Several years ago, I met Alec Finlay for a spot of lunch at The Cluny in the Ouseburn Valley.
By that stage, we had already worked on several projects together. Through our collaborations, I was gaining insights into Alec’s mind, insights that were already enhancing my outlook on the world around me.
We sat outside on a lovely, relaxed sunny afternoon. Around us, the colours of Spring were springing and above us, the blue sky…
Ah yes, the blue sky.
That’s what Alec wanted to discuss — the colour of the blue sky.
What colour is it? Could I use my understanding of digital colour and technical skills to somehow translate what’s up there into some glorious new colour wheel down here?
As it happened, yes I could and that idea manifested itself as sky-wheel.
Later, we would also make apple-wheel together, a piece that would form part of Alec’s shortlist exhibition for the Northern Art Prize:
On his skying blog, Alec describes the thinking behind sky-wheel in more detail:
This sky-wheel is a record of the colour of the sky, representative of a coastal location in North East England. It is…a work that appears to be scientific but is in fact entirely subjective.
While the sky-wheel does not meet any scientific criteria…his (Jack’s) role was as a mediator, between the technology of the digital camera, which produced the sky samples we used, and the technology of the digital ink-jet printer, which produced the final artwork.
The outer ring of the sky-wheel records a colour for every day, specified from a digital photograph of the sky. The camera is in a fixed position on the roof of NaREC (Blyth), pointing directly overhead and taking photographs at four hourly intervals during daylight hours. The calendar ran from midsummer day 2007 to midsummer eve 2008.
The outer ring shows the 365 days.
The second ring records a colour for every week; an amalgam of the seven colours for the individual days during this time period.
The third ring records a colour for every month; an amalgam of the four colours for the individual weeks during this time period.
The penultimate ring records a colour for each season; an amalgam of the three colours for the individual months during this time period.
The inner circle of the sky-wheel is a composite colour representing the entire year; this was created by amalgamating every other colour specification that appears in the colour wheel.
Below are photographs of the camera I rigged to capture the sky every four hours for a year from midsummer day 2007 to midsummer eve 2008.
The Canon SLR was controlled by an Intervalometer, all neatly encapsulated within a waterproof housing. I managed to feed a mains power lead from the camera, through the housing and attach it to an external power supply on the roof.
Every couple of weeks, I travelled to Blyth to swap the memory cards over and collect the images it had captured:
In the (organised and structured) maelstrom of 2012, my studio has seen some beautiful happenings. Now I’m enjoying a moment or two’s respite in which to begin sharing some of them with you.
Back in November 2011 (I can’t believe it was that long ago!) I wrote about my involvement with the second edition of Julian Germain’s book, ‘For Every Minute You Are Angry You Lose Sixty Seconds of Happiness’.
Well, a week or two ago, Julian kindly gave me a copy to thank me for my efforts. A well-received thank you, too, as I simply love his work.
Anyway, I thought I’d share these photographs with you — perhaps to whet your appetite and encourage you to buy one for yourself while you still can…
In the production of the second edition, a hitherto unseen portrait was added on the final page.
I have to confess, I was so pleased with this as it enabled me to post-produce one of the photographs from start to finish — something I wasn’t able to do in the first edition, which was in production before we first met.
I feel extremely proud to have had my first major involvement in one of Julian’s fine publications. It really is the cherry on the cake to see my name credited in the back alongside the likes of David Ellis and Michael Mack…
Simple is so often best…
As Jonathan writes:
“It’s always very exciting to be recognised in these awards, which appear in these beautifully printed books.
“It is particularly special this year, as the selection of works has been limited to 100. In our studio, we (me and all my very hard working helpers) have had three images chosen; to be listed alongside industry greats such as Albert Watson and Annie Leibowitz is a great honour. Thank you to all my team who help me make it happen!”
The publication carries quite a heritage, as described on their site:
“Graphis, The International Journal of Visual Communication, was first published in 1944 by Dr. Walter Amstutz and Walter Herdeg in Zurich, Switzerland. Graphis presented the work of fine artists and illustrators, as well as highlighting the formative years of graphic design as we know it today. Advertising and photography were also featured, and Walter selectively chose what he felt to be the best talent of the time. In 1966, he introduced the Graphis Photo Annual, followed in 1973 by the Graphis Poster Annual.
“Graphis serves as a platform for outstanding work in Design, Advertising and Photography. To honor these professionals, we introduced the Graphis Platinum and Gold Awards.”
I have worked on hundreds of images with Jonathan over the years; it’s always a proud moment to pass one of our billboards or posters, stumble across an ad, spot another album cover or perhaps pick up an award or two along the way…
An important new chapter on the Tyne and Wear Metro network launched today – the bold renovation of Sunderland Station.
After nearly a year of consultation and the artworking of some 270 architectural panels, Jack Lowe Studio’s involvement in this stage of a great project has come to a satisfying conclusion. You may have seen my first post on the work back in March…
During the course of my work, I liaised closely with two of the three artists commissioned by Nexus – Julian Germain and Morag Morrison – as well as a string of contractors to pull together an enormous amount of photographic imagery required to sit within rigorous architectural parameters.
The completed work launched this morning amidst a swarm of media attention, combining with the illumination of Jason Bruges’ incredible 140 metre Wall of Light on Platform 5.
This £7m development marks the beginning of an enormous programme of renewal for the Tyne and Wear Metro network, a vital part of the North East’s infrastructure.
I’m very proud that Jack Lowe Studio been involved at such an intrinsic level on this project and glad to see first-hand that it is already a revitalising experience for Sunderland Station’s Metro users.
More images of today’s launch can be seen by clicking on the link to this web gallery…
Due to hit the physical and cyber shelves shortly, this is the latest in a succession of covers post-produced at Jack Lowe Studio for Ministry of Sound over the years.
Design by Simon Moore at Baby.