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Boats' Bottoms by Rob Wilkinson

1 August 2015

'Boats' Bottoms' is a collection of photographs that started life as an alternative to my day to day commissioned photography.  I enjoy working on personal projects as it helps keep the excitement of photography alive, and makes me look at subject matter that I wouldn't normally work with. Living by the sea offers me plenty of opportunities to experiment. Most of my commissioned work is still London-based but a few years ago I opted to move out and ninety minutes down the A3 to live on the coast with my office windows overlooking the harbour... Although the commute can become tedious sometimes, I now love living by the sea with its ever-changing moods and lovely quality of light.

'Boats' Bottoms' came about when walking through the boatyard where I keep my boat and noticing the beautiful and interesting patterns left by the sea, erosion and repairs on the hulls of yachts that have been lifted out of the water. This particular image is very small section of a large yacht with a metal hull, where old layers of paint were being sanded off down to the bare metal leaving wonderful patterns and colours. The majority of the photographs have been taken digitally using a variety of cameras and lenses although a couple have been shot on my old 'woody' 5x4 film camera and then the film processed and scanned.

I do all my own retouching and mainly use a combination of Adobe Lightroom CC for initial 'tweaking' and Photoshop CC for the rest. With my fashion work I am always smoothing skin in post production but for this project I am doing almost the opposite, to enhance and bring out the texture, usually by boosting the tonal contrast.

It has now become an ongoing project and whenever I am passing a boatyard I"ll drop in and have a look around for suitable subject matter. The long term plan is to put an edited collection together for an exhibition and a book hopefully sometime in 2016.

See the project here: Boats' Bottoms

Rob Wilkinson is a freelance photographer based in the south-east of England.  He says, "I grew up in a house full of photography. My Dad was a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and had built a darkroom onto the back of our garage and as a young boy I would often sit there and watch the magic of prints developing in a tray (and the toxic but unforgettable smell of chemicals). From that point on I was hooked!"

Rob studied photography and took the first ever photography course at the London College of Fashion. Building up a portfolio shooting for young designers and magazines at weekends and evenings, he became a full time professional in the early 1990's. Since then he has built up a client base including many major magazines and clients, producing an eclectic mix of celebrity portraits, fashion and beauty through to hotel and restaurant interiors and some food and drink photography.

"Although the technology has changed and the smell of chemicals has been replaced by the whirr of hard drives the magic of making, taking and creating photographs is still with me."

See more work by Rob Wilkinson

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