Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2012

Almost Monochrome

29 December, 2012 I made these two photographs a few weeks apart but thought they sat well together. There is an atmosphere that suggests a narrative to me, they feel like crime scenes. Are they before or after an event are they stills from a film? Photographed in colour but so nearly just grey tones they both fade into the shadows.


28 December 2012 Well after travelling for four days, nearly 500 miles, through 8 counties (all flooded) and seeing loads of relatives from both sides of our families  we are home, phew! It's been great but tiring. We've been in many different homes and one hotel, given and received many presents, and made a few photographs. Here is the first set of pictures from other peoples homes...

Shortest Day

Today is the shortest day of 2012. So that means as of tomorrow we will have a bit more light (well 4 seconds). Here are the sunrise and sunset times for today and tomorrow (uk):           Dec 21, 2012 8:04 AM 3:54 PM 7h 49m 43s Dec 22, 2012 8:04 AM 3:54 PM 7h 49m 47s I didn't manage to make any decent pictures today so I've included one that I made in my work room just after the longest day of 2012. Enjoy the light!

Happy Christmas!

This is a set of pictures of snow scars that I made a couple of winters ago. I was looking after my friend's cats in Whalley Range for a few days and the short walk ended up taking about half an hour each time instead of the customary ten minutes, being so icy and snowy. So I took my camera and ended up with lots of small snow projects, I'll try and find the others soon. I ended up calling this one Snoplosion! I was thinking about other photographers who have made pictures in snowy conditions and remembered I've got a fantastic book called Vinter by Lars Tunbjork. The work falls somewhere between fine art and documentary, describing the melancholy atmosphere of a Swedish winter. I love his dark humour and snap shot aesthetic.  Lars Tunbjörk – from the series “Vinter”, (2008) Have a great Christmas!

Camera-less Photography

Well this is one from my archives really, but I found a half written blog entry and thought I'd finish it. These are a couple of our collection of 1950's/60's/70's coffee pots, that just wouldn't photograph well, so I scanned them on a flatbed scanner instead. I've always liked the results of scanning three dimensional objects, they feel slightly other worldly. So I've included links to two other camera-less photography projects that I like, one is someone who taught me and one is someone I taught, just for good balance. John Hodgett - follow the link for GroundScans. Erica Brejaart

Man Mittens

My first Christmas present of the year! A beautiful pair of man-mittens knitted by Scouse grannies, thank you Michelle.

Lines & Circles

I've been thinking this week about how life is cyclical and linear at the same time. These thoughts were impart triggered by staring at this picture wondering why I liked it and realising it was all about lines and circles. Then we put our Christmas tree up, which is a lovely real tree adorned with the same lights, baubles , tinsel, and assorted 'stuff' that we use annually and store in the attic for 11 months of the year.  I've also been reading a book called Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster which is just fantastic, so good in fact I slowed down for the last thirty pages as I didn't want it to end. Just near the end of the book a small town in America was referred to - Great Barrington,  Massachusetts  which weirdly was the first place I visited in the States when I was a student doing Camp America one summer. It really is a tiny place so it sent quite a jolt through me, which in turn got me thinking about the linear nature of the passing of time, but also

Found Dog

Yesterday we were walking up the road, literally 100 metres from our house when a dog appeared, sans owner and ran out into the path of a car. Luckily the driver was able to stop, but the dog promptly changed direction and ran out in front of another car. Nobody else seemed very bothered and so we grabbed her. After half an hour by the roadside phoning the police, vets, and animal shelters we ended up speaking to someone at the council who asked us to take her home and they would arrange collection. So we ended up with a dog for four hours. We have a cat and none of our internal doors close properly so we had to put Olive (the cat) upstairs barricaded with a chair against the door, whilst our new arrival went crazy running around the garden, kitchen, dining room and living room. We tried everything to keep her calm including playing classical music, and eventually I put the tv on and she fell asleep across my lap, I was smitten.  She apparently spent the night on a farm in Worsley a

1936, 1969 and 2012

I got very excited about the light today and driving back from work around midday noticed how interesting Stretford Mall looked. It really is one of the ugliest buildings in Manchester and should never have been built as it forms a concrete barrier cutting across South Manchester. Built in 1969 it replaced the more aesthetically pleasing, human scale Victorian street-scape, which just seems tragic. However opposite stands one of the most fabulous, glamorous buildings in Manchester, Longford Cinema. This deco building was built in 1936 and is everything Stretford Mall is not. Anyhow I did explore the Mall (formerly The Arndale)and discovered little hints of it's original decor which I must say are rather lovely. I suggest either restore the whole thing to its 1969 style or pull it down. 

