Friday, 22 May 2015

Dark Clouds in Blue Skies - insecurity when there's no need - my speech for JMT

This time last week, after a fresh and tasty fish lunch, washed down with a fine dry white at Carlos Beach Bar in Portugal, I lay down on a wonderful beach bathed in 33ยบ sunshine, alongside my beautiful partner Jan and looked up at a clear blue sky whilst listening to the sound of the waves crashing upon the golden sands whilst Plovers and Sanderlings twittered to each other across the wet shoreline. We poured a G&T that we’d kept cold in the cool-bag, and to all intents and purposes life couldn’t get any better; but a small dark cloud was always overhead, a cloud Jan knew was there but she couldn’t actually see it for herself.

Photo courtesy of © Kevin Lelland at JMT.
Six months earlier I had received a phone call from a gently spoken but very persuasive Stuart Brooks, Chief Executive of the highly regarded and influential John Muir Trust, a Scotland based conservation charity dedicated to protecting Britain’s wild places. They own and care for some of the UK's finest wild landscapes. He informed me that I had been “highly recommended” by several people as being “THE man” for their first ever AGM to be held in North Wales, an area they are very keen to start having more involvement with. I was asked if I would consider being their keynote speaker at the Galeri in Caernarfon, which they had booked exclusively for the weekend event.

Now I haven’t done any major talks for a long time, several years in fact, so whilst I was honoured to have been asked, especially when many other eminent speakers had gone before me including mountaineer Simon Yates and Allison Chin, President of the Sierra Club, I was in equal measure filled with trepidation. Stuart asked me to think about it and I tried to find 'get-out' support from friends and family but they all said how fantastic it was to have been asked and that I would be amazing etc, not the answers I had hoped for. Jan said, before I could get a word in, how proud she was of me! My close friend Ken Latham, mountaineer, countryside manager, mountain rescue volunteer, rock climber and keen amateur photographer just said “Nice one matey, you’ll be fookin ace!” He volunteered to check out the audiovisual set up for me at the Galeri as I was about to head abroad. He came back to me with “Mate, it’s the D*gs Boll***s, your stuff looks fookin incredible on their 2K projector” – so that was it really, no more excuses and I confirmed my acceptance to a delighted Stuart.

Thereafter, faint dark vapours twisted above everything I did, even during Christmas and January Cornish breaks and weekends away with my Cariad. The vapours became a mist and the mist became a fog, which was all utterly stupid and unnecessary, made up of insecurity and lack of self-belief even though I knew that my actual work would certainly speak for itself. Sitting at the poolside table in Portugal with my laptop, I spent a whole day editing and re-editing the order of the images I’d finally chosen to illustrate the talk which was titled “There's Spirit in the Landscape”. Gradually, when the sequence started to make sense, to have a flow, to create a story, but a story containing narrative within the individual images, I finally started to relax a little. Within a couple of hours I had also created bullet points for the important points I really should mention and the dark cloud started to thin.

I have never, ever written a whole speech having always chosen instead to 'wing it' talking candidly, honestly, and fluidly, from the heart, on the spur, about a subject so close to me but without the basic rudiments of content to be covered it’s all too easy to forget critical or interesting background. When I read more about the nature of the JMT and about what their aims are, I realised that my latest book “Welsh Light”, (well at least the foreword to that book), was almost entirely relevant, a kindred voice about the importance of preserving the remnants of Britain’s wild places for the emotional and spiritual wellbeing they can bring and for the nature benefits they offer us. I felt that there was no point in re-inventing the wheel so I selected extracts from my book and decided to include them in my talk. I now knew that my worry was about running out of time during the talk, rather than how to fill the time but the biggest worry perhaps unsurprisingly was how many people would be there, would they find it fascinating or boring, would they heckle or applaud and indeed all the usual worries that anyone probably has before going in front of a large group of the public.

We arrived in Manchester, to find drizzle at midnight, as we’d been warned - the metaphorical dark clouds now a wet a sombre reality - but when I awoke the next morning the sun had come out and I found I was surging with positivity. Ken helped me in the gallery and we double-checked that the new iZettle card payment system was working ready for the talk as we’d be selling books and maybe some prints, and everything seemed to be going smoothly. We loaded the van at 4.00 pm and by now my adrenalin was kicking in to numb my nerves and if I wasn’t mistaken, I was almost feeling excited! We arrived at the Galeri and I met the lovely and helpful Iona Sutherland the membership secretary, who had already seen a preview of an initial draft selection before I’d left for Portugal and who'd loved the images and found my descriptions inspiring and thought provoking. I felt at ease when I saw her and she reassured me that everyone was looking forward to the talk after a great day in the Welsh hills with their guides.

I met technician at Y Galeri, Ian, in the auditorium and he and the sound engineer did audio and visual checks with me and for the first time I could see just how impressive their system was, full colour fidelity and sharpness (for a massive screen) and a crystal clear sound system. They had set up a podium, spotlights and even a jug of water on a glass table for me. It all felt very professional and having seen just how good my images would look on their screen, all my nerves disappeared (helped with a pint of larger I think) “At least I know the subject well enough” I thought to myself!

