Art

Post Fools Day!

So April the 2nd got me out of Saturday’s ‘Monday morning blues’.

No banana for brunch!! I had a fab breakfast in bed up & out to shoot some rehearsal images for a mates band, out for dinner with the wife & a quick catch up with some friends. All in all a much better day, as were the third and today.

A little bit of axe playing at home, some reading, some photography and I’m almost ready to go back to work tomorrow. Its been nice to have some time off and even have a good nosy around the world wide web looking for a bit of inspiration for my 365 project. Its tough to do. Really tough and I have struggled.

I think it was on flickr or somewhere that I got directed to a blog of a fella that was doing a 365 of selfies. If you know me or follow my flickr, instagram or on here, you’ll know I hate being on the lens side of the camera so when I had a look at this blog here: Idiot with a camera. I did my norm and headed to the beginning. Why? Well I like to look at the images at the beginning and then see how their photographic style and content may have changed. It just makes sense to me, in fact the only reason I have a blog page is primarily so that I can look back over the pages and see how I have grown as a photographer, if at all…….

Anyhow I ended up getting drawn into the above blog partly because the selfies were not the kind that scream Hey! Look at me.

They also appear to be mostly normal day-to-day images and not the elaborately planned style found here. Again, great photographs but for different reasons.

One thing that is very clear reading his blog is that Australia and the UK appear to be worlds apart.

Another person whose life is worlds apart from mine is that of Sir Elton John. I went to see an exhibition at the Tate Modern today The Radical Eye.

Hells teeth he has a lot of important photographs and it was great to see some of these in this format rather than published in a book.

So, hopefully if you followed the links you are not all photo’d out for the day because here is one of mine from today:

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These people had become art as they walked around a smoke/dry ice installation. It was really interesting to see how different people behaved while we observed them.

As always, thanks for stopping.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

 

 

Being explored on flickr

Being explored on flickr (a photo sharing site) is a bit strange. Sometimes on flickr images I have been really pleased with just don’t get many views, few ‘likes’ and most receive only a handful of comments at a time.

I never expect to get explored on flickr and the first time it happened was odd… comments, likes, new followers and so on. It was great to have my photographs being seen by a wider audience and I make a point of visiting the photo streams of anyone that clicks ‘like’ on one of my images.

Most of the photos that have ended up on the flickr explored pages I have been reasonably happy with but one was added on the 20th January 2017 and it has completely baffled me.

For me it is almost a disposable image that was snapped for my 365 photo challenge. To be honest, while I did go through the settings, composition and everything that a “real photographer”goes through; the latest photo into ‘explore’ was also a bit of an experiment with my fuji XT2.

The light bouncing off the table and hitting the flower caught my attention and I just wanted to see how the XT2 would work in the low light.

I’m loving my Fuji and carry it most days… 365 project!

Oh yes my flickr explore image can be seen on my photo stream.

TTFN

Jim Jimmy James

Jim Jimmy James Photography

 

365 challenge update

Don’t sound like much of a challenge does it?

Take a photo every day for a year is as easy as pointing the camera and click! I guess it should be that simple but there is that personal desire to capture an image that I am happy to put onto the World Wide Web. 

This is a personal project so on one hand it doesn’t really matter to me if anyone likes the photos or not. On the other; well its rewarding to feel that your efforts and work is appreciated. 

I have been posting black and white images onto tumblr so that I can keep the album together in one place. 

I have lots on at the moment and the biggest issue isn’t taking the photos but finding he time to get them edited and onto the site. 

If you’d like to have a peek at the album so far here is the link Right Here.

As always, feel free to like, comment, email questions and so on….

Kind regards, 

Jim Jimmy James 

Its art Jim (Jimmy James) but not as we know it!

I’ve just been to Kent for the weekend to attend a pals wedding. I was probably the worst guest in the world. On the Friday night I was in bed by 20:15 and on the wedding night, I was out of there by 21:00; nursing what I had hoped to be the end stages of Man-Flu.

Unfortunately it is now a chest infection and I’m unlikely to out and about much. Anyway, a while ago I published a post about art and asked what is art and what is not.

At the hotel there were some abstract paintings that I liked and they grew on me for the couple of days we were there. To be honest if the other half had of liked them I might have even asked if they would sell them or at the very least taken details of the artist.

It got me thinking about that question ‘What is art and what is not’. I’ve told you before that I struggle with this and in particular; when it comes down to photography.

We entered the black wall tunnel as I was pondering this, so I decided to take some abstract photos and see what I could produce from the passenger seat.

