#1013. Lockdown – past caring what day it is

By Paul Perton | Art & Creativity

Jun 08

When you’ve exhausted just about every idea, tired of yelling at your similarly incarcerated family, got over Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and bored friends and acquaintances with e-mails and text messages, it probably time to get lateral.

I’m also fed up with re-editing images chosen in Lightroom and imported as otherwise new RAW files into Capture 1. Not that I don’t enjoy revisiting and in some cases, making significant improvements. It’s because I see the Rockies, or the legendary dunes at Sossusvlei and just want to be there.

It’s also been a revelation; finding I can’t re-create and improve some images and I can’t help but wonder whether at least in my hands, Lightroom’s abilities have an upper limit – until now OK, but as I’m learning, it isn’t very good at making art.

That’s for another time. Right now, I want to pack my cameras, get up before the sun and go shoot some landscapes. Some views. Sunrises. Sunsets. Anything save the endless streets of London town.

Some months ago, On Landscape magazine (edition 177) featured a lengthy article on Graham Cook’s abstract photography, principally found textures. It made me think long and hard about the number of interesting scenes I pass daily, blithely ignoring all manner of photographic opportunities as I do.

Like most photographers, I’ve always been interested in the character of doors and street furniture, but with a somewhat more encouraged eye, I now try to look past the obvious. I stop my Brompton (bike) at an odd shadow, old hoardings, alleyways, broken garage doors, anything that might reveal a visual treat with just a little work.

And there you have it. 

There are no rules, other than what I see and catches my attention. Post processing stops when I’ve had enough slidering, or curving. Brash colour and crunchy contrast? Love it. This isn’t about art, at least nothing you’d see in the National Gallery. This is the street and no matter how fed up I may be at the lockdown, I have found a distraction until I can get back out into the real thing.

One last thing; nothing is straight, square or symmetrically satisfying out there. Suck it up.


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  • Nancee Rostad says:

    It seems as if confinement to the city has given you the push to look beyond the obvious in order to concentrate on the marvelous textures and colors of the urban landscape. As you know I’m in love with the rustic abstracts that you so expertly photograph. Hopefully the restrictions on travel will be lifted or reduced soon so that you can be free to ramble once again. And while we look forward to whatever you may find, we won’t forget the wonderful images that you’ve created during this crisis. Kudos, my friend!

    • Paul Perton says:

      Thanks N. The lockdown and having a lot of my kit marooned in Cape Town was slowly moving me towards a massive eBay sale of everything. I needed a distraction and as it has developed, this project has proved to be just what I needed.


  • Lad says:

    Paul, These images, and the guiding thought of photographing “what I see and catches my attention,” really speak to me. I find them magnificent! I live in a rural area, but I too am attracted by pattern, color, texture, juxtaposition–in nature not artifact. Photography was born and largely survives as representational, but I think your abstractions–and near abstractions–are of equal weight to your lovely landscapes. Thanks for the inspiration! Lad

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    A cri de cœur from a wounded artist! I find it morbidly fascinating (well that’s the “expression”, anyway – “morbidly interesting” might be more appropriate!) watching how the world’s extroverts react to the lockdowns this pandemic has caused. According to my medical support team, I’m supposed to be the one suffering from “depression” and yet – as an introvert – this lockdown has been barely more than an “inconvenience”, to me.

    Times of crisis generate ingenuity, and with it comes creativity. A soul in torment seeking an escape route! We’ve even been made to endure restrictions on the purchase of the various forms in which we can seek relief by drinking alcohol – easily breached by using our “exemption” which allows us to go out if we need to “go shopping”, to go to several liquor outlets instead of only one.

    But you’ve found a different escape route – a more traditional one, for artists – “creativity”! My poor attempts at this have been more traditional than yours, Paul, which is why you’re the artist and I’m merely a “photographer” – while I merely “capture what I see”, you create! 🙂

  • David says:

    Paul Wonderful images, enjoyed every one. Thank you for sharing.

  • We really are “all in this together”. Paul, you have described my situation exactly. First thing I did was wear out the park that is only 6-minutes from our house. Then the warbler migration started and I practically occupied a National Wildlife Refuge that is 25-miles from our house. Then I started looking back at my old processing and started reworking images. Now I’m totally tired of that so I’ve been getting up at 0500 most mornings and getting out for much needed physical exercise before most people are stirring. And now I’m just tired, both physically and mentally. But I have some very pleasing images that I would not have had if I had contented myself with sitting on the couch in front of the TV.
    Photography is a life and mind saver. And looking at your images on DS is inspiring. Gotta get out and get some more images. Something new, different and exciting!! 🙂

  • Patrick says:

    Superb photo-eye works….inspiring ! Thank you, Paul, for sharing.

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