The crowd of approximately 130 eager guests filed in and took their seats, in respectful hushed tones and I was warmed to see several friends, family an professional colleagues sitting amongst the audience. I felt a surge of support and friendship and suddenly felt utterly relaxed, so much so that soon after I'd received a glowing and reverential introduction by Stuart Brooks saying they knew as soon as they’d checked out my web links and portfolio, that "I really was their man” for this critical first AGM in Wales I felt elated and positive. I thanked the two most important people outside of the JMT, who had persuaded me to do the talk in the first place, my partner Jan and my friend Ken, before launching into a passionate speech about the JMT, my love of Wales and its landscape, the importance of wild places, the potential destruction from industry and development, the need for us all to fight for areas of outstanding natural beauty. I knew I didn’t need my note sheets at all anymore. I read extracts from my book and was told later, (even by those who have read my books already), that my words were especially inspirational and moving when heard from the author's own mouth. The extracts led straight into a slideshow of 48 of my Welsh landscapes which not only gave me a chance to chat passionately about my feelings at the time, and my reasons and thoughts behind taking the pictures, but also gave the predominantly Scottish audience a visual whistle-stop tour of some intrinsically Welsh places to whet their appetites for future visits.

45 minutes raced by in what seemed like 15 and I received wonderful, loud applause from the audience before opening up a Q&A session. I was genuinely relieved by the intelligence of the questions, questions that showed acute attention to and astute interpretation of what I had been saying during my speech. Thankfully I don't think I heard one question about what camera I use, which is always heart-warming as it means the audience are more interested in my thoughts than the box that takes the picture. We did discuss subject, rationale, vision and execution - the process from initial observation through to final print, but this made for good discussion, as integrity and reasoning throughout the process is far more involved and intellectual than the topic of which brands I use.

After the talk and a superb thank you from a genuinely inspired CEO, (who told me quietly later that his degree was in fine art!) I met with a large throng of well wishers in the bar, one of whom, a super bright and gentle Scottish lady said, “That was the BEST lecture I have EVER been too” and then bought a signed copy of my book ☺ I chatted for almost ¾ of an hour with guests and sold many more signed books before finally packing the van and heading for the Liverpool Arms in Menai Bridge where my friends had already lined up drinks for us and who celebrated with a euphoric Glyn until 3.00 am!

My confidence has been fully restored and I will endeavour to never again let such dark clouds build up before a talk, especially when lying on a fabulous beach with a beautiful woman in gorgeous sunshine, 1000s of miles from home.

Thanks to everyone who came; to the JMT; to everyone who gave me support even if they couldn’t come; thanks to the Galeri staff; the organisers; my closest friends and some of my family; thanks to some fantastic colleagues and customers who made extraordinary efforts to attend, and thanks most of all, to my wonderful and proud Jan, who has suffered my tension these last few months but who has never faltered in bolstering me even when I was creating dark clouds in her blue skies!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

"Caved In" Spread in June edition of H&E (Health & Efficiency) Magazine

The very long running (115 years) Health and Efficiency Magazine for naturists, is running a series of my "Landscape Figures" images as double page spreads in their monthly magazine.

This 8th DPS in the June edition out now, features "Caved In" Portugal



“The contrast between the sharpness of the huge rocky cliff and the delicate fragility of the female form in this image creates a tension – not just from the fear of cuts and slices from the knife-like edges, but also due to the apparent melancholy of the woman within such colourful sunlit surroundings. You’d think she was a modern day cavewoman but really, as summer draws close, she represents a wide-held feeling or sadness about returning home after the universal joy of travel, sunshine and warmth, We all dream about our next naked adventure in the great outdoors before we have even finished the present.”

Visit the Nudes in Landscape gallery at www.glyndavies.com to purchase a signed fine-art print of this image, or to commission Glyn to create a similar photograph of yourselves.


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

THIS SATURDAY! My keynote speech for the John Muir Trust, Galeri, Caernarfon

There's Spirit in the Landscape
Keynote Speech by Glyn Davies for the John Muir Trust

Galeri, Caernarfon, 8.00pm Saturday 16th May

An annual theme for the keynote speech for the Scotland based John Muir Trust, a UK conservation charity dedicated to protecting wild places. They own and care for some of the UK's finest wild landscapes. Speakers have previously included mountaineer Simon Yates and Allison Chin, President of the Sierra Club, but for their first ever AGM in Wales, an area they hope to become more involved with, I am humbled to have been asked to give this year's keynote speech! Humbling and nerve-wracking, but as it's a slideshow talk of 48 of my own images, at least I should know the subject well enough :-)





For all ticket and booking enquiries, please deal direct with the Galeri in Caernarfon as I don't hold any of that information.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Spread in May edition of H&E (Health & Efficiency) Magazine

The very long running (115 years) Health and Efficiency Magazine for naturists, is running a series of my "Landscape Figures" exhibition images as double page spreads in their monthly magazine.