Quiffed & Cropped

I'm off to get a haircut. Funny what the universe can tell you when you are out and about. 

Watch This Space

Along with many of the residents of the East End of London, my parents set up home in Essex in the late 1960's which means I'm lucky enough to have Basildon on my passport as my place of birth (cough). Sadly I only got to spend the first two years of my young life there before being whisked off to rural Gloucestershire. However to this day for some reason I always associate moulded concrete blocks used to build perimeter walls with Basildon. I don't know if this is a phantom memory or actually a very early memory but it's stuck. Anyway these two photographs were made on separate occasions but seemed to work as a pair, architectural space making a visual link between the two very different materials and colours. I've never returned to Basildon but feel it could be a rich source of photographic inspiration. Watch this space, so to speak.

Walk Towards the Light

Three quotes from some old school photographers, and three pictures from me... “Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.” Henri Cartier-Bresson “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.”  Diane Arbus “Photography is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”  Alfred Stieglitz

Viva Moz

I've been thinking about the exotic recently which might seem odd as I was walking down the Kings Road in Stretford at the time. However I was wondering if what is ordinary to me is exotic to someone else, after all familiarity breeds contempt, apparently.  I was pondering on the fact that Sally Mann, William Eggleston and a range of other American photographers document the 'local', the things they see everyday and are all around them. To me their pictures take me somewhere else, to places I've not been and so I was wondering is South Manchester a curious novelty to people in other continents? Just at that moment I reached a bridge that I've never noticed before, that crosses the tram tracks running parallel to the road. It is behind the houses so quite discrete, but the light was such that it's strange dated Metrolink colour scheme was glowing. As I walked across it I realised it was covered in Morrissey and Smith lyrics and other related graffiti. A ligh


My thoughts are still being influenced by seeing the William Klein and Daido Moriyama exhibition at Tate Modern last week. Amazing how pictures can get under your skin and colour how you see everything after that. I've also just watched the William Klein Imagine show on the BBC, wow what an interesting, complex character. His approach to photography is very different to mine, although as Martin Parr pointed out in the programme we are probably all children of Klein. Strange how the avant garde soon becomes the mainstream.  I also watched some inspiring video clips following Moriyama out and about in Tokyo with his camera and immediately felt a kinship with him. For a start he uses a small compact camera and takes many photographs everyday, quite instinctively, being in his 70's doesn't seem to get in his way. He says: "My approach is very simple - there is no artistry, I just shoot freely. For me, photography is not about an attempt to create a

City Inside a City

I'm a big fan of large photographic prints placed in the urban landscape, its something we seem to see more and more, usually advertising of course.  It often creates a sense of disorientation, a surreal mix of the physical and two dimensional, two examples here taken on consecutive days during the London trip.

Keep Right

Keep right, out of context makes me think it is some kind of instruction from the powers that be to do the right thing, be good, stay out of trouble...  A few more pictures from our London trip, picking up on some blue in the city. Surprising how calm it can seem in such a large town if you duck out of the crowds and explore the back streets.

