Shooting for Circo de la Luna in Southern Spain

If someone contacts you out of the blue and says I’d like to send you to shoot historic Mudejar architecture (which I love) in Andalucia (where I lived all too briefly) would you think it was too good to be true? I kind of did. But it wasn’t! I’ve just returned from there, had a great time and I think some rather good results!GranadaAlhambra Granada_MG_9285 Granada9166 Sevilla_MG_9966 Sevilla_MG_9748 Sevilla_MG_0224 (1) Sevilla_MG_0032 SevillaUntitled_Panorama4

diary – a doctoral defence

I went to a dissertation defence (as they call it here) the other day, where the candidate couldn’t answer these questions:

  • what is the problem?
  • main contribution?
  • which field?
  • what’s new?
  • what does it change?
  • does the approach actually produce something better?
  • what is original in your work?

If you cannot answer those questions, it was clear, you cannot defend your thesis.

diary: reminder for the reader

Categories are as follows:

research log: activities and observations significant to research – my work, mainly documentation of images

log: things which maybe useful as reference material – others’ work

diary: personal events that should be earmarked – life as connected to work

 

Entries can be organized into one of the three categories by clicking on the category as indicated below.  So for example should wish to read all of the Research log entries all at once, you would click on that category.  Please see below for an illustration of how to do this.

instructions

diary: the professional paradox

Currently shooting finnair for Helin & Co.  They have been wonderful to work for in terms of respect, clarity, reliability, remuneration and interpersonal relationships.  Together with MJP I would put them as my top favourites, as far as work goes.  They are consummate professionals.

On the other hand, their designs are conservative (though again here they produce a high quality produce with every last detail carefully considered and overseen during construction) and this reflects in the type of photography they commission.  I have now shot the parliament for them, two villas, 2 corporate headquarters with a third coming up in November.  I understand and appreciate their work.  But I cannot push the envelope for fear of pushing my luck.  Herein lies the paradox.  I am least adventurous for the best clients and more adventurous for the worst.  A stake in what you are doing must be looked at as the underlying reason for all this conservative behaviour in commissioning, shooting, publishing.

Architect/designer here.Architect/designer here.HOWEVER, I have sent them a few graphic ones.  Let’s see if they slip through…

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diary: photography is half of my topic but fills less than half of this blog

I HAVE BEEN WRITING CRITICALLY ABOUT ARCHITECTS AT THE RISK OF FORGETTING TO WRITE ABOUT PHOTO.

POINTS NEEDING RESPONSE AND UNPACKING:

  • LEARNING PROCESS IN PRINTING COURSE
  • WAKE UP CALL ABOUT OWN PRACTICES
  • REVISION OF RETOUCHED WORK THAT WAS SUB-PAR
  • SHOOTING THE K2S MODEL

REALISATION THAT NEW FOCUS HAD REPURCUSSIONS IN THE TECHNICAL QUALITY OF MY WORK AND ALSO THE AESTHETIC CHOICES MADE:  ONCE YOU’VE THROWN OUT THE RULE BOOK IT IS DIFFICULT TO KNOW WHAT DO.  YOU LOSE THE ABILITY TO JUDGE.  CLEAR GUIDELINES MUCH NEEDED HAVE VANISHED.  HOPEFULLY IT WILL PROVE POSSIBLE TO CREATE A SYNTHESIS OF LAST YEAR’S WORK AND IT’S FOCUS ON ATMOSPHERE, FORMER PRACTICES WITH THEIR TECHNICAL MERITS AND FOCUS ON SERVICE FOR CLIENTS WITH THE NEWLY LEARNED OR UPDATED TECHNICS AND INCREASED KNOWLEDGE ABOUT ARCH PRACTICES.

diary: the last of the lot has paid

After much waiting and despair, this just in:

Dear marc

It´s signed and on it’s way.

Sorry for the more than delay.

Your photos are beautiful and we are very happy for your work.

I’m forwarding the site of the still not announced, and confidential, project so you can follow it from the beginning.

It doesn’t look like the images at all know and the volumes are placed in another way but it gives an idea of the scope.

And I thought you might find it interesting to see how it deveopl. I will send

The latest draught next week.