This 7th DPS features "The Birthing Pool", by Glyn Davies

“I was intrigued that no matter how ‘modern’ the human race has become, how supposedly civilised, advanced and intellectual, some basic human essentials remain: breathing, eating, making love and giving birth. It therefore seemed apt that this heavily pregnant woman lay as naked as the day she was born, giving birth, her breasts and belly echoing the shapes of the hills surrounding her, and water, the natural element so essential to all of life, calm and tranquil in front of her. ‘The Birthing Pool’ is the ideal, a visual depiction of how we truly start life, but stripped of the trappings of modern culture. A genuinely natural beginning, at one with nature, a nature that so many try to isolate themselves from the moment they become self-aware, more’s the pity.”


Visit the Nudes in Landscape gallery at www.glyndavies.com to purchase a signed fine-art print of this image, or to commission Glyn to create a similar photograph of yourselves.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

2015 International COLOR Awards - Honourable Mentions for “And on the Third Day”

Following just a month after the announcement that 9 of my black & white entries had been given Honourable Mentions in the International MONO Awards, I have just heard that 1 of 5 colour images I entered in this years International COLOR Awards has also just been given an Honourable Mention, making ten images of my nudes award winners now ☺


“And on the Third Day” was carefully titled for various reasons, the most obvious being the spherical boulder in front of a tomb-like cave behind, yet this image might also mean birth (study the rock formation to discover why), death, and of course the notion of resurrection of mankind, a wish I would love to come true if it cleansed man of his stupidity and aggression.

Whilst exploring these South Western cliffs, a site for many shipwrecks over the years, I have always been anxious about stumbling across a dead person, and placing this volunteer in an almost washed up position in this deep and secret gully, was a visual depiction of that possibility, yet as other viewers have said, she looks almost as if she’s just waiting for the kiss of life, to gasp that saving breath, to be plucked off the stone and nurtured back to life. Equally, she is like a new-born in contrast to the large, smooth, red, rock tunnel framing her fragile, helpless body, but incredibly as with all mankind, a body born of the earth.

It has been fascinating over the last year, discussing this image, of which I have a large print in my gallery, hearing the signs, symbols and stories that others have read into this image. It’s why my scribbled sentences are just thoughts, no rights or wrongs or definitive answers, just suggestions, which some will see and others may not, though they will likely have stories of their own.

Prints as always, are available from my main site HERE or my dedicated nudes site HERE

Friday, 3 April 2015

"Sensuous Appreciation" - a new image now available on my new website


"Sensuous Appreciation"

A new image now available as a signed archival print from here on my new website

In wide open space in a vast estuary, an inch of sea water covering the soft sand, a young woman stretches across it's surface, exposing her body to the wondrous sensations of sun, breeze, water and sand. Water droplets roll off her skin and wet sand clings to her fingers and legs. Her hair gets wet, she feels sea water over inch of her torso, and experience she's never had before. I asked her to imagine no one else was about, just her, in this huge open space, to enjoy maximum connection with the natural world about her. She felt utterly liberated.

© Glyn Davies

Signed archival prints of "Sensuous Appreciation" are available (in three sizes) HERE

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Nude spread in April edition of Health & Efficiency Magazine

The very long running (115 years) Health & Efficiency Magazine for naturists, is running a series of my "Landscape Figures" exhibition images as double page spreads in their monthly magazine.

 The Fear, from Landscape Figures by Glyn Davies photographer

This 6th DPS features "The Fear" with the following text:

"Alone on a mountain top, surrounded by swirling cloud and the threat of heavy rain, a healthy young woman, soft and curvaceous, cowers from the elements in a rough, sharp, rocky outcrop. She is vulnerable, tiny and organic, but she also looks strong, inquisitive, almost daring - what if she were to face the weather, to leave her scant shelter? To stand naked on a wind blown summit, wrapped in vapour and then rain, is liberating in the extreme - a time to feel utterly exposed yet totally connected at the same moment, never feeling more at one with the great outdoors"

Visit the Nudes in Landscape gallery at www.glyndavies.com to purchase a signed fine-art print of The Fear, or to commission Glyn to create a similar photograph of yourselves. Mobile: 07778 983733

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Western Mail article about MONO Awards recognition

Delighted to see the Western Mail (and WalesOnline) do a slide show article of my recent recognition in the International Mono Awards
Link the image below to go to the page and slide show
WalesOnlineMar-2015

Why not come and visit? My gallery is for real, not just virtual !

Glyn Davies Photography Art Gallery

NINE images given Honourable Mentions in this years International MONO Awards

As with all competitions, it's always disappointing not to win, but in the 2014 International MONO Awards just announced in Feb 2015, I was still in for a surprise. I checked out the winning three images in 'Nudes' from 7000 entries and 86 countries and almost logged off thinking I'd wasted my time, but I happened to notice a series of honourable mentions within each subject category. As I scrolled down I discovered all NINE of my nine competition entries had been awarded an 'Honourable Mention' so I ended up absolutely delighted that these images from my recent major project and exhibition had been internationally recognised.
I have created a small gallery HERE on my nudes in landscape site "Landscape Figures" for you to see those recognised. The category winners can be seen HERE
Male nude & tree in desert landscape
"And then there was Man" from the Genesis set within my major project and exhibition, "Landscape Figures"