A Good Reason to Buy a Crystal Ball – and Nothing to do with Fortune Telling.

Many people will remember Jean-Claude Sicart as the winner of the Alverton Penzance “We Love the Coast 2017” International Photographic Competition with his image “Catherine Sunrise.”

We are delighted to announce that Jean-Claude “came back for more” and was awarded third place in our latest contest with his photo “Crystal Ball Sunrise.”

Jean Claude Sicart Photography

Jean-Claude is originally from Luchon, France, close to the Pyrenees, so he grew up among a spectacular landscape of mountains, lakes and snow. He moved to Australia in 2004 and was immediately attracted to the sheer difference of the Antipodean landscape; desert, outback, beaches and Australian vegetation, a stark contrast to the surroundings of his early life.

Jean-Claude Sicart Photographer

“Being relatively new to photography, I am interested in experimenting with different techniques to create further variety in my landscape work” Jean-Claude explains. “As a subscriber to Australian Photography magazine, I am constantly searching for innovative ideas and inspiration to challenge my newly discovered passion. It was in this magazine that I learnt about the concept of ‘crystal ball photography’. Self taught through online tutorials, I invested in a crystal ball and began to experiment with the new technique. The best photos were achieved by the eye being able to clearly distinguish the correlation between the background image and its inverted reflection within the ball. Clarity and lighting is important and of course, always keep the ball crystal clean!”

“Crystal Ball Sunrise” was taken using Jean-Claude’s EOS 80D, a Sigma 18 -250mm,1:3.5-6.3 lens set at 51mm and f5.0, shutter speed 1/250 sec, ISO 100.

A framed and mounted print of Crystal Ball Sunrise will be exhibited at the Alverton Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall UK during May 2017 along with the remaining top ten winning entries in our “No Label” competition.

Jean-Claude’s work can be seen on his website www.sicartphotography.jimdo.com and Facebook page www.facebook.com/sicartphotography

 


The “La La Land” Connection…

Many congratulations to Kalen Sheng whose image “Color of Love” has been awarded Second Prize in the Alverton Penzance “No Label” Open Theme International Photographic Competition. An interesting story lies behind the photograph in terms of its location and the couple featured in the image.
 Kalen Sheng Photographer
 “I’ve been a full time wedding and portrait photographer for about seven years now,” Kalen explains. “Ten years ago I would’ve never thought this was possible, nor would I have even entertained the thought of having a full time career as a photographer.  Growing up, I’ve always had a strong interest in arts, anime/manga, photography, but I grew up in an environment (conventional Asian upbringing) where it was never really encouraged.  While I got to explore/experiment with photography during college with some classes here and there, as well as working part time at a portrait studio, it never entered my mind that I could (nor should) really pursue it as a life-long career.  Eventually I took the safe route and went on to a “normal” working life as a sales rep at 2 different jobs after college.  Years went by, one day I woke up in a hotel room on a business trip feeling absolutely miserable, unsure where life was going, and then I just decided right there and then that I’d quit my job and figure out what makes me happy, so I did.  I quit my job two months later to take some time off to figure things out.

“The whole time I was away from photography, I couldn’t let it go completely.  I’d always think back to that very first wedding I shot on my own on black and white films, how much I enjoyed knitting a story together with images, and how much fun it was going through the contact sheet on a light table with a lupe.  But having not picked up a camera for so long after just a relatively short exposure to it, the possibility of becoming a photographer seemed very remote at the time.  So I bought my first digital camera (canon 20D) and I travelled for about two months to see if it’ll grow on me again.  After I came back from the trip, I decided to give myself two years and see if I could make photography work.  I started taking classes again, worked part time under the tutelage of a seasoned wedding/portrait photographer to gain experiences and hone my skills.  I started my own brand of photography business, Photo Kronology, in 2010, and then got my first physical studio in 2013.  
“While I can appreciate all genres of photography on a visual sense, wedding and portrait was my first choice as a career because I wanted to connect with people on the most basic level that every single person can relate to; love, which I believe to be one of the biggest common denominators in humanity.  I find a lot of meaning and pride in being able to translate the love between people into something visually beautiful (or at the very least, interesting) beyond just serving the purpose of documentation.  That’s where the creative motivation comes in for me, how I shoot the same thing that other people see differently and give it meaning at the same time.  And it’s the same mentality that I approach all photography with.  I love travelling, and I love taking travel photos, whether it’d be urban sceneries, street photos, or landscapes.  How do I shoot what I see in front of me in a way that’s visually interesting but still retain its emotional significance and integrity.  This is not to say that I have a handle on it in every single situation I find myself in, but it’s always the objective, and it’s an evolving work-in-progress that requires constant refinement.  

Back story behind the image “Color of Love”:

“The photo was taken during an engagement photo session a few years ago.  It was shot at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California, perhaps most recently known to non-locals for being one of the shooting locations in the movie La La Land.  The couple were stuck in traffic for a good while on their way to the shoot and showed up later than we planned on, and as a result, we were on a very tight race with time.  I only had about maybe less than 40 minutes before sunset, so I ended up rushing through most of the session trying to take advantage of whatever available light we had before the sun went down.  Towards the end of the session as we were about to wrap it up, I couldn’t shake this feeling that I still haven’t really done my job yet.  Because with every photo session that I do, I’d always want to walk away with at least one signature or epic (or the lack of a better description) image that both the couple and myself can always look at and go “this was all worth it”, and up until that point I just felt like I hadn’t done that.  So as we were on our way to the parking lot about to call it a day, just as the sun were barely below the horizon, I saw the gradation of colours in the sky and the contrast it had with the artificial lighting from the elevator.  Just on a whim, I thought it’d make an interesting silhouette with the right exposure and a little post-editing, and I got exactly what I wanted.  But aside from coming away with that image, the best thing that happened that day was the fact that the bride texted me on the way home, saying that they were ready to hire me as their wedding photographer based on their experience from the engagement session, before they even got to see any of the photos from the shoot.  Since that day, I’ve had the good fortune to photograph some of their biggest major life events: wedding, maternity, and most recently, their first official family photo, as they’re now the proud parents of an adorable eight-month old boy.  And while we’ve had some really good ones through it all, somehow this is perhaps still my favourite image from all those life events that I’ve had the privilege to be a part of as a photographer.”


