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Sources Of Inspiration – Sheridon Davies, The Art of Speed

We were at the Shelsley Walsh Classic Nostalgia event this weekend And we came across a stall displaying the art of Sheridon Davies. 

We are always looking for sources of inspiration and his auto art was certainly that. This was a set of four coasters which jigsaw style made up one larger coaster. The quality was first class and the artwork stunningly good. There is an Art Deco style to some of his work and it gave us a lot to think about. We had to get this Maserati coaster.

Check out his work on their Facebook page or website.


Sources Of Inspiration – The Importance of A Reason To Shoot

The Elf at Rabot1745

This photo is part of a set of photos telling the story of a visit to the Tate Modern but it diarises  good times as I dine with family, people I love.

A pal of mine recently put a comment up on Facebook, “Can’t remember the last time I picked up my camera and used it in anger.” In his case he will address this himself and I am sure will photograph his Easter weekend to death, but the comment did get me thinking, about the importance of knowing exactly why you are taking the photograph you are about to capture.

Around September last year we joined our local camera club, which we enjoy immensely. Unfortunately a touch of poor health and a busy diary, has meant that we haven’t been for a little while but we are looking forward to getting back to the club after Easter. Anyway, one of the first meetings we attended was somewhat ad hoc as the speaker booked had to cancel. Instead we got six ten minute talks from various club members who were happy to do this at relatively short notice. All the talks were in truth very good and we were immediately impressed by the professionalism of the club members presenting their talks. The first talk had a title something like, “Why do I take photographs?” and I was on this chap’s wavelength inside of 15 seconds. His conclusion, if memory serves, was that we should take photographs that give pleasure to ourselves, that should be the first objective. We are not taking the picture for others but for our own pleasure and if others enjoy our photos than what a great bonus. There was a lot more meat and thought before he concluded with this and I was fired up immensely by this thought as I have dwelled on it long and hard myself.

Recently, my enjoyment with photograph went up immensely as I switched to Fuji kit and quite simply just enjoyed using the camera, its more analogue feel, its ease of use, its compactness and the emancipation I felt released from the weighty backpack of the DSLR world. However, the other big reason why I enjoy every photograph I take, is that I always know why I am taking a photograph, what the purpose of the photo will be.

Basically, in my case I take photographs to embellish the numerous blogs I write, be they for my photo blog, or my car blog, or my watch blog, or my Life blog. Put simply I photograph to diarise our life here at Beastie Folly, the events we go to, the car adventures we have, the holidays we take, and so on. Of course  rules are there to be broken, so having a reason to take a photo doesn’t mean you can’t just take a photo for the heck of it. Take this gorgeous  Easter weekend ahead, it is a great opportunity to capture some of the beautiful blossom trees that can be seen. I can do this just for the heck of it, but in truth in my case it would end up being part of some blog pontificating on the simple pleasures to be found just pausing to look at the beautiful world we live in and deriving joy from this.
I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Yes there must be a Wordsworth wannabe lurking deep inside me. Hey Wordsworth rhymes with Ainsworth. Hmmm so does Jobsworth.

In essence then, have a think about why you take photographs and what you want to do with your next capture. Having a reason to shoot, makes you shoot. If my photos don’t end up embellishing a blog I write, then they will be for another project in my mind, a wall print, or a photo book. The point is the photo will be part of a bigger plan and for me this, gives it importance and purpose. I need to take the photograph, therefore I do.

So please give this some thought, find your “Reason To Shoot” and armed with this I promise you, that your camera will be used more than ever.


Sources Of Inspiration – Humans of New York


“What’s your greatest fear?” “Dying before I’ve gotten out of The Matrix.”

Peanut’s son Duncan bought me a copy of Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton for my recent birthday. To be honest I was not familiar with Brandon until he gave me this and instantly I took to photographs and his approach to taking his photos. He introduces himself on his Facebook page, Humans of New York and on his website Humans of New as follows: Continue reading


Sources Of Inspiration – William Eggleston

The Tate Modern

This weekend we went to London and explored the Tate Modern with Peanut’s daughter – The Elf and our son-in-law Fandango. We went with an open mind looking to be fired up by what we saw. A painting on Sackcloth depicting the Vietnam war hit the spot for all four of us and you can see this painting below. On the left is depicted the military might of the USA with a tank and soldiers and machine guns all in military green camouflage attire and all the weapons pointed to the Vietnamese shown on the right looking forlorn and despairing. A distinct gap on the canvas separates the two factions and provokes further thought. Read on to share our discovery of William Eggleston. Continue reading

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Sources Of Inspiration – Fred Fogherty

I picked up on this by stopping by on Simon Peckam’s Scoop it for The Fuji X series. I wanted to share it because I found it very inspirational. basically he shoots a video clip on a Go Pro and the catches stills from the same scene on his Fuji X100.  They are then mixed together as he tours the streets of Paris. The video serves to give context to the fantastic stills he then captures on his Fuji X100, which in true street style he then edits to black and white. This makes a dramatic contrast to the colour video clip. the whole thing sits really well together and without doubt this has made me want to have a bash at this as a way of presenting an event, or a day out. Sadly I doubt if my efforts will match up to this inspirational piece, but the point is it has inspired me. At the end of the video he challenges us to go out and make your own video. Well Thank you I will at some point rise to the challenge.

