2016 Reviewed

2016 reviewed by Andrew Bert Greaves Photography

Where did 2016 go? I’m sure I had all 12 months of it here just a moment ago… Nope, I just checked and they have gone.

Well, what to make of 2016?

In general it seems that it wasn’t people’s favourite year. Politically some interesting decisions were made on both sides of the Atlantic by the voting public, so 2017 and beyond will be very … interesting.
The year also saw the passing of many people we all look up to and admire, particularly from the worlds of film, TV and music. I fear that this will sadly be a trend that will continue because many of those we look up to have lead very long and full lives.

And what about me?

Well, 2016 did seem to go really fast. Much of the what I intended to do ended up on the back burner, while I tried to keep pace with life. One of the things I did do was to set up a store on the online retailer Etsy, so it is now easier to own my work.

In the latter half of the year I spent a lot of time focusing on me and I don’t mean self portraits. I am not only an introvert, but can also be shy too (no, they aren’t the same thing). This can make selling myself and my work more of a challenge, which has obvious downsides in a business. I have now started to understand myself better which means I can make the most of my strengths and also overcome my weaknesses. I haven’t by any means conquered it entirely, but I feel I’ve made significant progress. This is starting to sound like a self help blog. But sometimes you’ve got to help yourself, because no one else can do it for you.

Photos

I think I’ll stop with the words now, and finish with some photos. 12 photos in fact, a favourite from each month of the year, I hope you enjoy.

The singer from Tell The Hoi playing at The Nest, Bath January 2016
Tell The Hoi playing at The Nest, Bath January 2016

A heard of cows by a feeding trough in a muddy field, Wiltshire, February 2016
Cows in a muddy field, Wiltshire, February 2016

A jumping Spider next to a Ladybird on leaves, Wiltshire, March 2016
A jumping Spider next to a Ladybird on leaves, Wiltshire, March 2016

A close up of the head of a mute swan
The head of a mute swan, Falkirk, April 2016

The Bohos playing at The Parade Gardens, Bath for Bath Music Festival's Party In The City, with an illuminated Bath Abbey in the background, May 2016
The Bohos playing at The Parade Gardens, Bath for Bath Music Festival’s Party In The City, May 2016

A red bicycle propped up on the overgrown verge next to a field a field, Wiltshire, June 2016
Red bicycle in a field, Wiltshire, June 2016

The Neville Staples Band (formally of The Specials) playing on the main stage at the Trowbridge Village Pump Folk Festival, Wiltshire, July 2016
The Neville Staples Band playing at the Trowbridge Village Pump Folk Festival, Wiltshire, July 2016

A bee collecting pollen on a blue-spirea 'Worcester Gold' flower, Wiltshire, August 2016
A bee on a blue-spirea ‘Worcester Gold’ flower, Wiltshire, August 2016

A close up of the underside of a garden spider (Araneus diadematus) on it's web, Wiltshire, September 2016
A close up of a garden spider (Araneus diadematus) on it’s web, Wiltshire, September 2016

The Model Folk band playing at the Stallards, Trowbridge, October 2016
The Model Folk playing at the Stallards, Trowbridge, October 2016

Red roses covered in frost, Wiltshire, November 2016
Roses covered in frost, Wiltshire, November 2016

The singer from Twisted State Of Mind jumping off an amp while playing at The White Swan, Trowbridge, December 2016
Twisted State Of Mind playing at The White Swan, Trowbridge, December 2016

Dismaland

This is something I’ve been meaning to Blog about for a while now, not sure why I’m doing it now, but well, why not? I say a while, since September would be the more accurate way of putting it, because that’s when I went  to Banksy’s Dismaland, in Weston-super-Mare. It took me and my friend just over an hour to drive there and after queueing for a few hours, in the wind and sometimes rain coming in off the sea, we finally made it to the bit where you pay and duly paid the £3 entry fee.

The beach at Weston-super-Mare and the sea aquarium
As we walked from the bit where you paid and to the actual entrance of the former Tropicana site, I got stopped for a bag search, which is what we’ve come to expect in recent years wherever you go. As well as the things you’d normally expect them to be looking for, they were also looking for pens and anything you might be able to use to deface the art works with. They were also interested in the size of the lens on my camera. The lens I had on was my 28 – 300mm zoom lens, which is a chunky bit of kit. The security person conducting the search (I say search, he never once touched my possessions as I was willingly showing him the contents of my bag) looked at it and said something along the lines of, ‘Hmmm, I think that might be too big. They don’t like it if you’ve got too big a lens.’

