effort & style: Blog https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog en-us (C) effort & style [email protected] (effort & style) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:04:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:04:00 GMT https://www.effortandstyle.com/img/s/v-12/u893776774-o432713940-50.jpg effort & style: Blog https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog 120 110 About me (It's all) https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2016/6/about-me-its-all

Someone* over on this other blog has written a thoughtful critique of my photography.

*Oh! It's me!

[email protected] (effort & style) sofa https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2016/6/about-me-its-all Sun, 26 Jun 2016 23:06:53 GMT
Slow races https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/6/slow-races A gnomic figures lies down on a running track.Claudia Kappenberg - still for Slow Races

An early morning assignment paid for in coffee on the running track for this publicity still for artist Claudia Kappenberg's performance of her multi-generational participation project 'Slow Races', due to take place at the De la Warre Pavilion on the south coast in July,

The shot needed to afford the conventional idea of racing so that the gnome figure's contrary intervention was clear.

Technically, the shot would benefit from a hairlight  - which we had but couldn't position without risking the structural integrity of runners, one or two of whom were going quite fast.

Our appreciation goes to the runners who welcomed us with smiles and their generous tolerance this morning.

[email protected] (effort & style) assignment bucket fitness gnome hat lantern race red running slow track uselessness https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/6/slow-races Sun, 01 Jun 2014 13:50:16 GMT
Primrose Hill fair https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/5/primrose-hill-fair

Primrose Hill had its early summer street fair today in bright sunshine.

Infra-red photography is the technique of using a deep red glass filter on the camera. In bright sunlight trees and plants strongly reflect infra-red light. When converting the photo to b&w reflected infra red light from foliage appears white and even snowy. 

Because the filter cuts out so much normal light, a long exposure is needed blurring anyone that moves. 

The colour photo of the fair in this slideshow was taken with a neutral density (ND) filter. Like the IR filter this also cuts out light but it doesn't affect the colour. I used the ND filter to achieve a long exposure to blur moving figures and maintain normal colour.

The picture where the tree looks like candy floss is from an earlier year taken on Primrose Hill also in May. It was taken with an infra-red filter and colour adjusted to get as much polychromatic information out of a shot that starts out looking monochromatic red.

If you like these images you can select and order prints.

See more photos from Primrose Hill and surrounding areas.


[email protected] (effort & style) IR Primrose Hill blur fair infra-red movement https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/5/primrose-hill-fair Sun, 18 May 2014 20:19:02 GMT
Day 20089 https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/5/day-20089 Tulip for day 20,089Tulip for day 20,089

I like counting my age in the number of days old I am as well as in the number of years.

It's very hard to keep every day feeling as special as an annual birthday.

This tulip, 21 today, is managing to keep it special.

[email protected] (effort & style) flora https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/5/day-20089 Sat, 03 May 2014 20:00:17 GMT
Not really listening https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/5/not-really-listening

A contribution from Turin to our 'Not really listening' collection, one inspired by lines from Quentin Crisp. Taken next to the RAI auditorium.

[email protected] (effort & style) RAI auditorium lines listen tramlines vent https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/5/not-really-listening Sat, 03 May 2014 17:25:20 GMT
Tippy https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/3/tippy Jet with vapour trail appears to aim for the tip of London's The Shard.Tippy


Here is The Shard brought into my studio and laid on its side on a beanbag.  Everything is in a big cloud chamber.  I then fired a Beta particle at it with one hand and released the shutter with another. My free hand wasn't at work that day. Never is.

I had just been round the Tate's Klee show with Claudia. I didn't care much for the way Paul Klee gave all his paintings a title; they prescribed a figurative interpretation. 

Half way round I stopped looking at the titles but later found them unusually helpful in identifying the paintings we wanted to talk about. Doh. Perhaps it's worth giving this language thing another try?

I have immediately decided to begin a new period in which I give my new photos a title.



Hundreds* have written to me to ask 'So what happened to the Beta particle after this photograph was taken?' Well, moments later the Shard shot out its incredibly prehensile tongue and eat it. But the sudden movement upset The Shard's balance and it rolled off the beanbag and into some milk.


