Portals Exhibition: Two Mosaics

It’s been exciting this past couple of weeks seeing everything start to take shape. There will be 19 large format photographs for sale either as limited edition prints or as digital images at reduced size and resolution.  A further 20 images from Symmetry in Nature will also be for sale in digital format along with the remaining six copies of the limited edition print run of the book.

I compiled two mosaics of all of the images that will be on view at the exhibition so it’s easy to see what’s on offer.

Portals Mosaic Final Small Blog Version

Portals Exhibition

Symmetry in Nature

Symmetry in Nature

The pictures have been printed and the framing has started.  Here’s the first two images that were waiting to be collected yesterday from Classic Framers in Grahamstown.

For collection …


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

New directions

This past six weeks I’ve been exploring new ideas and finding some new directions in my nature photography.  Since finishing Symmetry in Nature in January I have been full of the urge to create but I was only able to follow this once I got to Sweden and Finland in April and May.  The places I have stayed have been exceptionally beautiful and because I’ve been released from the usual routines then I have let myself go.

You can see from these three pictures that I’ve spent plenty of times in the forests with the trees searching for, and finding, their hidden imagery.

Symmetry in Nature: Published

It’s been a bit of a journey this past few weeks but today I’ve seen the end result and it’s a great feeling.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 5.25.58 PM


You get a full preview of Symmetry in Nature in blurb’s online bookstore where you can purchase a hard copy or pdf version. The pdf file is for download and it’s quite large: over 300MB. Thanks to blurb’s software I have also coverted the book into an ebook (that’s the iPad iBooks format) which is free and a much smaller download at less than 30MB. Click the picture below for the direct link.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 5.40.25 PM

Looking back over the past year I can see that working on the imagery and then producing the book has been a fruitful and enriching experience. A process that has set me on a new creative direction at a difficult time.  I’d like to thank my family and friends for all of their encouragement and appreciation.


Symmetry in Nature: Preview

It’s a couple of months since I posted about the book project. There’s been plenty to work on: finding the right online publisher, deciding on the layout, selecting and reworking images, tracking down picture details, drawing the maps and then composing the book. Here is a preview of the covers: you are looking at the book opened out and face down so the back cover is to the left of the spine.

Symmetry in Nature: Covers

After a bit of research I chose blurb to work with as they publish a lot of photo books and their BookSmart software is free. They also give the option to convert your book into an eBook for publication in Apple’s iBook store. Which is something I will be doing very shortly. My book has a large square format since the images don’t come in standard sizes..  That’s meant laying out each page separately with an image and the original picture I worked from plus a short caption.  Here are two pairs of pages from the Mosses and Lichens and Trees sections.

Symmetry in Nature: Mosses and Lichens


Symmetry in Nature: Trees

I realised that I am not the first person to construct striking and evocative imagery through mirroring and duplicating.  What I have done in the book, though, is to add value to the pictures so that it is much more than just a set of lovely and intriguing images.  The book is divided into seven sections depending on the aspect of nature involved. Then I have added a brief description for each picture and included one or two small photographs of people and places.  Here is a two page spread from the Leaves section.

Symmetry in Nature: Leaves

At the end of the book I composed two pages of typical South African and Swedish landscapes so that the reader gets a better appreciation of the places where the pictures were taken.  Each page has a location map, list of where the pictures were taken, a panorama and four typical landscapes.

Symmetry in Nature: Landscapes

The book ends with a page showing how I constructed the images and there’s a complete listing of the technical details of all of the photographs.  It’ll be 54 pages in all. I am just waiting for ISBN numbers to be issued for the hard copy and eBook then it’ll be uploaded and published!