So, there are intent in the following images, framing settings and post capture. Is that enough to make them art.

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Blackwall Tunnel 1 ©2016 Jim Jimmy James (Marr)

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Blackwall Tunnel 2 ©2016 Jim Jimmy James (Marr)

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Blackwall Tunnel 3 ©2016 Jim Jimmy James (Marr)

Thanks for stopping and looking. Please feel free to give your opinion: Art or Not?

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

21 of 365

21 photos into a 365 day project… Three weeks in and I can definitely see why photography teachers say get out there and use your camera.

I’ve not had any specific break throughs but my god, it really does make you look around and think. So, I would definitely recommend it.

Its tough with shift work and I guess it will be made harder now the nights are starting to close in. However, the biggest problem so far hasn’t been taking the images but processing them, deciding which to go with and getting time to upload them.

If I’d joined a project where I had to upload daily I would have failed miserably. Thankfully this is not a rule attached to the flickr group where I am posting my selected images.

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It feels a little lazy to have shot at home but, it was shoot this or nothing… well I guess I would have found something else but its simply a question of time today.

If you’d like to see the images selected so far, they can be viewed in my 365 album.

Feel free to like or comment and if you are doing a photography project, share your link.

As always, thanks for looking,

Jim Jimmy James

Fuji XT2… Scratching the surface!

I’m only just scratching the surface with my Fuji XT2 but I’ve gotta say that I am finding the XT2 a great camera to carry around and I’m looking forward to seeing just what I can get out of this camera.

Here are a couple of images taken today while looking for an image to add to my 365 day photo challenge that can be seen here on flickr.

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Westminster trip hazard! ©2016 Jim Jimmy James (Marr)

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©2016 Jim Jimmy James (Marr)

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Lemmy by Martin Häusler http://www.martinhausler.com

This portrait of Lemmy by Martin Häusler is fantastic and should be seen in a setting where you can see the original. Currently on display at The Sanctum Hotel in Soho.

I also post images on Instagram & Tumbler.

Thanks for viewing, Jim Jimmy James.

Whats art & what ain’t?

As a photographer I still find myself questioning what is art and what ain’t. I say ain’t cos thats the way I talk. It should in fact be ‘isn’t’ & it should also be ‘speak’ instead of talk… thats the English lesson over.

That was early for one of my slightly distracting rambles!

So, I sometimes; actually often find the question of art difficult. Who decides what art is?

Why is it that one person can pile up a load of broken disused plastic dolls limbs and it is classed as art selling for thousands of pounds and yet another person presenting the same concept is just some bod that has piled up a load of discarded plastic limbs.

Don’t get me wrong, I see art and think that is art. Its art but I might not want it in my home but I also see things and think ‘how is that art?’.

I struggle with photography being art. I get how some photography is classed as art but can not for the life of me get my head around it all being considered art.

Take this photo:

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Image taken on Fuji XT2 ©2016 Jim Jimmy James

I decided to leave the dust on the tuning nuts, not to reposition the tuning head with the reflection and on other aspects of the composition such as the depth of field and so on. However, is it just a photo of my bass guitar with lots of depth of field or is it art?

Artistic, yes! Art? I don’t know. What do you think?

A friend of mine, artist Gal Marin has an exhibition at the 1963 Gallery in London I took a number of photographs for him to use as part of his very complex self portrait project. This closes on the 11th September 2016.

Gal has photography, sculpture, ink drawings, chalk artwork and other items. Its art, its obviously art and it is interesting. It has taken him a long time to put the project together and I’m very flattered to have been part of this project that only Gal knew where it was going and had visualised the final presentation.

But what makes my images and the other photographers images art? Again they are artistic but I really struggle seeing my photos as art.

What has prompted me to write this blog post, well I read a tweet about an article on Nicholas Serota by  Charlotte Higgins via the photographers gallery and it makes me think that actually, modern artists, including photographers are very lucky to have people fighting their corner.

What are your thoughts?

 

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

The Crème de la Crème this year….

In my last post I mentioned my punk singers portrait & interview project. One copy will be auctioned for charity once it is signed by the artists. I had great fun with that project and it was really good to be working on something that meant a lot to me personally.

I also mentioned The Crème de la Crème this year….

As photographers we find genres that we enjoy. Personally I’ve always liked to look at concert & photojournalist images. I’ve also enjoyed the challenges of live performance photography.

I like the challenge of changing light and movement. If you think its easy to take concert or performance photographs, go try it; especially in smaller venues.