* of particles of all shapes and sizes and spin.


[email protected] (effort & style) #WexMondays https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/3/tippy Tue, 11 Mar 2014 01:23:32 GMT
German class https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/2/german-class

On Mondays I'm learning German. At the same time I started my course I noticed that Wex Photographic do a clever thing on Mondays which is run a weekly mini competition where you tweet a photo you've taken in the last 7 days with #WexMondays.

I've never gone in for routine, public photographic practice but the discipline of German class has moved me on.

Here's my first #WexMondays photo, a floral chandelier found under a roadworks sign in Fitzrovia this morning. 

The discovery was a bit magical, but it was hard to make a photo that looked worthwhile in the compact camera I had with me. I've used a straightforward-to-apply post method which always intrigues me visually and feel I've captured something of the experience of my encounter.


More Fitzrovia photos

[email protected] (effort & style) chandelier post practice roadworks routine sign street https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/2/german-class Tue, 11 Feb 2014 00:01:37 GMT
Recently published - International Journal of Screendance https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/2/recently-published---international-journal-of-screendance

Documentary photography I was commissioned to shoot by the What Matters Festival in 2012 has been published in the academic International Journal of Screendance

Here's a sampler slideshow from assorted documentation assignments. It includes photography from the What If... (2011) , What Matters... (2012) and What Now... (2013)  festivals, and from performance events in Hackney and Brighton, UK (see captions).




[email protected] (effort & style) credit magazine performance samples showreel slideshow https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/2/recently-published---international-journal-of-screendance Thu, 06 Feb 2014 23:53:04 GMT
Airport https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/1/airport  


We arrived a bit early today for our flight from Dortmund.

[email protected] (effort & style) airport travel https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/1/airport Sat, 25 Jan 2014 22:29:44 GMT
The channel of small movements https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/1/the-channel-of-small-movements Here, embedded and streamed, is my 'The channel of small movements' from Vimeo.

Designed for those who are easily over-stimulated. 

Beware that most of these videos are quite quiet but not all of them. Best stand by your volume control.



[email protected] (effort & style) small movements stream video vimeo https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2014/1/the-channel-of-small-movements Sun, 05 Jan 2014 21:59:54 GMT
Isabel https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/12/20005  


This image began as an exercise in shadow-casting of an ornamental giraffe which stands about 1.5m high. She has the name Isabel and was spotted in a second hand shop in Kassel in Germany during a visit to Documenta in 2007.

Three lessons:

  1. play ambient music while working;
  2. treat the session as the main object of the working day;
  3. for each set up that is lit and working, lock off the camera and shoot many small variations of each composition.


[email protected] (effort & style) Lynch Lynchian couch cushion giraffe hand settee shadow sofa https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/12/20005 Sun, 01 Dec 2013 19:06:53 GMT
20000 https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/11/20000  


Portrait of the artist at 20,000 days old.

This shot is inspired by a 1985 photograph titled 'Lace' taken in Paris for Femme magazine,  by fashion photographer Jean Loup Sieff.

I solemnly promise I'm not wearing anything kinky underneath. Given the significance of the day, I really ought to have been.



[email protected] (effort & style) 20000 couch diaversary hand man settee sieff sofa https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/11/20000 Sun, 24 Nov 2013 02:18:45 GMT
Found in the scenery https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/11/found-in-the-scenery


'Difference between one who knows and one who undergoes" performance by Claudia Kappenberg at Froebel College, University of Roehampton.

Claudia's performance uses the figure of the garden gnome; one requirement is for the figure to be encountered or discovered in the landscape.

To document the performance for presentation in Claudia's seminar later the same evening I used a Quantum flash with a parabolic reflector to throw a pool of light from a distance.


At the end of the afternoon I saw  in the grounds a larch tree whose pine needles were turning yellow. I used the flash to throw some extra light on the reflective tree:

[email protected] (effort & style) dusk froebel gnome larch light lighting of out parabolic picking pool quantum reflector roehampton https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/11/found-in-the-scenery Wed, 20 Nov 2013 23:54:52 GMT
Plötzlich https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/11/plotzlich PlötzlichRotating poplars.  

