Tuesday, 14 April 2015


One of the "projects" I'm working on at the moment is a new website.  I used to have a website based at the university, but it went mouldy after a bit and I had to throw it away.  Compared to writing a blog, keeping a website fresh is hard work, and rather too much like keeping a tank of fish alive (see Reasons to be Cheerful).  However, maintaining a permanent presence on the web with a considered, well-organised, easy-to-navigate selection of one's best work is a sensible move.  Especially if you want to sell some pictures and get more exhibition invitations, which I do.

Which is where you may be able to help.  I'm thinking of signing up with one of those e-commerce operations that enable people to browse and buy your stuff online, but first I need to decide what my "stuff" is.  As an artist-photographer I'm sure of my ground: if people don't like what I do, they can sling their hook.  But there's no point in trying to sell people stuff they don't want to buy.  If I wanted to put together an attractive portfolio of, say, just a dozen prints, which would they be?  My work is quite diverse: for example, my "rings", my landscape photography, and my studies of architectural surfaces could easily be the work of three different people.  I also realise I am not always the best judge of the attractiveness of my own output.  My first, hastily-assembled exhibition at Innsbruck in 2009, for example, sold dozens of pictures; my second -- carefully-chosen and printed by me in 2014 -- sold none at all.  Hmmm.  There's a lesson there, but what?

Since 2008 there have been around 2,000 images posted on this blog, about 250 of which are "portfolio quality", and these include 25 which are as good as anything you'll see anywhere.  Yes, I know -- I'm that good!  But even the most prolific and well-known photographers have just a few "signature" images, the ones which immediately pop into your mind when their names are mentioned, and often, it seems, these are not (or are no longer) their personal favourites.  In fact, there is really often only one: Cartier Bresson produced many astounding photographs, but will never escape the gravitational pull of Derrière la Gare Saint-Lazare.  Ditto Don McCullin and his Shell-shocked US marine, William Klein and Gun 1, New York, 1955, or Alec Soth and Charles, Vasa, Minnesota 2002.  Unfair, but that's how it is.

So, here's where you come in. I'm assuming you've been a regular visitor here for some while, with a consuming interest in photography.  I'm assuming you're photo-literate enough to recognise names like Cartier-Bresson, McCullin, Klein, and Soth.  I'm assuming you have a certain level of regard for my photography.  I'm assuming that probably defines a subset of about ten of you...  Now, here is the question: is there a single image of mine which you would regard as a "signature" image?  Not my "best", or "prettiest", or "most challenging", or "most representative", but the one that immediately pops into your mind.

If so, don't put your response in a comment, please, but email me using one of the addresses in the "Profile" on the right *.  If you can find that photo and identify it by the date of the post that would be excellent.  Even better, in most browsers you can get the actual filename by hovering your mouse over the image, as it's the last element in the URL chain.  For example, the image below is "DSCF1917b.jpg".  Or perhaps a flip through the various books in my Blurb Bookstore would help?  A book title and page number would be great.  Otherwise, a description of the image as it appears in your mind would be fine.  Or, failing that, is there a relatively narrow "genre" within my output that regularly hits the spot for you?

What's in it for you?  Well, if we can agree what photograph we're talking about, and you are prepared to share your address with me, I'll send you a signed A4 print of that picture, shipped anywhere in the world, free of charge.  You can tell I'm not expecting a great many replies...

* Isn't it strange how taboos about "speaking the name of the devil" or one's own "true" name have been made literal by the web?  We don't "speak" our addresses or names out loud, for fear of attracting the attention of the very real devils that lurk out there, waiting to troll, spam or dump malware on us.  Welcome to the new Middle Ages...

[NOTE:  I am away from home until 18th April.  If you comment, please be patient!]

1 comment:

David Mannion said...

For what its worth - the one that caught my eye recently was the Feb 1st one you took over the fence. I used to look at your blog a few year back and came upon it again, and I think the images are far more arresting now - you have a lovely way with the gentle landscape and the light.