The Donohue Collection

Recently, while visiting San Francisco, we took a family trip to Carmel by the Sea. We were mainly there for the wine tasting bars but stumbled across a fabulous Photography gallery in the town, called the Photography West Gallery.  Sometimes, I look through the window and enjoy pictures without entering a gallery, this time however I dared to venture in.

I’m stood looking at an image on the wall thinking, crikey that looks like an Ansel Adams..and it was ! There were lots of them!   The owner happily answered my sceptical questions, such as “How on earth did you get hold of these?” Turns out one of Ansel’s assistants “Phyllis Donohue” passed away and her private collection was brought to the gallery to exhibit.


“Donohue’s primary duties were spotting and print preparation, but she also assisted Ansel in the darkroom. One task assigned to Phyllis was the cataloging of Ansel Adams’ negatives. The most famous negatives had been placed and dated, but there were countless others with no documentation. Phyllis assembled a diary log of all Adams’ travels over the decades, and then assigned dates and locations to every negative.  Over twenty years, Ansel Adams would often give Phyllis a photograph to mark special celebratory events like birthdays and holidays. He also inscribed personal dedications to Phyllis on many of the photographs. She treasured these photographs for their association with what was the happiest working period of her life, and protectively stored twenty-two original photographs for thirty years until her death in the summer of 2018.”

The Donohue Collection.  is currently on shown until February 2019.


Turns out it’s part of their current exhibition  The Donohue Collection.




Rule of Thirds & The 52 Week Challenge

Recently, my very good friend and ace photographer Anthony Fawkes shared a photo challenge for 2019 from Petapixel entitled The 52 Week Challenge 

Week 2 in the list of challenges  is to use existing knowledge of the Rule of Thirds and show motion in a picture.  Lately, I seem to have forgotten all about this popular rule in photography and any picture that happens to have subjects placed at the intersection of virtual horizontal and vertical lines, is a happy accident.

So time to re-learn this technique and a whole lot more about composition before hitting the shutter button.  I like this about challenges. Not only is it a motivation to get out and take photos and learn more useful stuff,  but, by researching I often discover folk out there have a completely different take on the norm and this should improve the overall quality of pictures that I take in the future.

Take for example,  10 Myths about the rule of thirds   an article by the photographer Tavis Leaf Glover available on YouTube.  He would rather ditch the use of Rule of Thirds altogether, as he argues it limits composition in both photography and in painting. He’s got a point!

So, I’m going to do a little more research, get the glass out this weekend and see if I can not only get a decent rule of third image showing motion, but add to it using some of the influences of Tavis’s article.

Let me know what you discover and share any photos you might take on my 52 Week Challenge Facebook page.



In Post

Just over a week ago, I was invited to be Film Stills Photographer on Hurcheon Films latest short film  The Penny Dropped.  Produced by A D Cooper and Stephen Croson, written and directed by A D Cooper, this supernatural short was shot in an old WWII Bunker in Dalston and features Abigail Thaw “Endeavour” and Phillippa Peak “Home Fires”.

Imagine entering a world where once, folk sought refuge from bombings, which is now a dank, dark, dripping canvas awaiting the next set of creatives to turn their ideas into a modern viewing experience.

I find an old piece of cardboard, a plastic chair, a small table and with my trusted Maglite begin the process of arranging my kit.  I think today my 50mm fixed lenses is going to be the lens of choice.  Now, if someone would just walk into that film light..


Never too old ?

Queen Charlotte Statue, Queen Garden, Bloomsbury, London
Queen Charlotte Statue,
Queen Garden, Bloomsbury, London

 This is my first attempt at a blog and whilst I’m not a youngster I am no spring chicken either and approach the idea of sharing ideas on photography with trepidation. Even before I was born, the world had seen its fair share of wonderful photographers such as Beaton, Bresson, and Bailey. Now, with the availability of modern digital photography equipment, applications and editing techniques, not a day goes by without seeing great shots, sometimes taken with just a mobile that I sometimes wonder if there is any point trying to turn my passion into a career. So many young creative minds, inventing new ideas and formats for taking and presenting images that one wonders: can I keep up, let alone come up, with something new that people will take notice of?

Well, they say that life is short and if you really want something then you must go for it, and it’s never too late  – so here goes …

The photo on the left I took on Wednesday,  in my lunch hour as I’d taken the decision to start taking my camera to work each day. After all I’m supposed to be a photographer and I should be out and about as much I can, shouldn’t I?  I work in Bloomsbury as an Accountant and within a few minutes I can walk to St.Pancras Station, or the British Library and there are an abundance of gardens and squares with their historic statues and busts of famous people to enjoy, though I rarely do. The square outside my office is Tavistock Square where, along with Fredda Brilliant’s famous figure of Gandhi, we also have busts of Virginia Woolf and the surgeon Dame Loisa Aldrich-Blake.   When you see the sculpture of Gandhi, there is no doubt that it is him, he is iconic and one of the most famous and easily identifiable figures in history.  You may know Virginia Woolf but would you recognise her bust? As for Dame Aldrich-Blake, I had to look her up as I didn’t know that she was a distinguished surgeon, let alone DID I know what she looked like!

So when I was considering where to walk,  I read a story about Queen Square that intrigued me.  The story goes that the square was originally named Queen Anne’s Square, because the statue there  (the one in my photo above) was identified as being that of Queen Anne, however it turned out that it was in fact that of Queen Charlotte, who was consort to King George III. I liked this idea of a mistaken identity, so, I took myself off to take the shot.

Over the last couple of years I have taken many, many shots of people , but have I been successful at conveying the character of that person? Would you recognise them? Do you know any more about them?  I have taken pictures of actors in studios and actresses on film sets but I want to develop this area and produce a series of pieces combining the photographic images with written and audio pieces with the person. Images that capture them not just in action on camera but also during the before, such as in rehearsals and after – the exhaustion and elation of a succesful performance.

So , it is with thanks if you have read this far, that I’ll let you know when I have written my first photo piece.  I  have a shoot with a talented actress this weekend, so perhaps this will be the start of a new career for someone not quite over the hill.