Next week it’s the 16th St Gemma’s Hospice Leeds Art & Photography Exhibition & Sale 2016 in Leeds, and I’m contributing to this great cause by exhibiting 8 images (below) all of which are available to buy on the day.
The event will be held at The Grammar School at Leeds in Alwoodley. A percentage of the sale price from each piece of art goes towards the vital work of St Gemma’s Hospice. As always, there will be work from a wide range of artists across the city, with something to suit every budget.The exhibition runs from 27th-30th October and costs £3 per person to enter.
Leeds Light Night provided a great excuse to take the camera out after dark and capture some unusual images of usual scenes. Handheld @iso1600 to freeze the motion. Attached to tripod with a 4 second exposure to capture motion. Post processed in Lightroom & Analog Efex Pro 2 to add an extra dimension.
“I don’t get it” snorted the women passing our Artsmix stall last Saturday. “It’s a boat and a house, I don’t get it!”. “It’s art” I said. “It’s autistic” she replied. “I don’t get it” she repeated to her friends shaking her head as she walked off, “it’s just a boat and a house” and that, I suppose, was me told.
But I love this image. I love the colours and contrast in the stone. I love the symmetry of the picture juxtaposed with the irregularity of the stonework. I love the tones in the boat. I love the sense of age and decay and mood. I love the sense of place and time, and times past. I love the gradual reclaiming of human habitation and activity by nature. I love that in a 100, 200, 500 and 1000 years, the essence of the scene will remain the same, but the man made objects will erode, whilst nature exerts her ultimate authority.
So who’s right, me with my over analysis and poetic pretensions, or the lady with her no nonsense, straight forwardness? Well I guess we both are. Art is subjective after all!
To compress or to uncompress? That is the question.
Since I starting shooting with the RX1rII I’ve always had the format firmly set to uncompressed RAW on the (not unreasonable) assumption that though my memory cards might now hold only half the images, my disk drive is constantly full, and my post-processing time is twice as long, for an IQ gain, however marginal, it has to be worth it, right?
But for my upcoming trip to Nepal and 10 day trek to Everest Base Camp, I’ll need to squeeze as many shots as humanly possible onto each memory card and can’t waste valuable power reviewing, editing and deleting images. It was time to test the (not unreasonable) assumption and so I stole off into Leeds for 40 minutes of shooting, using both compressed and uncompressed formats.
The result? Absolutely no difference in IQ whatsoever. The only way I could tell which were which was the load times in Lightroom. The test might have been quick, and might have been unscientific, but for me it’s absolutely conclusive. I’ll head of to Nepal with the format set to compressed and happy that the resulting images might be half the size, but every bit the equal of their uncompressed brethren.
But it does leave one question, what the hell are those other 40 gigabytes doing?
All shots were taken hand held in Aperture mode. Post processing adjustments in Lightroom were exactly the same (copy settings) for each pair of images except when taking into account different shutter speeds and therefore exposures.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the last two Artsmix markets have been my all time worst
in terms of sales with only 3 pictures sold. Even those ever dependable East Coast shots of Staithes and Whitby have stalled, and a desperate attempt at supermarket style BOGOF offers failed to generate any interest whatsoever. What’s more, as my sales have fallen off a cliff, Anthony’s
sales have soared helped by some wonderful shots of Lake district sun rises (see link below). Add to that, the records clearly show that all my attempts to improve the product -mounting, backing, packaging, signing – have made absolutely no difference to sales or profit. Mmmm…
Why? Well who knows. There’s no discernible pattern and every hypothesis is immediately disproven. Right now it just seems like sheer luck; the pure randomness of the right person rocking up and connecting with the right image. If this magic happens then
bingo, and every other factor, including price, pales into insignificance.
So only one thing to do then, find some ways to improve my luck!
And the lack of sales did give me time to play with my iPhone camera panorama mode!
While I work on this luck thing I guess it can do no harm to bring a couple of new pictures to the Market, variety is, after all, the spice of life, and so I’ve printed and framed up a couple of images from our recent trip to the Isle of Harris. Let’s hope that a shopper’s coach outing from the Outer Hebrides, armed with pockets full of hard cash, happens to be in Leeds on Saturday!
