Free Digital Photography eResources

resources pic

As part of a free beginners photography workshop I’m currently putting together, which is one of the events included in my Somewhereto_  project (kindly facilitated by the good people at Somewhereto_Scotland and funded by o2 Think Big), I have compiled a list of free eResources on photography tips and tricks to help give those interested in photography a point in the right direction and a bit of help in starting to take good photographs.

Here is the list, which is made up of sites I have found useful, having helped me over the years. I even learned a few new things myself putting this is together.

(all content is copyright the various authors, to whom I am extremely grateful for putting together such excellent resources)

 

Digital Photography School

Top 10 Tips for Beginners

Top 10 Photography Composition Rules

14 Photo Composition Techniques

Using and Understanding Lines in Photography

Understanding Light in Photography

Understanding Patterns in Photography

Pattern, Form and Texture in Photography

Colour Psychology

 

So there you go, in my opinion some of the best photography resources for beginners on the web. And of course, there are lots of other great tutorials on the websites as well as the ones I have selected.

Hope you find them useful, and enjoy!

Seldom Seen #6: Woodville Airms

The Woodville Airms in Ibrox

This photograph shows the Woodville Airms bar, as well as the now unoccupied high rise flats on Summertown Road/Broomloan Road in Ibrox, Glasgow. The area itself is situated very close to Ibrox Stadium and borders with the Govan area of Glasgow and has a history of sectarian violence between Protestants and Catholics as well as other social problems, partly due to the decline in shipbuilding on the Clyde. The area is close to the now mostly derelict Govan shipyards, and there are several run down industrial buildings near by. Until recently the area had several more high rise flats, as well as sprawling estates of semi-detached social housing. However, three of the existing high rise flats in the area (one of which my uncle used to live in) have already been demolished, and the remaining three are currently in the process of being torn down.

The bar in the picture, previously known as the Albion Bar, is somewhat notorious for being a pub used by Rangers fans, given its close proximity to the stadium. The bar closed around the same time as the flats were vacated, and has been disused since. Although I haven’t personally been inside there are several entrances into the building which can be seen from the street, so I imagine the building is being used by some people, although for which purpose I’m not sure.

The reason I chose this photograph for the exhibition is that unlike the others this is a site which the local council and others are paying attention to. In general the area is a good example of what can be achieved through new developments of old urban environments which run counter to overcoming social problems as well as how the refurbishment of old buildings, which are often architecturally important in their own right, can be used by the community, instead of being left to decay.

Several new social housing developments have now been completed in the area as part of a wider programme of urban regeneration by Glasgow City Council, The Scottish Government and several other local councils acting together as the Clyde Waterfront Partnership. Several other community projects are ongoing as part oft his regeneration and already there seem to be some positive impacts, with several community run arts projects and social enterprise projects showing success. One example is the old Govan Town Hall, not far from where this picture was taken, which is now being occupied by creative organisations such as the Glasgow Film City, a centre for community media production and training.

This limited edition one-off A2 framed print is available to buy for £100 ono. Please get in touch if interested – 07757897097 or hello@kieranhamilton.org

Seldom Seen #5: Growing Through the Window

a tree growing through the widow of the old BT building in Greenock, Inverclyde.

This photograph shows part of the old British Telecom building just off Regent Street in Greenock town centre, Inverclyde. I’ve been unable to find much information about this building online, I think mainly due to the fact that t closed before people were really providing business addresses on the internet in a widespread way or recording the closure of such places on online news sources. All of the information I have about the building comes from my exploration of the building itself, so if anyone has a better knowledge of the building’s history please feel free to correct me where I am wrong. As far as i can tell, going by documents on the walls and old calendars and football posters which have been left behind, the building closed in the late 1990’s, although I could be wrong.

As far as I can tell the building functioned as a depot, given the open plan workspace that makes up the bottom half of the building, which also has large shutter style openings into the yard. The upper half appears to have been offices, and the image above shows the entrance to the main hall on the first floor just off one of the two staircases that leads up from the depot below.

What is remarkable about this building, given it central location and the fact that it has obviously been visited by several people, evidenced by some damage and rubbish, as well as broken windows and the hole in the fence through which you can gain entry, is that there is very little graffiti. The building has been empty, as far as I can tell, for over a decade, and although there is some damage and things have been moved around a bit, by its appearance it could have been vacated only a year ago, maybe even less.

