Posted on December 17, 2013
Posted on October 11, 2013
I didn’t take a lot of photographs during my last trip to France, that’s not why I went. I went to Bergerac to research and plan a series of workshops I’m planning for next year, that took about four days. I spent the remainder of the two weeks writing and drinking wine, mostly.
I don’t speak a huge amount of French, I’m certainly not up to conversational standards, so approaching strangers and asking them if they’d like to have their portrait taken can be difficult, to say the least. The French have very specific laws about photographing people without their permission – you just don’t do it. Having said that, once you’ve engaged someone, they generally oblige. I found that carrying business cards helps, if all else failed I’d just hand them a card, point to my web address and smile…”regarder vers le bas de la lentille ..ne souriez pas!”
Posted on October 8, 2013
I used to shoot a lot of slide film, I have boxes of plastic trays filled with mounted 35mm slides, hundreds of trays, thousands of slides. But nobody really shoots it anymore, most photographers don’t see the point…I don’t see the point, to be honest. 10 years ago you could buy dozens of different slide emulations, in 35mm, 120 and large format, but most manufacturers have cut production back to only a handful of films, or like Kodak, stopped production all together.
Slide film, or colour reversal film, is even more of a niche product than standard colour negative film these days — its primary uses are in projectors and professional print work, though more recently it’s been popular with lo-fi photographers who use it for cross-processing. I don’t know many photographers that shoot slide film.
Anyway, I decided to have one last play with slide film, and before departing to France a couple of weeks ago I ordered a roll of slightly out of date Fuji Provia 400X off Amazon. Yes, A roll, as in one, singular – at £11 I wasn’t going to invest in more than one roll on something that was little more than a romantic glimpse into the past.
I shot the roll using an Olympus OM1 (which I accidentally discovered was capable of multiple exposures) and mailed the film to Peak Imaging. The developed film and a disc of high res’ scans was waiting for me on my return. These are some of the results.
Posted on October 1, 2013
I’m in southwest France for a couple of weeks, it’s a mix of business and pleasure. I’m researching and planning a series of summer workshops I’m going to be holding in the area next year, so for the last week I’ve been driving around the beautiful countryside around the Dordogne region.
This week I’ve devoted to writing, which is convenient, because the weather has deteriorated a bit compared to last week. I have a 2000 word project proposal and a book to write, which is why my blog articles have been a bit ‘thin on the ground’ lately! I’m saving my creative juices.
At the weekend I’m heading over to the west coast to photograph a Scottish surfer who spends the entire winter, September to April, surfing the Atlantic swell and living out of a Citroen 2CV camper van. He’s going to have some interesting stories, I’m sure.
All Images here were made using an iPhone 4S and VSCO Cam
Posted on February 13, 2013
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been sorting-out what gear to take, or more accurately, what gear NOT to take to Canada in 6 weeks time. I took far too much gear last time, too many different formats and 4 different types of film. I was shooting on 6x7cm, 6×4.5cm, 35mm and Fuji Instax instant film, using colour and black and white with 3 different film speeds. In April I’m taking a Mamiya 7II, 80mm lens, a sekonic light meter and 60 rolls of Kodak Portra 160. I’m also packing my trusted Olympus Mju II and a small flash, just in case.
I’m going back to Yellowknife to work on an on-going project which started last September, this could be my second of many trips to the area, or it could be my last, I’m still not sure…
An Apple a day…
I’ve had the same 21″ iMac for 5 years now, I’ve always been happy with it, but 5 years is a long time in the life of any working computer and it had started to show it’s age. So, I ordered a new one, this time a 27″ version, I also decided that if I was going to invest another 5 years into the Apple Corporation, I may as well do it properly and maxed-out all the specs – 3.4GHz processor, 32GB of RAM, Thunderbolt storage,etc,etc….then I had to wait nearly 6 weeks while Apple used the slowest employees in China to assemble said iMac and then send it off for a 9 day trip around the world via Shanghai, Dubai, Germany, Ireland and England, all courtesy of UPS. But I knew the wait was going to be worth it…
…My new Mac was delivered last Friday, the same day that I came-down with the worst bout of ‘flu I’ve had in years, it was the best I could do to carry the 17KG box down to my basement without passing-out. I un-boxed it, plugged it in, then passed-out for 3 days.
