FLIGHTS OF FANTASY FLIES

The long wait is over. Flights of Fantasy, my evocation of a life during and between the two World Wars is available for pre-order now.

It’s a book everyone will enjoy – especially Liverpudlians. City life at the end of the Great War, the interwar peace, the events that led inexorably to the Second World War. Readers can emphasise with the experiences of the AFS (Auxiliary Fire Service) as they heroically, fought the fires created during the Luftwaffe Blitz over Merseyside in 1940-41.

But it’s also a book that will appeal directly to aviation enthusiasts and those with an interest in the history of the first half of the 20th Century. And not forgetting the raison d’être behind the book, the superb pictures.

It’s an ideal book, one that will make an excellent Christmas present. Some early reviews:

“I got to follow George on his journey and be right in the action as battles raged during both wars. The ‘scenes’ are epic and death defying! I fell in love with the charismatic character of Iggy and hoped he’d survive to the end of the book, but you’ll need to read it to find out.”… Suzanne Lau .

I was honoured when George asked me to proof read his new book, it’s a task which requires objectivity, but I was so enthralled with it that I read from front to back. Then I read it again. It’s a fascinating book providing a very readable insight into Liverpool life, during peace and war. Not to mention the artwork that changes with the developments in aviation. Enjoy it and then leave it on your coffee table for your visitors to enjoy as well.“… Colin McMorris.

Flights of Fantasy is available NOW for pre-orders through the following links:

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/3ivhG2S
Book Depository: https://bit.ly/3izjU0W (get 10% off)
World of Creative Dreams: https://bit.ly/3cFEcVa

It should also be in the shops at the beginning of December, meanwhile it would be wonderful if you could share details of the book with friends. Thank you.

FLIGHTS OF FANTASY – ITS EVOLUTION…

Tomorrow my book “Flights of Fantasy” will be launched into cyber space.

In the interim, a little about its intriguing backstory that began many years ago, through a combination of coincidence and good luck . When I was a kid, knee high to a grasshopper, Dad used to take me for a Sunday morning stroll through Liverpool City centre, where four years later, the devastation following the Blitz, in which George had been an Auxiliary Fireman, was still like the aftermath of an earthquake.

On the rare Sunday it rained – doesn’t the sun always seem to shine in childhood days – he’d let me look through his water colours and sketches of an esoteric range of subjects. Sadly, when he died, still young and very unexpectedly just a few years later, I inherited his paintings and sketches. The only problem was, they were missing. After an in-depth search, without success I reluctantly came to the conclusion that perhaps they’d been consigned to the scrap heap.

Many years later, my mother relocated to more practical accommodation. The furniture had gone, and I was taking a last look around when something told me to climb into the rarely-ventured-into loft. In the gloom I found an old tea-chest full of old magazines and buried beneath them, a cardboard box.

It contained two books, one an old, dog-eared, hard-backed exercise book, its yellowing pages packed with the water colours and sketches I’d seen as a child. The second book was an Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS) Training Manual, with cartoons sketched on blank pages, pictures that illustrated the lighter side of Dad’s traumatic experiences in the fire service during the Liverpool Blitz.

Too good to gather dust, they needed to be shared. And that’s how “Flights of Fantasy was conceived. Now complete, links to the publisher, pre-order details and lots of information will be posted tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon. Why not check it out…

PHOTO TUTORIAL: MINIMALIST PHOTOGRAPHY

When I wrote “Staying Sound With Vision, on the Opinion page a couple of posts back, I promised to write about the art of Minimalist Photography, so here goes…

Minimalist photography is a genre that increased in popularity following the introduction of digital photography. Based on simplicity, the challenge is to eliminate all but the most necessary elements of a composition. When creating a composition the focus is on limiting the number of objects and using elements like line, colour, objects, shapes and texture.

The mantra is “less is more” in the attempt to explore how much information can be taken out of a composition, before it loses its impact or fails to tell a story.

So look for geometric patterns, architecture is a great source offering entire walls of patterns, staircases, doors and windows, and not forgetting bridges and cranes. Textures are also important, especially those with patinated colour, in fact some minimalist compositions just feature texture as the key composition component.

A few samples all shot with a smart phone…

Another essential component is negative space, defined as the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. It’s an element that becomes very evident when the space around a subject, rather than the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape.

So using as few details as possible, the image still needs to tell a story or concept. By incorporating an interesting subject, the right elements, lighting, and angles, not only can you create a story, but you can provide the viewer with a glimpse into a moment in time.

In essence minimalist photography forces you to view the world differently, and look beyond the obvious for hidden photographic opportunities.

OPINION: COMPETITIONS: TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?

I’ve only ever entered one photographic competition, the U.K. “Garden Photographer of the Year” competition about 15 years ago. My winter shot of Powerscourt Gardens in Ireland was among the finalists hanging on the wall at Kew Gardens. It did little to further my photographic profile, but was an enjoyable experience, during which I met some lovely people and received 100 postcards of my entry as part of the deal…

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OPINION: STAYING SOUND WITH VISION…

Or another way to stop COVID driving you nuts!

With warnings of increased mental problems in the wake of COVID-19, experts suggest that using time constructively and/or creatively is key to navigating through feelings of anxiety and depression. “Expressive art is a tool to explore, develop and practice creativity as a means to wellness,” and photography is one easily accessible and ideal art form…

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OPINION: HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON AND BRASSAI

How would you rate an acclaimed photographer who says “Photography is nothing, it’s life that interests me” … Poseur or snob?

When Henri Cartier-Bresson attended an exhibition at the International Centre of Photography in New York, he spoke about his growing frustration with photography. “All I care about these days is painting – photography has never been more than a way into painting, a sort of instant drawing” He sounds like a man with an unhappy mindset, successful at an art form he seemed to despise, whilst fairly mediocre in one he loves. A bit like Belle de Jour wanting to be the archetypal good wife but knowing that her real talent was that of a high-class tart.

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OPINION: CAMERAHOLICS

A tongue-in-cheek post about Equipment Geeks. Did you know they’ve been around for years? Master photographer Edward Weston (1886-1956) even wrote about them…“the fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless chase from new lens to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information…”

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PHOTO TUTORIAL: LIGHT AND WEATHER

There’s no real mystery about light. Basically, light from the sun or a lamp appears to be “white”. However, if it’s passed through a prism, all colours are revealed in just the same way that water droplets in the atmosphere separate light from the sun into a rainbow.

Things have an individual colour because when white light strikes them e.g. a leaf, it only reflects the green wavelength of light and absorbs the others; a white flower on the other hand appears white because it reflects most of the wavelengths that strike it.

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PHOTO TUTORIAL: PICTURE EDITING

Sadly too many photographers don’t edit after a shoot. A phenomena that’s all too evident on Facebook when there’s 3 images in a post, one of which bears the legend “+47”. On the rare occasion I look, it generally becomes very obvious that the whole photo-essay of 50 pics would have far greater impact with 6 or less images.

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PHOTO TUTORIAL: IMAGE STRUCTURE

Image Structure: By now you will have deduced that patience and using your eyes in an unpromising situation is one way to train yourself to “see”. And if after the exercise the images are still not quite up to your expectations, there’s one final aspect of “learning to see” that can be considered…

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