PhotoBeast

The Photography Blog from Beastmaster.co.uk


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie

DSCF6267 (1)

This week’s photo challenge set by the Daily Post is Selfie.

Nothing revolutionary here just pics of me behind a camera photographing through a mirror. The notion though of a selfie sets me thinking about the importance of an emotional connection in an image. A good landscape shot, can be ruined by the ignoring a simple rule and not levelling the image. I saw a good image today of flooding but all I could think was, “No worries the water will soon pour away to the right it’s on a slope”. But actually it was an emotional connection that I could not see in the image and this brings me back to a recurring thought I get a lot recently, and that is the importance of putting people in images, bringing them to life. On my photographic journey, I have spent so much time trying to keep people out of images but now I regret that, people bring emotion to an image, give it life and vitality so I must get more people in my images. So here are a few selfies. They have me in them and that brings emotion and feeling and perhaps forgiveness for burnt out images. You see people and subject, win out over technique every time! Continue reading


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Weekly Photo Challenge – Juxtaposition

Venice

Juxtaposition is the act of placing things side by side, especially for the purpose of comparison or contrast. More specifically, it is the placement of things together that are generally complete opposites or the placement of things together to emphasize their differences, more than their similarities. A juxtaposition in a photograph is interesting because it will generally spark an emotion, which can stem from the jarring effect of the contrast between the objects juxtaposed. It is a concept that has fascinated me for donkeys years, since my high school English lessons when I was first introduced to this word, which arguably itself is a juxtaposition when we look at the etymology of the word – from French juxtaposition, from Latin iuxtā (“near”) from Latin iungō (“to join”) + French position (“position”) from Latin pōnō (“to place”). Back in 2010 we did the classic Project 365, (have a look here) where you take a photograph every day and we accompanied it with a “Groovy word of the day” which allowed us to explore our fascination with words. Some words you just like the sound of , such as “poppycock” or the inherent onomatopoeia in a word such as here, “water plops into pond”. Juxtaposition is a word that would definitely feature in our Groovy Word selection!

This week’s Photo Challenge from the Daily Post is juxtaposition and you can check it out here – http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/photo-challenge-juxtaposition/

In a perfect world we use this challenge to grab a picture in the week that the challenge runs, to force us to shoot something fresh, to challenge us. However, in a dull, wet week in Malvern, I succumbed to referring to an old picture because when we shot the photograph, juxtaposition was the word that jumped out at us, as we grabbed the photograph. We were on holiday in Venice last September and on our wanderings we paused to look at a contemporary art exhibition and the piece in the photograph here was the one that really caught our eye and drew an emotion from us. I was all over this piece like a rash doing my very best Andrew Graham-Dixon impersonation as my arms whirled with enthusiasm, as I aped the animated Andrew at his best. I loved the juxtaposition within the piece itself – the contrast between the uniformly level water which runs through the whole work from left to right, with the er… uniformly uneven shapes  and angles of each water bottle. This juxtaposition made the piece for me and would work wherever this art was displayed. Here though it was displayed hung across a doorway, allowing a view of Venice to act as the backdrop for this canvas. This created a second juxtaposition for me, as we then compared the contemporary art of the piece itself,  with the living art that is the faded grandeur of Venice, as age and water damage, and sunlight create a rich and ever changing texture on the wall of the Carabinieri behind.

To conclude simply, we enjoyed this week’s challenge – it took us back to a great holiday and a photograph that sparked an emotion in us. I hope you enjoy it too.


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Weekly Photo Challenge: One

Elgar

This week’s Photo Challenge from The Daily Post is on the theme of ‘One” – http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/photo-challenge-one/

Elgar is perhaps the most famous son of Malvern and he stands proudly alone as a statue in the centre of Malvern looking down on the post office, which in his day was a piano shop.

Elgar and the Malvern Hills

Sir Edward Elgar, renowned composer of, for example, the Pomp and Circumstance marches (one of which was set to words as Land of Hope and Glory) was born near Worcester and lived in and around the Malvern Hills during his life.  Visitors to the region often follow the Elgar Route or Elgar Trail, taking in such places as his birthplace (now a museum), the music shop that his father owned, and the various places he taught and lived later in life.  Indeed there are prominent statues of Elgar in Worcester High Street, Malvern Church Street and near Hereford Cathedral.

Certainly the Malvern Hills and surrounding countryside inspired his music – he lived in sight of the hills for about 55 of his 76 years and routinely cycled around the country and village lanes during that time.

The large Post Office in Great Malvern was a piano shop in the Victorian times. Elgar used to give regular piano and violin lessons here and this is where he taught a pupil called Caroline Alice Roberts. They fell in love and married three years later, much to the horror of her family who disinherited her for marrying a Roman Catholic, unknown musician.

In 1903 Elgar founded the Malvern Concert Club with Arthur Troyte Griffith, a local architect, as his enthusiastic secretary.  The loyal support of the membership has enabled the club to flourish over all these years, with current numbers running at over 450 and often with 600 people attending concerts.

Elgar died from cancer in 1934 and is buried in St Wulstan’s Church in Little Malvern, along with his wife Alice who had died earlier.

Source: http://www.malvernbeacon.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13&Itemid=14


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Weekly Photo Challenge : Community

The Berlin Wall

This week’s photo challenge from the Daily Post is on the theme of community and you can see the original challenge here http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/photo-challenge-community/.

Today we were at RAF Cosford for a car meet and while we were there we explored  inside the RAF Museum. There was a big feature on the Berlin Airlift and the role that the RAF played in this monumental effort in continuing to supply a city under siege. As part of the exhibition a piece of the original wall was on display and as soon as I saw it, I wanted to photograph it especially for this week’s photo challenge on the theme of “community”. I can think of nothing better that encapsulates this theme than the story of the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and ultimately the victory of community over state.

Wikipedia, summarises the story of the Berlin Wall as below.

The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the “death strip”) that contained anti-vehicle trenches, “fakir beds” and other defences. The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the “will of the people” in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period.

The Berlin Wall was officially referred to as the “Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart”  by GDR authorities, implying that neighbouring West Germany had not been fully de-Nazified. The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the “Wall of Shame”—a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt—while condemning the Wall’s restriction on freedom of movement. Along with the separate and much longer Inner German border (IGB), which demarcated the border between East and West Germany, it came to symbolize the “Iron Curtain” that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.

Before the Wall’s erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin, from where they could then travel to West Germany and other Western European countries. Between 1961 and 1989, the wall prevented almost all such emigration. During this period, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the wall, with an estimated death toll of over 100[5] in and around Berlin, although that claim is disputed.

In 1989, a series of radical political changes occurred in the Eastern Bloc, associated with the liberalization of the Eastern Bloc’s authoritarian systems and the erosion of political power in the pro-Soviet governments in nearby Poland and Hungary. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9 November 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, a euphoric public and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of the rest. The physical Wall itself was primarily destroyed in 1990. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on 3 October 1990.