• Mark Reeves

Week 1 exercise

The brief for this exercise was:

"Sit in a place you have chosen for your photoshoot (your home, garden, beach, etc.) with your eyes closed and do nothing. Just listen, feel, smell,

meditate. Then from that place of sense-awareness, pick up your camera and create several photos, adding a visual complement to what your senses have already taken in. Don’t look at your LCD screen or assess what you’ve done, you don’t want to detour your intuitive journey. Repeat this exercise several time during this week, if you can. This may not be an easy exercise for you. The main point is to slow down, relax and let your intuition guide you. Don’t try to make perfect images, and don’t worry about your techniques at this stage. It is not important."

Well, Ava is right, this wasn't an easy exercise for me!

My first attempt was on a foggy day. Looking from my seafront balcony the still, grey day hid most of my usual view. It was calm and quiet and very very grey and I tried to capture this in my images.

The somewhat rusted railing on my balcony

The promenade

Looking out to sea

My second attempt was to take some pictures in some woodland where I had gone for a walk. The feeling I wanted to convey was of tranquility in nature, and the overwhelming green-ness!

My third attempt was while on holiday in the Alps where I went for a walk beside a fast-flowing mountain river. The overall sense I gained from the river, the water running chaotically over the rocks was of speed and energy, an impatience to get to the sea. I tried to capture this through the use of a hand-held camera and different shutter speeds to convey the rushing of the water.

My final attempt was a spontaneous visit to one of my favourite local spots on my way home today. I live where the River Dee meets the Irish Sea, part estuary and part sea. Over many years that estuary has slowly silted up, creating areas of marsh and vast flat sands at low tide. Not far from my home is a place called Red Rocks, so called because of the red sandstone rocks that protrude from the sands on the shore. I sat in the sun, felt the wind, felt the enormous space under the big blue sky and, equipped with only my mobile phone, I wanted to capture both the wind and the sense of space in my pictures. Of course we can't see the wind, but I tried to show its presence as it bent reeds and grasses to its will.

My final selection

The three images I choose for Eva are these:

I chose this image because, to me, it is highly evocative of the fog over the sea. There is no sky, no land, no horizon. Just grey water in one form or another, with no beginning and no end, other than the borders of the image. Although it is a literal, record shot it is, ironically, perhaps the most impressionistic of all this series of images.

My next choice is this picture of the rushing water:

To me, this conveys not just the movement of the water, but also the chaotic urgency in its flow. The slow shutterspeed (1/13s) combined with some intentional camera movement has emphasised the movement of the water without it becoming a meaningless blur. Looking at the image I also feel that, despite the warm colours, the high key whites tell us that the water is cold - which it was as it was meltwater from the late spring snows.

And finally, I choose this image from Red Rocks (despite its crooked horizon!) because I feel that it successfully captures all three of the things I experienced while sitting; the vast space, the wind and the sun. I think it is perhaps the least interesting of all my images in this series but I do strongly feel that it captures the sense of place, which is what I was trying to achieve.

I said this was a difficult exercise. Why? Because I don't usually work in this way - by slowing down and feeling my environment in such a conscious way. I always walk around in it, think about it, look at it from different angles and so on, but I don't usually try to FEEL it. Of course, I only take pictures of things that make me excited about the possibility of creating a good image, so I in doing that I am responding to a feeling, but it's different from trying to absorb the surroundings and to express these in an image.

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