Fine Art Photography

Sublunary - Alien Invasion of Planet Earth

Fine Art Photography meets Visual Stories

Sublunary - Part 2

As a professional photographer, Father to the most beautiful little toddler in the world and Husband to an equally beautiful Mother; I find it difficult to get out and make personal work.

In 2017, I graduated from University with a High 2:1 in a BA Hons in Photography & Video degree at De Montfort University, where the idea for this project was born.  I began with a long period of time in the library, scouring art books and photographic archives, learning about who, what where, when, why and how specific bodies of work was made.

Surprisingly, I came across some painters and other Fine Art Photographers that worked in similar fields to my research.  One in particular that sticks out in my mind was Photographer Erasmus Schroeter and Painter Max Ernst.

Erasmus Schroeter (2005).

Max Ernst, (N.D.)

I was also heavily inspired by my lecturer (Kosovan) Lala Meredith-Vula who is a contemporary fine art photographer with international recognition.  Lala's ideas about my work and how to get the best out of me was first class and Lala's self confessed crazy mind was a perfect match for the project I had stuck in my head.  She knew just how to get me excited about my own work.

Lala Meredith-Vula

Lala Meredith-Vula

Lala Meredith-Vula (N.D.)

Lala Meredith-Vula (N.D.)

So the body of work for Sublunary began.  I created a series of landscape photographs that followed the narrative of an imaginary alien invasion of the planet Earth.  A tall order you might think?  I just needed the right level of inspiration and a camera.  At the end of creating the work for my degree, I put it all together in a short movie with a spooky sound track that I created myself.  You can watch that below.

I'm now about to embark on a much longer journey that will see me creating a whole new body of work for Sublunary Part 2.  I'll be using my experiences from the first part of the project and will be digging deeper in to my imagination.

Here's a sneaky peek at my first experiment for part 2...

Paul Hands (2018), The Mute.

This is called 'The Mute' and features a landscape photograph that has been manipulated in camera by myself.  I added the red light using the brake lights on my car and chose this location for the crazy tree that could be morphed in to any kind of other worldly creature.  The reverse side of the road sign represents having nothing to say, to be muted and to be stunned by the experience of an alien invasion.  You will see that I've also added a strange shaped metal frame on the right.  This represents an alien being and is the shape of a large humanoid or key hole.  It is hollow and appears invisible with the exception of the outer edges.

The scene is lit like a stage as if the play is being carried out and has undertones of humour, not to be taken seriously.  It's a project that I can literally play and have fun with.  I have a list of locations, that I've been building, so you can watch to see how this develops.

De Montfort University bought the first 5 prints of this project and hold them in their permanent art collection on campus.  You can also read more about this project here.

If you'd like to follow my work then you can subscribe to my emails (below) or follow my social media channels.

Where's the privacy line in Street Photography?

Can you cross a line when shooting street and is there an invasion of privacy?

Man in the Painted Mirror (Hands, Paul. Paris, 2013).

Man in the Painted Mirror (Hands, Paul. Paris, 2013).

In the name of art and the right to record in public places, is the picture that I created in 2013 (above) morally right to create?  The laws in France do not allow people to make photographs of other people in public without their permission, yet some of the greatest photographers from the history books including Eugéne Atget, documented the Parisian streets but long before the laws were changed.

The high court judges altered the privacy laws in France, making it illegal to take a picture of somebody in public unless you have their express permission.  Prior to these changes, some of the most famous photographers in the world like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau worked the streets, making pictures that would go on to influence the world and especially photographers interested in the genre of street photography.  Now today's photographers are strangled with red tape in France and have no chance to even emulate their heroes, that time has gone!

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1932, France).

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1932, France).

Robert Doisneau (1931, France).

Robert Doisneau (1931, France).

In todays current climate, each of the three pictures from Bresson and Doisneau would be deemed illegal and wouldn't be allowed to be created.  Publishing them on social media and or in print would also be illegal.

In Britain, the laws are an opposing reflection of those in France, whereby you can make a picture of anybody and anything, as long as you're stood on public land.  The laws is so relaxed purposefully to allow room for realistic journalism.  If the laws became alike those in France, a new culture of suing photographers would arise and a realistic view of our world would disappear and you'd only see designed pictures with heavy influence from the photographer, giving a false view.

Recently, I practiced some Street Photography in my home town of Hinckley in the Leicestershire county of the UK.  I feel that my best work has always been in different cities around the world where I'm unknown.  The first image in this article was made by me in Paris and is completely against the French laws of privacy.  If the man in the picture ever discovers this photograph, it could land me in a little trouble.  

However, my home town Hinckley is not as busy as Paris and a lot of people know each other, the community is tighter than that of a city and it makes it harder for me to practice my love for this genre.  I have been out and made some pictures, not all good and some only close to ok because it's the hardest form of photography I know of.

I created the above pictures in the town centre with my iPhone and then shared them on my social media page for a social documentary that I've been building for the past 7 years.  The body of work is huge and covers the people, events and changing landscape.

