Sunday 28 August 2022

The National Botanic Gardens of Wales

Whilst we're editing some current shoots from this summer, we'll dip back on this sunny Bank Holiday Weekend to a prior Bank Hol, and a trip to the National Botanic Gardens of Wales earlier in the year.

We were very impressed with this place; Amy had been not long after it opened, as a child, and this was the first chance for a return visit.

The indoor area, under the glass roof, was very impressive indeed, and nicely atmospheric.

There were plenty of opportunities for Amy to get more shots as a basis for her "Flowers (Abstract)" series, which is seeing a renewal of interest for exhibitions at the moment.

Just as nice were the variety of nation-specific areas in the surrounding parkland, particularly the Japanese-themed garden.

All in all, a very nice place to visit, and somewhere we'd love to return to in the future.

A cheeky bonus too at the end; a rather nice Birds of Prey Centre was in the grounds, so here's a rather characterful bird that was enjoying striking some poses for us.


Communications Update; we're now on Instagram!

Just a really quick blog post tonight; for the last decade or so, we've had a Facebook page for our art and photography, but increasingly we've been finding FB a bit clunky, and the algorithm doesn't do us any favours, burying our posts underneath layers of ads, links to TikTok vids, and other randomness.  Anyway, we're gradually winding-down the Facebook page, and instead, we've jumped on the Insta bandwagon:

Don't expect pictures of us trout-pouting in front of ring-lights and the like, but we intend to start mentioning blog posts through there, as well as behind-the-scenes shots of the various projects, publications, and so on that we're undertaking.  Thanks for looking, and hopefully we'll be rapidly increasing the content on there shortly!


Saturday 20 August 2022

KWVR in the Snow, Feb 2022

Having just endured the second Heatwave of the summer, and apparently about to go through another, let's go all the way back to February of this year, when an unexpected, sudden fall of snow opened up some opportunities for some railway photography in the Worth Valley... With quite the backlog of posts to upload, it seems the best place to start, as this was immediately before I (Ben) started the new Day Job, and posting on the blog took a back seat.

D0226 "Vulcan" is looming there in the blizzard.

Damems Lane looked quite festive.

We (me , Younger, and Elder Childs) went up to Damems Station to get a shot of the afternoon steam service.

2MT 78022 rolls to a halt.

Extreme low-angle, taken by poking the phone through a gap at the end of the crossing gates.

The shot of "Vulcan" got into the Pic of the Day feature...

...and "Heritage Railway" picked up a shot of 78022 as well.


Wednesday 3 August 2022

Exhibitions; Spring and Summer 2022

OK, so even by our standards that's a very long run without a blog post.  In our defence, Amy's job got very full-on, and I (Ben) started a new full-time day job.  We have, however, kept up with the art and photography, so we thought we ought to get on with some updates.  So, for this post, a look at some of the exhibitions we've entered work for over the Spring and Summer.

Cupola Gallery, Sheffield; Living with the Past (Summer 2022)

We've been showing with Cupola for over a decadenow, though most of our recent work has been more on the arts/crafts side.  The open call "Living with the Past" provided an opportunity for me to dig out a very old (University-era) project, "Non-Space".

The brief called for documentary pics of abandoned or neglected areas, so I revisited places from my childhood, such as the canal under the motorway at Langley Green, near where I grew up...

...and Maes Artro, an abandoned museum in Wales which I visited as a child on camping holidays.

This is one of my favourite photographs from Wales, the mothballed Nuclear Power Station at Trawsfynned.  

Of the photographs sent in, Cupola chose the above shot, from Dudley Zoo...

...and this one, from RAF Llanbedr, at Shell Island (we'd pass this base regularly when on trips to the beach whilst camping.  I saw this go from active military airfield, to abandoned, and now it's open again as a civilian airport).  Actually one of the interesting things with re-visiting an old project is to see what comes around and goes around.  Dudley Zoo has been gradually refurbished (and was utterly heaving when we visited in the Easter), Maes Artro is now a luxury holiday site, Llanbedr is an airport, the Motorway has been rebuilt and the concrete cancer fixed, and even Trawsfynned power station is going to be re-activated, if you believe the local rumour mill.

Speaking of Cupola, Amy had some of her Ceramics on show there earlier in the year, which we don't think was mentioned on the blog; amongst the selection in this shot, the angular vase, and the flower/petal bowls to its right.

"Summer" at the Open Gallery, Halifax, June-July 2022

A new venue for us, and a chance spot on the excellent CuratorSpace listing/art site.  Open Gallery in Halifax is a smashing, friendly gallery above a row of shops in the town centre.  It seems to be relatively new, and they're very welcoming.  

Their "Summer" themed open call seemed the perfect opportunity to dig out some shots from the "Inflate-Deflate" project.  We had hoped to shoot some more for this long-runner of a series the last couple of years, but Wales has been incredibly busy, and it's hard in these Staycation-days to find a deserted bit of beach, even at 1am...

We even managed to attend the opening night, which was a bit of a novelty for us, as we've not been to an exhibition opening for about four years.  We did have to have Elder and Younger Child with us, but they were well behaved and the gallery staff didn't seem to mind.

We were left with a very positive impression of the gallery, so naturally, when they announced their next open call for the show following this one, Amy entered it.

"Flora", Open Gallery, Halifax (July-August 2022)

Amy has been working, off-and-on, on her "Flowers Abstract" series since the first lockdown, taking pics in our garden, and digitally manipulating them.  What started as a fun project to pass the time in Lockdown developed into a series, and then into a project at her work for some of her students to try.

With a suitably large body of work to chose from, she entered two pieces...

...and they chose this one, which is presently on display.  Again, we're very happy to have been selected by the gallery (it's always nice to see our work on show), and we look forward to doing more with the Open Gallery perhaps in the future.

So, considering how up to our necks we've been with work, we're happy to have shown four times with two venues so far this year, with one old project, and two ongoing long-runners.  It's prompted us to have a think about making time to produce some new work too, and left us with a desire to try and show some more work in a gallery setting...

Hopefully we'll start blogging properly again soon, we've quite the body of work from the last few months to share.