How Peter found Peter - A picture finds its rightful home.

Dr. Peter Carr is a retired Maynooth professor who has attended many public protest rallies in Dublin city over the years. He is, I'm told, down to earth, humorous, extremely intelligent and an excellent dinner guest. Speaking as someone who has only viewed him through a telephoto lens, I myself can testify to his exceptional beard and taste in wide-brimmed hats. 

Peter made his public debut as a declared work of art when his image featured in my first solo exhibition, Protests Come and Go at In-spire Galerie, Dublin. (see below) 

During the exhibition opening my aunty approached me with quite a look of surprise on her face to tell me that she actually knew the mysterious bearded protester who first caught my attention during a huge Irish Water protest rally in 2015. She informed me who he was and I was immediately excited by the idea that he might get to learn that someone had stuck him in a nice frame somewhere and hung him on a gallery wall. It had happened to me before, and I can certainly endorse the positive effects being immortalised as a work of art can have on your self-esteem. It's a lovely little ego boost.

A few weeks passed and a quick turn of events led to my receiving this image via email, much to my delight. 

Peter with Peter

Peter with Peter

'The Veteran' - as I declared him in the image title - I'm told is delighted with his gift.

I hope it finds a good place in your home, Professor Carr. Thank you for being a willing subject in my photo work, although it took a while for you to find out! My respect and good wishes to you, sir. I'm sure you'll be out there on Dublin's streets again soon, matching and chanting and showing young protesters how it's really done. 

Simon Prunty

Stand Developing 35mm film and pushed by two stops...

Hi Folks!

Hope you're keeping well. I completed a stand development today. Two rolls of Delta 400 35mm film pushed two stops to 1600 and then stand developed in Rodinal at 1:100 for 1 hour and 30 mins; I did add a little extra developer though (1ml more than recommended) to stop the chemical from exhausting too soon in the developing time, god knows if that was actually effective but that was the theory! Either way the process gave me a great range of tones in the finished negative while also retaining a nice punchy contrast between the brightest highlights and deepest shadows.To prevent any streaks caused by 'bromide drag' (uneven development) I agitated the tank for 30 seconds every 30 minutes. So there you go. Scans coming soon. I recommend you try it!

A successful exhibition opening and a big thank you!

A heart-felt thank you to those who turned out for the opening of my exhibition 'Protests Come and Go' in In-spire Galerie on Wednesday the 23rd. I've received great feedback about the work, often getting really interested questions about the subject and the technical aspects too. Above all I was moved by the support I got. Big thank you to all there and thank you to Mella Travers of The Brunswick Collective for opening my show.

To all who missed the opening, not to worry! The show runs until the 5th April and here are the opening times of the gallery:

Tuesday to Sunday
11am to 5pm

Also this Saturday 11am to 3pm

Closed Monday

By appointment contact me directly by PM

Photos from the opening night below. A big thanks to Dimitry Avkhadeev for taking these.

Thoughts on the work of Koo Bohnchang

I've been looking at the work of renowned South Korean photographer, Koo Bohnchang, in particular his series 'In the Beginning'.

A number of images from this beautiful work strike me and I'd like to share some thoughts about why I feel it works so effectively.

What I like about this image (above) is the relationship between two states of instability. There are two striking visual elements that help evoke that feeling: The form of the image is a large collage of photographic prints loosely stitched together. The content within the image is a barely-held state of balance. These are two sources of tension working together in one image to achieve a very particular effect. Form and content perfectly combined. Neither the subject nor the form have a permanent state of existence. 

Uncertainty seems to be the heart of this image, or at least that's what strikes me first. Is this subject upside down or downside up? Is he falling? Lying? Are they frozen or in movement? The placement of the subject confuses the sense of earthly situation, and perhaps that's the point. In this sense the fragile form of the stitched images plays its part by accentuating the uncertainty; this is the fragility of our sense of perspective. None of us can be sure of our own place or true situation. We possess a fragile, impermanent sense of perspective. 

Koo Bohnchang Official site:  http://www.bckoo.com/sub_work3.html

 

 

  

Mounting Images: A Guide For the Fearful Artist

Last Friday I was fortunate enough to exhibit 10 images from my 'Protests Come and Go' photo project in Block T in Smithfield, Dublin, as part of Culture Night. It was very exciting. Four days previous to that, I was faced with having to mount all 10 images myself with no previous experience of mounting and no knowledge of the materials needed. That was not exciting...