All of the notices saying which equipment is to be moved where, along with lists of staff names and contact details, are still on the walls. Faded stickers warning employees to switch off lights and save electricity are still on the fairly clean walls. Interestingly it is the car park which gives away how long the site has been abandoned the most. It took us a while to realise it actually was a car park; the ground is almost entirely overgrown and green, and trees and bushes have sprouted up everywhere. So much so that ins some places they have ‘uprooted’ the lamp posts which once dotted the car park, leaving them lying on the ground, ironically, like felled trees.

I chose this photograph for the simple reason that the building is so public, so visible from every direction in the middle of the town, yet there is no acknowledgement of it, no traceable history except that which it itself provides. The building has been, in every sense of the word, abandoned. Like the overgrown car park, the tree growing in through the window shows the fact that the only things that appear to take a real interest or use in the building are the plants that are outgrowing and invading it, breaking through windows and knocking down lamp posts, using the very structure itself to grow and take back the land.

This limited edition one-off A2 framed print is available to buy for £100 ono. Please get in touch if interested – 07757897097 or hello@kieranhamilton.org

Seldom Seen #4: Crane No.7

Crane No 7 aka the Finnieston Crane

This photograph shows the Clyde Navigation Trustees Crane No.7 at Stobcross Quay on the River Clyde in Glasgow, also called the Stobcross Crane, but known locally as the Finnieston Crane because of its proximity to Finnieston Quay and the fact that it was built to replace the former Finnieston Crane which was situated further along the river Clyde.

The crane is one of several which still remain dotted along the River, but like the rest of them is no non-operational. Although the surrounding areas have been developed the crane has remained and now serves as a symbol of Glasgow’s rich history of engineering and shipbuilding on the Clyde.

Despite the crane remaining as an overt symbol of Glasgow’s history, I’ve chosen this photograph because I think it has become so much part of the skyline of Glasgow, part of the background, that people often forget just what it was used for and what it represents. This is the reason for the perspective which the photograph uses in looking at the crane, focusing not on the whole structure as most photographs of the crane tend to, but on the close-up structures and patterns of the structure itself contrasted with the razor wire that serves as a constant reminder that the crane is in use no more, not for its original purpose or any other. The focus on the sign also highlights the history of the crane, how long it has been on the site, who commissioned it and who made it? The sign also serves to situate the crane in wider context of the environment in which it operated, as only ‘Crane No.7’ amongst many others, perhaps leaving us to question why specifically this crane was left in place, and not others?

This limited edition one-off A2 framed print is available to buy for £100 ono. Please get in touch if interested – 07757897097 or hello@kieranhamilton.org

Seldom Seen #3: Howden’s Works

Spray Can

This photograph shows a discarded spray paint can in the now abandoned James Howden & Co Engineering Works on Scotland Street in Tradeston, Glasgow. James Howden (1832-1913) was a Scottish engineer and inventor noted for his invention of boilers for use in the marine engineering industry, as well as developing engines which were used in British navy vessels to outrun German U-boats. The building was his first factory, which he occupied from 1863. Howden’s is still a major international engineering company, and when James Howden died in 1913 he was the last surviving founding member of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, founded in 1857.

The building is listed, but like many of the structures in the Tradeston district of Glasgow is now completely abandoned and falling into disrepair. Despite this the site is used by several graffiti artists and boasts some fairly impressive pieces of work all around the huge site. In addition, some of the office block areas on the site are used by the homeless.

I chose this photograph because of the sheer size of the site as well as its high visibility from trains leaving Glasgow Central train station heading South, being seen by hundreds of people every day. Despite it’s owners contribution to Scottish engineering and the sites involvement in Glasgow’s industrial shipbuilding history, the building has become part of the backdrop of wider urban decay in Glasgow, and is likely to be left to fall apart or be redeveloped, its legacy forgotten.

This limited edition one-off A2 framed print is available to buy for £100 ono. Please get in touch if interested – 07757897097 or hello@kieranhamilton.org

Seldom Seen #2: Wee Rabbit

Wee Rabbit

This picture shows a small stuffed toy rabbit that I found while exploring an old car mechanics on Ardgowan Street in Port Glasgow. The buildings, which were only recently abandoned and have since been demolished due to a fire which occurred shortly after the premises being vacated, sat on a much larger site of empty wasteland, and were the last buildings which remained on the site. The site contained some fairly juvenile graffiti, nowhere near the standard that I’ve found at other sites such as Polphail, and was strewn with wrecked furniture, old oil drums and piles of old burned tyres and various pieces of car. You could still smell the smoke from the fire several years previous inside the buildings.