My favourite German word so far is 'plötzlich'. If you fancy some mild plötzlich play the video. 


This line of poplars is on the train journey between London and Norwich I was making frequently in 2012-13.

I took a score or so of similar videos in each direction. A savoured encounter on my 'pilgrimage to meaning' (Grayson Perry, 2013 Reith Lectures)


[email protected] (effort & style) align alignment journey moment perspective plötzlich rotation snow surprise train trees video viewpoint https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/11/plotzlich Thu, 14 Nov 2013 16:35:11 GMT
Sky to be roped off https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/11/sky-to-be-roped-off

The Mgt of this year's Lord Mayor's show on Saturday may* have expressed concern that, due to its popularity, people may overspill into the sky. To avoid this it could be that the sky will be entirely roped off from the public along the Thames between Waterloo and Blackfriars bridges.

An official is believed to have thought in the proximity of a reporter "We need to keep the sky completely clear of the general public for aesthetic and safety reasons. We always get a few bright sparks with their heads in the clouds."


*Or indeed,  may not have.

[email protected] (effort & style) London control crowd fireworks public safety satire spoof text-over https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/11/sky-to-be-roped-off Thu, 07 Nov 2013 20:16:20 GMT
Threat to the vitality of London's local economies https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/11/threat-to-the-vitality-of-londons-local-economies  

Sad pebble-dash house with boarded up windows and door with overlayed text: Thriving communities need local businesses.Thriving communities need local businesses. My image - CC Licence - feel free to re-use.


The best parts of London - the ones that seem vital, are populous and feel safe, are areas where business and residencies co-exist.

But these vibrant communities are under threat. 

Because of the suspension of part of the planning law, business use can now be changed to residential use with much reduced grounds for appeal.

This is likely to benefit landlords and developers, and to harm local communities where business and residential use co-exist. Local small businesses and employers will likely be priced out of their accommodation because landlords can make a lot of money* from residential property developers.

These consequences are starting to play themselves out where I live in north London. The economic fabric of this and other local communities is being undermined.

The suspension of this part of planning law may have been designed to increase housing, but it's a flawed adjustment if it means providing housing at the expense of healthy communities.

Today I used the petition at change.org to ask Eric Pickles the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to remove the suspension of this part of planning law.


More on the web:


*Find out more about why house prices are so high.



[email protected] (effort & style) Eric Pickles campaign economy government local planning sme village https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/11/threat-to-the-vitality-of-londons-local-economies Tue, 05 Nov 2013 23:22:23 GMT
Angular rasa https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/8/angular-rasa Charroux table

I took a few shots of this table, aligning different edges with the frame.

This version proved the most revealing; here, the table, which is a rectangle in plan view, is rotated anti clockwise by a few degrees in frame. This throws off our normal perception of perspective. It's like the table is twisting.

I was drawn to take this shot at first by the apricot, the apricot's shadow and the hole.

What's next in that series? Something extra-dimensional? Something moving? Time?

The distorted plane suggests the defiance of terrestrial gravity. It suggests the idea of orbiting.

The hole in the middle of the table reminds me of the billiard ball in the centre of the big bed sheet of space-time distortion, our 3d-world metaphor for gravity. Despite that, the gravitational centre of this shot seems to come from somewhere out of the picture.

Is the apricot on its way there? Did it pop up through the hole? Is it gathering momentum and about to use the table as a jumping off point?

And when you ask for non-Newtonian apricots in the shops does anyone have them?


Taken in the garden of Ali and Jean, Charroux, France, August 2013.

[email protected] (effort & style) composition distortion documentation perspective table https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/8/angular-rasa Thu, 29 Aug 2013 21:54:51 GMT
Hindsgaul https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/7/hindsgaul

I found this model on ebay. Thirty quid and a return train trip to Rainham, Kent, is all she cost. 

