Monday, 6 June 2016

Professor Eyeball and friends

I've spent the last couple of days slowly scanning some of my son's drawings from when he was younger (a job I've been meaning to do for quite some time). In the back of my mind I've been trying to think what to do today for this project (I'm more than aware that I'm turning into the rabbit from Wonderland and struggling to catch up with myself sometimes).

And then I realised the answer was literally staring me in the face, Why not base this week's instalment on his artwork?

After a quick trip to the local pound store to get an assortment of weapons, I headed upstairs. It's a beautiful day today so I though 'to heck with it' and opened the curtains wide to let the daylight in.
Then I began my imaginary battles with Professor Eyeball and his villainous friends...

Dark Dino


Dark Knight

Robo Square

Robot Guard


Saw Bot

Jammy Dodger's Aunt

Professor Eyeball

Monday, 9 May 2016

The Strangeness of Self

Massive apologies for the gap in posts. I'm not sure what happened there. A one week respite that over ran by a little. Nevermind, it gave me a chance to catch up on some important DIY and continue getting the house a little more finished. I've now learnt how to make a sideboard, a kitchen unit, bathroom storage and a tooth!

In the gap between posts I heard back from another competition over at LensCulture. Taking on board the constructive advice offered to me from their last comp I gathered together some self portraits (most of which were taken for my Leica Monochrom Mondays Project and presented 'The Strangeness of Self' as a my entry for their portrait competition. I thought I'd share the pictures entered and the accompanying write up about my entry as it was very positive and I was pleased as punch to receive such nice remarks.

The Strangeness of Self

Review given (identity of reviewer is kept anonymous) 

Clayton, I find your investigations fantastic. 

Monday, 14 March 2016

Into the Deep

Today's plan was to make a fantasy inspired fairy picture, but that all went out the window when I started looking for some dragonfly pictures I had taken (lesson learnt, be careful how you file your elements. I still can't find the shots), and found some pics of an octopus I had taken for an article written in Black and White Photography Magazine about simple photo-manipulation.

Hey ho. I'll store the fairy idea for now and mull it over for a while. I'm sure it will surface when it's ready.

Into the Deep

Copyright: Clayton Bastiani

Model (Mermaid): Ella Rose Muse

Monday, 7 March 2016


The Leica's back. It's all new and shiny again. Taking it out of the box I remembered how I had been too scared to use it for the first few days it was in my possession.

We needed a simple warm up exercise today so time for some straight shots, walking around the house and garden and looking for patterns and textures...

Copyright: Clayton Bastiani


Monday, 29 February 2016


I entered five competitions at the end of last year and now all the results have come in. I managed to get winning positions or honourable mentions in three of them. The two where I came nowhere were both competitions for a series of work rather than single images.

I thought the pictures worked well as a set and that they were connected well. With the Lensculture Exposures Award they kindly gave submissions a brief portfolio review. Mine came through last week and was more in depth than I had imagined it would be. The reviewer gave me some good advice which I intend to follow, pointing out how and why some of the pictures worked better together than others. At first I thought 'how can you criticise my baby?' but then I looked at my entries through their eyes and thought they were absolutely right. Why hadn't I seen what they saw? I guess because we tend to judge and criticise our own work and don't always get or take the opportunity for it to be looked at through another's eyes. We approach it through a personal standpoint and lose some of our objectivity.

This project will be a year old in July and in the back of my mind I'm trying to work out what to do with it. A book? An exhibition? More competitions? Having had a second opinion halfway through I'm now starting to contemplate the project as a mass or series of pictures rather than individual attempts each Monday. Some of the work will stay as is, others may get re-treated to bring them together a little more than they already are.

It is never an easy task to seek criticism, but a worthwhile exercise if it is constructive advice.

I have been informed that the Leica is due back to me this week so I can start working on new ideas soon. In the meantime, one more from my mini series about the life of Mr Jones...

Mr Jones was starting to feel nervous and a little hot under the collar. Maybe buying the Fifty Shades box set For Mrs Jones' birthday hadn't been such a wise idea after all.

Copyright: Clayton Bastiani

Monday, 22 February 2016

Let's Dance

It's been a busy half term and plans are afoot for taking lots of pictures over the next few days so I think I'll be keeping busy for a while longer.

In the meantime the camera's still away in Germany so a chance to play some more with my pseudonym Mr Jones...

Mrs Jones loved to dance and was surprisingly light on her feet

Copyright: Clayton Bastiani


Monday, 15 February 2016

Mr and Mrs Jones always looked forward to Date Night

You may remember that I recently entered a nude self portrait into a photographic competition. Well, the results are in... I only went and got Silver in the Men Nude category. (As well as a First in the Academic Nude category and Second place overall in the competition)!!

Please visit to see the winning entries and this year's catalogue. A superb collection of nude photography.

I like entering competitions. It can be scary to put your work out there in front of professionals from related industries, but I don't think the fear should put you off. Sometimes your work gets nowhere - maybe it just wasn't suitable for that particular competition. Sometimes your pictures get noticed and put into the finalists selection or even better, given placements above being short-listed. It's a very good feeling knowing that someone else liked your work and thought it worthy to put forward as a nominee or finalist.

We often work in isolation (unless we're acting as part of a team), for the past year I've been working in the cupboard under the stairs. When I was at college we had peers and tutors to help critique our work, but then we had to get used to assessing our own performance. This is good up to a certain point and if you're doing something you love then you must find a way to keep doing it (within legal restrictions of course), but by entering a competition you get the chance to ask "How am I doing? Am I any good?" or "Hey, here's some crazy stuff I've been working on and I want a second opinion."

We're never going to agree wholly with the jurors' choices, Some competitions are simply not for me and I know (after failed attempts to prove this otherwise) that my work will fail in some and succeed in others.

If you buy a book of a photographer's work it will often have a bio at the back and competitions are a decent way to legitimise our work and start creating a bio of our own.

Every now and then you might even get a first or a second place. (Or win something awesome like the Leica M Monochrom this blog is based around).

Here I am working in a small town on a small island in a small cupboard under the stairs and every now and again I catch myself having a little smile at some of the results on my competition bio.

Anyways, back to self portraits... I think I've found a comfortable way of being in front of the camera. More Negative Space Man than Invisible Man, it's time for another outing with Mr Jones whilst the Leica is off in Germany for a service.

As it was Valentine's Day last weekend I thought it only right that we saw the romantic side of Mr Jones today...

Mr and Mrs Jones always looked forward to Date Night

Copyright: Clayton Bastiani