The Dark Library
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This page was created by me, James Corrin, to exhibit a sample of my writing and photography. I've included here a mixture of my favourite short stories and photographs that I created, some of which have been popular with other people and some of which, well, haven't. You can make your own mind up.
Why "The Dark Library"? Initially the site was populated only with my writing and the idea of a dark and creepy library seemed to fit. As my writing develops and my photography sneaks onto the site, it's becoming less relevant as a title, but I still have an affection for "The Dark Library".
A few people have asked me which is more important to me - writing or photography. The honest answer is that I don't know. Photography is less mentally demanding and provides a quick fix of creativity. I've also given it a lot more time since I got into portraiture. However, writing is incredibly satisfying when a good story comes out after several intense hours. Really, the two activities are very different. Maybe they aren't comparable because I just like them both in different ways. In any case, what follows is a short description of my writing and photography.
I've been writing seriously since about June 2000. My first story, "The Modern Vampire", can be found on this site. That story set the theme for much of my writing, focussed mainly on dark fantasy and science fiction. The vampire stories are some of the hardest to write, as it's getting very difficult in such a long-standing genre to find new ideas. However, I still like the vampire stories the most.
After that, my stories with Death have proved popular with many people. Again, Death as a personification is difficult to write due to the amount of similar works - Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" series and Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series have defined Death for many people. I hope I bring a new spin with my own Death character, who I see as being more compassionate but in some ways less human than the other Deaths.
Most of my inspiration comes from films, rather than books, which I like to think gives a very visual quality to my writing even when the characterisation is thin. I like event driven stories with strong concepts driving them and satisfying endings. Characterisation... well, I'm still working on it.
I still like some of my early writing, but I think I've improved significantly since then. For this site update, I took down much of the older stories in favour of my newer works. Some of these have been well received in competitions or publications, which is pleasing - each story lists any significant recognition it has obtained.
Ultimately, I hope to see some of my shorter works published in more and more well known publications, and I also hope to finish some novel-length works I have underway.
I'm also a member of Slough Writers Group. If you live near Slough and you're a writer, you should be there. Really. See the Slough Writers Group website for more information.
I've been really into photography since 1996, when I first had a chance to use a 35mm film SLR camera. I've been taking photos regularly since then. I started out with my own Ricoh KR5 Super II 35mm SLR, which was manual everything and has seen me through more films than I care to count. I had a slight lull back in 2001, until I discovered the joy of digital photography by way of a Canon Powershot A40, and more recently a Fujifilm S7000. I now fill CDs with photos on a regular basis (though at least it's easier to manage than prints). The freedom and speed of digital is fantastic for experimenting, and as a nice side effect, the S7000 largely matches in one unit the Ricoh 35mm with two lenses and external flash.
I'll try my hand at most photography, but my special interest is portraiture. I love studio portraits with full flash gear as it gives massive amounts of control and allows me to focus more on representing the subject rather than coping with available light and worrying about slow shutter speeds. Most of my portraits are taken in my lounge, converted to a studio with suitable backdrops and two or three flash units - it just about works, though as soon as I find a cheap and spacious studio near Aylesbury, I'll jump to that as my lounge is a bit small for complex lighting setups. It also suffers from near-white walls and ceiling. By way of an illustration, I tried a shot with a single studio flash on lowest power, positioned behind a model with no further lighting. The resulting picture had perfect flat lighting across the entire subject, having bounced off the walls and ceiling to come back to the front of the subject. Short of black paint or a bigger room, I'm not sure how to avoid that.
The photos exhibited on this site are all digital originals, with varying amounts of computer retouching work. I did used to scan 35mm prints for processing, but just find it too much hassle now. However, for an example of my 35mm photography, see the Dark Library logo at the top of the page - that's from a film photo of the chained library at Saint Wulfram's Church, Grantham. The chains are just visible running top to bottom. For those who are unfamiliar, in times past when books were hard to reproduce, the church would have various books available for reference, all chained to the shelves and desks to stop people stealing them.
To improve my photography, I go to a camera club near Aylesbury called "Imagez". If you live in the area and are interested in photography, it's well worth checking out. You can see the programme and some example pictures (including some others of mine) on the Imagez website.
|This page was created by James Corrin.
All works Copyright James Corrin unless otherwise stated.
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