What Difference Does a Design Make?
If you’re reading this post now, and you’ve visited the site before, you may have noticed a few changes. Though the content is largely the same the site is based on different theme; the blog and collections, which before were separate sites, have been brought together into one; and the categories and tags have been rationalised. Perhaps the biggest difference is that instead of presenting the last blog post in full, the home page presents a list of posts with a snippet and featured image.
Has all this effort been worthwhile? Well the numbers tell the story with the average visitor to view ratio leaping up from 2.5 to 6.5 over the last four days! And the variety of images clicked on has widened significantly, so people are taking more time to look at more stuff. Whether this will be sustained it’s too early to say, but so far the re-design is looking good.
It was a beautiful sunny day at Saturday’s Leeds Artsmix Market. Hope’s were high with a position next to the fudge stall guaranteeing a constant stream of traffic, and sure enough fudge of every possible flavour was soon being devoured by the hungry and happy Leodises.
But as the morning wore on, and the crowds at the award winning fudge stall grew, at our photography stall just an inch away, all was silent, not one sale, not even a hint of one.
And then, at about 1pm, the inevitable sugar rush from all that fudge eating hit, and for 40 minutes there was a sudden splurge of interest, conversation, and selling; from nothing to the promise of an excellent day.
It couldn’t last, a sugar rush never can. As abruptly as the selling started it ended, and rather than spending money at the stall the Leodises instead ate their food and drank their wine in the sun, before finishing off the day eating even more fudge.
I myself had a mix of clotted cream and orange & white chocolate flavours, and sampled the salted caramel; all excellent, but the clotted cream fudge was just something else.
Every Artsmix market comes with the near miss of a sale, and as each sale is a precious gift capable of turning a so so day into a glorious one, the near miss is an emotional event. yesterday proved no exception.
Near miss number one was a New Yorker with a month to kill in Leeds on the hunt for an image of Salisbury Cathedral. His father had been stationed in the city for a time during the Vietnam War, very happy to be away from the front line, and though the New Yorker was too young to remember I guess the fondness of the time and place had rubbed off.
Two years ago we’d stayed just a two minute stroll away from the Cathedral and took the opportunity to take some night time shots. I’ll be sure to print one and bring it to the next market just in case a second New Yorker rocks up.
Near miss number two was a mother and daughter combo. The mum, a keen photographer, was taken with an image of Saltburn Pier but wanted a bigger version. The daughter, spotting an opportunity to buy a secret gift, cut an animated figure behind as she mimed the international signal for “do you have an email address“.
But, as we all know, it’s tough to outwit a mum, and so after much secret signalling mum took control of both the situation and the business card. They left to that often heard shopping refrain “You’re so hard to buy for, and when I do find something …” .
At each market I have a favourite sale. Last time around is was Open Doorway in Andalusia. This week it was Bow, an abstract shot of MS Lofoten from our journey up the Norwegian coastline.
Though I love the shot I printed it with no real expectation of a sale; classic shots of Staithes and Whitby being the bread and butter that pay the Market rent. So it was a total pleasure to chat to the lady from Birmingham (I think) about the image, and just fantastic when she returned after 10 minutes to buy the picture.
A week in numbers
Saturday’s seven sales meant that I’ve now racked up over fifty sales and a thousand pounds in turnover. Since I’ve spent almost double that on materials, equipment and set up costs, any thought of profit is consigned to the distant future, but, the idea that the general public of Leeds have liked 50 odd of my photographs enough to be prepared to pay, and more importantly live with in their homes, is reward in itself.
Waking up at 5am to a promising sunrise, I finally got my act together and headed into work to take some images of Leeds Dock and Sky’s Shiny New Technology Campus.
The sunrise didn’t quite materialise but the quality of the early morning light combined with the stillness of the water made the early start worthwhile, whilst the results provided enough material to go completely over the top with Nik Efex Pro.
Click on the images for full size views, and expand to get the full effect of the panorama.
All images shot handheld using the Sony RX1rII, (heavily) post-processed in Lightroom and finished using Nik Efex Pro.