Kick-starting One’s Arse [by holding out a hand … and a cap]

I don’t intend to bore anyone with tales of my traumatic childhood … when I lived in box in the woods and was raised by wolves and the occasional elf. Or how my life as one of the world’s top sportsmen and a fully functioning member of our consumerist society was curtailed and largely hindered by … my personality.

But my prevailing reality is such that I’ve been unable to process images in anger on my computer for approaching three years; essentially, I’ve become as effective as a photographer who leaves the lens cap on. So, I want to plunge into, not so much the brave new world, as simply a world where memory intensive processing becomes a smooth reality and not simply a further drain on already shredded frustrations and thinning hair. [And actually share finished images with the friends and family of now two-year-old weddings!]

I had hoped for a fair financial tailwind that would’ve allowed this long before now but inertia has steadfastly refused its creep. So, with time sliding into the abyss of procrastination I’ve decided it’s time to allow my photography to raise the funds it needs.

Early in the New Year I will be looking into forms of crowdfunding with a view to raise money wholly for a new computer – and hopefully a portrait lens; and should too many of you go berserk: new camera body – by rewarding contributors with copies of my work in what might well prove to be utterly outrageous as well as contemporary photographic forms. [If you have any ideas, wishes or questions feel free to hurl them my way in the interim!]

To kick-start the idea I’m making available just ONE copy of The Calendar : 2016 featuring my street photography images, which I’m going to auction to the highest bidder from today! I’m one part excited, one part fearful that it’s going to end up costing me money to send it!

When I’m famous this will be collectible!*

I will be posting updates on the bidding process at the foot of this post and via Instagram, Flickr, F*c*book and Twitter. You can make bids in any location or via email and text and I will keep all locations up to date with the prevailing highest bid.

I propose to end bidding at 11:59pm on 21st December and will ship the calendar with its heartfelt personal message the following day – hopefully this should ensure delivery by the New Year anywhere in the world.

{ Doffs cap }

* Guarantees of fame are not included. Neither is the towel seen in this clip.


Current Highest Bid: 47 Euros

[Approx. conversion: US $52 and UKP 34]

[Bid by Valeria in Italy … Note: If you’d rather not have your name publicly announced with any bid please let me know.]


Exposure can be a fine line in modern media and in the wider art world. Underexposure; and your world remains conspicuously quiet like a church mouse with laryngitis. Overexposure; and the world’s your oyster … if I could just get the damned thing open! And an antihistamine for my seafood allergy. Or, failing that … a pram, some toys and a good throwing arm.

The Sublime Meets The Ridiculous

The highlight of my photography year was undoubtedly having an image curated for the Mobile Photo Now exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art [CMA] in Ohio, USA. The exhibition itself proved to be critically well received and presented a significant step forward for the medium and appreciation of photography as an art form. The exhibition, co-curated by CMA and #JJ community on Instagram, featured 320 images from 240 photographers representing nearly 40 different countries.

Overexposed : The Tsunami Effect

Only this week I had another image prominently highlighted within the #JJ community.




The image is one I took of my father for the project: The Anatomy Of A Stroke. It clearly made an impact in the daily #JJ community theme: Profiles. More than 4,000 images were submitted, with 188 selected by the army of community editors. Just 4 were then selected by Josh Johnson himself and posted under the main #JJ community hash-tag.


In posting Josh added “What a powerful and gripping image Will [Gortoa, my IG pseudonym]. I’ll just leave it at that. Anything else I write feels ridiculous. Thank you so much for sharing this.”


As you might notice by the numbers at the top of that image, the #JJ community has 636,000 followers and for a few hours my church mouse stream went atomic-powered church organ! Well, all things are relative.

Within 24 hours – and an increase in my own followers of about 50 – things returned to … ruined church at the head of the dusty high street in a desert town with no name. Cue tumbleweed! But it was fun while it lasted: watching my notifications window spinning like a Vegas jackpot machine … the modern day social media phenomenon that quickly becomes yesterday’s news [or a quick whack with the Like icon and onto the next Warhol].

Underexposed : The Pram

I also recently entered an image for consideration in the Royal West of England Academy’s 163rd Annual Open Exhibition. As it openly boasts “…[it attracts] leading artists from throughout the UK, it is open to all, and often includes work by unknown exhibitors alongside well-known names.” The selection process is notoriously … robust. And photography invariably maintains quite a low profile in the final selection. I was absolutely delighted to have The Falling Leaf curated for the 160th exhibition in 2012.

This year I was determined to go with a street photography image. I was pleased to get it through the initial online selection process, before mounting, framing and crossing fingers for the final selection. The subsequent email duly arrived … Selected! I do believe I may’ve done a moderate dancing movement – for anyone who knows me, they’ll know that’s quite significant.

But then something really quite cruel happened. I was to discover another category that I didn’t even know existed …



Just a few days before the exhibition was due to open, I received another email from the RWA with revised wording: Artist Selected Not Hung. Essentially this meant that the final curation essentially lies at the hands of the hanging team. But all is not lost … because in three panels placed around the exhibition is your name – effectively hung and displayed for all to see. And quite possibly point and laugh.

Well, I laughed. But when I returned downstairs another artist had brought in a pram containing a large number of toys and began hurling them out in quite dramatic fashion.

Exposure. Whatever the outcome, I think you should probably keep your dignity and modesty covered.





#MobilePhotoNow : Columbus Museum Of Art, Ohio, USA

Absolutely delighted to have my image  She Came… And Went… In A Heartbeat  curated for this impressive and important exhibition at the Columbus Museum Of Art in Ohio, USA.
Showing: February 6 – March 22, 2015
#MobilePhotoNow : Columus Museum Of Art, Ohio, USA

Columbus Museum of Art and the #JJ COMMUNITY, one of the largest photo communities on Instagram, present #MobilePhotoNow the largest mobile photography exhibition ever organized by a museum. #MobilePhotoNow [February 6, 2015 – March 22, 2015] highlights the emerging art form of mobile photography, and the power of social media and smart phones as a means of creative expression and connection. 

“CMA and #JJ partnered throughout October 2014 to post themed photo challenges that engaged the mobile photography community with inspiration from Columbus Museum of Art’s Photo League collection. More than 5,000 photographers from 89 different countries submitted nearly 45,000 images via Instagram. The resulting exhibition co-curated by CMA and #JJ community features more than 320 images from 240 photographers representing nearly 40 different countries.”

it would seem with only 0.007% of submissions actually being selected … I’m just trying to decide if that makes me extremely lucky, or extremely brilliant. Ha!

My image bottom left
My image bottom left

The criteria for submission was for images either taken and/or processed using mobile media. I invested in Instagram a couple of years ago as a potential new medium to express my creativity; partly due to my computer suffering a stroke; partly due to the school [where I teach part-time] furnishing me with an Asus MeMO 7 tablet.

I began processing older images – intrigued by the challenge of revisiting them with a new eye and, notably, Instagram’s default square crop.  She Came… And Went… In A Heartbeat  was one such image. And I’ve since moved on to capturing images with my smart-phone, as well as continuing to take images with my trusty Nikon DSLR, and processing these new images on the tablet. You can see many of these – mostly experimental, swiftly and intuitively processed images – on my Instagram feed here.

At some point I intend to reverse this process and potentially revisit the more recent images in their original full frame composition.

The exhibition itself has been picking up some excellent reviews from such notable sources as the New York Times, Newsweek and makes Brit & Co’s 2015’s Coolest, Must-Visit Art Exhibits alongside such luminaries as Roy Halston Frowick and Andy Warhol’s joint exhibition and Cartier!