Photo Blog 50!


Welcome to Photo Blog 50! A very special post for you this week as we bring to you photographs from our focus members :)

I asked some of our members to submit an image if they wanted to, any image, and as I’d hoped even some of our writers gave images as well as the photographers of the Focus Project. So we have a variety of images as each practitioner works in their own way, giving you an assortment of styles, concepts and hopefully inspiration as that is what the photo blog is for, as well as exploring different genres and techniques of photography from those who create interesting and stunning works. Which is what our team have produced here:

To avoid any fighting we’re going to do this in the order that they were submitted :P first up is Graham Cooling:

“So recently I completed a year long project which you can read aboot here. It was a project which took a tole on me as I never really knew the outcome of my images, they were hidden from me for a year so unlike my usual projects where I can shoot a roll develop and then shoot again if needed there was a finality to every single image. Which made me rather happy with the final outcome when they weren’t all lemons. The image you see here is one of my favourites as I remember taking it vividly, I often get told I cant take images becasue “they’ll never come out” or “its gonna be to dark” or “you cant just guess exposure you’ll never get an image that way”. Which I consistently prove wrong as I always guess exposure and ASA and then I pull images like this out the bag which show my love for noir dark images and faint pin lighting. I think its a great representation for anyone feeling discouraged about their photography experimentation just experiment if you do it enough you’ll become consistent. I know I couldn’t have done this a few years ago.”

This just goes to show what you can produce if you carry on and want to improve your skills. Graham’s talent  in photography spawned from experiments like this and from a multitude of influences, he then developed his own distinctive style and techniques which can be seen in images like this and many others from this year long project. This two-a-day photography project was taken on colour and black+white 35mm film using a couple of cameras, aiming to capture significant aspects of Graham’s day and in way served as a tool so that he could remember these points in time- these moments could be triggered from a physical image, (helpful for those with poor short-term memory hehe). Read more from Graham under “Yelling at Concrete” on the main Focus Project website.

Next up is Hannah Ali:

“I’m a Leeds based photographer who likes to draw, write and make things in the stretches when I’m not taking the passing the hours by simply appreciating the most banal parts of everyday life or organising things into piles. I am concerned with the lost of the individual and the disappearance of the places (and the people) who are being left behind as franchised shopping centres, homogenous housing estates and fast food chains dominate our landscape, replacing the small communities and independent shops and restaurants of yesteryear. My current aim is to try and find more like-minded people, not only to prove I’m not crazy but also to have fantastically interesting conversations with that do not concern Jersey Shore or American Football. Presently I am working with a Romanian Society in Bradford to create a piece of work depicting how the community are trying to integrate traditions and values into an already culturally diverse area. The accompanying image is taken from a project exploring the fading working mens clubs in and around Blackpool; an area that was once the heart of the North West unions. Shot on my Mamiya 645 (analogue) the style is typical of many of the images found in my work.”

I think Hannah’s pretty much spoken for herself here, there’s not much more I can say except compliment her work and brilliant concept, stunning compositions and great writings that you can find on the Focus Project website under McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon.

Now we have Wednesday writer Samuel Shiro:

“Honestly I don’t really have any emotion with photography, I just take things that may look nice for later on. Mostly I just take photographs to remember for the future. “

This kind of documenting of moments and/or places to look back on is something that everyone does.  An image that makes you remember your trip or that time of your life can be inspiring and nostalgic- especially if you can see your friends smiling back at you like in Elaine’s imager here:

“To celebrate Photo Blog 50 I chose a favourite oldie of mine. It was taken circa 1975 and has the elements of a great photo that are still relevant today. I don’t now what the camera was but the photographs were all developed at the home of a friend’s grandfather which gave us a record of memories we would certainly have forgotten. Taken at a local school it was ‘It’s a Knockout Day’ hence no school uniform which leads me nicely on to the fashion. The fashion could be called ‘Obvious’-wide trousers, cardigans with geometrical shapes and platform shoes that only youths can walk in. The surprise fashion accessory is the ‘carrier bag.’ I was uncertain for years as I thought my memory played tricks but the evidence for carrier bags is clear. Apart from it being a shot of social history, it is a group of good friends, not a real care in the world, and importantly the platforms are much higher than those worn today. “
So perhaps those who haven’t any emotion connected to photography (that is, being the photographer- setting out to be a photographer or having any interest in photographic process, or even influential photographers) do have emotional connections to the images, especially if they make you time travel. Do you find you briefly have a different mind set when looking back at old images? There’s been a lot of time traveling in this blog so far! A memory project, images to look back on, photographs from the past, do you think a lot of us just need to document all that we do and where we’ve been?


