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Showing posts from September, 2011

Formic acid vs photography

I left work early today to get some more shots in the stunning late September sunshine. I don't think I managed anything much but can confirm that the sting of nettles (even across the face) causes only minimal irritation when taking photographs - which is probably another hyper-mania aspect to this addiction.  Worth it.


September sun

The low sunshine and warm weather is too hard to resist.  After finishing work I changed, ate an apple and set off on the motorbike to get to some of the developments five miles out of town.  There's only about an hour till the sun has sunk too low so when I got to the bottom of my road the traffic had suddenly formed a half mile queue exiting the city.  A change of plan and I parked up and walked around till I could scramble over the ditch and through nettles to get up against the demolition site perimeter fence which is close to home and capture the last gasp of a sinking sun.

Uncertain States - issue seven online

To download click here

Bidding before work

It's fun bidding on something before going to work.  As long as no-one goes higher than £3.12 this will be mine when I get home:

Garry Winogrand's addiction

Garry Winogrand is famous, among other things, for being one of the world's most profilic photographers.  John Szarkowski attempted a posthumous edit for him, which must have been incredibly gruelling seeing as how it involved millions of shots.  It's hard to conceive of how and why someone could have taken so many photographs.  Until you realise you have started to develop an addiction to the act of shooting.  The light was poor all weekend until six o'clock this evening after a little rain and the cloud cover thinned right out.  It was fading fast but I grabbed my cameras and was out on my motorbike heading out of town within 15 minutes. It was like a pent up, anxiety-ridden neurotic need to do it.  Completely irrational and edgey.  I went to a new business park build I'd seen a few weeks ago - more extensive clearing of agricultural and woodland to make way for warehouses and road widening.  The sun was dipping low and after a chat with the security guy, Warren, who…

Black and blues

Hammering concrete

Most days when I leave for work or come home I hear a distant mechanical hammering -it's from the demolition work at the bottom of my road. It would just be one of those curious annoying background noises if I hadn't been standing close to it last week.  Now I feel a connection it doesn't bother me.  I kinda like it.


Sometimes you look at the work of a favourite photographer and feel nothing for the work, almost a kind of repulsion.  Same with music, there are times when the bands you love are unbearable to listen to.  Maybe it's over familiarity or else being human means that one's response is not totally consistent.  It's a bit alarming the first time you experience those sudden disconnected feelings, as if you made a mistake and all along the work you admired was in fact meaningless.  A little while later you can be blown away by it again and appreciative of what they have done.  It's even possible to go off chocolate.  For a day or two.  Well an hour or two.

Last Saturday the wheels came off my motivation for taking photos - this year has been one of pretty consistent productivity for me, so I've been busy and the perseverence has been high.  As Englebert Humperdinck once said about achieving success in anything, it takes 'perseverence, perseverence, perseverence'. …


I would have liked to stay in bed this morning but having got agreement last weekend to get onto the demolition site at the end of my road today I needed to get down there as the workers knock off early on a Saturday and the site is closed up by one.

The foreman wasn't around but John the Welsh security guy I've met a few times seemed to be expecting me.  I was given a high-vis vest and a hard hat and was told to watch out for the heavy machinery moving around the site. 

I dunno why they don't tell me to piss off really after all if I got injured on their site I'm pretty sure their insurance company would be appalled that a photographer was allowed to wander around at all, let alone unsupervised while heavy work was going on.  I'm a liability.  Excellent.

The English summer light consists of changeable conditions so this time I lazily set both cameras to auto white balance which looks odd but the alternative is to be going into the menus to swop back and forth ever…

The trouble with rubble

A few days ago on the cycle ride to work I noticed that the hoardings around the building site at the university had been taken down, and the clearing up operation was in full view - apart from the usual wire fences, which aren't much of a problem to a super-compact digicam.  There were some heaps of sand and gravel but also a long low pile of dark rubble, like a road had been torn up, with big chunks of tarmac littering the surface.  Only today was I able to bring my camera along to get some shots - but as I arrived there was a digger disposing of it, piling it into a big lorry to be taken off site.

The light was more intesting on the way home so I took some more shots there and liked these ones better as they have interest in both ground and sky.  Having see the Friedlander show at the Timothy Taylor gallery a couple of weeks ago I feel in debt to his way of looking at the world with a camera, as well as the New Topographics photographers from the same era.

Former missile guidance systems factory

The factories at the bottom of the road have finally bitten the dust - and with the high winds today there was a lot of dust blowing around.  The foreman was in his car just leaving as he saw me on my way down to hassle them to let me take photos - again.  He said to come back next week and he'd go around with me.  He strikes me as a no-nonsense guy and it's surprising he doesn't just say 'No.'  He gave the OK for me to shoot the new build one Saturday a month or so ago - but it's the destruction that is far more interesting to me.  I'll be back there next week.  I worked my way around the perimeter fence today.

Kidbrook, South East London

After I finished my three year photographay course in Nottingham back in the early 80's I stayed around.  There was stuff to shoot - the huge 60's concrete council estates that were about to be pulled down (Nottingham Council are still paying for the building costs for them) were open for a while.  The one near me at Old Basford was eventually fenced off but that took some time as they were such large sites and so I sometimes would have a look around with my Yashicamat twins lens medium format camera (which had lost the capability of focussing properly after hitting the ground) and generally explore the carnage.  There were signs of devastation everywhere - from the people who had trashed their homes before leaving and from random strangers scouring the estates for possible valuable possessions left behind - and smashing up places in the process.  While shooting I'd often hear things being torn apart or heavy objects being sent crashing several floors to the ground from th…

Thank You

Hi, to anyone who visits this blog after seeing a copy of Uncertain States somewhere.

I had compiled a list of about 20 or so top photo-art venues in the capital I really hoped would take a bunch of free copies - and was amazed and so pleased when most of those did.  Thank you to all those galleries who said yes - for taking the time to have a look, to consider and for then giving up some valuable space for us.