Archives for category: art
Front cover of Gavin issue 1

Front cover of Gavin issue 1

Over the last few months I have been working on an exciting project which combines many of my creative skills. And this weekend just gone I released Gavin magazine. Gavin is a showcase for my photographic, written, and design work and has been published online on the issuu platform. There is a link to the magazine at the bottom of this blog post.

I have opted for a soft launch rather than a grand fanfare as I am just finding my feet with online publishing. I have been involved in the publishing of hundreds of magazines over the years, but this is the first time I have used an online platform such as issuu, so I wanted the first issue to be stunning, yet reserved.

More issues will follow and they will include both personal projects that I have worked on in recent years and commercial work I am able to publish. Some of my work I am not allowed to use for certain reasons, which I always respect.

As always when creating a magazine I used Adobe’s Indesign and worked hard on choosing complimentary fonts, I hope you like what I’ve chosen. I decided many of the images needed to have the background story, which is so difficult to do on a portfolio website, which is another reason for working on the magazine. So some of the images have a caption, but others are part of a much larger story. This is fairly limited in the first issue, but the articles will increase as the magazine grows in popularity.

Since my first job, I have always been involved in photography and magazine creation, so this is a logical step for me. I have the writing, design and photography skills needed, but the process has been a learning curve.

At the moment the magazine is just online, but I am looking at offering a hard copy (although this will be a paid for service as buying any magazine) and as the readership grows I will possibly offer advertising opportunities for business looking to advertise their services and wares alongside my editorial (The adverts in the first issue were donated to companies who have helped me obtain images or offered advice).

I hope you enjoy reading it and please let me know what you think and also if you have any questions, comments or requests for areas of my work you’d like to see included in the magazine let me know.

You can find Gavin magazine at: http://issuu.com/gavinparsons/docs/gavin_magazine_issue_1

 

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A different view of the Taj

Photographed by Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

Photographed by Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

 

This week’s ‘Behind the Picture’ is a global icon. The Taj Mahal is probably one of the best loved and most photographed pieces of land in India. There are almost well worn paths to the best angles to photograph this stunning piece of architecture. Hawkers wait for tourists and offer to show you the best spots for the light in a sort of manual version of having a Taj Mahal mode in your camera.

I though wanted a new angle, one I’d never seen before. There are shots of the Taj from the front, from across the river, with trains in the foreground, from the side. In fact, it’s pretty much been photographed from every angle you can think of and several you wouldn’t dream of. Most of the Taj Mahal pictures are, of course, tourist snaps. And I did think it was fun to photograph people photographing the building. But that was more for my own amusement.

Ordinarily I would have researched the subject intensely before I got there, but on this particularly trip I had no idea whether I would see the place. I was on assignment photographing Dancing Bear rehabilitation and it I was in Agra only by chance.

So I took the opportunity and pitched up at the sort of time sparrows are thinking about getting out of bed and waited in a massive queue. When I got into the complex the sun was just coming up and the misty moody light was lovely. The Taj Mahal was almost lost in the background. In a way the light was sensual and seductive which sounds like pouncey photographer speak, but it’s the only way I can describe it.

So I walked around like a tourist selectively taking the usual types of shots and taking the advice of a few of the hawkers and then on my way out I looked back along the ponds and saw my picture.

No one else would be mad enough to lie down on the pavement in India and then to rest their camera so close to water you’d think some kind of alarm would go off. But that’s what I did. To help me see what the camera was seeing I used a ZigView digital display which screws into the viewfinder and allows me to see the picture without having the camera pressed to my eye. It’s perfect for ground shots or over my head shots. It’s a brilliant gadget.

I positioned myself slightly off centre to show the pillars sticking out of the water and then took a couple of frames. They required minimal post processing and the final image was so different to the usual, that I loved it.

You can see it larger on my website in the locations section. Also, if you would like to learn how to take better pictures you could join one of my monthly weekend photo courses. Again see my website for details.

Orphaned Babies – Dunnock

dunnock

This week’s ‘behind the picture’ is from a personal project, which is close to my heart. Of course, all my personal projects are passions of mine, but this one involves creatures that are completely helpless and dependent on humans to survive.

Orphaned baby birds are bought to the UK’s animal rescue centres every spring in the hundreds. Blackbirds, chaffinches, owls, blue tits, sparrows and dunnocks are just a few of the species that are handed in. Many are from nests destroyed by gardeners or pets and so are only helpless, homeless and parentless because of mankind’s effects of the environment.

They are taken into heated rooms and looked after by a group of dedicated staff. They require feeding every hour or so from sun up to sun down a level of care way above most other creatures. It takes a huge amount of time, effort and money to rear them from babies to being ready to fledge when they are released back to the wild.

I decided I wanted to do something for the rescue centres and so hatched (pardon the pun) a plan to photograph them as if I would a model.

So far my favourite picture is this Dunnock. It exudes confidence and personality. It was photographed with the permission and under the guidance of the rescue centre staff. I am, in another part of my life, used to working with wild animals and work with them very delicately and sensitively. I must stress that these were all taken in controlled conditions with birds that had been assessed and As well as being an expert myself, I was surrounded by experts. Under no circumstances should anyone attempt to do this sort of photography without experience.

I constructed my own mini studio and lit it with two flash units. One on the background and the other lighting the subject. I got the lighting right before placing the model into the frame and then I waited for it to get used to the surroundings. The most crucial element to getting a good shot in this situation was not blasting away with the camera hoping to catch a good look. I had to wait and wait. When I saw the look I wanted I grabbed the shot. At most I took 5-6 pictures of each subject. How many modern photographers would take so few shots of a subject?

I have now turned the pictures into prints and sell them to raise funds for the rescue centres. You can see my online shop at www.gavinparsons.co.uk/shop/shop.html