Friday, 20 January 2017


Photography is a very literal medium. That's what makes it so suited to documentary usage. Perhaps it's what also can make it poetic.  There are photographers who take photographs which are unavoidably literal, but which aren't simply about what they depict. The shapes and colours in these photographs bring something else to the picture, in the way poets use words to mean more than what they are saying. In a similar way the lyrics to 'pop' music can  seem banal when laid out on a page, but the way they sound when sung gives them an added meaning which works on us in a poetic way.

All this was in my mind when I was down by the seaside today on a very bright and almost windless afternoon. Taking 'straight' photographs didn't really get across how much space there is, how deserted it felt even though there were quite a lot of people about. I don't usually use shallow depth of field for its own sake. Today I used it deliberately, but not to make the kind of photographs you see on Flickr where there is something sharply focussed against a background of mush, always with lovely colours. I combined a lack of focus with deliberate over exposure. To cap it all I shot into the low sun. I'm not sure if the resulting pictures are all style and no substance, but it was interesting to experiment with a different way of picturing the beach and the sea.

The edge of the incoming tide continues to fascinate me. I think the way to photograph it is with a series of shots showing the ebb and flow of a single wave taken using a tripod to keep the framing the same. Maybe I'll give it a go some time.

I wasn't the only one out with a camera today. I was going to approach the guy for my portrait series, but I had got engrossed photographing the water's edge and when I' finished he was on his way back to civilisation.

Something I have noticed over the years is that people like standing looking out to sea. Numerous people walk out to the water's edge alone. Stand there for a few minutes. Then walk back. It's something I can relate to. There's a poetry in the sea.

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