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2017 – looking ahead

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2017

Yes, I do know that the first month of 2017 is almost over. I began this at the start of the month, but then being busy happened and I’ve only just got around to finishing it off.

‘What have you been busy doing?’ I hear you ask, well, let me tell you.

Among other things, I’ve been adding new items to my Etsy Store as well as improving the listings of the items already available.

Image of pedal to the floor card available to buy in 2017

I’ve also set up a shop on Redbubble. This site uses a different model to selling as they are responsible for the printing and distribution of items once sold, which means a greater range of products can be made available, from art prints to leggings (yes, really) and from clocks to phone cases, without any additional cost to myself. However, this means that less of the money from the sale comes to me. I’m not sure if this going to work for me, but the only way to find out is to try it and see. Have a look at my shop here, I’ll be adding more images over the coming weeks.A robin sitting on a fence post

In the last week or so I also did a photo shoot with singer/songwriter Jamie R Hawkins, which was a lot of fun. It was also a little on the cold side, although that was more of an issue for Jamie than myself. You know it’s been a good shoot when you end up lying down on the cold ground to take shots and also dodging traffic between taking photos. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some of the results of the shoot sometime soon.

What does 2017 hold for me?

Well, I don’t actually know, because I’m not  psychic… I guess the real question is what am I planning to do this year. In general terms it’s really a case of more of the same, except, well, more.

New website

I intend to give my website a complete overhaul. It will include more up to date examples of my photos. It will hopefully also have a shop so you can buy direct from me, quickly and simply. After I have redone the site, it should be easier to understand what I can do for you.

Working with bands and artist will remain a large part of what I do. Collaborating with other creative people is always rewarding.

I am also planning to keep you updated with what I am doing by blogging at least once a month. Something for you to look forward to.

2016 Reviewed

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2016 reviewed by Andrew Bert Greaves Photography

Where did the year 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 the year?

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, this year 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.


Tell The Hoi playing at The Nest, Bath January 2016

Cows in a muddy field, Wiltshire, February 2016

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

Close up of a mute swan's head

Close up of a mute swan’s head, April 2016

The Bohos playing at The Parade Gardens, Bath for Bath Music Festival’s Party In The City, May 2016


Red bicycle in a field, Wiltshire, June 2016

Neville Staple Band, Village Pump Folk Festival, 2016

Neville Staple Band, Village Pump Folk Festival, 2016


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


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


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

Roses covered in frost, Wiltshire, November 2016

Twisted State Of Mind playing at The White Swan, Trowbridge, December 2016

Photoshoot with Phil Cooper, Singer/Songwriter

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Back on the 25th October 2015 I did a photoshoot with singer/songwriter Phil Cooper. The shoot had been originally planned for the week before, but we had to postpone due to illness (Phil was ill and I was starting to come down with something too). Before the getting ill, we’d had a meeting to discuss ideas about what sort of images Phil wanted from the shoot as well as how they would be used; from social media profile pics and banners to gig posters and album art.

Having decided on an outdoor shoot, and it being October and in England, this didn’t give us a lot of scope when rearranging the photoshoot, so we ended up deciding to do it before Phil played a gig at the Seven Stars in Bristol, as the weather was forecast for that day was for it to be dry, if not bright.

We drove into Bristol Sunday lunch time, aiming to get there at about 12:30. Phil needed to be at the venue for his gig by about 3ish, so that gave us plenty of time. Well, it would have done if we didn’t hit horrendous traffic as we got to Bristol, which we hadn’t been expecting. As we finally got closer to the centre, some time after one o’clock, we noticed signs informing us that the Bristol to Bath Marathon had started in the centre of Bristol earlier that morning, and further signs told us that a lot of the roads had been closed until lunch time, so we at least had an explanation for the surprising numbers of cars on the road. This all meant that we had less time for doing the photoshoot, but first we needed a cup of tea, because we like tea.Phil Cooper drinking tea with his little finger sticking out

Despite the somewhat curtailed time frame for getting the shoot done, we had a relaxed wander along the Bristol Harbourside looking for suitable locations, which we duly found, shooting first at one, and then another. It was all quite straight forward really, we were going for fairly simple images, but with impact and connection. I thought I’d share some of the “outtakes” from the shoot.

Phil Cooper doubling over with laughter
I don’t know exactly what it was that made Phil have this reaction, but I’m  guessing it’s because I’m really funny…


At no point did Phil get bored…


I’m not sure what he was looking for, and he won’t tell me if he managed to find it.

Phil Cooper trying not to laugh
This is a photo of Phil stifling a laugh, because apparently me lying on the cold ground and taking photos of him is something that Phil finds amusing.

Anyway after the successful shoot we went to the Seven Stars for Phil’s gig. At the time I thought I was seeing double because of the cider, but this photo proves it was just a mirror.

Phil Cooper reflected in a mirror as he plays guitar and sings at The Seven Stars in Bristol

To see which photo from the shoot made it on to the front cover of Phil’s new album have a gander at his website here and if you want to see which photos made it into the sleeve notes, well you’ll just have to buy a copy, won’t you?

Dismaland

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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 queuing 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 for Dismaland 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 spent in Dismaland.

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

Season of Sickness

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In my last Blog I mentioned that I had been ill (just man flu, nothing to worry about). It started over Christmas and hung around for longer than I would have liked, so it was with me into the new year. It didn’t make for the best Christmas, but as I was surrounded by my family, and it was a holiday, it didn’t matter so much. But when I was ill after Christmas and into the current year, it became an issue because it had an affect on my work. It’s more difficult to work when you’re ill, just the physical effort if nothing more. It affects concentration and how long you can keep working before you need to take a break. It can stop you sleeping too, which just exacerbates the problems. This is a problem for the self-employed person. The question is, how to deal with it? Do you (A) just keep working through it? Or (B) do you stop and give yourself time to recover?

Let us have a look at (A).The problem with just keeping on going is that it is likely to last longer, meaning you’ll need to spend more money on whatever remedies you’ve decided (or been prescribed) to keep you going and ultimately get over it. Illness also has a tendency to make you a bit grumpy and generally not so great to be around (I’m talking about other people here, of course, because I’m always a delight to be around…). The other main problem is that it can affect the quality of your work output. This is a bigger problem with any kind of artistic work, where you rely on your judgement and artist instinct (artistic eye, ear, touch, nose, left kneecap -whatever is might be) than it might be in a field of work where something is either right or wrong and such things can be checked.

And so to (B). The main problem with stopping is, if you’re not working, you’re not earning. The other thing you lose is time. You get behind and have to catch up and there’s no one else to help you out, either by taking up the slack while you’re in your sickbed, or to help you get caught up again once you’ve recovered. You can also lose out on new work coming in, which again adds up to lost income.

So what approach have I been using? Well, a little bit from column A and a little bit from column B, due in part to the boredom induced by inactivity, and the sudden on-set of relapses when I pushed myself too hard too soon. ‘And did that work?’ I hear you ask, (I really did, I have amazing hearing, I could hear you saying it even though you said it in your head). Well, as it’s just come back again, it’s fair to say it’s not been a total triumph, but I’m hoping it’ll be gone tomorrow. In the meantime, while I recover, here are some photo’s I took over Christmas from the three times I managed to leave the house.

A tree silhouetted on the skyline

a brown chicken walking towards the camera

ventilation outlets on a moss covered roof of a farm out building

a brown bull with a ring through it's nose staring at the camera

a tree stump in the foreground with Beeston Castle in the background

the ruined walls of Beeston castle under sunset skies

bridge over to the gatehouse of Beeston Castle