Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Imperfection and old things

I like imperfection and I like old things - things that tell a story.  Things that are easy to walk past and ignore, but when you actually take the time to stop and look, you begin to see something in them.  Very philosophical, I know, but being a sentient being as well as discerning reader I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.  I think that's one of the things I love about being a photographer (if that's what I am) - you learn to look closely at things.  And sometimes you get a result that you are reasonably pleased with. The good thing about France is that you do find things that are old - things that in other parts of the world would have been torn down long ago and replaced with something altogether less interesting.  Anyway, as I dawdled around Antibes with me photographer's head on I snapped away at anything that vaguely took my attention, and here are a few shots for your amusement.

Doorway somewhere in La Veille Ville, Antibes 
Just look at those beautiful wood textures - what a wonderfully solid-looking door.  You'd have trouble trying to break that down I reckon.  Wonder what lies behind it?  We'll never know...

Number 7
Now there is a door ripe for replacing - let's hope they don't anytime soon!  I guess part of the reason they get away with doors like this in Antibes is that they don't have Atlantic gales battering them like we do here in the North East Liberties.  I reckon that door has been around a year or two...  Actually there's a vaguely amusing story about this photograph.  I was lining up the shot, about to press the shutter release when the door opened and a young woman came out.  I nearly jumped out of my skin and so did she - she clearly wasn't expecting some middle-aged bloke pointing a camera at her as she exited her house.  If I'd been feeling braver I would have taken the shot with her in it, but it would have been a bit obvious and so I desisted.  We had a bit of a laugh and off she went and I was left in peace to snap the door as you see it above.   

Little Oven Street
Isn't this such a cute little ginnel?  Rue de Petit Four, so I'm guessing at some point in time there was a bakery or cookery place at the end of it.   The light just fell nicely to illuminate the little courtyard at the end, so I snapped it up on FP4+ quickly.  I can see Rue de Petit Four being printed in the darkroom.

Wooden shutters
Sometimes you see something and just know it will look great in B&W and that was the case with the shot above.  I'd love to take this on a large format camera just to see the detail in those textured walls and the 'distressed' wood, but all I had with me was my little 35mm rangefinder, so that's all you're getting for now.  You do have to think in B&W when you look at a subject and of course the more you shoot in B&W the better you become at it.  B&W photography is all about tonality and contrast and some shots which work really well in B&W would just look painfully dull in colour.  Here's a scan of a print, for example, which works well in B&W but probably wouldn't in colour:

Driftwood, River Bann 2014

Ansel Adams, who became famous for his landscapes of Yellowstone National Park, recommended the use of a viewing filter to help visualise the scene for B&W.  These don't convert the image in front of you to B&W, rather they show the tonality in the scene.  I haven't got one of these and I imagine they could be very handy in some situations, such as landscapes where you tend to shoot slowly.  For walking about town I think they would be more a hindrance than an asset.

Prepare yourselves for a day trip to Cannes tomorrow...playground of the rich and famous!

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