Meyerowitz Made Me Do It

I was actually trying to photograph the architecture when this scene unfolded in front of my eyes, as my finger hovered over the shutter I heard Joel Meyerowitz in my head shouting "now!" so I did. I like the way they are each doing something with their hands, and each person is of a different ethnic origin, sums London up well.  If you're not familiar with Meyerowitz, here is a great example of his use of light, shadow and colour: Copyright Joel Meyerowitz

Dorothy Rides the Piccadilly Line

If you've visited my blog before you may be aware of my feeling that photography is able to convey some of the magic and mystery of being on planet Earth. I've been in London this week with my students seeing various photography exhibitions. On Tuesday we travelled to the V&A for the Light from the Middle East exhibition, which is excellent incidentally. After seeing the show I had 20 minutes in the cafe with my friend Clare who works there, she mentioned that the iconic red shoes from The Wizard of Oz were there on display for a limited time if we wanted to see them. Unfortunately we didn't have time, but as a weird consolation, I spotted these worn by a 21st century Dorothy on the tube on the way back to the hotel.

A Polaroid Camera from 1967

I took some of my old Polaroid cameras into college yesterday for the second year students to experiment with and their enthusiasm and success inspired me to experiment today. So I took my Polaroid 230 camera out onto the streets of Chorlton, loaded with Fuji instant film and revisited some more of the fading hydrangeas. It felt a bit strange sitting outside peoples houses with a Polaroid under my armpit timing two minutes, but the peel aparts made it all worth it and nobody seemed to notice. So here are the results, posing in my home, inside and outside all mixed up... Oh and here is the camera:

Neoplasticism in Suburbia

Well a pretentious title never hurt anyone. I went for a walk with my camera this Sunday morning, and remembered that actually it can be quite useful to be a bit sleepy and not fully engaged with the world when making pictures. This image made me think of the De Stijl works of the early 20th Century, the world stripped down to shape and a reduced palette, or maybe I'm just not quite awake yet.

Cardboard & Parcel Tape

This is a photograph of such a simple, domestic act, packing up a parcel to return some rejected goods bought online. I really like the composition and colours, but also that there is a story embedded in there too, of change and the impact of the internet on our lives. Strangely the postal service has lost out and benefitted in a single stroke. We don't write letters much anymore, nor do we send postcards from our holidays, as we are constantly in touch with each other thanks to text, email, Facebook, etc. However we visit the real high street less and less and the virtual high street more and more, so someone has to deliver all those cardboard boxes...

Cold & Skinny

This was the only photograph I made today, like the shivering dog I was put off by the wet and cold - back to the open fire, a cup of tea and some Eccles cakes. I might not have been born in the north but I've adapted well!

Man with a Halo

Great day in Lytham on Saturday, sea, sun, sand and some posh coffee shops. This picture sums up why photography excites me. It records what is there but simultaneously has the ability to reveal other layers of reality. It taps into magic in the universe... or I could just be a bit over-tired.

The Yellow Shoes

Yesterday I met an interesting person, a musician called Seaming, she came to our house to meet up with a mutual friend who was staying with us. I was impressed by her manners, she took off her shoes as soon as she arrived, so I photographed them, yes I imagine she thought it strange too. We talked about trying to get our creations out into the world, making a living and 1960's architecture. It turns out she used to live a couple of streets away from us before she moved to London from Manchester. She kindly gave me a copy of her latest cd and as we were having a day out to the seaside we listened to it en route. It turned out to be so good, and the traffic so bad that we played it through twice, 5 stars I say. In parts it made me think of Kate Bush, although Seaming wore yellow shoes not red. If you want to discover her music here is a link: Pictures from the day out at the seaside coming soon...

Strange Interventions

One of those days today when the light makes nearly everything look interesting. Amongst the day to day goings on were these two strange interventions in the life of South Manchester. They appear to have landed, travelled from another place, bringing a little sparkle to the tarmac and brick landscape.

Hydrangea Colour Shift

All the South Manchester hydrangeas that I photographed in the summer are changing into their autumn and winter season colours. Those pinks and blues have gone, replaced by reds, greys and browns. The colour shift seems strangely patchy and unpredictable, and equally amazing against our northern red bricks. Watch this space for updates and check out the original project, PH6, here: PH6

Young Flâneurs

Today Mike Stephens and myself were training our first year photography students to be young Flâneurs. We rather threw them in at the deep end as it was their first experience of film cameras, so we will find out tomorrow how they got on when they've had a chance to process... Anyhow, I tried to lead by example and had an hour to mooch around, Flâneur style.