I do love black and white – or should I say monochrome. There’s something honest about it. What you are looking at is actually there (more or less) – the form and tones, the subject. This is a little gate at Christ Church in Ilkley. Actually it’s the one Deborah and I went through 22 years ago when we were married.
I met with Ian and Josie, stalwarts of the Ilkley Flickr photo group a few days ago. We've instigated a few ideas to help us connect better with local photographers.
Firstly we have a twitter account @ilkleyphoto .
We also have a Posterous group which will enable anyone to subscripe to email updates of what we are doing, or to simply look up the blog page. find the group here
There will be a monthly photo challenge. This will work by appointing a gallery curator each month who will gather flickr photos from Ilkley photographers and create a gallery. At the end of the four week period we will announce a winner. It could be group followers or anyone else who has photos on Flickr.
The theme over the next four weeks is panorama. I am the curator and so will look for 18 images to include in the September gallery which can be found here.
At the next meet up on the 18th of September we will choose a winning panorama. The winner will receive a coveted Ilkley Photographers graphic badge and a free meet-up coffee at Neros. If you want to be considered for a prize then tag your panorama ip1109 (ilkley photographers 2011 september).
The October challenge will be set by Josie who has agreed to curate a flickr gallery. The theme will be announced in due course.
At the Ilkley Flickr group we have occasionally discussed the way constraints can often lead to creativity.
When you have a free reign originality is often more difficult to find than when there are limitations; somehow a constraint sets us off on a different path and we see things differently.
There's also the idea of using what we have in front of us. Sometimes we feel that we wish we had more than we've got. We might wish for better tools, a better viewpoint and so on. There is something quite refreshing about seeing what is in front of us and making the best of it.
These two thoughts about embracing constraints and looking at that resources we have (rather than those we don't have) can be very constructive.
At the ilkley flickr meet-up in November we have in mind to take photos on a pre-designated spot. The challenge will be to make the best photo we can with the given situation.
One or two people have asked why I have re-named this blog the mantelpiece. The reason is that I wanted something that reflected what I was really interested in. All my life I have been taking bits of media and rearranging them into presentations. Sometimes the bits have been things I have created myself and others have been created by other people.
Deborah my wife has a gift for arranging things. She seems to be able to position a thing on a table top – or a mantelpiece – in a way that looks pleasing. When I try to do the same it looks a mess. We got talking about the things on our mantelpiece. I said I didn't like some of the items particularly but that they held important memories.
This is a place where precious objects and memories are kept. It is a place that is both private and public, private in its hidden meanings yet visible to all those invited in. Each treasure is carefully arranged in relation to the others, perhaps a letter from a loved one or a photograph of a child long since grown; each one has its place.
Some of the objects are beautiful but others are strange and challenging, each reminding us of who we are and telling a story in the great adventure.
So it seems to me that a blog or a myspace or a facebook or a flickr have something in common with the mantelpiece. If this makes any sense.