I recently went to see the Mike Leigh film Mr Turner, in which Timothy Spall gives a tour de force performance, despite much of his dialogue consisting of little more than grunts.
As a photographer I’ve always loved the way Caravaggio used light, illuminating small pockets of action in scenes of impenetrable darkness very much as studio lighting can be used to aid the camera. Turner was a very different painter, though in his own way, just as inspirational to a humble snapper like me. My favourite landscape photographs would be taken on wet and overcast days at Seaburn, when the water lying on the surface of the beach mirrored the skies above, and the rain blurred the edges of sea, sky and sand. Turner’s paintings similarly blurred the edges of reality with sublime stormy skies.
As I left the cinema it was raining and the sky still had a gun-metal glow; the trouble was I was nowhere near anything worth photographing, and with the drive home ahead of me would need my hands for the steering wheel. Time to experiment.
With a couple of pocket wizards I was able to set up a remote control for the shutter that I could activate with one thumb while still keeping both hands on the wheel. With the heavy camera in a silicon shell, it stuck nicely on the dashboard and I was ready to see what the wet roads and cloudy skies had to offer.
I have to say it wasn’t a great success, but there were a couple of examples that I liked; one with an added texture vignette and the other pretty much as shot.
I won’t be applying to join the Royal Academy just yet!
*One of the songs played by a band I was in another lifetime ago. Here’s a link to the original by Magazine…