Thursday 19 May 2011

Spring 2011

OK, a year between updates is probably a bit too long. Especially as one isn't considered hip, cool, or even groovy unless one tweets every clench of one's buttocks every 5 minutes .... Can we just agree that I'm unlikely to be classed as a master blogger and move on?

In the last year, I've completed shoots in Scotland, West Wales, London, and a lot around my home county of Norfolk, particularly concentrating on photographing all of Norfolk Wildlife Trust's 50 or so very special wildlife reserves.

For a quick overview, go here

We've created art installations for the Mornington Hotel, London and Broadland Business Park among many others, and introduced a new product - PhotoFab, a tension fabric system suitable for very large walls.

The best news is that our backlog of many thousands of images is all fully processed and on the website for you to enjoy and purchase, and all our back-end systems are now very robust and fully functioning.

If you are interested in corporate art installations, please visit our sister website Blue Pearl Photographic for more information, or Email us .

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Spring. The real thing at last.

I'm pretty sure I'm right when I say there is nowhere on the planet more amazing than England in Springtime. Take a walk in one of the very few remaining ancient woodlands and you'll see what I mean - positively electric with life. Wildflowers galore, insects, birds, and plenty of other shy creatures abound.

I've photographed two beautiful old woods in the last week - Ashwellthorpe Lower Wood and Thursford Wood both in Norfolk. Each one has its character - Ashwellthorpe has carpets of Ramsons (Wild Garlic) and is fragranced accordingly, Thursford has masses of Bluebells and very old oaks. I had different wildlife encounters in each too. Ashwellthorpe had owls, squirrels, chaffinches, jays, great tits; Thursford had frogs, woodpeckers, foxes and hoverflies. I also had a wild encounter in each with a totally-out-of-control terrier puppy - not mine I should add. I was obviously a dog magnet.

As well as stills images, I've begun shooting high definition video footage. Haven't quite decided what to do with it yet but it's already showing up something painfully obvious: we humans are really noisy! Each one of these tiny refuges for wildlife is surrounded by roads. When I'm recording sound for video I just want the birds tweeting, the wind rustling in the trees and that's about it. Unfortunately, even at 6.30am, I get the roar of engines from nearby roads (motorbikes are the worst, grrr!), planes and helicopters (also very noisy) flying overhead and, in the Broads, boat engines. We never shut up, us humans! 

The other thing that's very obvious is that everyone is rushing past in their cars to go shopping or go and 'do' something. If you stay still for any length of time whatsoever, you discover that simply 'being' right there is all you need. Try it: you'll feel like you came home!

What else? I made a reconnaissance trip to the Peak District and Lancashire in early April, with my very tolerant wife Alison. The higher ground in England still looked completely dead in early April this year - everything has been delayed a month or so by the intense winter we had. So, a lot of driving but not many photographs. I was also, er, lucky enough to be commissioned to shoot inside one of England's high security mental hospitals which was an eye-opener. I do not recommend getting yourself committed there - or even visiting - if you can avoid it. High security environments seem to be something we're getting a reputation for photographing as I was commissioned to shoot a datacentre - one of the many drivers of the internet. I DO recommend visiting one of them if you ever get a chance as you'll be goggling at what goes on there.

Some of you will know that Norfolk Wildlife Trust had a show in Norwich that used many of my large panoramic images. These worked really well on 'Fusion' - Europe's largest digital projector (in Norwich, who knew?) and the show was a big success - 2-3 thousand people saw it in the week and it achieved one of my main aims; to bring the natural world into the heart of the city and sensitise people to it, perhaps even moving them to take more care of it. 

Talking of which, I have to sound a sober note. We are, as many people are saying but it bears repeating, in an emergency situation relative to our planetary home: virtually every indicator from honey bees to forests, fish stocks to species extinction is off the scale, flashing huge warning lights at us humans.

These indicators are saying, 'Respect the earth that you depend on completely, respect the interconnected ecosystem of life or... the earth will rebalance itself by removing humans'. It wouldn't take much - just one, or perhaps a few, of the really big volcanoes need to go off for a year or two and we'll be plunged into a new ice age. There are signs all over the earth that the volcanoes are more active so this isn't that hard to imagine. It's going to make the economic crisis look like a storm in a teacup. More information here (shocking), here, here and here.

Am I saying we can stop this from happening? No, but the earth is a self-balancing system so the more we push it out of balance, the more it will be forced to do to rebalance. Therefore, the more we restrain ourselves, the more calm the earth will be. Simple really. As a matter of urgency, all of us must make small but significant changes to our lives. Here's what I've done in the last month: set up an office at home so I don't have to commute to work every day; committed to taking the bus to town rather than driving (saving me £10+ per day); got connected online to enable me to earn without having to go somewhere; and, most importantly, I've committed to getting my images more widely known (not comfortable for me) to draw attention to the situation we're in.

So I ask you now, what will you do? What can you do today to make a small difference? Here's a tip: do what's really happy for you.

Very best wishes

Richard Osbourne

If you like what I do, please consider buying one of my art images here Facebook fan page here Blog here Twitter here

Sunday 2 May 2010


Title image - Lune Estuary, Lancashire

So, the choice today was: sit and vegetate in front of the TV for 4 hours watching Lawrence of Arabia (which I still haven't seen); clean out the desperately untidy garage (job from hell); have an extended moaning session with my spouse about how stuck we are in our lives (yawn); clear out my email inbox (441 emails and counting) or, write this.

Having been brought up with the words 'Shut up, I'M TALKING' ringing in my ears, the idea of expressing myself publicly doesn't come easily. In fact, I experience considerable anxiety at the thought. I hate public speaking and, generally, I avoid being 'out there' about anything much at all. I try to say what I want to say through my photography but sometimes, like now, that ain't cutting it.