I was inspired by a posed shot of Audrey Hepburn copyright Paramount pictures 1956 which is dominated by a white prop that runs diagonally through the frame along which Hepburn rests her white-gloved left arm. By contrast Hindsgaul, here, is armless and designed to be semi-reclining.

I had to make a big mess of our drawing room to get this lighting.

Set up for shinsgaul hoot


[email protected] (effort & style) hat hindsgaul mannequin studio https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/7/hindsgaul Mon, 29 Jul 2013 01:12:01 GMT
This weekend my contribution to the UK’s snow photos have... https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/1/41052225775

This weekend my contribution to the UK’s snow photos have used the chance element introduced by travelling at approx 90mph on a speeding train.

There is just enough time to see a possible subject approaching and, with my Canon S100 compact lens set to widest, iso 400 and f2.0 the shutter speed is about 1/2000.

Some levels/exposure adjustments but no colour proccessing or cropping used on this one apart from a tilt towards the vertical of a degree or so.

Strange shapes in sky are reflections in the train window.

[email protected] (effort & style) composition moving target snow train https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2013/1/41052225775 Sun, 20 Jan 2013 03:00:00 GMT
Poegraphy https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2012/9/32532695248 effort & style: Isn

I’ve been taking some lines from poems I love to inspire a selection of photos I'd already taken. I like to be ahead of the game.

Anyone can practise this with fuzzy felt - being ahead of the game, or being already taken.

I'm still waiting to find some fuzzy felt I love. On the other hand I have often felt fuzzy love. Was it really fuzzy love I felt?

And talking of poegraphy here’s a performance poet in a video titled ‘Poegraphy part 2’.

[email protected] (effort & style) leaf poem poetry https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2012/9/32532695248 Sat, 29 Sep 2012 02:00:00 GMT
Today I was invited to take photos of a performance in Hackney... https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2012/9/32137520863

Today I was invited to take photos of a performance in Hackney Wick, devised as a part of a workshop by the performance artist Alastair MacLennan.

It was raining a lot.  I attached a brolly to my tripod to keep my camera dry but the improvised contraption was not useful-  I had to jump about a lot to get the pictures.

Later I found a shorter, dry person standing underneath it taking pictures.

My main camera got so wet it stopped working.

I carry slung on my hip a compact camera too. But it felt that, being even denser in gimmicks per unit volume than my konked-out DSLR, I might just as well lay it down in one of the puddles and make little waves over it.

So from that point I was able to be a proper spectator and watch the show. It was - and all in a good way - absurd, slow, wet, dribbly, foamy, muttering, messy, dense, untidy.  

I would liken it to opening the fridge door in a long-empty house and finding inside things you don’t recognise and some things that probably normally wouldn’t need to be in there.

But you’re hungry so you keep digging further back for - well, it’s got to be an unopened pack of fish fingers within their sell-by date really - but the fridge goes back an unheimlichly long way. You reach as far back as your arm can go and get hold of something firm. You’ve found a banana wrapped in cling film. And it’s sticking out of someone’s mouth.

[email protected] (effort & style) Alastair MacLennan Hackney Wick performance shoot https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2012/9/32137520863 Sun, 23 Sep 2012 01:45:00 GMT
What Matters https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2012/4/what-matters This weekend I'm shooting documentary stills for the What Matters festival at Siobhan Davies Studios in Lambeth. The curators particularly would like images which show the engagement of the audience with the work. They liked the images I supplied that were like that for the What If... festival 2 years ago.

The technical challenge is representing installations typically including moving images in low ambient light requiring long exposure. The main quality risk is over-exposed highlights which are unrecoverable. 

The editorial challenge is to make pictures where the work is identifiable but the audience is somewhat generalised.

For static installations I shall experiment with some long exposures for general shots to capture the audience but to blur individuals beyond easy personal recognition.

I intend to use unidirectional soft (reflected) light to raise the ambient light level and improve the modelling.







[email protected] (effort & style) documentation job technique https://www.effortandstyle.com/blog/2012/4/what-matters Fri, 13 Apr 2012 22:30:36 GMT