The Three Green Men: Symmetry Exhibition, National Arts Festival 2017

My solo exhibition – Symmetry – is at the Carinus Arts Centre for the National Arts Festival from 29 June to 9 July 2017. I’ve decided to write a series of posts about the images that are in it so that you can see what it is about.  When you walk into the exhibition you’ll immediately pass by the three green men.  One of them is so striking that I chose it for the poster and advertising.  Here he is.

Äsperöd Green Man Final

It’s an image of a Scots Pine tree (tal in Swedish) deep in the forest near our apartment in Äsperöd, Sweden.  I’ve mirrored it into two and also overlaid the image on itself.  This is the original.

Äsperöd Green Man Original

I took the picture one evening last September (early autumn in Sweden) when the light was soft and diffuse.  That meant I got an image with lots of detail and I could increase the contrast and saturation in post production to give the final picture more impact.

The Green Man is thought to be a pagan symbol of rebirth – that’s according to Wikipedia anyway – and found in architectural motifs right across Europe.  It’s usually a face made of branches, leaves, fruit and vines.  That’s certainly the case with the second green man too.

Göta Green Man Final

This image’s of an oak (ek) tree showing the first autumn colours and I’ve used the identical processes of mirroring and overlay on it.  The foliage is far more dense and so the image is much more richly textured.

Göta Green Man Original

I took the original at lunchtime whilst walking in the nature reserve above the Göta River in Trollhättan.  Once again I made sure that the light was soft and diffuse.  The third green man is a little different.  He’s an artefact made of driftwood in Lars Vilk’s amazing construction called Nimis  located in Skåne.

Nimis Green Man Final

I like the way he just stands there with his arms on his hips.  There’s something oriental, almost samurai-like, about his presence as though he’s covered in armour. Here’s the original picture.  It’s taken with a fish-eye lens from the walkway that tunnels between the towers.

Nimis Green Man Original

It was an overcast, drizzly October day so I managed to get all three images to complement each other nicely in terms of light conditions.

Valla Gård – a walk with the fisheye lens

One of the nice things about staying in Valla Folkhögskola is that it’s right next to lovely walks through Valla Gård – with all of its historic treasures of rural life in Sweden – and into the forest beyond. Of course, it’s also handy for going to conferences on the Valla campus of Linköping University which is why I was there last week.

I’ve been taking lots of pictures lately using the body cap fish eye lens for my Olympus.  I find that taking just one lens with me means I get used to what it will, or will not, do and here’s a range of the pictures I took with it.  The students were doing a group project and I bumped into them one lunchtime and asked if they minded me taking their picture.  As you can see, some of them had to be dressed as fictional characters.  The rest of the pictures were taken one evening and I experimented with different foregrounds beneath the interesting cloud formations.

 

Fantasy trees

A couple of weeks ago I posted this picture on Facebook.  It’s one of my favourite trees catching the warm sunshine: full of twisty arching shapes. At the time my good friend Harry Owen said he could see an artwork coming on …. he was right.

Äsperöd Gnarly

Äsperöd Gnarly

I’ve managed to find some time to work with it and I’m pretty happy with these two images. They’re full of mirroring and overlay and to me they’re fantasy works.  This first one overlays an image of the forest floor to give a warm rich texture.

Äsperöd Mushroom Fantasy

Äsperöd Mushroom Fantasy

The second one rotates the trees and the cross processing of the overlaid images gives some amazing blue and red tints.  There’s a completely different feel to it.

Äsperöd Fantasy

Äsperöd Fantasy

This is still a work in progress and hopefully I’ll be putting up more pictures as my ideas develop.

Äsperöd lights

Last night Äsperöd had clear skies with a distant Aurora forecast so I headed up the hill after it eventually got dark. I was looking for a band of green on the northern horizon that merges into pinks and purples before the black of the night sky above. Uddevalla city lights put paid to seeing anything low on the horizon but I did manage to capture the soft pinks and purples.

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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

 

 

Nordic nights 3: some autumn star trails in Sweden

As well as the northern lights I was able to take some lovely pictures of the stars wheeling across the night skies when I was in Sweden.  Hundby is a good place to do this as it is right out in the countryside with very few city lights anywhere near.  The first picture is a 45 minute exposure using my Olympus’s live composition feature.  It was helped enormously by a car driving past during the shoot that lit up the whole of the foreground.  The rising moon behind the trees also casts a lovely glow in the thin clouds.

Hundby 29/09/2015 20:34:34

Hundby 29/09/2015 20:34:34

The second picture is a slightly longer exposure of 50 minutes taken from the viewpoint up above our apartment at Äsperöd.  It’s looking due north with the lights of Uddevalla to the west and the row of trees masking the bright lights of Äsperöd.  A flask of hot coffee kept me warm whilst taking this shot as it was a cold frosty night.

Uddevalla 14/10/2014 21:29:57

Uddevalla 14/10/2014 21:29:57