Which brings us to Matt Brodigan who primarily focuses on moving image (you can read his blogs on the website under Into the Void for insights into the film industry), he initially began life as a photographer, spending days in the dark room emerging only when he had to, has now turned his hand from final cut pro and has given us this image from his travels in Europe. He, like other film maker Graham, does still take interest in the world of photography and produces images often as another form of/ insight into styles or ideas. The best part is the images produced haven’t decreased in standard even though interests have laid elsewhere:

“This photo was one of the many taken on my trip around Europe. I felt that I didn’t want to show something to do with the cultural divide as to be honest I didn’t really notice one. I suppose I didn’t travel far enough east. Either way, this was taken in Berlin, along the Berliner Stadtschloss, which is the ridiculously long road from the Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column. The road divides a park right down the middle and this was taken when I was in the thick of it. I was captivated by the sense of being in such a large city, with heavy traffic on my left but at the same time being surrounded by woodland and park areas. It helped that the day was clear skied so that the heavy contrast set it, reducing mid-tones to almost non-existence. I felt that this conveyed a lot of my trip. Walking around, exploring a city by foot everyday in the blistering heat. I realise I haven’t spoken much about the photo, instead I’ve been reminiscing more than anything but there you go.”

This blog really has made some of us look back. I think everyone’s favourite aspect of this image is the stark contrast of black and white and for me it’s also the composition: the lines and shapes of the path, hedge and trees leading you into the image to the couple walking along. Are you curious as to where they’re going? A captured moment here, and Matt did submit another image to choose from; a pair of lioness just before feeding time at Berlin Zoo, agitated and hungry with plenty of ”movement and energy and slight apprehension that emanates from the image.”- Hannah Ali- couldn’t have said it better myself! See more here:

Next up is Dom Clark who writes for us on Mondays, check “Looking At..” for more:

‘Working, at the time, for a news website I had the opportunity to visit an old cinema that was being renovated for a youth community project. Being able to see the artifacts of a cinematic past, some things over 80 years old, was a thrill beyond belief! The film strip was so iconic and earnt all my attention for this shot’

Dom is a talented Lincolnshire based portrait and lifestyle photographer who is currently producing multiple themed engagement photo shoots, some of which involve Focus member Benji ( His work has been featured on many other blogs and websites (check his page for more links; and completed an impressive 365 portrait-a-day project which you can find here:

So many links! Anyway, this image above as Dom said was taken in an old cinema thats soon to be re-opening it’s doors to the community, there must have been so many little gems in there after so long of no one setting foot in there for over 80 years and it seems Dom found the best one. Is anyone else intrigued to what the film is? Either way The Ritz Cinema of Lincoln itself will be showing a variety of classic and new films at prices that will make the Odeon worry and I’ve also heard that it will be showing images of student’s work from the university. We need more places like this.

My turn. It’s a bit weird writing about my own work sometimes, and the two images I was going to choose between are quite like a couple in this blog already in that they’re “looking back” kind of images. So I want to mix it up a bit and find something a bit different.. Which proves to be difficult as a lot of my images I’m finding at the moment seem to be document like “that time of life/ that moment” sort of thing- possibly because I’m looking in the photo blog folder of images for my own personal blog. Hmm, so it’s either Uni work or conceptual stuff that will be equivalent to a normal length photo blog. Gah! Ok while we’re waiting here’s my flickr: and you can read more about me under Curly Wurly :) Right I think I’ve found a suitable one, I’ll try to keep it short:

I remember specifically why I took this image, it was because if the balaclava-like face mask/ scarf covering the mouth on the mannequin. A balaclava says a lot- I won’t go down that path right now, but it just reminded me of those idiot thugs you see wondering around in groups all in black with their hoods up and something covering their face. And it’s being advertised in a shop window… is it fashion? Why are you targeting these people? It also reminded me of an article I read a couple of years ago about a sport shop- I won’t name it- who had a mannequin in the window dressing in an all in black tracksuit, hood up with a baseball bat at it’s side… What. The. Flim. Flam. Why are you encouraging this look? These people think they’re, to dip into my scouse roots, hard. Er, Lad. ‘Ard lad. They want others to be scared of them and to think they’re thieves and they’ll mug you. The vast majority don’t, but they want to give off that vibe. I can’t understand it for the life of me. There could be more said about the color of the mouth covering, that canary yellow that looks very out of place. Perhaps I’m reading too much into this and it is actually just a scarf.

I’m so happy we’ve reached photo blog 50- not because I thought Focus wouldn’t be here to still be producing blogs, articles and projects, it’s more so the contributions, support and ideas we’ve had from the very beginning when The Focus Project was born in a coffee shop with the notion of a group of us being able to promote and possibly sell our work whilst searching for others to collaborate with. We’ve come a long was since then, adding to different aspects of the Project, developing and now our website is being viewed consistently all over the country, (if you’re reading this and want to get involved in anyway then drop us an email, we don’t bite). I think I’m most happy about how Focus kind of stuck to it’s guns, we carried one even at a time when we were only posting three blogs per week, we evolved, tried our hand at judging competitions and kept to our values all the way; intending to bring a stature to the realms of photography,  literature and moving image. I can happily say we’ve been successful, there’s still a way to go but at the moment we have a brilliant team of writers and practitioners who share in each others passion for the arts and creativity, sharing our inspirations and ideas on our website. The level of involvement we’ve had has been amazing and we will continue to grow; we will find others who want to participate in our projects and hopefully we will influence others with or works and writings.

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