I have finally got to play though, and the wait was well worth it, the new Mac makes my old one look like a pocket calculator. I can now scan 4800dpi files from 6x7cm without any problems, in an instant. I’ve also invested in Adobe CS6 6, which runs like a dream, as does Lightroom 4.
The best thing though is the huge 27″ screen, size certainly does matter!
Posted on January 1, 2013
Happy New Year!
I’m not a great one for making New Years resolutions, drinking less, losing weight and getting fit are things I tend to procrastinate about all year round. What I do intend to do though, in 2013, is shoot only the photographs that I want to shoot. Toward the end of last year I started to take less and less commercial work, I shot my last wedding in October. This has been deliberate, I realised that certain types of work, especially weddings, were causing me a huge amount of stress.I have another job, none photographically related, which I enjoy, a job which gives me a lot of freedom to work on projects and money to continue to shoot on film.
I’m off to Canada again in April to continue with the project I started back in September, this has been funded through picture sales with an agent in Paris, who have syndicated the project. I’m also about to upload a new batch of ‘fresh fruit’ onto the market stall that is Getty Images, money from this will also go into funding my 20 roll a week film habit.
In 2012 I sold a few photographs through an art gallery in France, this is an avenue that I’d like to pursue this year, producing and selling ‘Art Photography’ in the form of limited edition prints and one-off limited books. If only a handful of people buy my work and recognise my idea of art, I’ll be happy.
All 4 images here sold through an art gallery in Bordeaux, France. Like them or not, they’re all hanging on someone’s office wall and making them and me happy!
Posted on December 23, 2012
Posted on June 30, 2012
I took these shots in France a couple of weeks ago. My friend, Rich Plumley, and I flew down, I had some shots to get in Bergerac and had arranged a meeting with a photo agency in Paris, so we decided to drive the 1000 miles back to the Isle of Man, via the capital. Things didn’t go quite to plan…
I’d organised to meet in a cafe near the Eiffel Tower at 5pm, by 4pm we were still 70 miles East of Paris. East, I know, we should have been South, but French sign posting isn’t great…OK, we got lost.
We finally hit the Périphérique, Paris’ infamous ring road, at 7pm. I phoned and cancelled the meeting and we continued our drive North toward the Channel Tunnel.
All the images were made on a Mamiya 645 Pro tl and 55mm lens. Film is Kodak Portra 160. I got the 55mm for a real bargain, it arrived the day before I left to go to France, it’s a fantastic lens. The 645 has now replaced 35mm as my ‘snap-shot’ format.
I love photography and I love road trips, the two were meant for each other. I think they should get married.
Posted on June 17, 2012
Most of the shots below were taken out of the window of my van whilst driving up through France and around Paris. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with iPhone photography and the thousands of apps that have sprung up – I’m a film snob, so I want to hate this type of photography, but I do like the results! I made these shots with the very popular Hipstamatic app, I do the ‘shake to randomise’ thing which makes you look like you’re having a fit after every shot. I’d like to do this type of photography with a film camera, but it would work-out VERY expensive!
By the way, taking photos whilst driving is illegal, even in France…
Posted on March 14, 2012
Michael Cooke has lived, part-time, in South-west France since 2006 in a small village on the Dordogne River. Michael has muscular dystrophy, a muscle wasting condition which only gets worse, this has made the 1500 mile round-trip from the Midlands of England more and more difficult as time goes by. Add to this the increase in fuel costs and the general rise in the cost of living on the continent and you’ll understand why Michael has decided to pack and move back to England.