Sunday 23 December 2012

56-Up... branching out into loco livery design

Back in the summer... or may have been earlier, its hard to recall, a railway mag ran a competition on behalf of a new railfreight company to design a livery for their newly-purchased class 56 locos.  Me and Amy thought we'd have a go, and so set to work...

Mine first, and relatively traditional- it played with the Union Flag motif- well, 2012 was Jubilee year, so it seemed to make sense.  It used the design of the Britannia Railways logo from the model village project, and I tried a variety of shades, settling on one quite light and colourful...

Amy went down a different route, deciding to go for the modern vinyl-type livery application, where any picture or photo could be used, and thought of having a nice eyecatching pic, in her case, going for shots from her 'Light Trails' project.

Naturally the competition ended and a far more conventional livery was chosen, but it was fun to try anyway.  I had thought about producing a model to see what the design was like in the real world, but found it far easier to have a bit of a meddle around with photoshop and mod a couple of pics I took of a Class 56 visiting the KWVR back in summer 2011.

Finally broken up from work for Christmas
In Yorkshire

Saturday 15 December 2012

Through the Wardrobe...

I like the occasions when I can combine the Day Job with the Art Job, and this was one such occasion:  I recently started working at East Riddlesden Hall, a National Trust property in Keighley.  Each year the Hall hosts a Santa's Grotto, and this year it was decorated up on a loosely Narnia theme, largely because we were very kindly loaned the remaining decorations from a Narnia-themed wedding held on site the week before. 

The team at East Rids have worked hard to transform the old kitchens into a Grotto, and wanting to make some positive contribution, and so I thought I'd offer to do some piccies for the Halls Facebook account... 

'Aslan' sat in the snow, near to a (don't worry, very effective, fake L.E.D) candle...

Just a quick commission then, but it was nice as I haven't done something like this for a while.  Anyway, now a shameless plug for the event :)


Saturday 8 December 2012


South Square Gallery

Just a quick post- two of my pics from my "Intercity" series are on display at the South Square Gallery, in Thornton, Bradford.
They're up as part of the "Dromology" show, which is a somewhat open brief, all about the logic of movement.  Quite the mix of work on display, mainly fine art installation pieces. 

Its a nice little gallery, charmingly rustic (given its conversion from an old building), and there's a couple of other decent shows on too at the moment.  Interestingly, my work has been mounted on Dibond, which is something I'd heard of but never used before- basically a sheet of aluminium.

Another image from the series.

Following the gallery opening, we went out for a curry as part of a scout leaders unofficial xmas do, and despite how nice it was seeing my work up in another gallery, probably the highlight of the evening was Amy and myself (and another leader) getting the Midnight Owl ice cream, which came in a cool moneybox/toy container ;)  We are mature photographers.  Honest.


Thursday 6 December 2012

Gallery Visits: Eastside Projects, Birmingham

We've decided to start a new, and occasional, series on the blog, documenting our visits to various galleries.  This time, a visit to: Eastside Projects, Digbeth, Birmingham, West Midlands.

We ended up combining a visit to see relatives with a bit of photography-related goings-on recently, involving a trip to Mordor (sorry, Birmingham New Street Railway Station) and a gallery visit.  Travelling to Birmingham always reminds me that much as I like photographing trains, I somewhat hate actually using them, especially if the target destination is the subterranean concrete hell which is Birmingham New Street.  A little walk across town though took us to Birmingham Eastside in Digbeth, home to a lot of the cities art and performance related effort.
   I’d last properly visited the are around the Custard Factory some years ago, and was pleased to see it still flourishing.  Lots of nice retro shops, little galleries, and cool sculpture pieces centred around these wonderful old buildings, tucked in amongst brick viaducts and old industry.  After visiting a rather nice exhibition showing drawings of dead celebrities (sounds gruesome, was actually very educational, with some brilliant drawings on display in a friendly show) we headed for the target for this little trip into Brum, Eastside Projects:

Eastside Projects is a gallery set up a few years ago, and is located in a very large ex-industrial building which has been converted into a nice space for displaying large-scale artwork.  I was rather taken with the slightly utilitarian, factory-atmosphere of the place combined with the classic white/grey colour scheme. 
   An old friend of ours, Bethan (who I’ve known since sixth-form) works for the gallery, and has been inviting us down to visit the place for nearly a year now, but the day-jobs have always prevented us putting in an appearance up until now.  Very pleased to have been able to get there finally to see this space.

   The gallery was showing an abstract-themed mix of artwork, though typically for my tastes I was rather more taken with the simply fantastic shed-like piece below, which is upcycled from an old piece of large-scale interactive sculpture.  Does rather make me wish I’d gone for something more adventurous with our own garden shed, but I digress.  I love the upcycling idea that this gallery pushes as its philosophy, using old works to create new, as its very much something we do ourselves to avoid too much wastage with our work.

   Rather than my rabbiting on about the show and the gallery, its probably better to let you read their own info about it all, so here's the link to the site:

   I have to say that as good as the art was (and I did enjoy the show), it was the space I was most interested in- as much as I like visiting the ‘big’ galleries like the Tate Modern, I do prefer these sorts of smaller galleries- as regards Birmingham itself, Eastside is slightly more improvised, perhaps a little less polished compared to places like the Ikon which tends to steal the limelight a bit.  I’ve always found places like Eastside a more comfortable viewing experience; less pretencions, more friendly and welcoming.  Personally I’d love to see more places like this, especially in West Yorkshire where there doesn’t really seem to be a middle ground between the relatively small but enthusiastic places like South Square and the giants like Impressions Gallery.  I suppose Handmade in Bradford in the centre is the nearest equivalent in our neck of the woods…  I have to say though that I really enjoyed our visit to Eastisde, and thanks to Bethan for inviting us and giving us the tour, and such an informative visit.  The gallery is a little off the beaten track for a lot of people in Brum, but the whole area around Digbeth is great for artists, and we will definitely be popping back to see other shows around there, and badgering people relentlessly to go see stuff at that gallery.

   In related news, I have dropped off some pics with South Square for an upcoming show back up here in t’North- more on this soon…  And we will be doing more of this gallery-pimping-articles soon, next probably a bit about Cupola in Sheffield who have been fantastically friendly to Amy and myself over the last 18 months.  One of the problems we found when setting out into the big wide world after Uni was that we never had any proper guidance about approaching galleries or exhibiting, so we kind of want to share our experiences a bit as regards the matter, in the hope that it might help some other people...

In the snow, in Yorkshire

Wednesday 5 December 2012


   Something a bit out of the ordinary for us recently - we usually photograph weddings in traditional church settings, but for this one we were doing something new.  My cousin was getting married, and we offered to do the photos for free as a present.  The venue was Hull KR’s ground, Craven Park.  Most of the wedding was held in the Presidents Suite which was decorated really smartly, but the outdoor pictures were really unusual for us.

 Usually we have a garden or something to shoot pics in, but in this case we were offered the use of the ground.  Unfortunately the pitch was too wet, so we ended up in the (arguably better) stands.  So lots of great photos with the guests as spectators, and the red seats helping with the red/white theme of the wedding (useful for doing a bit of spot-colouring, as above).

A final wierd shot- whilst playing with doing long-exposures, we managed to steal backlighting from another guests flash, resulting in the above effect...

All in all, great fun, and something nicely unusual for us.