Along with gig photography I have somehow fallen into the genre of portraiture. This is something I did not expect when I started out and thankfully I can say there isn’t anyone I have not enjoyed photographing. I’ve had a couple of shoots where it has felt awkward and uncomfortable, even hard work but the results have made it all worth while.

I’ve even dabbled a little with photo-journalism and been published.

So, that is a little background for those that are new to my page and hopefully explains why I got excited about my latest shoot and why for me, it is The Crème de la Crème so far this year….

I was introduced to someone at The Rambert Dance Company and contacted them with regards to a college project that would include editorial style photography with some portraiture and I was hoping to include full dress rehearsal with stage lighting.

Pretty much giving me the chance to indulge in everything I’ve come to enjoy about being a photographer.

I had a tour of Rambert’s home on the Southbank; clean, organised, minimalist, modern and functional. The few people I met seemed passionate about their work and the performers were being put through their paces.

While I was walking around I could easily visualise the project I wanted to shoot.

Unfortunately they were already mid way through a production and for a number of other reasons the project had to be temporarily put on hold.

Disappointed but with no intention of abandoning the hope of shooting a project with Rambert, I had planned on approaching them later in the year to seek permissions to shoot a project.

Move forward a couple of months…. I have a few days off and I’m getting some equipment ready to shoot a gig. Two cameras cleaned, lenses cleaned and numerous batteries being charged. Then I get a text followed by a phone call and I’ve agreed to a very very short notice shoot. A shoot that ties in with the type of thing I want to do; the type of shoot I thoroughly enjoy. The type of opportunity that only a complete baffon would turn down.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure it out but just in case you’ve not kept up, it is The Rambert Dance Company looking for a photographer to shoot their performers and senior artists from Mac Cosmetics Creative Team.

I would love to tell you that they had always planned to use me because they liked my work, were aware that I was featured as a canon showcase photographer or that a photograph taken at Illamasqua received over 10.000 hits on the internet within a few days. However, thats not the case. Yes one of the Rambert team was aware of me, they needed a photographer at short notice and I happened to be available.

I’m not going to pretend to be über cool and blasé about the call; I was very excited about it. Come on, how could I not be?!

If they like me I might get the chance to shoot a production from start to finish. If they like my work I might get the opportunity to work with them again. If Mac Cosmetics like what they see, they might even contact me at a future date.

Then the slight panic that I don’t have much of a brief, I have an idea but I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to need because I’ve had no time to plan.

Like I said, I’d like to say that it was my style and my work that made me the first person they thought of but it was actually more to do with being local and available. Yes it really was that short notice!

Right, a fixed 50mm, fixed 85mm and a 24mm – 70mm… do I take a 70-200? I didn’t but I would have used one if I had it with me. [Note to self: take the 70-200mm]

Lighting stands and modifiers; what am I going to need? There is going to be a cosmetics company so I guess they will have decent lights…. what if they don’t?

Okay, I decide I will take two flash guns and a couple of lighting mods but I’m feeling a little anxious because I’m not 100% sure what to expect when I arrive. However, I’ve got cameras, I’ve got flashes, I know what I’m doing and my job that provides my main income has taught me to be level headed and pragmatic (apparently that is also an Aries trait). I also felt quietly reassured because I know there is a local hire company that could deliver if I needed anything.

I arrive at Rambert and was greeted as warmly and friendly as the day I was shown around. I’m introduced to their team and given more of a brief.

I ask a little about the production to get an idea about lighting, they are filming so I ask if I can use flash photography and I get the go-ahead.

Due to the make up demonstration within the area I was working there was no room for light stands and modifiers so I had a couple of options with regards to lights. Thats something I have learned and something you will always read, no matter how limited you are with space, kit and options, you do have options and that is why it is important to know what and how to get the best from your equipment.

For me, shadows were going to be an issue but looking at the make up design and the fact the dancers will be under stage lighting I opted for some direct hard light and bounced light; shadows were going to be an issue so it would be best to use them and make a feature of them. Provided the client has clean well lit photographs of the performers, their photo editors would be able to easily deal with back ground shadows if they were not happy with them.

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Joshua Barwick & Dominic Skinner  ©2016 Jim Jimmy James [Marr]

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Luke Ahmet ©2016 Jim Jimmy James [Marr]

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©2016 Jim Jimmy James [Marr]

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Lucy Balfour ©2016 Jim Jimmy James [Marr]

I hope Rambert, Mac & the artists like the images. I guess I’ll only ever really know if I get invited back. I hope you like the images too.

