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Showing posts from June, 2011

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Today was the day - a dressing up shoot.  Takes forever to get ready and four or five hours in heels and changing clothes is quite exhausting - but so full-on meaningful for me. 

Oil and rust pt. 2

The new brake parts did not arrive so after bleeding the rear brake there was nothing else to do but stop.  After a bath and washing my hair and shaving my legs it's time to make the massive decision of what to eat - beans on toast with a fried egg or mushroom pizza.

This blog is pretty rubbish, but fortunately no-one reads it : )

Too soon to edit, but

Oil and rust

I'm off work this week and the dressing up session I'd planned for today (all my ironing done on Sunday evenng) fell through.  My ancient Yamaha DT125R trail bike had an overheating front disk when I used it last.  The back disk was warm to the touch, too after - and after just a couple of hundred yards.  I remember at the MOT brake drag was mentioned but I assumed this was cos the bike had been in storage for several months, and would loosen up with a bit of use.  Nah.  I stripped the calipers down today and one of the front pads had worn down, at one corner down to the steel backing : O

It's a heavy bike and getting it off the ground to remove the rear wheel on my own was a big effort.  Brake fluid in my eye wasn't much fun either, lol.  Ouch.

I'll finish up tomorrow (hopefully) if the parts I've ordered arrive.  The general griminess that comes from working on the bike was alarming.  My hands were in an atrocious state and I had enough smears of dirty grease…

Two files

I was shooting with two cameras today and ended up with over a thousand shots.  Too many to face editing.  I've several shoots from the last month that I've not looked through.  I can see how photographers just take photographs in the end and let the editing go.  Winogrand being most famous for this, leaving behind him millions of images he'd never even looked at.  He was just a photographing machine.  That engagement, sense of productivity has more appeal than the toil of deciding which frames work - though I think it takes years and years of making and looking at final images till you start to be able to grasp what translates from the stuff that is out there through the camera into a flat image. Then you just get on and shoot, knowing what you're working with.

The W380 digicam and the R1 produce very different looking files.  Each has its pros and cons. In bright light anyway I'd be happy enough using the small sensor digicam in place of a larger sensor bulky cam…


A colleague at work used to manage a foundry crew at a huge factory just outside of town.  He mentioned a while back it's being torn down so today I thought I'd go out and see if I could get in.

There was no security at reception but round the back, thanks to local kids, the wire fencing had been pulled down so I could step over it and climb a steep bank and survey the remains of the huge site below. Then get my two cameras out and spend around three hours shootng the detritus of a major local employer.  The remains of long-time heavy industry.

It was some rare intense sunshine and near the end of my shoot I noticed my forearms were looking pretty scorched and raw.  Climbing back out I could see a reservoir nearby and people swimming, I was probably suffering a bit of sunstroke or dehydration but set of with the vague intention of maybe stripping off and jumping in to cool down.

I went for a paddle instead, the air dizzy with pale blue dragonflies.

Stigma and shame

Every family has stuff they are ashamed of.  All sorts of things that are either kept quiet about or 'fessed up almost as some kind of reflex response to the stress of wanting to conceal.

Every family.  EVERY family.

We are afraid of being judged.  It's hard to get through a whole lifetime and do nothing to bring disrepute upon the people we grew up with.  Those relationships that may lack any real affection but are still fully capable of demanding we take responsibility.

Living our lives in a careful way, not wanting to let anything we do, or who we might be, bring shame on family members, or loved ones, friends.  Every family has its moments of dread.

In a way being someone who has failed to comply, the thought of embarrassing others who are connected with me brings more anguish that any ridicule that might be heaped on me.  It's enough to make cutting of family ties preferable to be free of that responsibility.

Post shoot buzz phenomenon

After a trawl of half a dozen charity shops on the High Street for anything pretty or chic or an accessory like a cute purse or bag or hat or shoes etc etc etc I got home empty handed and went back to the demolition site.  The few workers who'd been there earlier had gone and the gates were locked.

Plan B.  I'd brought some thick gloves and was wearing a thick fleece.  I managed to leap across the ditch full of brackish water without getting a boot full of stinky mud.  There was a little strip of bank on other side, right up against the security fencing so I could inch my way along, holding onto the fence as I moved.  The brambles were like hypo needles, straight through the gloves and my jeans.  In places the nettles were over 7' tall and I eventually got a faceful.  When I'm photographing - even a dressing up shoot - I go into 'keep going' mode and any cuts and rashes were a minor inconvenience in the bid to get some photographs taken.

