Even by my own lax standards...
...it's been too long since I last posted anything here. Having been ticked off by half of my readership (the other one hasn't even noticed I've been quiet) I've decided that I ought to let you know what I've been up to!
Around the second week of January I joined Joe Cornish, Eddie Ephraums, Phil Malpas, Clive Minnitt and Richard Childs for a week in a small cottage at Culnacraig near Achiltibuie in the northwest Highlands. I had been really looking forward to this trip as it was the first time that that select club The CUBS (Complete & Utter Bastard Society) had had an outing since four of us travelled together to Utah in 2003. However the weather seemed set against us making many images with persistent rain and – the real killer – gale force winds for almost the whole week. This meant that we were reduced to trying out our culinary skills on each other (never mind animal testing, some of the meals that I prepared should definitely be banned!) and trying to fill the endless evenings with interminable games of Scrabble accompanied by the pathetic sound of sheep bleating as they flew past the window at head height in the raging storm.
As usual when I go away after a long period without any time off I went down with a case of man flu – a very serious illness! I felt miserable not only because of my respiratory problems but also because the much hoped for opportunity to make images in the convivial company of my peers seemed to be passing me by. Everyone else seemed to be effortlessly making images but I just couldn't see anything. Joe was his usual positive self, Clive was as enthusiastic as ever, Eddie was coming back from a few hours in the rain with some truly astonishing stuff but I could see nothing. I think that a lot of the problem was the pressure that I was putting on myself to perform. Rather than communing with my surroundings, I was getting so desperate that I ended up just looking to acquire an image, any image!
I don't normally think of myself as a very competitive person but this situation was definitely bringing that trait out in me. It almost physically hurt to see them all making interesting images when I had a creative block and I found myself wanting to compete for the prize of an image. Of course this was entirely the wrong approach and for a while I just sank deeper into the mire. Perhaps I should add that there was a degree of external pressure to make an image. Phil & Clive wanted Joe and I to be their 'readers' for the 100th issue of OP and their On Location column. I certainly didn't want to be the one who let the side down by not coming up with any results.
Eventually we got a clear slot in the weather and some interesting light. Hey presto! I found an image. Perhaps I should just listen to the advice I give other people in these circumstances – just be! Sit quietly and take things in, take time to tune in to your surroundings and the image will come to you.
Workshop at Linhof & Studio
Paula and I will be running another LF workshop in Leigh on Sea in spring 2008. Details will be posted on the Linhof website in due course or if you just can't wait contact Paula on +44(0)1702 716116 for further details and to reserve a place.