, that is not going to happen.

They must have been amongst some of the many images that I removed from my library.

The other thing I really need to look at next week is cataloging my images.

Personal tip to myself & any new/old photographers: Delete less & keep more.

Thanks for reading.

Jim Jimmy James.

Rejected image

Please take a look at this image.

Take your time and critique it (to yourself for now).

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This is one of my rejected images that I wrote up for my city & guilds submissions.

If you have finished having a look at the photograph I will tell you why I rejected the image………

Firstly I will say that when I first looked at this image on my computer I loved it. I felt I had caught a really nice portrait and I was really pleased. Actually I was chuffed!

  • The model is slightly off when using the rule of thirds. That was intentional but as other images were not slightly offset, would the examiner really know the intent of the composition. Probably not.

If I had three or four images slightly offset this would show intent and the composition would be perfectly acceptable.

Naturally rules are there to be broken. However, not when I don’t want little things to distract from the image and my grades.

  • The wall paper has damage or creases.

Obviously this is something that can be easily rectified.

  • The chair rail is not totally straight.

To be fair I could live with that and again, it is an easy fix.

  • Some loss of detail in the black areas but hey, its supposed to be in the mood of film noir so thats okay and not really a problem.
  • The image was taken in landscape view and not in portrait view.

Well, every image was shot in landscape to show intent.

Many were also shot around the 30-40mm range. Again to show intent.

Unfortunately only once the image was printed did I notice the false perspective of the models left hand.

That was the point that I felt the image had to be discarded from the final selection.

I suspect you spotted all of those and perhaps one or two or three or more others.

I like the light, the depth of field, the composition, the catch light in my models eyes; generally speaking I like the pose and her playing with the pearls but I kept seeing the hand and feeling negative about the image.

Please feel free to take another look and critique it openly this time (constructive comments are always welcome).

You could also head over to my flickr page to see more images.

Thanks for visiting.

Jim Jimmy James

Getting close up.

I had a little feedback at college the other evening.

I was told that the work I show in class is good but I don’t take enough shots.

The teacher then went on to say that although I achieve what I’ve set out to get within a few frames he is not sure whether to complement or criticise me.

Friends that have been persuaded to model for me have been surprised at the time and effort that had gone into setting up my latest project (I will show these in a couple of weeks) but they have also voiced their surprise at how few shots I take and how quickly I have wrapped up the shoots.

I have been liked to someone shooting expensive film that doesn’t want to waste it.

I think that was also the teachers point. With digital I can play around and explore the different compositions without extra cost……. Experiment!

So in class we were asked to set up some lights and they had a model show up for a couple of hours; Actor: Mr Robin George.

I think this was to get us used to working with people we do not know and to start directing our subject.

I took some safe shots then took on board what I had been told about taking more frames.

I decided to go for the shots I don’t think my friends would be so keen on……. getting up close.

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Feel free to leave comments on the blog page or the ‘contact me’ page.

Thanks for visiting.

Jim Jimmy James

Contacting Me

A friend had a look at some images I recently printed for my city & guilds project and commented that he would happily hang them on his wall at home.

A great coffee shop has also asked me to provide them with some photographs of their local area.

I have had some interest in my concert photography; some of my portraits have been overwhelmingly popular and I was recently asked about taking some portraits to be used for a couple of people to use as their professional on-line profiles.

The conversation with my friend progressed and it was clear that while I am not in a position to take on photography as a primary source of income, the above requests are well within my capabilities.

My friend then raised the question of how someone would buy any prints or hire me.

Well, people would get in contact and ask me.

How?

Through my blog on Flickr and twitter!

How?……. Okay, I am not going to give you a word for word account of the conversation but the upshot is that my friend spotted something that I did not think about.

Up until today I did not have a contact page.

I have had some emails from people but I suppose they have had to search out how to contact me. So to make life a lot easier I now have a contact section on my blog.

So if you’ve wanted to comment on a post privately or have any enquiries please use my new ‘contact page’.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Busy Busy Busy……

I’m very conscious that I’ve not posted in a while, or at least it feels that way.

You’ll assume by the title that I have had a great deal to do, and you’d be correct.

Work and college have demanded a lot of my time and my time management for my final college submission has been less than organised.

Actually much of my time has been taken up with researching the kind of shots I want to produce, learning a little more about lighting and reading legislation around the UK firearms laws.

Interestingly, well it is to me; there was a time when novelty lighters in the shape of handguns/pistols/revolvers seemed… not common but just available and easy to get a hold of.

That is no longer the case. Neither can I get hold of a realistic looking toy or replica without breaking the bank.

You might be wondering what the hell I’m talking about firearms for?

Well…. props!

Now’t exciting going on in my world. I am not about to try and rob a bank or anything that might endanger myself or others. Though I am sure my web-search-browsing malarky-thingy has likely triggered some sort of warning/alarm on some Government agency watch list.