Anyhow, I’ve seen them working hard and as professionals they made it incredibly easy work photographing them. So it seems right I should book some tickets and see the final performance to judge for myself if the lighting aesthetic of the images works with the performance & stage lights.

My night shifts start again tomorrow so tonight is my weekend. Think I might have a wee dram from The Glengoyne Distillery  and catch up with those blogs I’ve missed over the last few weeks.

As always, thank you for visiting my page & have a great weekend.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James.

Did you miss me?

Maybe? Yes – No. Probably not!

But someone did. I got a message from someone that never comments and never clicks like but follows the blog. They said that I’ve not posted in a while and they hoped everything was okay.

I read somewhere that if you are blogging and going to have a break you should announce that break. The reasons they gave were because people that follow the blog may think you’ve just given it up and remove your blog from their follow list. But also an online community is a community; that even though it is a virtual community, people will still wonder what happened to that man or woman that used to post about this that and the other. I’m very grateful for the message and I will try to remember to announce my absence in the future.

The reason I have not posted is because I have been distracted. It has all been very busy. Lots going on with life in general, work getting in the way of college and my projects. Projects and more projects. Ideas and more ideas and then work again….. I’ve been juggling so much I should apply for a job with the circus.

Actually I would love to live with and shoot a circus for a week or two. That would be pretty cool.

So, I have just finished college and am awaiting confirmation of grades but the preliminary result is a distinction for both projects.

We have some work on show at The Morley College Landing Gallery Although that does not run much longer. I believe there should be a link on there for image sales if anyone wants to check out some other photographers.

I’ve been to a few gigs and recently shot Mood Six who were/are a band made up of existing Mod bands. They have reformed after thirty years and were supported by Miles over Matter. Another old band ‘The vagabonds of psychedelia’ that have been putting themselves out there again. Both bands were excellent and it was nice to be shooting live performances again. (Note to self, when shooting concerts take ear plugs)

However, as much as photographing my punk singers book has been a massive highlight & good fun. The Crème de la Crème this year has got to be ……………. Sorry but like all good TV soaps I am going to leave you on that hanger and you’ll have to come back later in the week.

For now, here are a couple of shots from a recent gig.

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Phil Ward: Mood Six. ©2016 jim jimmy james

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Miles Davis Landesman: Jola: Steve Council: Miles over Matter. ©2016 jim jimmy james

As a side note, Miles had links to the dance company that I had the pleasure of photographing last week.

Thanks for stopping, reading, looking and thank you for the DM.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James

Photo compression

This is a further blog about testing the Canon Powershot G5X. Some of you may be getting a little fed up with reading G5X as that is all I seem to have blogged about.

I’m trying to get used to my new camera, there are things I like and things I don’t like.

One of the things I like the idea of but in practice has been a bit annoying is the touch screen. I like to use the view finder rather than the live view LCD screen unless I physically can not take the shot using the review finder; here the articulating screen is great and really does come into its own. However, if you do not turn the screen around so the LCD is inward facing there is a chance of changing your camera settings.

It was a rare occurrence but frustratingly it happened. Its also a shame that the manual focus is on the LCD screen and not on the front lens ring.

With the exception of a fe focusing issues I have been relatively happy with this camera and the more I use it, the more I like it.

Something I do like is the zoom lens. It has a 2.7 crop factor and offers from 24-100mm as equivalent to a 35mm camera with f/1.8-2.8 (variable throughout zoom range).

Used wide angle there is some obvious softness around the edges. This is particularly noticeable when used in the macro setting. However, throughout other focal lengths the lens is relatively sharp, in combination with the sensor some nice images can be produced.

One thing that I like about just carrying one lens is convenience of not being bogged down with bags and kit. It offers some freedom in composition.

I took the following image while walking along the river spree in Berlin.

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I like that someone decided they would do something artistic with spray can lids and went around to gather them up to make their own bit of art.

I zoomed to a longer focal length to pull the molecule men and lids closer together. While the focusing could be a bit better (user not camera) I think it is an okay example of how compression can change composition and an example of how the Canon G5X fixed zoom lens makes the camera convenient to carry around.   IMG_0254

The Molecule Men can be found on The Spree River close to the Oberbaum Bridge. They are thirty meters high and the sculpture are by American sculptor Jonathan Borofsky, They sculptures also found in other cities are filled with holes that represent the molecules that are bound together to create our existence.

In Berlin they also symbolically represent the intersection of the then three districts of Treptow, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.

Kind regards,

Jim Jimmy James