Thursday, 17 June 2010

My Pylon Challenge

There are all sorts of reasons to do photography, it can be a record of something that has happened or a place you have been, it can show how something is done, or how it shouldn't be done. Often it is a way of capturing the essence of a person or a thing, either in isolation, or more editorially in an appropriate environment. Photography can also be an end in its own right - art? Well I wouldn't always say so but sometimes...

I really enjoy taking pictures, I like the way that the photographic process translates the ideas I have in my head into a 2 dimensional representation. My experience helps me to exploit the medium so that the pictures I take do not look like simple records but look instead like photographs. A good friend of mine has recently taken some very interesting landscapes which contain, as a fairly major feature, electricity pylons. I really like the pictures (and hope that I will be able to show some in my Gallery soon) and in a spirit of 'homage' I though I would shoot a few pylons myself. It is absolutely clear to me that your choice of subject matter is not the important thing in photography. The important thing is the way you approach the subject.

A pylon is not a beautiful thing, it is very utilitarian and usually placed in a location that would be vastly enhanced by its removal. However they do have a strange graphic interest and can, if photographed with a little imagination make very interesting pictures. These two pictures were taken using a Holga 35BC (Black Corner) camera - which I think does justice to the subject pretty well. The pylon was in a field just along the road from my house, a field inhabited by 2 young horses who seemed to have a keen interest in photography and kept nudging me while I tried to get the framing just how I wanted it.

There are some more of this set (including a couple featuring the horses) in the gallery on

I don't have a 'thing' about pylons, I have a thing about photography, setting yourself a challenge can take you to places you might not otherwise go, to photograph things you might otherwise ignore. Whatever your challenge it is also likely to throw up additional problems that you had not envisaged - in my case a pair of inquisitive horses - it is resolving these problems and coming home with the picture 'in the can' that makes photography such a wonderful thing to be involved in.

(As usual, the pictures here are 'as shot' I have used Photoshop to adjust the contrast, as I would have in the darkroom in the past, and added a little sharpening to make the pictures work at this size on screen. The vignetting is a feature of the camera and has not been altered. Shot on Lucky SHD100 135-36 and developed in Rodinal)

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