Discovering archived work anew

January 4, 2021

Two things have happened over the last couple of months.

  1. My MacPro went belly-up, causing significant amounts of frustration, cost and annoyance.
  2. My existing website went the same way and unfortunately, despite having back-ups, unlike my MacPro, it was irretrievable.

The good news is that in the face of both issues, it have given me, on the one hand, the opportunity to redesign and reconsider the purpose of my website, and on the other hand, forced me to review my entire archive of over 42,000 digital images (I’ve not even started to work through the files and files of negatives and slides I have). Inevitably I have started to edit down my archive, moving a large quantity to the bin and creating a more focused collection in the process. I haven’t done this without a great deal of care and thought though, so a huge chunk of images that I deem important have remained.

But, it has also given me the opportunity to rediscover photographs that I hadn’t looked at in some time, and to reconsider them. There are always photographs in any collection that you personally like, but for whatever reason, don’t use because they don’t fit the work being produced or just aren’t quite right. Sometimes, those that are ‘not quite right’ are so because your own vision for them is not flexible or creative enough. This has been true of me and a number of photographs that I took on the North Wessex Downs one very cold and snowy winter. Originally taken in colour I was always happy with the compositions but was less happy with the overall feel of them. Discovering them again, I realised that they worked far better as black & white images because it allows the viewer to focus on the contrasts between dark and light, snow and bark. Black & White has the ability to describe things in a completely different way to colour – it can, in the right situation, declutter and simplify the reading of a photograph, highlighting the form, shape and lighting. This isn’t always true, but in these instances, colour was creating confusion and masking the true worth of the images. I’ve posted a few of these below – I hope you like them.

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