I once read somewhere that Magnum photographer Elliott Erwitt never leaves home without a camera. He takes his Leica with him, wherever he goes, frequently photographing his life as and when it is happening. In contrast there are, of course, photographers that only take their camera with them when they go out on a job, using it simply as a tool of work. The former ideal has always interested me more and from very early on I decided I'd always take my camera out each day.
Some days, nothing of any great interest will happen. I will walk to my destination, do what I need to do, then walk home without incident. Any photos taken on those days tend to stay unseen on my hard-drive or are deleted altogether. On other days I'll see something. It might be something small, something seemingly unremarkable but I will notice, it will excite me and I will make the photograph. On other days still, I will stumble across an event, a protest, a march - or in today's case - a vigil.
Tonight there was a silent vigil held - it would seem - to mourn the civilian casualties of the 25 year long civil war in Sri Lanka which ended on Tuesday. While the Tamil Tigers are held responsible for much of the killing in the 25 years, the vigil seemed to have a particular message for the Sri Lankan Government whose alleged brutality and human rights violations in the days leading to the end of the war may be investigated by the United Nations.
...and of course, if I hadn't had my camera with me as I walked home this evening, I'd have done just that. Walked home.
As, I'm sure, is no doubt fist-gnawingly evident from some of my blogs and photographs, I am an aficionado of French photographer and co-founder of Magnum, Henri Cartier-Bresson. Shortly before the Second World War, Cartier-Bresson met and befriended publisher Pierre Braun who suggested he photograph artists and writers for a forthcoming collection of monographs. Though this project would never materialise, Cartier-Bresson continued to photograph portraits throughout his life, attempting to capture the "inner silence" of his subjects. His technique was to spend time, often in conversation, with his subjects, photographing as and when he felt they had relaxed enough to reveal something of themselves. Frequently his subjects would ask when he would make the portrait photograph only for him to reply that he had done so 10 minutes earlier. Many of his portraits were published in a 2006 book - one of my favourites - named simply "The Inner Silence".
It was with this book at the fore-front of my mind that I began photographing portraits with my Leica, attempted to emulate the techniques that Cartier-Bresson would employ while making a portrait. While I am only at the beginning of what will hopefully turn out to be a long and rewarding project, I am delighted with the photographs I have made so far.
Unsurprisingly, while I hone my craft, many of the portraits I have taken are of friends and family and the lion's share of these are of my girlfriend, Asia. Though we share a joke that - while on holiday, for instance - I don't photograph her nearly enough as I'm looking for other things; While searching for a particular photo of her this afternoon, I realised quite how often I do indeed photograph her. It was with this in mind then that I decided to write about this tonight and post some of my favourites of her portraits.
Without any doubt, my favourite portrait of Asia, so far, and one that comes closest to capturing exactly what I want to gain from the aforementioned project of portaits.
Last week, I posted some photos from Portugal as a short stop-gap until I had time to post something a bit more substantial. Unfortunately, I can't decide if I've just not a lot to write about or I'm simply finding it difficult to put my thoughts into words so instead, I've decided to highlight what I've been up to lately.
Before the trip to Portugal, I did some work for some Event Management students who were putting together a fund-raising event in aid of the Youth Cancer Trust. The event in question? A Neon Disco.
...and then it was off to Portugal. Of course, if you've read my previous post you'll have looked at some of my Portugal photos already but there's definitely room for another. This photo was taken from the ramparts of the castle in the city of Tavira.
Just Sunday past, I took the photos for the Airdrie United Supporters Trust's Player of the Year dinner. Club coach Paul Lovering is pictured left with winner of the Young Player of the Year, Bobby Donnelly.
Since returning from Portugal, I've been wandering Glasgow, Leica in hand as usual, and shooting what I see. For reasons unknown to me, I was walking through Kelvin Way at 7:30am this morning and photographed what I saw above.
Finally for the moment, a wee mention for the We Sink Ships project. On Monday, Heidi and I launched our second WSS exhibition on our website. The exhibition is called Before You Wake and has been constructed by combining a pinhole photograph from me and a selective focus photograph from Heidi as a "double exposure". We're very excited about it so click on one of the links and have a look.