Dreams of the Darkroom – Inspired by Blossfeldt

Holidays and an influx of work have drawn me away from many things recently, including this little blog. The full workload has made me release how much I need to take a break and dedicate some time to the creative things I love to do and the relaxing things that keep me calm (and don’t involve a computer screen!).

I used to spend hours printing and experimenting with different techniques in the darkroom. There’s something wondrous about creating new things with your own hands, seeing images come to life and bringing those moments into light.  Right now finding the time to do it just doesn’t seem possible – but I long for another stint in the dark to create my latest ideas.

Analogue photography and fine art printing can bring emotive new elements to an image. As my work has always moved in and out of installation, teased at sculptural art and often incorporated textiles, traditional film photography and hand printing always allowed me to capture the beauty, harshness and texture I wanted to represent that just wasn’t possible otherwise.

Sunflower-Leaves-Nicola-Dellard-Lyle-flower-photography

Along with John Blakemore, Robert Mapplethorpe and Sally Mann, Karl Blossfeldt has been a great influence and source of inspiration for me as a fine art photographer. Seeing some of Blossfeldt’s original photographs in an exhibition at Bristol Museum has only intensified my yearning for another visit to the darkroom.

However, until time permits I’ll be outsourcing my film processing and playing around with my digital camera.

  

Inspired by Blossfeldt’s work at Bristol Museum and another summer of glorious wildflowers, we’ve collected bouquets from our garden and the house has been full of colour. We’ve spotted beautiful flowers in hedgerows on our adventures around Bristol too, especially in the countryside spots hidden within the city.

A recent collection from our garden (and a gift of flowers from a friend) inspired me to grab my camera and capture some of their beauty up close – à la Karl.

Leaf-Nicola-Dellard-Lyle-Photography

The Karl Blossfeldt exhibition at Bristol Museum is open until 13th September and is well worth a visit if you love photography, flowers and the simplified beauty of nature. You can read an article I’ve written about the exhibition and Blossfeldt’s fine art printing on the Bristol Museums website.

Sunflower-Stem-Nicola-Dellard-Lyle-Photography

The First Days of Spring

feet in the grass

daffodil

 

Oh Spring, you’re here.

On your first days we stood barefoot in the grass, found the daffodils that smiled to greet you and read poems by Wordsworth.

 

 I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

By William Wordsworth

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

In the Bark of a Tree

Countryside in the City

Bristol has been named European Green Capital 2015 for a reason- it’s environmentally forward thinking; a city full of wildlife and natural colour. The RWA in Bristol reflected this green glory creatively, with their winter exhibition ‘Arboretum’. Continuing the longstanding relationship that art has with nature, the work shown embodied stories of environmental issues and natural beauty – all with trees as the core subject.

The variety of trees in Bristol parks, streets and in residential gardens is awesome. Although the trees are mostly standing bare at the moment, I still find that each tree has endless photographic appeal. I love getting up close to examine the textures, shapes and range of colours that are ever evolving.

branches of a tree

Callington Road Local Nature Reserve, Brislington

The details in the bark of a birch tree is what captured my eye during a visit to Callington Road Nature Reserve. When this land in Brislington was truly nurtured around 2009, plenty of young indigenous trees were planted. Now, more than 5 years on, these birches are still growing tall and providing hints of the countryside within our nature strewn city.

Patterned bark