Darkness and light to draw us into a deeper emotional experience

What is the relationship between subject, photographer and audience? Is it more than just keeping a record of a scene or is it about sharing something much more personal??

The experience of seeing a scene through the choices of the photographer sets up an emotional connection between the two parties. The photographer is not simply creating a record of what is in front of him or her but is, in fact, opening a dialogue with the viewer.

Thoughts, feelings and observations become a shared response to a specific setting and context transforming photographer and audience together. A collection of images presented by the photographer can over time represent a deep level of personal disclosure and vulnerability.


Blue, green and gold.

It’s not often the sun shines on a bank holiday weekend. Ilkley was as busy as ever today with crowds flocking to the riverside carnival. The woods were quiet which was surprising as the Bluebells are at their best.

Taking pictures of Bluebells is quite tricky. Often the blue is wrong or they are so small in the picture it’s hard to see them. The colours change through the day with the softening afternoon sun making them a richer shade of blue.


The producer – capturing the hearts and the imagination of the team

What is the role of a video producer  and how does that translate into a school project? What are the benefits of a video project in a school?

In the professional world (in which I've been there for 30 years) there are many different skills and resources that go into producing high quality video.  The reason TV is so expensive is mostly down to the availability of talent both in front of the camera and behind it.  There are performers, photographers, writers, editors and so on.  And it's not just the raw skill that's required but the ability of these people to get on with each other.

The producer has to bring all these people together and keep them functioning as a team with the creative elements being handled by the director. Although often the two roles are blurred or even the same person.

A producer will be required to understand enough about the process and skills required to be able to allocate tasks, encourage good practice, set standards, trouble shoot; They are talent scouts, facilitators, mentors; They manage and plan. They have a stern voice when the project goes off track.  A producer sets boundaries of responsibility and resolves conflict. When confidence breaks down the producer must raise spirits, be cheerleader and offer hope.

TV production teams are messy and uncomfortable places generally. The participants are vulnerable – it's as if their very soul is being put on the line. Then there is the added pressure of impending deadlines.  

In truth, the main source of pressure is the interdependency between team members.  No one person can achieve success on their own and yet they may all want to claim the success as our own. They may have difficulty trusting one another. So to be genuinely creative in this context requires great sacrifice and humility.

The dynamics of even the smallest video project can bring into play these elements.  

Many children have little or no experience of belonging to team like this. They miss out on some invaluable experiences: being needed for their particular talents, the experience of generosity and grace, responsibility with independence, the celebration of success.

As well as these essential team skills and experiences, there are also many other practical skills to be learned – writing, performing, technical work, photography, research, directing, drawing, design,, interviewing, planning, coming up with ideas.

Video production as a team exercise is indeed a great learning opportunity but only if someone takes on the role of producer.  Without someone acting as a producer in the way that I have described the results may be poor and the experiences negative.

A producer must ensure that the video production captures more than simply footage, it must capture the hearts and the imagination of everyone involved.


observation or effect


As I took this I was thinking about the difference between and effect and an observation.

It seems to me that there are many photos which rely on an interesting effect – a colour or a style of presentation which makes the overall mood look appealing. Then there are others which are less about the processing and more about what's in front of the camera – an action, reaction, relationship or detail – which is noticed by the photographer and may have otherwise been missed.

In this particular photo I might say the appeal is in the effect, but I could also say that it observes the movement of the light source – an action which would not have otherwise been noticed.

Perhaps the test of a good photo which features a special effect is whether the effect or processing is done in order to reveal something in the scene which would otherwise be missed. A bad use of processing would be if it bore no relation to the real content of the image or didn't enhance it in any way.