Sunday, 27 November 2016

the moment

© Paul Foley - Purchase

I remember the anticipation I felt when I took this image. I had been down at Newcastle Ocean Baths since before dawn and had already made what I thought would be one or two good pictures.
I had set up for this composition with the tilt shift lens dialed in to isolate a small plane of focus.  An elderly lady was swimming a slow breaststroke from the south when a blurred figure came into frame on the left. He was oblivious to my camera. Standing upright, he looked ahead as if bracing for the pool's cold water.

I was tempted to take a photo then but had a sense that something more interesting would happen. Although I was using a digital camera and knew I could take many pictures my instinct was telling me to wait.

Under my breath, I pleaded for him do something before the woman swam too far into the picture and ruined the composition I was visualising. Then he looked down.

The deliberate way I make pictures is rooted in the creative photographic process I first learned when I shot on large format film. It required planning, contemplation and patience. Catching the right moment pitted that patience against an excited anticipation. The knowledge that swapping around a sheet film holder and waiting for the camera to ‘settle’ took minutes not milliseconds meant I had to choose my timing carefully. Lots of missed moments were hard but important lessons.

Thanks for checking my blog. You can see more of my moments at paul

If you are interested in this image please click to purchase. It is limited to an edition of 25 prints.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Farmer, Phoenix Park, Hunter Valley, Australia

Gary Burton © Paul Foley

I drove past Gary Burton as he wheeled a strange device across a brown dirt paddock. It was like a wheelbarrow without the barrow. I had to stop and ask for a photograph.

While I went about setting up my paraphernalia we talked about his farm, his grandfather, his father and his children. He told me about the watermelon plants that were just sprouting and about the ancient machine he was using to tend them.

I made pictures as I listened. This is the moment I felt I best appreciated the stories his words, face and well worked hands were telling me.

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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Ten years ago I nearly lost my sight - a brief 'About Me'...

At Newcastle Ocean Baths © Paul Foley.  Fine Art Gallery

 'Today, an amazing picture can be swiped away in seconds. To stand before an impactful, well crafted print is to experience the soul of thoughtful photography.'

My first attraction to photography was through the pages of 1970’s surf magazines. Inspired, I saved for a Pentax and a cheap 400mm lens then began photographing my friends surfing. I was full of teenage ambition of seeing my pictures on a magazine’s page.
After a week of waiting, the Kodachromes would come back from processing. I would project the best on my bedroom wall, imagining them as magazine covers with mastheads and headlines.
Between the mid '70's and '80's there was some limited publishing success. But even more fun and adventure travelling to various surf locations around the world.
Travel opened my photographic soul - it encouraged me to better understand my craft. I discovered (and devoured) the images and teachings of Ansel Adams. Practical instruction came via many workshops conducted by contemporary masters of photography. I was also fortunate to receive some mentoring from iconic Australian photographer, David Moore.
This mix of 'on page' and in person tuition taught me to photograph with precise techniques and greater reflection. In time I would make photographs using only large and medium format cameras. 
Later on, I settled into a professional photography career in Newcastle, Australia. Commissioned by local, national and international clients I was a busy pro. All the while though, I made pictures for me. Everyone needs a hobby as a break from everyday work and for me that hobby was photography.
Ten years ago I almost permanently lost my sight after eye surgery. It took two years for my eyes to recover and then several more to come to terms with the associated depression. Even now I am somewhat limited by the amount of commissioned work I can comfortably undertake.
The recovery period gave me more time for my ‘hobby’. I used it to express how that smeared vision, in the months immediately after the surgery, filtered the world. Now, with eyesight repaired, I still find myself drawn to disguising scenes and details with blur and motion.
I make pictures to express how light and shadow shape my creativity. While I do photograph single experiences or light events, I am most attracted by the coast and the horizon for inspiration. 
I call my process ‘finding pictures’ and it may help explain my eclectic range of subjects. It grows from an inquisitive interest in the human condition as well as a passionate search for light.
I am also an avid user of Instagram - @lightmoods - @blurrytravels . It satisfies my impulsive creative urges and trains my eye to find pictures in everyday scenes.
You may first see my photographs electronically and that might be the only way you experience them. Which is as it is in 2016. My process, though, is only complete when it is before the viewer as a print - it is the essential finale.
Photography isn't real for me until I can feel it. It is the tactile confluence of light and shadow - when I am ’holding the pixels’.