After 90 minutes or may…

Security has gone

The demolition site at the factory at the end of my road is quiet on Saturdays and the foreman, Gordon, let me take photos there a couple of months back.  I am nervous about asking for a favour but the destruction levels and number of heaps visible from outside the perimter fence at the back meant I had to go ask.  I loiterered at the site entrance for a while then headed to where the security guy, Dom (or Don, I didn't quite catch what he said) lives in a caravan - with his pit bull.  But no-one was around.  A couple of guys stipping asbestos in the distance eventually noticed me so I waved and went over.  He said I needed to ask security.  I waited a while more, took some shots around the back, noticed for future reference a small hole in the fencing (if I can get across a ditch filled with brackish water and tall weeds first).

 Maybe Sunday.

The noise has gone

A huge pall of black smoke in the sky emanating from an industrial area I've photographed in the past had me get home from work, eat cake for fuel, drink a half cup of water and head back out with a camera. I was tired but I thought the smoke was somehow a significant opportunity, it might 'mean something'.  I'd have preferred to be lazy and not go but I'd have regretted it, for days afterwards imagining a possible important shot I could have missed.  Then again I didn't go with the expectation of getting a good shot, either.  And there was the 'interaction, or social embarrasment' factor, fear of rebuke.

It was only a ten minute cycle ride away - partly through the yukky tasting cloud - and turned out to be the place where I'm pretty sure the terrible crashing noise was coming from yesterday.

I was surprised to see as I got near that there was a steady stream of cars and people on foot and children on bikes (and trikes) making their way to the sour…


I got up an hour early and took some photos through fences at two locations, one near my house and one near work - the demolition/construction process going on all over the place.  While at the first site I could hear a terrible metal crashing sound from a mile or so away, on and on at a relentlessly rapid pace, a huge scale of destruction - I will have to investigate that.

I've not edited yet but here's a few grabbed heap shots from the file browser:

Heaps of dirt and rubble

On the way to work this morning I detoured to a nearby construction site.  It's a huge brownfield site formerly storing coal and heavy goods.  That's all been cleared off now and apart from a few portacabins it's a bare expanse of rough ground... and a 30 metre long heap of debris.  Maybe 50-100 tons of earth, brick, concrete, broken piping and whatever else got scraped up and put aside as preparations were made for laying foundations on another part of the site.

The variety of materials contained in this long, low mound was particularly striking as often there's a uniformity of substance, of colour and texture.  This appeared more complex.  I was being watched by a group of drunks who will may be be more curious about what I'm doing there when I go back tomorrow with a couple of cameras.  I want to try and work my way along the length and stitch together a panoramic, poking my camera through the bars of the fence every six feet or so.

At construction sites there i…



These long, satin white gloves had arrived in the post yesterday and when I got home from work trying them on for a quick shoot (which eventually lasted an hour and a half) took precedence over eating - and I wanted to try and catch the evening light.  I'd only had an apple since breakfast - which also might benefit my figure in these shots  - but basically the need for a full-on dressing-up session just needed to take priority over everything else.  The flowers are fresh cut from the garden and just holding them added to the wonderful sense of fairy-tale romance.


It's usually a bit of a test of determination to browse through the charity shops - for dresses and skirts etc - when you are a man.  Other people, the volunteers who work there, those that notice, they know.  The least stressy shop is Cancer Research - as a transgender person works there.  It's odd we've never had a chat.

Today I was particularly hoping to find clothes with animal print fabrics.  It probably sounds ridiculous but I've always felt a bit threatened by the people who wear them - so maybe it was my turn to demystify the effect, by wearing those kind of clothes myself.  Cross-dressing helps to explore the powerful effects of clothing, the 'otherness' that is designed in.

No, nothing.  Half a dozen places and not one single piece of clothing with a tiger, leopard, panther pattern.  WTF?

At the very last shop I did realise a long-time dream and came across a stylish, hand-stitched wedding dress.  It was a shock, so elegantly beautiful, my heart-rate …

London; between galleries