But, with the benefit of experience, I can now tell you that if you're ever faced with this same predicament, fear not! It ain't that difficult at all.

Firstly, we all learn from somewhere or someone. In this case that someone was some grainy, dodgy sound-quality bloke I found on youtube who made this video. I'd advise you to watch it and pay attention. It's very informative.

Secondly, here's a list of materials I used:

  1. A stanley knife;
  2. A steel ruler (It has to be steel);
  3. Self-Adhesive Foamboard. A1 size (I ordered mine from Evans Art Shop);
  4. A cutting mat OR two layers of cardboard to work on top of. You want your knife to cut through the foamboard, but not the kitchen table! Or your legs!
  5. A black pen;
  6. A clean cloth, for pressing down the image without smudging or dirtying it;
  7. Patience;
  8. Tea.

To help, here are a few images of my progression along the way:

Select your images and crop them if necessary. In my case there was some cutting needed at this point.

Select your images and crop them if necessary. In my case there was some cutting needed at this point.

Place the image over the foamboard and carefully mark with your pen where the exact corners are. You will lightly cut from one point to another with your knife. following the border of the image using the steel ruler.

Place the image over the foamboard and carefully mark with your pen where the exact corners are. You will lightly cut from one point to another with your knife. following the border of the image using the steel ruler.

Lift the plastic layer from the foamboard to reveal the extremely sticky surface beneath. At the same time place the image down on the sticky surface, always applying pressure from the center outwards. VIEW THE VIDEO LINK AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS BLOG FOR EXACT INSTRUCTIONS HERE.

Lift the plastic layer from the foamboard to reveal the extremely sticky surface beneath. At the same time place the image down on the sticky surface, always applying pressure from the center outwards. VIEW THE VIDEO LINK AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS BLOG FOR EXACT INSTRUCTIONS HERE.

After some more careful cutting the images were mounted and ready for exhibit! If you have any comments or feedback let me know. I'll consider making my own video of this process in the near future. Remember, it's much easier than you think. Good luck!

 

 

Learning From Charles Bargue, Deformed Obersheens and The Uninvited Ghost of Albrecht Durer

I’ve just finished my 2nd Bargue plate and my mission to sharpen my understanding of notional space and sight-size measuring continues. This one presented challenges in the way of its peculiar shape. Honestly speaking, parts of it look more like a deformed obersheen than an arm. But I should welcome challenges, so bring on the deformed obersheens.

I believe I captured the form and shape of the Bargue plate much more accurately this time (although that’s for unforgiving Internet critics to decide) and I’ve certainly become faster at measuring with my knitting-needle and thumb and then applying those measurements to the initial block-in, although speed is not the goal, accuracy is. The aim is to constantly take measurements and apply them to your block-in in as many ways as possible. Just like the ‘lather-rince-repeat’ ritual of obsessive hair-care, you must observe-measure-observe-re-measure again and again.

When I reached the tonal stage I decided to get a little more expressive as I’ve no real desire to be a strict realist. I didn’t want smooth gradations; I wanted movement in the very texture of the shadows and highlights. I’d recently been looking through the ink drawings of the great German artist of the Renaissance, Albrecht Durer. His hands and feet drawings feature beautiful cross-hatched and simple single-lined highlights of white that always follow the shape of the form.

So, without the means of a spiritual medium or group séance, I began to feel myself channelling the spirit of Durer. Taking my white charcoal pencil to now be my finger tip, I ‘touched’ and followed the shapes and grooves of the arm, starting from the highest highlight and trailing off as I approached the deep shadows; my only aim was to achieve a certain sense of life and sensual texture in the finished drawing. Did I achieve this? You decide. What do your eyes tell you?

The studying continues and Mr Charles Bargue is not finished with me yet, neither is the ghost of Albrecht Durer. I fear I may need an exorcist by the time this is all over.

 

My First Bargue Plate

Finished my first Bargue plate. It was very challenging trying to get the proportions and notional space correct. I'll aim for more accuracy in the next one. But it helped me a lot and I learned a few very important lessons.

White charcoal on grey card paper was great for rendering highlighted areas too, I'll stick with that technique. This one was probably a little too small physically. The Bargue plate print itself was only a little bigger than A4, but the next ones really need to be at least A3 just to be able to see enough detail and render it accurately in the copy. Anyway, onward and upwards.