However, The clever people that they are, will see that I am just looking for props for some photographs I want to make.

Those are not the only props that have been difficult to find on the cheap. Rotary telephones and typewriters seem to have shot up in value. Luckily I was able to hire a couple of items and super cheap too; cheaper than a pack of smokes!

I don’t smoke and thought I would add some cigarettes to the mix, in an attempt to add a smidgen of authenticity, well not authenticity but definitely in keeping with the genre I’m hinting at.

I was seriously shocked…… Nine quid! …….. £9 for a box of twenty cigarettes! makes me wonder how so many people can afford to smoke but that is another discussion.

So, the inquisitive might be asking ‘what is he shooting?’

Those that read my blog or just know me might be thinking I am just rambling in my rambling thinking out aloud way that I sometimes do.

I’m gonna post two pictures and I would like your opinions please……

My college project is influenced by film noir.

Note I said “INFLUENCED”.

I would love to have the time and budget to be strict on details and keep items and clothing within the classic 50s film noir style but alas, no time and no big budget!

So I’m working on a noir style project.

As I said I am after an opinion between two images that might make the final selection but I can not decide between the two.

A handful of friends have suggested the tighter crop from the two images.

A few of my fellow students have kindly had a peek on the college’s student website/forum and also given useful feedback.

There are pros and cons for both images and I am leaning towards one more than the other but your opinion will help me make my final decision so please do feel free to give your opinion.

As always, constructive critique (open response or privately) is always appreciated.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James.

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100 Followers!

I had a text notification or push notification or alert or whatever it is we are supposed to call them…

It was from WordPress and it was informing me that I have 100 followers. Its actually 101 now thanks to The Nomad Dad who is starting a second blog about a road trip he is undertaking across the USA. I don’t think he has ever commented on any topics but clicks the occasional like so I hope he has found something interesting.

My 100th follower is a youngster called Natalie & the person that has been with me right from the start is BeetleyPete who is slightly more advanced in years and enjoying his retirement.

There are those that subscribe by email, those that are doing the self promotion thing and those trying to flog something.

Whether you comment, click like or just follow and read the occasional post I hope you’ve seen some improvement in my photography. If you are someone starting out blogging or photographing our surroundings I’d really like to think you’ve seen something useful or taken an idea that you can develop.

In the big picture of the blogging world 100 followers is tiny BUT for me its a humbling surprise that anyone would follow never mind 100!

For the most part it is pretty anonymous but whoever you are, Thank You.

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Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Book Review #5

If you are looking for a professional book review I suggest you look elsewhere. If however you are interested in what a normal general member of the public & student of photography thinks, read on….. Why it does not have to be in focus: Modern Photography Explained (Published by Thames & Hudson) was recommended to me in my City & Guilds class.

Rather than running or cycling I am currently commuting by London Underground and have nothing interesting to look at; the black walls of the tunnel and a few early morning snoozers getting the last bit of shut eye before they arrive at work.

So I thought it’d add to the collection I’ve been reading to pass the time. The book written by Jackie Higgins looks at a hundred images, offers some insight into the artist and their history along with something of a break down on the particular image chosen.

This isn’t a book that offers to teach us photography and techniques what it does do is offer an insight into putting works into context. Something that was highlighted to me by a reader of my blog John Acurso (I don’t know if it was a one off where he stumbled across my blog or is an email subscriber). This was particular to a small article I wrote about a Helmut Newton display I seen while in Germany. Although I am still not personally taken by his work I could appreciate at the time  that he was a talented photographer but I hadn’t really put his work into context of a bigger picture and body of work.

In her book Jackie Higgins takes images that could be easily dismissed as poorly composed & just very badly executed photographs but then puts them into context of a wider collection. Talking about the artists other work, how and why they set about capturing images in the way they did.

The book made me think more about art & photography appreciation, without being arty-farty. As well as highlighting how fickle some viewers can be; suggesting one artists images in colour are openly dismissed but the same images, technique and subject matter produced in black and white are widely accepted.

The one thing I’ve taken from this book is that it has reinforced a lecturers statement in regards to the importance of intent.

Some of the subject matter has left me with more questions around issues of plagiarism, both accidental or outright theft. Some of it has given me ideas of my own (at least I think they are) and I am also feeling reassured that my experimenting with focus sometime ago shows that due to my intent I may one day be published in why it does not have to be in focus part two.

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I’m surprised how much I got from this book. Its one to keep on my bookshelf and I’m sure it will be one to reference should I go onto further education.

And…………. here are two of my early attempts at deliberate out of focus photography.

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For the record I have nothing to do with the author, publisher or any of the artists that feature in the book. For what its worth I found this book interesting, informative and found some inspiration for two maybe three future projects.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Jim Jimmy James