Best regards m

diary

i should point out that i have not added many entries to this, my research log/journal/diary, lately as i have been busy with the following:

  • the 3rd draught of the JAR article, as they have agreed to publish it and have sent me the peer reviewer’s feedback
  • the extraordinary long, difficult and draining flog that the second article, doing content analysis (and I believe also grounded theory as i may have some default assumptions but no real hypothesis until the data comes in…seeing this vast body of work as functioned to clean the slate)
  • commissions for Helin and resubmission to AOA (who in the end commissioned a disappointing amount of images)
  • proposals for possibly fictitious commissions in Saudia Arabia and London
  • submissions to Arcaid with whom I have signed a contract, which I am not too sure about
  • travel to UK and France
  • insomnia

i have also been painting a lot more as of late, using it as an imaginative way to re-envision what i do.  i am painting from sketches of buildings done in granada and from memory

in theory in may i will do a week or two of participant observation and documentary photography at jkmm

i really must start shooting again, particularly the black white grey minimalist ideas, the stripes, the empty full, and the questions about design:

  • – how are the atmos on each side of the building different, as well as inside and out and on different floors
  • – what is it like empty versus really full
  • – what do people flows vs static people look like filling the space
  • – night with lights on and off
  • – mixtures of interior exterior light, business, etc not visible with the naked eye
  • – find problems with the design, environment, meeting points of each that can best be explained with photo
  • – consider image vs / plus textual arguments

as always, much to be done.  too much.

diary: oh bother…

camera has fallen into water.  16gb flashcard with all photos of dubai, abu dhabi, bangkok, vietiane, nong khiaw, luang prabang lost.  never had chance to shoot hanoi.  slight problem.

Good thing I took out really expensive insurance:

Dear Sir,

enclosed you will find our claims settlement decision.

The damage caused to the camera at Mekong-river is not compensated. We do not think that the damage has been unforseen.

With best regards

If Insurance Company

diary: architecture article

Interesting for its discussion of views and images as well as the number of links provided to current projects under development: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/dec/02/london-high-rise-craze-ruins-skyline

diary : ideas upon return

  • fill chapel with red balloons hang red streamers in centre of voids in library.
  • shoot nude model or dancers in spaces.
  • shoot repeated view under different weather and light conditions.
  • shoot model simulating different atmospheres

diary: personal photos definitely more expressive

The response to these has been massive.  When viewed alongside the personal photos I took upon moving to Finland, I think I make my point: different places should not look the same.  Part of that difference is down to the built environment, the architect’s, builder’s, investor’s and local authority’s responsibility.  The other part is the representation of that space which is the responsibility of the photographer that takes the pictures the architect that ultimately buys them and the editorial decisions of the publisher.

diary: personal photos more expressive

i’d say these have more evocative atmospheres than the work i do for commission because i can put the camera in funny places, like the floor, shoot with shallow d.o.f., move the focal point around and stitch the image together with multiple points of focus, shoot really dark images.  that is, do what i like as i like.

diary – visual illiteracy

As I walk around the Albaicín, two ideas present themselves repeatedly:  visual illiteracy and the reciprocal contact with the world (the postmodern fold) that learning can offer (when pleasurable).  The illiteracy refers to the nightly scores of tourists taking pictures of the Alhambra with hand-held cameras set to shoot with flash.  This act proves they are attempting to write in a foreign language they can scarcely read.  The act is not strange to encounter, as it is the norm – the fact that is is normal is the strange things.  People see photography as a capturing, memory-extending device – a technology that does everything for you.  So in their minds, there is nothing to learn beyond waiting for the camera to focus and pressing the button.  Learning is the other peripatetic thought, as I am slowly but surely learning my way around.  As I carve my way repeatedly through this old arab quarter, it carves paths into my brain.  It changes me, and that change alters my relationship with it.  We literally touch and become a part of each other through the eyes and the haptic memory.  The place is so beautiful, the walk such a joy, that learning is a pleasure.

diary: In the salt mines

…or more like bean counting…I am going through Ark from 1922 to 2012 (one issue per year to start with) to determine if there are recognisably trends such as the use of photography, changes in that use and  any reduction in the amount of text.  It is actually rather interesting, in a tedious, protestant work ethic kind of way.  Bit by bit, I feel like I get a better understanding of the photography in Finland and of Finnish architecture.  It is very interesting to see how past photographers worked and what the architecture they photographed looked like.  All the same, I can’t help but feel I have other axes to grind.

Granada is a truly varied place, and photography is tempting.  I have little or no artistic aspirations, but living in the Albaicin and decending into the 20th century constructions of the rest of the city make one inclined to structure an argument through photographs.  A series of images, each titled with a date, should do the trick without being pedantic.