My page is open for the community to have conversations around my photographs with me and with each other and there's no censoring of the communications.  A lady who follows my page commented "I would be absolutely devastated and fuming if I found myself on a photo I knew nothing about, but maybe that’s just me!" (Deborah).  This leads me to wonder whether it's just a lack of knowledge that makes people feel this way but at the same time, forces me to question the entire practice of street photography.

Just because we can, does it mean that we should?

Is making the photograph ok but sharing it on Social Media the problem?

Should the photograph be made in the first place?

Photography always raises questions and so it should!  Without the questions, we could just keep making pictures without ever knowing why.  It's the why that's the most important thing to consider.  What are the intentions?

Bruce Gilden (1988, Haiti).

A New York Photographer called Bruce Gilden is very well known in the industry for his style.  A style that will see Gilden jump in-front of passers-by, with his camera and flash, yes he used flash in strangers faces.  His style is so aggressive that you will even see some photographers curl their toes when watching videos of him.

The UK's very own Bruce Gilden is called Dougie Wallace, a current practicing street / documentary photographer has adopted a similar style to that of Gilden's.  Wallace is no sucker and is far from afraid of shooting in peoples faces.  His aggression is so high that even when confronted by people not wishing to have their photograph taken, he refuses to delete the picture, citing his ownership over it.

Dougie Wallace (2016, London).

Dougie Wallace (2016, London).

Has the world lost it's way?

Why is everyone so offended by photography?

You see, I can't begin to close the questioning!

Another commenter on my pictures said "I agree with Isobel, taking photo's for your own use is fine, but publishing them on a social media platform is a different matter altogether. I know you say you would remove them if requested, but how would people know they are there . . . and if you've already put them on facebook or wherever, it's too late . . other people would have seen them." (Lin).

Lin makes a strong point in favour of not sharing the pictures on Social Media, although I feel that it is pretty much the only window to the world for a photographers work these days.  Traditionally, we'd use exhibitions. gallery spaces and printed books to show the work but nowadays, the work needs to have some kind of presence online before being seen in a show.  It's not the same in all cases but still, what other options are there?

Lucy said "If only people understood the "no permission is required" thing in street photography".

Lucy is right, the law states that we can make the picture if we're in public and the law believes that if you're out in public, how can you expect privacy?

In Britain, we're allowed the right to expect a certain amount of privacy, like if we're in our own homes.  You would think that we're safe from prying lenses.  Luckily we are and technically, if I stood on the street and pointed my lens in to your living room, I'd be legally in the right place but disrespectfully breaking your rights to privacy.

The law is not straight forward.  I'm a firm believer that as long as you have the right intentions and are respectful to those within your frames, make work that doesn't humiliate others, then surely there shouldn't be any objections, or strong ones anyway.

Paul Hands (2017, Birmingham).

Paul Hands (2016, Wirksworth, on a workshop with Paul Hill, Nick Lockett and Martin Shakeshaft.

Paul Hands (2014, Paris).

Paul Hands (2014, Paris).

So of course, there's no line in street photography.   There's just peoples opinions and everybody is right, it's always a 6 or a 9!

People do have a right to some privacy but not really in the street where you're on public view.  Photographers have the right to make art but I believe with that comes a great responsibility because after all, we are dealing with the image of people and in these days, they feel that they need to be more stringent with protecting their own image.  Possibly an inflamed state of paranoia brought about by the media and national news items of identity theft.  Theft of this, theft of that, invasion of privacy is something that can only be enforced if your in private.

The article that I wrote and shared my street photos can be found on the Facebook page I spoke about earlier and read the comments, here... 

 

 

 

 

Art Work For Sale

Photography Art For Sale

I'm having a go at selling some of my art work.  If you're an art collector, buyer or perhaps just want to have some great wall art for your home or work, please feel free to have a look at the microsite I use with the Print Space Hub to host the sales of my art work.

Here are some examples of my work that can be printed.

There are plenty of other choices to look through and with a good mixture of colour prints as well as black and white.

If you'd like to have a closer look at my artwork for sale, then please click this button to visit my microsite.

Futuristic Art in Landscape Photography

I'm in the process of creating a 9 month long body of work for my Bachelor of Arts degree at De Montfort University and in preparation for an exhibition at Freerange, an Old Truman Brewery in London.

I've spent quite a bit of time with the paintings of the German Max Ernst (1891-1976).  This body of work is heavily influenced by some of his works, like this example below.

Max Ernst

As well as the german photographer Erasmus Schroeter (below), known for illuminating nazi war bunkers and putting such tragedy up on the stage for an audience.

I've taken a blend of what these artists have created and been playful with my camera and mind.

The intention behind my work is to almost create a new category of photography; Futuristic escapism within landscape photography and by using nothing but what is available in the environment and with zero impact upon the landscape.  

I'm creating a series of fine art sculptural photographs that herald the subjects at night against dramatic skies and using light to make the scene almost like a theatrical stage for the presentation of the subjects.

My plan for this work is to create a wooden light box from mostly reclaimed materials and to display the work backlit.

Here's a sneak peek at some of the imagery that I've been producing, please feel free to add comments on my work, good or bad.  After all, I'm in the process of making this long body of work and could use your thoughts?

You can comment here and also on my Facebook page.  Please don't pass by without leaving a comment, they really are appreciated.

Paul Hands