Part of my hesitancy can be put down to my, um, rather unconventional views. On just about every subject. I gave up having discussions with friends and family about this years ago - it was far too much grief and I got plenty of ridicule and misunderstandings. But I also had some of the most magical, electric, massively positive interactions with like-minded souls. Unfortunately, I then got too busy with 'work'.

Now I'm thinking 'Nuts to it'. I'm going to say it out loud and if anyone listens or not, who cares?

In future blogs, I'm thinking of covering the following subjects: Why Is Modern Art Mostly Such Bullshit and What Is Art Really For Anyway?; Why Scientists Hate Homeopathy (Because It Works); The Natural World Is In Deep Trouble And Why That Matters (Think Volcanoes); What I'm Looking For When I Go Photographing; and plenty of hopefully interesting trivia such as 'Did you know that in the last 150 years, 97% of the great Redwood forests of North West America were chopped down and that only a small percentage of the remaining old-growth forest is protected?'

Or, maybe I won't bother with all that. Doesn't sound like much fun. Maybe I'll just post links to some truly far-out websites. Try this, or this, or this.

Here's a quote from my Spiritual Teacher Adi Da Samraj just to get us going about Art:

The circumstance of existence, in and of itself, is disheartening. That is why it is necessary to do art. Art is an essential response to the conditions of existence, a means by which limitations are transcended, Reality is Realized, Truth is Realized, Light is found. Without that activity — there is nothing but this intrusion of changes and death. Participation in an art form should be at least as great as that art form. Art should change you. That is the whole purpose of it. True art heals. True art restores equanimity. Art must regenerate the sense of well-being. That is its true purpose. When art is really useful, it serves this ultimate process of healing, well-being, higher sympathy, and Spiritual Awakening.

Avatar Adi Da Samraj

That's pretty much my experience: even when I'm feeling unhappy or things are really difficult at work or home or I'm just bored, if I make the effort to get out into Nature and shoot, I'll come back with some great images -maybe- but the main thing is that I feel transformed. It does help of course, if the images are good.

Actually, there's another side to this coin: go out in the wrong disposition, or at the wrong time, or in the wrong weather, or at the wrong time of year, or the wrong location, or not having had a decent meal and the whole thing is a dead loss. And what does the word 'wrong' mean? Wrong for ME at that moment.

That's the hidden, esoteric side of any art - finding how it works for us as individual artists, knowing ourselves, knowing the subtle patterns that tell you a particular location, weather front, mood, wildflower, bodily state or whatever will or won't work out. Research and experience are necessary - both about oneself and about the external world.

Just to contradict myself completely, but sometimes, when it doesn't look like there's a shot, especially when I've made the effort to get out, it's a matter of finding the shot. I sometimes think that's the difference between being amateur and professional: amateurs can say 'there's nothing here to shoot', pro's have to come back with something, no matter what, or they don't eat.

In a nutshell, my work these days can be summarised thus: it's all about what I DON'T photograph. The more I discriminate and listen to the quiet voice inside that tells me what I should and shouldn't shoot and when I should or shouldn't shoot it, the more successful my images are. The more they are 'Art'. Whatever that is.

Howgill Fells, Yorkshire Dales

Quick summary of recent shoots: Yorkshire Dales - wow, didn't know there was so much to them; Peak District - ditto; Sheffield Station - its water feature is the Las Vegas of the North; Lancashire - much lovelier in parts than you would expect; and inside one of Britain's High Security Mental Institutions - no, not as a patient, just photographing a building, but that was bad enough I can tell you. The stories (she ate 3 of her own children??!! WTF?!?) were hair-raising, the place itself, intense. Do NOT get yourself committed there.

Sheffield Station - Vegas, here we come!

Other news: we've just finished an amazing week showing my panoramic images of Norfolk Wildlife Trust sites on Europe's largest digital projector in Norwich (really). Best show they've ever had there and hopefully inspired a few people to take a bit more care of the natural world. It achieved one of the goals I have for my work: to bring the feel of the natural places into the heart of the city.

Fusion Projector, Norwich - wow.

Wednesday 7 April 2010

The Big Launch

I'm very pleased to be writing this, my first proper blog. I may be late to the party, but I'm hoping I'll redeem myself by making an exceptionally stylish entrance. You'll have to forgive the blatant commercialism of this post but I'm pretty excited and us struggling artists have to eat, doncha know.

And the big news is? My world is now (mostly) online - web, facebook, blogging, the lot. Without further ado, if you want to see what we're talking about, visit my new website here.

The highlights:
  • Full e-commerce site. You can spend a little and get any of my art images as simple digital wallpapers for your computer, or you can order beautiful, high quality art pieces for your living or workspaces. You can even purchase HD TV gallery images very reasonably.
  • All the latest images. And you'll get to see the new images much more quickly in the future. The site now contains 1600 amazing art images.
  • Fully searchable. Find the special image you're looking for really easily.
  • News of the latest and upcoming shoots.
I'll be keeping you up to date with my forthcoming travel plans and shoot itinerary plus many musings on the beautiful places and things I'm privileged to see.


Use this code: DA108 to get 10% off any purchases and help rebuild sacred Naitauba Island after it was devastated by Cyclone Tomas - 10% of profits will be donated to the Naitauba Relief Fund. More details here

Use this code: NWT10 to get 10% off any purchases and help wildlife in Norfolk - 10% of profits will be donated to Norfolk Wildlife Trust's £1m Land Purchase Appeal. More details here

These are called Win, Win, Win deals!