Check Fred Fogherty’s work out here.


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Sources Of Inspiration – Brassai


Brassai. We went to Paris for a long weekend in 2003 and stayed in Montmartre. Photography was not the big hobby it is now for us both. However, nonetheless we climbed a lot of steps that weekend as we tried to reproduce Brassai’s famous photo of the steps of Montmartre – naturally we failed miserably but more than any other photo, it taught us the importance of strong blacks in a black and white image. Many regard Brassai as the father of Street photography.

“When you meet the man you see at once that he is equipped with no ordinary eyes,” comments writer Henry Miller on French photographer Brassai. And the sharpness of vision and depth of insight noted by Miller are revealed in Brassai’s lifelong photographic exploration of Paris—its people, places, and things. Brassai was a leading member of the French “school” of photography and he saw Paris as a subject of infinite grandeur, his photographs providing a sensitive and often extremely dramatic exploration of its people, its resplendent avenues, and endlessly intriguing byways. Brassai’s reputation was established with the publication of his first book, Paris de Nuit, now a modern classic. Some of the pictures in this book are sharply defined, brilliantly lit, while others capture the mistiness of rainy nights. Still others concentrate on the shadowy life of the underworld.

As Brassai created more and more pictures of Parisian life, his fame became international. His pictures of “Graffiti” (writings and drawings scribbled by countless individuals on the crumbling walls of buildings) were the subject of his one – man show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Brassai has indicated something of his reason for making these pictures in the following statement: “the thing that is magnificent about photography is that it can produce images that incite emotion based on the subject matter alone.”

Brassai has said many useful things about photography; one of the most valuable is the following statement: “We should try, without creasing to tear ourselves constantly by leaving our subjects and even photography itself from time to time, in order that we may come back to them with reawakened zest, with the virginal eye. That is the most precious thing we can possess”. (Taken from

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Sources of Inspiration – Lee Miller

Miller in Mougins

Lee Miller is one of the first great photographers to catch our eye. We first saw her work at a Photography museum in Mougins near Cannes about 8 years ago. She was a great friend of Picasso and this photo, which we first saw in Mougins, was taken at Picasso’s house there. It was taken shortly after he had completed Guernica and in the photo are Paul Eluard and his wife Nusch (kissing), Man Ray w. girlfriend Ady, and Roland Penrose (Lee’s future husband) who is looking up. We found the photo fascinating, seeming to capture a kind of relaxed yet faintly decadent mood which for us, still today captures the mood of the south of France. An introduction to her from the National Portrait gallery inroduces her as follows. Lee Miller (1907-77) was one of the most extraordinary photographers of the 20th century. A legendary beauty and fashion model, Miller soon became an acclaimed photographer in her own right. Her relationships with Surrealist artist Man Ray and collector Roland Penrose placed her at the heart of 20th-century artistic and literary circles and, in a career spanning more than three decades, she came into contact with an astonishing range of people. Many of these became her friends and the subjects of her penetrating portraits, which include highly perceptive and sympathetic studies of Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Fred Astaire, Colette and Marlene Dietrich.

The image above  is copyrighted but here it is not used for commercial gain or profit and it is essential use, to demonstrate the skill of Lee Miller and the influence of her work – we believe therefore that this is fair use.

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Sources Of Inspiration – Camera Club Photo Tips – Crop and Crop Again

One For You, One For Me - Take Two

close crop

I think I heard this tip at our local camera club, “Crop and Crop again.”  I think it is a tip worth bearing in mind. On the Fuji X-E1, I shoot raw plus jpeg. I like this because I have all the raw data, but it allows me to do a first crop in camera, i.e. I often select a square crop in camera. This gives me the full 3:2 image in raw and a square cropped Jpeg. Then in post processing, I have cropped again. I think it works in the example above as I like the bottles filling the image. Continue reading

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Sources Of Inspiration – Helmut Newton

NewtonYSLHelmut Newton, “Rue Aubriot, Paris Collections” from the series, “White Women,” 1975, Courtesy of Collection of the Estate of Helmut Newton/© Estate of Helmut Newton 2011

Helmut Newton first came to our attention bizarrely as a result of some photographs taken by a MINI enthusiast on MINI2 who did some “tongue in cheek” homage photos to the work of the great man. Having been pointed at Newton we have been inspired ever since. Continue reading


Sources of Inspiration – Nighthawks

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

I have long admired the painting above. It is one of the most iconic paintings of the twentieth century and has been inspiring painters and photographers since it was first seen in 1942. Last night we were at a Beginners and Improvers class with our local camera club – The Beacon Camera Club –  and the talk was about improving your images. Nick Browne who gave the tutorial began by showcasing a number of photographs and paintings that inspired him and I was gratified to see this on the list of twenty that he showed us. It prompted me to take a closer look in this blog. Continue reading