Sunday photography at out-of-town site B for the first time in ages. Mud squeegying through a leaking boot sole straightaway and nil sunshine and no ideas when I got there (with a rucksack full of jars of Loyd Grossman tomato and chargrilled vegetable pasta sauce picked up at Sainsburys on the way). The light, the sky, the earth, no. That sense of 'what a waste of time but I'm here and so might as well take pictures' was not unfamiliar, and it'd been months, the mud and muck looked slightly different.
After five minutes photographing plastic in the dirt it was time to resort to BIGPAN mode. The camera (WX60) while being super-tiny has a monster megapixel in-camera panoramic mode which with a wave of the hand captures everything down to the molecular level, while leaving near total devastation in its wake. Moments before pressing the shutter this was a street with new build houses, most - fortunately - unoccupied at the time.
Diane Arbus would have been only 15 years old at the time Barbara Strachey took this picture but I think this square format photograph of novelist Virginia Woolf is pretty much what her portrait might have looked like. The famous pre-Raphelite-looking photographs of Woolf when she was a young woman by George Beresford are undeniably wonderful but this, taken when Woolf was in her mid-fifties, is their equal. The waves of light glittering through the branches of trees (with such wispy, soluble trunks), the crashing wave of light across the centre of the picture and the exquisitely delicate whirl of silk scarf held tight to her throat by a brooch nearly as big as an egg. The unsteady expression in the face, awaits forever the moment when the shutter will, finally, pop open its eye and in an instant take into account all the great breadth details it finds there.
"On the towpath we met & had to pass a long line of imbeciles. The first was a very tall young man, just queer enough to look at twice, but no more; the second shuffled & looked aside; and then one realised that every one in that long line was a miserable ineffective shuffling idiotic creature, with no forehead, or no chin, & and imbecile grin, or a wild suspicious stare. It was perfectly horrible. They should certainly be killed."