A Wander in the Clouds

CHRIS COUGHLAN

Chris Coughlan.
Born: Montreal, Canada 1949.
Living in The Yorkshire Dales, UK.

I live with my belovèd wife Carol in the Yorkshire Dales at the head of a small valley called Nidderdale.  We have lived here happily for some 18 years now but health for both of us seems to be undergoing a rather rapid decline.  Carol had to watch me go from nothing stopped me to everything stopped me but I wouldn't admit it and was an absolute angel to put up with me.  It is doubly troubling to me that now her health is really failing there is seemingly nothing I, or Doctors, can do about it.  We have two wonderful children who are both a blessing to us - although they may well dispute this - they do everything else!


I used to work as a creative director doing anything from company revamps to fashion shows and as a photographer producing images for advertising and fashion.  I also worked on video where I was cameraman, editor, scriptwriter, director and producer, principally because there was no one else - I also make a good cup of tea.  On the last video I did I wrote and recorded the theme song/music.  While working on this last project I sustained an injury to my spine which ended my working life and severely limited my mobility.  It took me a long, long years of depression before I discovered clouds which inspired me to take pictures again.  The one thing I could do was sit in my belovèd 1994 Saab 9000 and point a camera upward.  I am now officially retired and a UK state pensioner - I ended up broke both physically and financially!

By far the most memorable and important event of my life was becoming a Christian.  In the amoral world I inhabited, it got to the point where nothing really satisfied.  There was always something missing.  I am an adrenalin junkie by nature but even the high of a shoot fell short.  I had been on a search for truth for some time and one day The Truth came to visit me leaving my clever, clever world dissolved around me in floods of tears.  Anyone who has been in His Presence will say the same - all you can do is cry because, in the face of Perfect Love, you see what a wretch you really are.  That day I met Jesus and became a Christian.  Why me?  Don't think I haven't asked the question more times than I can count - I would think Heaven is sick of the racket.  The simple answer is I don't know other than for the first time in my life my heart was actually calling out rather than my self-centred ego.


My objectives with this work?  To give pleasure, bring a smile, perhaps make people think and, hopefully, send out a sense of awe, peace and love.  The sky is truly a place of wonder which we rarely look at beyond a passing glance.  I try to show little pieces of beauty God shows to us that others may not notice in their busy lives.

Before ending up something of a cripple my client list included Condé Nast, The International Wool Secretariat, Carrington Viyella, Dior and Balmain.  My real love was landscape photography - about the only thing that kept me half sane in the lunacy of fashion and advertising.  I got the spinal injury while making a video for a North of England Education Conference.  I was promised a crew of three and no one turned up so I had to carry the weight of four.  I ended up hanging off Whitby Pier pathetically shouting for help and was rescued by one of the lifeboat crew.  Something in my back had gone 'twang' and to this day the medical profession don't seem to know what.  The nearest any have come is nerve damage.  If I turn the wrong way, this causes inflammation which gets worse before it gets better.  The real kicker is I often don't know I've done it until the next day.  The injury turned chronic and got progressively worse.  Now I have about five minutes on my feet before pain makes me sit down again and I can be laid up in bed for up to 3 days afterwards.  These clouds pictures are, therefore, a labour of love and are taken either from the car or using it or something else as a prop to support me. 


I'm not doing flash and clever on this website because I really don't know how.  Having been thrown in the deep end and learning to swim very quickly nearly all my life I'm so far out of my depth with this, I doubt I'll ever break the surface let alone do a length of butterfly.  If you like the pics that's great.  I'd rather they speak for themselves than have an all singing all dancing display hogging the limelight.  If you want to use them PLEASE be aware that all rights are reserved and you'll need to get in touch before using them.  If you want them for commercial purposes then it costs.  I would love to say they're all free but keeping a camera going takes money and my old camera body is now "out of service life" and is starting to make rather alarming buzzing noises.

The images are taken from a collection of some 20,000, which quite surprised me when I did an image count, so if you like the light quality in a picture there will probably be a few more which have the same light but different compositions.

There will also be some poems and a couple of prose pieces added at some point.  I have written such things on and off for most of my life.  Only the ones belonging to the last years have survived.  All the rest were lost in a house move - probably for the best.

If the site looks very amateurish that's because it is.  Hopefully I will be able to improve things but I'm having enough trouble getting a small image to hold the full visual content of the original and making it link to the full size image at the moment so please bear with me while I blunder around which is basically what I've done all my life.  I never had a plan, I just loved putting things together and taking pictures.

Love and peace to all,

Chris.