Saturday 5 May 2012: The Archetype Tree
I've got a long journey ahead tomorrow so today has been very hectic, but in a more relaxed way than usual before I take a trip away. I missed the best of the weather this morning getting little jobs done in town and managed to get caught in a hailstorm on my way to Knaresborough to watch the seconds. I arrived just in time to see Roam start his second spell of bowling, getting right on the money, keeping it tight and taking a couple of wickets. Once his spell finished I dashed back the 20 miles to Ben Rhydding (stopping just the once to take this shot) on the main roads, hoping to see Forrest bat for the firsts. Sadly he was out for a golden duck, and I just missed his dismissal - which I wasn't too sorry about. I hate seeing my lads come undone like that. They were playing possibly the best team in the top division, so no real shame there.
With a year's worth of blips to look back upon I have come to get a good feel for what makes for an appealing picture, one that I really like myself and also one that the community here likes and rewards with stars and hearts. The cute and the unusual will always be appreciated, but what truly seems to engage people is shots that have a universality about them. Without really ever thinking about it, this is what I tend to look for and bring out in my photography. The solitary trees that have become something of a trademark of mine always seem to be remarkably popular.
With the black and white processing these kinds of shot are stripped of the particular so that instead of being a picture of one specific tree at a certain location, it becomes a picture of any tree, or all trees, an archetype of a tree indeed. And that somehow engages with something deep inside us. I think all great photographs work in this way. A great portrait, for example, is less about the specific person than the universal character, the emotion, the humanity that it projects. And again, I think that is why monochrome portraits are so very much more striking, especially with creative lighting. The attention is placed on what the face symbolises in terms of emotion rather than the person themself.
I wanted to conclude my look back on my first year by revealing my own favourite blips. These are the shots that got me the most excited to post. I remember the thrill at bringing out something through the processing that engaged with me in a very strong way. I can only think that's because they symbolise something deep in our unconscious. There may be many new subscribers who have not seen these images before. I'd be curious to know if any of this resonates. Perhaps I'm getting carried away with over-thinking all this, as one blip friend warned me about yesterday (in the nicest possible way, thanks), something which is a bit of a bad habit of mine!
My favourite three blips are then:
1. The House of the Hermit
2. Sceach Gheal (Gaelic for Hawthorn)
All of these shots seem to have a deep kind of universality, although I find it hard to articulate it any better than that!
OK. No more analysis for a while! Thanks for all the fabulous comments (and hearts and stars) on yesterday's Convoy. Travelling all day tomorrow so I'm not going to have much chance to catch up with anybody for a day or two. I'm not sure I deserve so much attention as it's all so one-way at the moment. I guess you understand, and I thank you all so much for that. Once again, your generosity is overwhelming.