Portals Exhibition: cloudscapes and skylines

One of the unusual things about taking the portals pictures is that I am often looking for an image to complete.  So I look for quirky shapes that can be combined into something intriguing, different and provocative.  Fortunately for me there are plenty of trees in and around Grahamstown with strange forms which provide me with great material – especially at sunset when the light is changing rapidly.

PJ Olivier gray sunset

PJ Olivier red bands

There’s a hook at the top of the trunk of this leaning tree, with slanted bands of clouds behind.  When I cropped through the hooked tree and copied, flipped and joined I got the following two images.

PJ Archway

PJ Red Archways

The shapes of the clouds now focus your eyes on the strange silhouette in the centre of the image.  One of these will go into the Portals Exhibition but I haven’t been able to make my mind up which it will be.

Portals Exhibition: fjord landscapes

I stayed in a delightful, and tiny, cottage at Lindesnäs on a steep hillside above Byfjorden for a number of autumns.  It was a long way from my work in Uddevalla, Sweden, but the tranquility and beautiful landscapes made it a great place for photography.

Cottage at Lindesnäs

Cottage at Lindesnäs

September mornings often brought a thick mist before sunrise and as the sun burnt through there were ethereal views of the trees and shoreline.  When it was very still the reflections and the mist made the trees and islands below the cottage appear to be floating.

Byfjorden in the mist

Byfjorden in the mist

In this picture from the Portals exhibition you are almost pulled along into the waterway between the headlands.  It is one of the earliest of the images I’m showing at this years’s National Arts Festival.

Byfjorden mirror

Byfjorden mirror



Portals Exhibition: early images

The dead eucalyptus trees on Mountain Drive were my earliest interest: their stark branches against a clear winter sky for example.  This old tree is right next to the gravel road and I’ve photographed it a number of times.  As you pass by it rears up against the skyline.  The interlocking branches remind me of a cat’s cradle of fingers, praying hands or the tracery in a gothic church window.

Mt Drive Archway

Clean images and simple subject matter are typical of my early symmetry pictures. The original for this picture was taken in July 2014 just after the big fire that swept across the hillside.  The storms that have followed have all but demolished the tree now.

Mt Drive Archway Original


Portals Exhibition: National Arts Festival Fringe 2016

I’ll be presenting an exhibition of my photography – Portals – at this year’s National Arts Festival. There are six months to go before the Festival and I’m going to try and upload a picture more or less every week.
The exhibition shows how I use mirroring of imagery – usually nature photography – to find new perspectives of the world around us. The human brain is very adept at finding patterns and translating images and my pictures highlight the spiritual, intriguing, fantastical, meditative and striking depths of the world around us.
I’m starting with three pictures to illustrate this.

Natalie Eyes

The first one is the original image. Two eyes are peering straight at the camera through the naturally torn membrane of a large lily leaf. The green backlight and shadows make the picture a little mysterious – it’s hard to see who the person really is and what she is enigmatically gazing at.  The next two pictures are made from splitting the picture down her nose and duplicating each eye-half in turn. The duplicates are flipped over and joined to its mate.  So the next pictures are actually of two right eyes and two left eyes.  I’ve filtered the images using FX Studio PRO to get the striking textures and colours.

Natalie Metallica

It’s easy to see quite a different mood between the two images. The first one reminds me of a moulded metal face-plate.

Natalie Textured

The second one is far more aggressive, questioning, almost frightening.  I’ll be using the Natalie Metallica in the exhibition.
Model: Natalie Ellis