Posts Tagged ‘Richard Bolam Digital Media’

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20×20 art exhibition at 35 Chapel Walk, Sheffield UK, 5-8 February 2014

In Uncategorized on February 8, 2014 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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20×20 2014 at Access Space, Sheffield UK

After several months at Access Space, the 20×20 open art exhibition moved to 35 Chapel Walk for a few days in a different location. I helped to re-hang the show, and here are a couple of quick timelapse videos of staff and volunteers taking down the show at Access Space and re-installing it. 35 Chapel Walk is a for-hire ex-shop unit in Sheffield city centre.

Now you see it…

Now you see it again.

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Magnetic Atlas – Tracey Holland’s exhibition at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe UK

In Uncategorized on January 4, 2014 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

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Synchronized video in suspended lamps. From “Ordinalia” by Tracey Holland.

I have been working on a documentation video (as yet unfinished) of some of the installation of artist Tracey Holland’s “Magnetic Atlas” exhibition at 20-21 in Scunthorpe UK. Actually, my involvement was not documentation but technical advice and configuration for the audio-visual elements of the show, and you can see me in the video also doing some of the physical installation. For me, the brief started out quite straightforward but developed into a real technical challenge in the end.

I’ve known Tracey for a long time but have never worked with her before. I’ve always liked her work and it embodies what my ambition is for my own work, to make art that has both beauty and meaning and can be approached in a number of ways.

When we first talking about my involvement in this project, it was just a bit of advice on the audio-visual equipment that would play back Tracey’s video inside custom-made enclosures to be hung in the 20-21 gallery. However, when it cam to the final spec, two sets of three screens needed synchronized three-channel video and this put a very different complexion on the whole job. What’s more, one of the triple-screen works was to be hung from several meters up.
Magnetic Atlas v5

In the foreground, Tracey Holland, the artist, & Dominic Mason of 20-21. The venue’s technician, Frank, is up the scaffold tower, and I’m the one in the background scratching his head.

Those of you who have worked with multi-channel video will understand that to go from multiple single channels of video to multiple SYNCHRONIZED channels is not just a little extra work, it’s a whole order of magnitude increase in complexity. I’m not going to go into the subtleties of it in this post but will write an additional post that discusses the technicalities, strictly for the geeks.

After much thought  and discussion, we decided to implement all the video playback using Raspberry Pis because they are low-cost, low-power and can playback Full HD video at 25 frames-per-second. There are lots of media players on the market but the domestic versions are a bit of an unknown quantity and cannot usually be synchronized.

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My Raspberry Pi & Lilliput multi-screen test bed.

I would have to admit to a being a bit too confident with something I had only limited experience with, and the RasPis were very fiddly to set up, especially seeing as not all the lamps needed the level of sophistication available. However, they proved me to be correct about the reliability and flexibility of Linux and the Raspberry Pi hardware platform.

20-21 is an amazing place to be showing your work in. It’s a converted church, but not the damp and gloomy space you might think. It’s very well-endowed, warm and dry, with multiple exhibition spaces, offices, café and education rooms, and the character of the building has been preserved. The staff are exceptionally helpful although the team seemed very small to run such a busy programme and large building. They seem to do a lot of overtime.

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Tea and biscuits during installation, courtesy of 20-21.

Unfortunately, due to the ambitious nature of the work and the limited installation time, we didn’t finish for the opening day but the public were very forgiving. I have worked with a lot of artists and Tracey is one of the most rewarding people I have ever worked for. Despite many stresses, frustrations and setbacks, she was always a pleasure to be with. We laughed a lot and there was no shouting or bitter recriminations. At least, not yet.

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Artist Tracey Holland.

The show continues at 20-21 until 18th 11th January 2014 and I highly recommend you see it before it finishes.
http://www.northlincs.gov.uk/tourism-museums-and-the-arts/20-21/20-21-whats-on/20-21-exhibitions/

Tracey’ website is here:
http://www.traceyholland.co.uk/

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New Year, New View

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2013 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , ,

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2011 was a bad year.

However, in 2012 I got married, honeymooned in Barcelona and moved into a new house in Sheffield, UK. Above is a 3-shot HDR taken out of the window in the spare bedroom.

2012 was a good year.

We didn’t buy the house for the views, but it is at the top of a hill, the garden is south-facing and the front room looks out over Sheffield, our chosen home city. From the point of view of a photographer, filmmaker and visual artist, things could be worse.

What’s more, 2012 started with an amazing couple of sub-freezing temperatures that gave me a rare opportunity to shoot the Sheffield Roundwalk in very frosty conditions.

Screen shot 2012-12-31 at 14.25.52

So here’s to 2013. Expect more lots HDR photography and timelapse video, some of it shot from the comfort of my own home.

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MADE in one day – timelapse video of The Entrepreneur Festival

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

I was commissioned by Seven Hills PR consultants to shoot a single-shot timelapse video of people arriving for the MADE Entrepreneur Festival in Sheffield on 20th September 2012. The example I was asked to emulate is an existing video of large window graphics being applied to the outside of a building.

However, there was not going to be anything similar at Sheffield City Hall and, because of other events happening in Barkers’ Pool, a similar shot of the main entrance was obscured. So, the brief I had was to create something impressive to communicate the size and energy of the event, and shoot and edit it in a single day so that it could be shown online the following day.

This kind of open brief is both good and bad. I prefer to be given creative freedom, but with great power comes great responsibility, and I had to come up with something.

My solution was to capture the size of the event in terms of the number of delegates, and to end with a bit of a tease as the Oval Hall fills up, the lights go down and the event starts. Instead of a single shot, I used five cameras around the building but only used four in the final edit.


