Roddy Williams – An ongoing portfolio

Archive for July, 2013

Shepherds Bush Market

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I’ve been a customer and visitor to this market for a good few years now. The vegetable stalls are excellent and there are some good butchers shops (exclusively halal as far as I can determine, so it’s no good for pork sausages or chops. On the other hand, they do some excellent goat which I buy now and again for curry).
The market in its present form may become a thing of the past as it’s part of a regeneration scheme which will see a new larger market replacing the old one. I can’t help feeling slightly sad about this, as the market has a certain dilapidated charm with its ramshackle wooden shops on the eastern side and the warren of stalls under haphazard awnings on the west.
There used to a be great stall about halfway down that sold second hand paperback books (that’s gone the way of all flesh now), and there’s a pet shop where we bought our albino catfish.
One Saturday I, and some rather bemused stallholders, were treated to in impromptu acapella concert by a Phillipino Michael Jackson tribute act who made up in tone and volume what he lacked in tunefulness.
It’s also the setting for Steptoe’s Yard in ‘Steptoe and Son’ so it has its place in cultural history.
I’ll be sad to see it change, although I can understand the necessity, and I do hope that the Council manage to retain some of the character, although having seen some Councils’ attempts at ‘Regeneration’ I can’t help but be a tad concerned.

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The Beast

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I believe that the Surrealists would have worshipped Photoshop as a minor god. It’s only function is to distort reality. Reality is distorted enough by the lens which – apart from the focal lengths closest to that of the human eye – shows us a view of the world which we cannot see with our basic vision.
Photoshop takes these already unreal images and allows almost limitless manipulation. Combination and/or juxtaposition of disparate images can conjure worlds or visions we may never have imagined.


The Moth of Doom

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I was on my way out with the camera one day and found this moth sitting in the hallway on the shelf where we usually put the communal post. Serendipitously, I had a macro lens already on the camera and so managed to take a couple of shots of the beast.
Apart from the little white buggers that eat my t-shirts, I like moths. They’re a regular feature of the London summer and apart from foxes and pigeons we don’t see a great variety of wildlife. It’s not often we see moths so large though.
I managed to encourage him onto a junk mail envelope and released him to the open world, since life in our hallway would probably have proved a trifle harsh. I was also concerned that the residents in the two other flats might not have been so fond of moths as I am, and that I would have returned to find him mashed with a copy of the yellow pages.


Battersea Power Station

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I love this building. It’s become such an iconic image however that it’s difficult to take a photograph of it that doesn’t look like a Pink Floyd album cover. I had a go though. Nope. Still looks like a Pink Floyd album cover.


Male Figure

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I think I have said before that my background is one of Art and Illustration, and my approach to photography is very much coloured (or black-and-whited to be strictly accurate) by this. I’ve never really been one to respect the integrity of the photographic image, since for me it’s more like painting. There’s composition, contrast, drama, truth, meaning… all that palaver, and these are important in both painting and photography, so why shouldn’t the techniques of painting and photography be interchangeable to some extent.
I have no qualms about manipulating imagery to produce a better final result. In these experimental pictures a random shot was taken of a TV screen with a deliberate camera shake involved, and the resultant image was ‘painted’ in effect using the Photoshop dodge and burn tools, along with some contrast and level adjustments.
Oddly, it does have the look of an impressionist painting, and I will be developing this technique further.


Three Men in Shepherds Bush

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These three make a curious, even furtive composition. They were outside the closed gate of Shepherds Bush Market which provided an odd but uniform backdrop, which isolates the figures. There is a fourth person in the original shot but the picture looked a lot tighter and more interesting when he got cropped out.


Man Pierced By Five Poles at Hammersmith

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Sometimes you take a picture that quite by accident turns out to be something quite different to what one intended.
There’s nothing more I can say about this, other than ‘Ouch!’