The Agile Photographer!

Tony Empson’s passion for photography began back in 1984 when he bought his first Pentax SLR camera. Tony was seventeen at the time and photography has been a huge part of his life ever since. More recently he has embraced the digital revolution and now Tony’s image “Porth Nanven” has been awarded First Prize in the Alverton Penzance “No Label” Open Theme International Photographic Competition.

Tony Empson Photographer

Porth Nanven by Tony Empson

“Work and family life have often placed my love of photography on the back burner,” says Tony. “Now my three girls are older, and have film cameras of their own, I am determined to find more time to commit to my hobby and hone my skills as a photographer. In recent years moving to digital has enabled my photography to become more creative.  Although the technology has changed, 32 years later I still shoot with Pentax equipment, with my weapon of choice now being a Pentax K1.

“Born in Penzance and a proud Cornish man, I am spoilt living in an area where it is hard not to find an inspiring image, only the lack of available time prevents me from catching images daily.  I always try to project the feelings I experience in the moment whilst viewing a scene through the lens of my camera.

“Much like my submitted image which was taken on my one day off in less than favourable weather conditions, my initial feelings were that it would only ever have worked on a better day and the resulting image did not aspire to the one in my mind’s eye.  As usual it was my partner’s enthusiasm and her persistent encouragement that made me enter the image into the competition.

“It was an incredible surprise that my image was awarded gold, my joy magnified all the more by seeing the incredible standard of the other images entered.  I am an amateur and enthusiastic photographer and learn new things every time I pick up the camera.  Today I have learned not to hide my images and be brave.  Maybe they are not so bad.”

For those who don’t know the area, Porth Nanven is located in Cot Valley, St Just, West Cornwall.

Photo Contest Cornwall

View of the Brisons by Tony Empson

“A full appreciation of Tony’s winning photograph requires a visit to Porth Nanven,” comments Roger Driscoll, owner of the Alverton Gallery and joint host of the contest. “I’ve been there several times myself and I still haven’t quite managed to work out how Tony scrambled among the boulders to take that shot. Maybe he received training from the Royal Marines! That aside I love well-executed long exposure images – and the silky, almost mirror-like water effect makes the photograph all the more exceptional.”

A framed and mounted print of Porth Nanven will be exhibited at the Alverton Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall UK during May 2017 along with the remaining top ten winning No Label competition entries.

Cornwall Photo Contest

Men An Tol by Tony Empson


“Still Life” by Graham Russell

Congratulations to Graham Russell whose image “Still Life” received an Honourable Mention in our recent “No Label” Photographic Competition.  

Graham Russell Photographer

“I have been living in Cornwall since 2012 having previously lived in Oxford and had a career in Housing Management for 24 years,” Graham explains. “Currently my projects take the form of sculptures, photos, drawings and digital prints. Much of the work looks at objects or settings from a different point of view. Although I don’t describe  myself as a photographer and I don’t own a state of the art camera I do use photography in my art. I typically I use a smart phone or an old Olympus  camedia  camera. I have exhibited at the Exchange volunteer  shows over the past three years, at the Redwing for two shows and a show at Morvah  in 2016. I seldom throw fruit away if it gets beyond eating as I dry it and incorporate into a piece of art. Still Life is one such collection.”

A framed and mounted print of “Still Life” will be exhibited at the Alverton Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall UK during May 2017 along with the remaining top ten winning competition entries.


“Post Office Dog” by Brian Ashworth

Congratulations to Brian Ashworth whose image “Post Office Dog” received an Honourable Mention in our recent “No Label” photographic competition.  

Brian Ashworth Photographer

“We were having lunch in the Queen’s Head last July on a glorious summer day,” Brian explains, “when the dog wandered out of the Post Office and lay down to enjoy the sun – until then the view across the little square was pleasant enough, but the dog added that certain something that transformed it into a memorable scene just begging to be photographed.”

Brian’s work can be seen on his website www.soitwouldseem.com

A framed and mounted print of “Post Office Dog” will be exhibited at the Alverton Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall UK during May 2017 along with the remaining top ten winning competition entries.


“Going Down” by Sylvia Tuck

Congratulations to Sylvia Tuck whose image “Going Down” received an Honourable Mention in our recent “No Label” photographic competition. 

Sylvia Tuck Photographer

 

A framed and mounted print of “Going Down” will be exhibited at the Alverton Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall UK during May 2017 along with the remaining top ten winning competition entries.


“Dandelion” by Michelle Meader

Congratulations to photographer Michelle Meader  whose image “Dandelion” received an Honourable Mention in our recent “No Label” photographic competition. 

Michelle Meader Photographer

A framed and mounted print of “Dandelion” will be exhibited at the Alverton Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall UK during May 2017 along with the remaining top ten winning competition entries.


“Light Speed” by Simon Devetta

Congratulations to photographer Simon Devetta  whose image “Light Speed” received an Honourable Mention in our recent “No Label” photographic competition. 

Simon Devetta Photography

 

A framed and mounted print of “Light Speed” will be exhibited at the Alverton Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall UK during May 2017 along with the remaining top ten winning competition entries. Simon’s work can be seen on his website www.simondevetta.com