Sheffield City Hall is managed by Sheffield International Venues, and is one of the finest venues in the country with a huge capacity of 2,271 in the Irwin Mitchell Oval Hall. MADE was a sell-out event with a number of high-profile guest speakers including HRH The Duke of York and Dragon’s Den regular Peter Jones.

I’ve over-achieved a bit on this one, and it was a lot to get done in one day, but the client was delighted and it was shown to the audience during the last day of the festival.

hospitality.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk
wearesevenhills.com
madefestival.com

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Club Culture at the Culture Club – Shooting the Stars of Sheffield, UK

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Under The Stars is a night club for people with learning disabilities. It is organised and run by Sheffield-based social enterprise Reach 4 The Stars, and provides a safe and friendly environment for people of all ages (over 18) to enjoy a bit of Sheffield’s nightlife.
underthestars.org.uk
reach4thestars.org.uk

Here is a timelapse video I shot at their 5th birthday celebration event at The Hallam Union Building of Students (HUBS), Sheffield, UK, on 19th April 2012.

This week, Reach 4 The Stars / Under The Stars will be presenting at Sheffield’s regular Culture Club event, which is a platform for cultural organisations to publicise their activities and services. On Wednesday (19th September) the fifth Culture Club event will take place as part of the University of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind. The theme is “Diversity” and is organised by Sheffield City Council and The North Marketing Agency. The event is free and you can still book via Eventbrite.
nrth.co.uk

Hosted by the University of Sheffield, the “Festival of the Mind is a celebration of ideas, culture and collaboration. It’s open to everyone and it’s FREE“.
festivalofthemind.group.shef.ac.uk

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Blue Monday – Reasons to be cheerful in Sheffield

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , ,

This January is the first time I heard the term “Blue Monday” attached to the third Monday in January, “officially” the most depressing day of the year. Apparently, the cold weather, short days and post-Christmas come-down combine to make January particularly depressing. Not for me. I had a fantastic day. Inspired by the beautifully clear and frosty sub-zero temperatures, on Monday 16th January 2012 I decided to walk the entire route of the Sheffield Round Walk. I live close to Meersbrook Park (above), which is on the route, and am lucky that the 14 mile circular route brings me back home.

Sheffield Round Walk connects several parks, green spaces and woodlands in the southern part of the city, and takes you all the way out to the edge of the Peak District at Ringinglow. It’s a full day’s walk and it’s best to do it on a long Spring or Summer day, rather than in the middle of January, so that you can stop a bit more than I did. Sheffield is widely known for being built on seven hills (like Rome), and as England’s greenest city. It is also famous for the highest stay-on rate for university students moving here to study, and you can see why.

I’ve done the Round Walk many times before but never in such amazing weather conditions. Here are a few high dynamic range (HDR) photos of my walk. There are more photos of Sheffield and many other places on my Flickr account.

There are maps of the Sheffield Round Walk route on the official website, and a guide book can be ordered from there too.
sheffieldroundwalk.co.uk

In no particular order, here are just a few of my other favourite things about Sheffield.

Sheffield Live! 93.2 FM community radio station – number 1 slot on my car radio.
sheffieldlive.org

Sheffield Contemporary Art Forum – an umbrella organisation promoting the fine art scene in Sheffield, which has the largest number of artist’s studios outside London.
artsheffield.org

Peak District National Park – Britain’s first National Park. Over 500 square miles of moorland, hills, woodland and dales.
peakdistrict.gov.uk

Showroom Cinema – the second largest independent cinema in the country and one of the few cinemas still showing both digital and film formats.
showroomworkstation.org.uk

Sheffield Theatres – the largest theatre complex outside London, including The Crucible, one of the world’s finest thrust stages.
sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

Tramlines Free Music Festival – winner of the Best UK Metropolitan Festival at the UK Festival Awards 2011.
tramlines.org.uk

Stay frosty.

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No such thing as an authentic photograph

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , ,

“For a creative writer possession of the “truth” is less important than emotional sincerity.” George Orwell (1903 – 1950)

I grew up in a world where professional photography was a distant and unattainable world. Nowadays everyone has a camera. Everyone. And taking pictures has become as much a part of our daily lives as eating our meals and, in my case, sometimes simultaneously.

I was first drawn to high dynamic range (HDR) imaging in 2008 after seeing very striking images online. My own approach is to make authentic looking photographs, that capture more of the detail and colour depth that is seen by the human eye, rather than the limited range represented by “normal” photography.

I always say “there is no such thing as an authentic photograph”, and when I say it I think of the iconic photograph by Yevgeny Khaldei (1917 – 1997), of a Russian soldier raising the Soviet flag on the Reichstag after the invasion of Berlin during the Second World War. The high-contrast black and white photograph has become a benchmark of authenticity, but only because it has been made universally familiar by newspapers. However, neither a still, nor a moving image can ever be more than an impression of the scene.

The original photograph (above), the added smoke (top right) and the final manipulated composite (bottom right).

Without going into too much detail, current information claims that the photograph was manipulated to remove the extra wristwatches (obviously looted) from the Heroes of the Soviet Union, and to add more smoke in the background, making a more dramatic composition. Whatever the manipulation, there is no doubting the veracity, or truthfulness, or as Orwell would say “emotional sincerity”, of the image. The terrifying fragility of the situation in a blasted city still in a state of war is clearly communicated.

Here are the 3 original shots used to create the image above. It was a very bright, windy day and the composite, adjusted and cropped, tone-compressed HDR (using Photomatix Pro) gives an “authentic impression” of the scene.

My own dilemma is informed by my desire to capture what I see as authentically as possible, but no camera nor combination of techniques will ever capture a “true” image.

Lots more of my photography on Flickr.