I was a little taken aback as I had checked the website before going to make sure I would be allowed to take my camera, and I didn’t see any mention about restrictions. I looked at the man in question in a slightly puzzled way and he sort of shrugged his shoulders. ‘I don’t really know about these things, but they might ask you to leave.’ I wasn’t going to argue with him, as he was just doing his job (and he was also a lot bigger than me). ‘I’ve got a smaller lens, will that be OK?’ I asked, more concerned about avoiding having to traipse back to my car if I couldn’t take it in, than I was with not being able to take my camera in with me. ‘They’ll probably be OK with that,’ He said. So I changed my lens outside, in the wind blowing off the sand (mud) of the beach – with a few spots of rain thrown in for good measure – before carrying on into Dismaland.

a CCTV Camera on the ceiling
I spent some time thinking through the reasoning behind me having to change my lens, and to an extent I can understand it; they don’t want people taking photos of artwork and making prints to sell, meaning the artists miss out on income. But my ability to do that, should I have wanted to do that, would not have been hampered by putting on the different lens. Also, most camera phones are capable of producing images of high enough quality to reproduce prints theses days, so the whole thing seemed very odd. I guess they couldn’t stop people using their phones, people suffer some kind of anxiety attack if they have have their phones off for five minutes these days.

an old horn shaped speaker for a public address system
I went there as both a person interested in the art work and as a photographer. As a member of the public who likes art, I took photos of the artwork on display. These images I won’t be sharing, other than with close friends and family, as they act as a record of things I have seen; most people taking photos do so for the memories.

the reflections of people in a large puddle
As a photographer (artist) I took photos of what I observed in that particular environment, at that moment in time. You may well be asking yourself what the difference is. Taking photos of other people’s artwork isn’t artistic. Other people’s artwork can constitute a part of your photograph, but only if you’re adding a different context to it or making it a small part of something much larger. Here is a selection of photos from that day.
rope through a hole on a wooden post with two holes above that looks like a shocked face

a woman's legs in blue jeans wearing shiny Dr. Martin boots

an old vetilation system

an I am an imbecile balloon stuck on the inside of a corrugated roof

an old horn shaped speaker for a public address system

Things Change

I think if I could go back in time and tell myself one thing, I think it would be that everything changes (at least that’s what I’d go back and tell myself now; it’ll probably change). Life changes, you change, your friends change, the people you love change (in both senses), how you view the world changes, how the world views you changes. Everything and everyone grows, and evolves, and changes and is changed.

I can be quite proud and stubborn about things. If I say I will do something, or not doing something, then I will, or will not, do it, regardless of evidence that doing things differently would be to everyone’s benefit (especially my own). I guess this comes from fear. A fear of being wrong. A fear of looking foolish.
stairs leading down to the door of an underground club
There is another way to look at this though because there is a fine line between stubbornness and determination, between pride and self belief. And I guess where the lines fall is very much subjective, so it’s anyone’s guess where those lines might be.
What has any of this got to do with photography? Well, I’ve been having doubts recently as to whether photography is a viable way for me to earn an income. There are areas of photography that are a lot more lucrative than others, they take a lot of hard work and talent to do properly, but the financial rewards are greater and a lot easier to work as a ‘business model’. The things I want to do with my photography do not fall into this category. I knew this from the outset, but I was determined to do things my way, and I guess I’m beginning to wonder if my determination has changed into stubbornness.
empty bottles in a club, people dancing in the background So, do I stick to my guns and do things my way, producing the work I want to? Or do I change my approach to things and go where the money is? For now I’m going to back myself, but I’m open to change in the future.
silhouette of the audience

Looking backwards & forwards 2014/2015

What happened in 2014?

2014 for me was a year of change. One of the biggest was giving myself the time to get serious about doing photography and trying to take what I do to a wider audience. This happened about halfway through the year, so it wasn’t until October that I launched this website. October was also when I did my first exhibition, which was a big learning experience for me. 2014 taught me that there was a lot of things I need to work on and improve, which is why things have been a little quiet from me over the past couple of months, but now I can take what I’ve learnt into 2015.

What do I have in store for you in 2015?

broken drum sticks, drumstick graveyard

What I have in store for you is, well hopefully, a store. I hope to start selling my prints through my website and maybe on a select few other outlets. I’m planning to shoot more bands, as this is what I love most, and to offer photography that is a little different (I know everyone says this, but really who else has photos of broken drumsticks?)

I’d love to hear from anyone who’d like to work with me (particular bands & musicians).

I hope to continue with my project called ‘Through Windows’, although that is just a working title at the moment, as it sounds a little voyeuristic, which I’m not sure really fits with the images.

I may even have photos of kittens, because as everyone knows the internet is made of 95% cats.

I will carry on shooting what I see. That’s how I’ve always worked and even as I change things and improve, that instinct will remain the same

What does 2015 have in store for me?

I have no idea, but I’m going to enjoy finding out. A happy and successful New Year to you all.