Back in the depths of last winter I ventured up to Oxford with Garrett, the editor of Fallon’s Angler. He had discovered a lake that had been left un-touched for over twenty years, hidden from the gaze of anglers amongst the rolling hills of an Oxfordshire estate. We shall return in the new season to see it’s summer colours.
A short film written and narrated by Garrett Fallon of Fallon’s Angler, with music by Trevor Moss and Hannah Lou. A touching story about memory and the return to a place after a forty year absence, a place full of childhood dreams. This is not Garrett’s native Ireland but North Wales, and the Snowdonian lakes of Cregennan. Using his fathers rod and reel, Garrett searches for the wild brown trout.
A short film about specimen angler Bob Hornegold who has spent a lifetime fishing the Lea system, a river close to me, a complicated river that has been changed by man for thousands of years. Today the river still shines with some remarkable fishing available just fifteen miles from central London.
Art and the art of angling, I consider this to be a partnership that sits comfortably side by side, just like the landscape and the angler. Here is a new film where I find John Richardson a life-long angler and artist in his West Norfolk studio carving and then printing on his Victorian press, while the Fenland landscape dominates throughout.
Producing films about angling is a challenge. One, there is always the task of catching fish for the camera, but there is a more complex challenge. How does one represent angling and create an engaging narrative when the act of fishing in realtime is generally a slow one? As a format film is not the ideal way to represent angling unless the editing and narrative has a pace that holds an audience. Literature on the other hand has always led the way when it comes to capturing the nuances in angling, the reader reads, imagines and considers the prose, the pace it set by the reader, literature is more personal and intimate unlike film. Film is an end interpretation created generally by a collective of people, the result is often diluted.
In my opinion, angling film makers fall into a few traps, the all-action – lets make fishing exciting and the slo-mo style with elevating music, the later can be visually stunning but leaves the viewer slightly detached, engagement surely is the answer? The writer must be the key to the film. This year I made three film on angling, far from perfect on many levels, some fundamental mistakes were made on all, but looking to the future I am working with Fallons Angler and those I can trust who write well, (I really think writing is the key) I hope to put together some short films in 2017 that will captivate both the angler and non-angler.
The last year has been an interesting one, I’ve taken off into the field with the aim to shoot video and stills for various projects, one re-accuring challenge is with Fallon’s Angler, it has been…well challenging. The beauty of modern technology is that everything is relatively compact and lightweight although some camera systems have now got smaller, glass is glass and it can still weigh a fair amount, the task of packing it down so that I can move freely on foot and keep in step with roving anglers is an art in itself. In the summer Fallon’s Angler set off by foot onto Dartmoor, I had to carry fishing gear, camera equipment, food, water, bedding and my house. I’m not one to weigh everything down to the last gramme but I made sure I took only the absolute essentials, my only luxury was a hip flask of Laphroig, the hip flask was given to me by my father, and if you knew him you would understand that this was to be the professional drinkers 10 oz version! Unusually the hip flask returned from Dartmoor with almost half of it’s content untouched.
Image courtesy of Bruno Vincent
On the Dartmoor trip I took a Fuji X Pro 1 mirrorless system with just two lenses a 16-55mm and a 55-200mm, I love this camera but it falls down when it comes to shooting video, the trip was a stills only shoot and the Canon had to stay at home. Below are a few shots that didn’t make the final edit and covered to black and white, the article for issue 7 included a mix of colour and black and white.
My next challenge was to put together a compact system that can shoot good quality video and audio as a one-man band. The problem with shooting video is you need a few lens options, microphones, field recorders, monopods, tripods with pan heads, the list can go on and as the list increases so does the weight, my nemesis was whether to pack a rod amongst my camera gear?
For those observant types, actually its fairly obvious the image above has the additional baggage of a fishing bag, rod and reel, below is the actual gear that I would take on the field to shoot video once packed up and ready to go, no fishing gear
Last weekend we set off again for Fallons issue 8, our destination has an eastern direction, what we uncovered was a mystery just like fishing itself, we didn’t know the outcome until it was done, but we met some interesting individuals and seen some places that have formed the story, my job was to get it on film both with stills and on video, the tale of two rivers is unfolding as I sit here and view the edits.
Words once penned by Lennon and McCartney but it is true, Fallon’s Angler is getting so much better. It’s been just over a year since I started working with Garrett Fallon on the publication, searching out a narrative that has balance in our multi-layered world of angling. With so many specialist areas, attitudes, and outcomes each issue is a challenge but as stories unfold and content collected we feel we are growing a personality that our readers now feel akin to. Each month we discover new writers, photographers, anglers and artists that fit the Fallon’s Angler ethos, although to say we have an ethos could put up boundaries so perhaps we could label it as the Fallon’s Angler spirit?
Personally it has made me look closely at how lucky us anglers are, with multiple options we can use a fishing trip as a springboard to be immersed in nature, an elixir giving douche for the anglers soul. Meeting the Fallon’s anglers over the last year has made me want to vary my own angling and shy away from my normal habits, spice it up a little, take on the unknown and most importantly share it with others. The tuesday swim has always been about seeking out the less obvious elements in fishing, to seek out “otherlyness,” (if its not a word it is now) but now I want the tuesday swim to branch out and consider the landscape as important as the fishing, something that Fallon’s Angler is already in the process of undertaking in some of our forthcoming articles, this summer we will take on the landscape by canoe, by foot over the moors, and by sea kayak. Our skies are becoming larger, bringing new ideas to our readers, celebrating the past (as we have done in issue 6 with our tribute to Fred Buller) and embracing the future. The art of angling is ever changing but the deep down urge to fish has remained unchanged for millennia. And if you can’t get out but still have that burning desire I hope that Fallon’s Angler is the next best thing.
Issue 6 is out today, it looks stunning with our new and improved print process the images are now singing from the pages partnered with words carefully choreographed by amongst others, Danny Adcock, John Andrews, Carlos Baz, Domonic Garnett, Andrew Griffith, Ted Hughes, Dexter Petley, Maurice Neil, Graham Vassey, Chris Yates and words on Fred Buller from Jon Berry, Garrett Fallon and David Profumo.
Through the Lens has been a regular feature of words and images for Fallon’s Angler since issue 3 that I have had the privilege of producing. Below we have part of the piece I shot last summer for issue 4 in Ireland on the Blackwater. I have just returned from shooting Through the Lens for issue 5 which has been a real pleasure and what I feel to be of significant importance to the heritage of angling and one for the traditionalists. Issue 5 will be out in the middle of Jan but in the meantime here is my last entry from issue 4.