As usual, I spent most of September in the Greek islands: Ikaria, Samos and Patmos this year. Look out for new pictures here very soon.
I am very happy to say that my latest book The Woods is now available through Blurb.
The Woods was shot on location over several months in Oxleas Wood, an ancient deciduous forest in London dating back over 8000 years. The book features a selection of large black and white images shot on medium format film.
Two editions are available. The deluxe edition is 12″x12″ and bound in linen with dust jacket and premium endpapers. The 7″x7″ edition, designed to be more compact and affordable, is also a hardcover book with dust jacket. Both editions are printed on high-quality acid-free archival paper, 148 gsm Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite.
Please visit my Blurb bookstore for more details and online ordering.
Here is a preview of The Woods:
I have updated the website with more pictures, new galleries and some layout improvements – check it out at www.douglasmccarthy.co.uk
Following some recent shooting with Ilford FP4+ film, here is an expanded gallery for this ongoing project.
Near my home is Oxleas Wood, one of the few remaining areas of ancient deciduous forest in London, dating back over 8000 years. If at all known today, Oxleas is usually associated with Severndroog Castle, an 18th century folly built to commemorate Sir William James’s conquest of Suvarnadurg fortress in western India. The Wood is much valued by the local community which has, from time to time, been obliged to defend the place from thrusting road builders and politicians.
Away from Severndroog, it’s quite possible to walk for half an hour in Oxleas without encountering another human being. The forest is enveloping and tranquil and it is this mood that I am trying to capture photographically. Dead trees, shadow patterns and leaf cover often fill the frame. There is little colour of note. I had visualised these images in monotone and created a custom preset in Lightroom with a warm cast (rather than straight greyscale) for the conversions from E6 (Provia and Velvia). I will be returning with Ilford FP4+ soon as an experiment in this project’s early stages, but here are some initial results.
Last Saturday’s weather was fantastic – sunshine all day – so I picked up Gordon early and headed east to the Thames Estuary.
En route via the A13, we formed a rough plan of action: start at Tilbury then work west along the north side of the Thames to Grays and Rainham. Access to the shore itself is hindered in several places by private industrial sites with no public right of way. Nonetheless, when you can reach the riverside, there’s an interesting blend of footpaths, detritus and nature at the water’s edge.
Walking the Thames on an east-west axis, I often shoot things frontally. I like the stacking effect this creates with walls, buildings and the sky: factories loom up and wall graffiti are mounted on a facing plane. There’s often a pleasing simplicity and symmetry to these compositions.
The Tilbury river wall graffiti are a mixture of mod culture references and melancholy (and often enigmatic) statements, plus the usual less imaginative tagging. Such is the current paranoia of fossil fuel companies, our wanderings attracted the attention of security staff from Tilbury Power Station who thought it necessary to check that we were not a) environmentalists, or b) terrorists. They went away disappointed but probably relieved to briefly escape the CCTV monitors for some fresh air.
Technical notes: these pictures were shot on Fuji Velvia 100 and Provia 400, scanned on an Epson V700. Most were taken hand held using a Mamiya 6.
Spring is finally here – time to get out and start shooting.
I started scanning my own film recently after buying an Epson V700. It’s something I used to do as part of a previous job but I’m a little out of practice. For a start, different films scan differently – obviously. More than anything else, performing colour correction well is proving tricky. I’ve mainly been working with Provia scans (which have come out heavy in purple and magenta) and adjusting things in Lightroom.
Anyway, enough technical talk. I drove down to Grain recently and the sun was in just the right place to shoot a derelict barn that had caught my eye previously. Here are some hand-held shots taken with the Mamiya 6.