From 2015

by: Robert E Smith
2016-01-01 17:00:11


My top ten 2015 shots

Hello again,

I'd like to begin by wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy new year, and to share with you ten of my favourite images from 2015.

I am lucky enough to share my work across quite a wide range of audiences, but one comment I receive about my work is common to all of them, that my portfolio and the media used is very mixed, that it encompasses many different genres. 
I don't see anything unusual in this, and I am not the only Photographer who shoots a very mixed bag of images and I have never really seen the point in limiting oneself to any particular genre, maybe this makes me a 'Jack of all trades and master of none', but I don't see it like that, for the most part I just shoot what interests me and that might be a Landscape, or a portrait, a still life or a composite of all three! 

Of course, there is nothing wrong in spending a career chasing the perfect landscape, or creating a name for yourself shooting nudes, or fashion or whatever - each to their own! I guess I wanted to mention this as some are critical of what I have done and what I will continue to do, to create images that encompass the widest possible range of subjects. Perhaps that unnerves some of my critics who feel that any artist should focus on just one style or subject, which is fine, it is all subjective, but sometimes I think they speak more about their own failings than mine - I just shoot light, and light wraps everything in beauty and interest and light is what photography is all about!

Anyhow, in no particular order I'd like to share my personal favourites from 2015, it has been extremely difficult choosing ten images that some you may have already seen - and I apologise for that, but if you enjoy them half as much as I enjoyed creating them, then I guess that I have achieved what I set out to do, to create something worthwhile.

If you click on the images, you can see them at a larger size, and please do feel free to share this Blog with others who may find it of interest.


This image was shot at a place very dear to me using 120 Fomapan 100 roll film in my Mamiya, for me it captures and transmits the quiet and magical essence of that place.


I love our coastline and have been luck enough to see and capture some fantastic places, but for me this very simple image encapsulates what it is all about. This was made using a DSLR with an exposure just long enough to blur the moving water and a depth of field gauge emphasise the separation between the little lump of sea foam. 

This is my partner and her son, shot using 35mm Foma Retropan and my Kiev 4a. I just love the grain, the soft tonality and the metering which took advantage of the mainly black clothing and dark surroundings as they watched a film on the TV together. The light was entirely from the TV and the front room window which forced me to shoot the 320 ISO film  hand held at f2 and 1/25th second.  

I made this image as my response on the anniversary of the 9/11 twin towers tragedy. I wanted to represent and contrast  the massive and overwhelming impact of this event by using something very small and insignificant. This image was created using images I shot using a DSLR fitted with a Macro lens and combined as a composite in Photoshop.

This is a composite image I created from several older pictures, all of which were shot during my time in Finland. 
If there is one thing I love about digital imagery and manipulation, it is the ability to create something entirely new from a selection of otherwise unremarkable pictures. The source material may be older, but this is very much a creation of 2015. 
Take one DSLR, a wide angle lens, some fill flash and an eight year old boy.......
For me this picture encapsulates the simple joys of summer, and youth and sheer fun.

From one extreme to another! This was taken at one of my favourite haunts, Roker beach and it was shot on 35mm Ilford Delta 400 and my Canonet. I love the mood in this, the cold November weather and that beautiful melancholy one finds at the seaside in winter.

Another 35mm film image that I love, also shot at Roker on my Kiev 4a. This image conjures all sorts of stories along with a mood and atmosphere which film delivers in bucket loads. 

There are times when everything just falls into place, shot  very recently with a DSLR and short telephoto lens at Blast beach, this image ticks all of the boxes for me, but is made extra special by the low winter sun, Photography - it's all about light!

And last but not least, this running shoe was washed up on the beach at South Shields and left by the receding tide. For me it speaks volumes about our society, consumerism and the environment.
Shot on 120 Fuji Acros using a 180mm lens on my Mamiya, a neutral density filter slowed the exposure and coupled with a largish aperture blurred out the sea completely.
One commentator said "Probably the most important/iconic/relevant image to represent the 21st century. If this doesn't make the 'big time' then we really are in trouble."
very generous words which sum up exactly what I saw in the subject and wanted to convey.

Thanks for watching, I have certainly found this process rewarding and I hope that you have enjoyed them.

And once again, with all the very best wishes for an amazing 2016. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer them.

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