The reason I chose this picture is that for me it leaves more questions than it answers. Whereas the old tyres and bits of car immediately inform you that the old building was one a mechanics, the little rabbit leaves you wondering how it got to be in such an inherently adult and traditionally masculine environment, far removed from the type of place you might expect a child to play and accidentally leave behind its toy.

Maybe it was left behind by one of the people who used to work here, a present given to a mother or father from their child to take to work and remember them by. Or perhaps it accidentally found its way into a bag or a pocket in the morning rush to get everyone to work, school or nursery. Or, maybe I’m wrong, maybe it was left here by a child. After all, children can be adventurous and inquisitive, and may well have decide to explore that building which they could never previously access but which now lay wide open in its abandoned state. If I’m honest, it’s probably a bit of that childish curiosity that brings me to explore these places.

This limited edition one-off A2 framed print is available to buy for £100 ono. Please get in touch if interested – 07757897097 or hello@kieranhamilton.org

Seldom Seen #1: Polphail

Grafitti on one of the buildings in Polphail 'Ghost Village'

This photograph shows part of of one of the main buildings in the abandoned village of Polphail, often described as a ‘ghost village’, which is situated in contrast to the rolling hills and stunning lochs near Portavadie in Argyll, Scotland. The term abandoned might not be the best way to describe the village of Polphail, since it has never actually been lived in.

Polphail was originally built in the late 1970’s to house around 500 workers who were scheduled to build oil platforms off the Argyll coast, however construction never started due to the type of oil platform which was to be constructed becoming defunct, and so Polphail was left unoccupied. The village comprises several dorms, basements for boilers and electrical equipment to run the site, a laundrette, several bars and a large industrial kitchen. It even has large halls, which presumably would have been used for discos and events, had they ever been used at all.

The village itself has an eerie, empty, atmosphere. I’ve visited several abandoned places, and always find myself imaging the people that would have inhabited the space. The eerie thing about Polphail is that every time I tried to do just that, I was instantly reminded of the fact that no one had ever inhabited the space. This very fact itself gives Polphail its unique and oddly unsettling atmosphere.

However, despite never having been officially lived in, there are some signs of life; used cooking pots, clothing, a rusty old bike, and the most notable sign that that the site has not been left alone all these years: the vast amount of graffiti. Some of this graffiti is the standard sort of stuff seen scrawled on bathroom walls, but some of the graffiti is of a much higher standard. The more memorable artwork is that left behind by collective of artists know as the Agents of Change, who were granted permission to use the site as a makeshift graffiti gallery. More information about the AoC ‘Ghost Village Project’ and a documentary detailing the event with interviews of the artists here. And as a bonus, if you would like to see another video of our (at times slightly comical, given my shoddy narration) exploration of the village put together by my girlfriend Jennifer it can be viewed here. The video documents our journey there, and gives a look at quite a lot of the site, and in my opinion conveys some of the empty, eerie atmosphere I talked about earlier.

The hand in the image is one of the pieces of art left behind Agents of Change, and one of my favourite pieces on the site. The structure on which the graffiti is placed i the highest on the site and contains a stairwell between the dorms. The reason I chose this picture is that the hand reaching up towards the top of the tower, with its crumbling brick work, for me perfectly conveys the sense of wanting to allow the place to remain and find a purpose, despite its decaying state. At the same time a trick of the light through the camera lens makes it seem like the colours are trying to escape off of the surface structure, almost as if conscious of its finite existence, a metaphor for the way in which the artwork will live on not just through the photographs I have taken, but through the hundreds of photographs and videos which others have taken of the site which can be found on line and on YouTube.

After several offers to buy the land the site has finally been purchased and will be demolished and subsequently developed in the coming years, with rumours of a housing development, micro distillery and even a visitors centre planned for the site. More info from the local press here.

This limited edition one-off framed 70x50cm print is available to buy for £250 ono. Please get in touch if interested – 07577897097 or hello@kieranhamilton.org