Some images just cry out to be crafted in Black & White.
It’s easier than ever to create photos and we can sometimes be a bit overwhelmed by them. If you have hundreds of good images, how can you display and enjoy them in the home? “A picture is worth a thousand words”. We’ve all heard the saying and know that memories and emotions can be more easily be conveyed far more effectively by an image than a description does. So what happens when you have a thousand images; what magnitude story can that tell? One way is via a photo-mosaic. In the same way that a tile mosaic is created by small individual pieces of ceramic making up a greater whole, a photo-mosaic uses hundreds of images to create something larger, something greater than the sum of it’s parts.
The mosaics I’m sharing today are particularly special to me, as it’s my own children, my own family memories. These images literally are a labour of love; made with, for and by love. It’s a project that’s been a long time in the making. The photos of D cover the first eight years of his life, while the photos of D cover her first six. Making the selection from the library of images has been the hardest part of this task, as I have thousands of each of them. There’s all sort of photos: smartphone snaps, test shoots, proper portrait sessions, photos from family & friends, you name it, there are all in there.
Once the library of images was edited down, I analysed the colours & overall feel of them to see what would work best as the background/main image. As there were a lot of blues, greens & yellows, photographing the kids by a wheat field seemed a good choice. They wore red tops and blue shorts/dress in order to give the best contest and make the best use of the colour balance. Once we were happy with the background image, the work could start on the mosaics themselves. There’s a software package that helps with layout and then it’s into Photoshop to make sure that the photos in both portrait and landscape are displayed properly and that the images are balanced and optimised correctly. These images are going to be printed at 45 x 30 inches (115cm x 76), with each photo around the size of a photographic negative or slide film.
Often I print out a smaller preview to check the placement of images in details and to confirm that the balance is right between the individual photos looking good closeup, versus the overall image showing well at a distance. Once we’re happy with everything, they can go off to the printers and from there onto pride of place on the wall.
Each individual photo tells a story. Every time I look at the mosaics, I see something different, some fresh detail, some renewed memory. It’s a great privilege to be able to create personalised family artwork such as this. These thousands of photos are worth more than I can express.
I recently attended a business networking event at Rush-SkatePark near Stroud, Gloucestershire and had the chance to photograph a few of the riders doing demos. There were BMXers, inline skaters and scooters, lots of scooters. They have toddler sessions and apparently even have a session for Silver Surfers’, defined as those of us over 30. #Cheek 😉 Highly recommended for everyone with gravity defying adrenaline junkie tendencies.
I’m delighted that images created for Kathryn Minchew (also known as the Pyromanic Chef) have been used in the nationwide Waitrose weekend magazine, at the top of page three no less! PhotoGlow is all about crafting memorable images of people & places and this article uses the best of both. PhotoGlow have been working with Kathryn for a while and are taking part in the crowdfunding project for her cookbook. There’s still time to help launch the book featuring amazing flavours from breads, to bonfire steak and beautiful puddings on wood fires in your garden. We’re looking forward to capturing & creating many more memorable images for her. Watch this space…
What do you do on holiday for relaxation? Are you an active type, climbing hills, trekking across town or visiting the sights, or do you prefer to laze on a beach, rejuvenate in a spa or sit down with a cool drink and a good book? As a full time professional photographer, on holiday I like to …. create photographs. There’s a time and a place of course. I’m a great believer of being in the moment, experiencing something without gadgets or looking through a viewfinder. For our recent holiday in Cornwall I used my cameraphone for a few record photo of what we were up to and to pop up an occasional shot on Instagram. The aim of a family holiday is just that; time with the family, reconnecting after the busyness of life, having fun together. You can either be an observer, or a participant. The ‘real’ camera was left in the house most of the time and only taken out for two dedicated evenings of photographing landscapes, well, seascapes really. Creating a series of 30 second exposures to show time passing within a frame really gives you time & space to appreciate a place and all the small subtle details about it. The crashing waves, the swaying flowers, the tang of the salt in the air, it all gets distilled into the final image.
Other times you see a moment, reach quickly for your camera(phone) to capture it, then it’s gone. Passing moments, preserved. Memories of a day together, a snapshot in time.
If I won the lottery (unlikely as I don’t play it 😉 I’d still photograph people and places. There’s just something about observing a person or place carefully and compassionately that creates an understanding, an appreciation of them. A photo, well crafted , can capture more than a moment; it can show a deeper truth, or at least show the viewer a glimpse of the way the creator sees it. A photo can be both disposable and indispensable; it all depends on the subject and the meaning to the viewer. Personally, I seek out beauty, joy, a sense of place & time, a glimpse of truth and seek to share them. Sometimes it even connects. That’s the power of a simple photo.