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Showing posts from October, 2012

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.

Washing Line Abstracts

Two people live in this home. Two shirts drying on the washing line in our small garden, following in the footsteps of all the people that have lived in this house over the last 105 years. Red, white and blue the colours of this country or red and blue the colours that divide this city.

Ferry 'cross the Mersey

A strange but interesting day out yesterday... We went to explore Birkenhead on the Wirral, the bit right opposite Liverpool city centre. It turns out to be just the kind of place that I love to investigate, a once grand place with stunning architecture but sadly left to decline over the last 30 years or so. Grand nineteenth century and early twentieth century statement buildings buffered up against low grade 80's 'sheds'. Central Park, New York is based on Birkenhead's which is said to be Britain's first publicly funded park. So it turns out to be exactly the kind of place my other half/ assistant doesn't like to visit so I wasn't allowed to stay long, and we hopped on the ferry to Liverpool. So a few pictures from our journey, but watch this space for when I get to re-visit Birkenhead alone.

One of Two

Yesterday I travelled over to Liverpool for my third visit to the 2012 Biennial. One of the venues is the now disused Royal Mail sorting office, a massive space still full of the paraphernalia of getting letters and parcels to their recipients. In fact the space was much more exciting than the New Contemporaries exhibition it housed, which seemed shallow and meaningless next to the evidence of working lives lived. The high panoramic windows reveal a slither of the Liverpool skyline, partially obscured by glass coverings. So the picture I chose to make was one of the two Liverpool cathedrals, the 1960's Catholic version, in strong scouse sunshine.

Candle and Mattress

The light is interesting today, bright and autumnal, so I took my camera on the short walk from my house to the allotment this morning. I'd taken five or six pictures by the time I'd got to the top of my road as suddenly everything looked interesting. I was thinking about the Henri Cartier-Bresson quote: "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." I usually write a photography quote on the board for each lesson with my second year students but had forgotten to find one yesterday, so one of the students found this corker. Anyway I ended up wondering how many photographs I'd made so far in my life, and working out it must be at least 50,000, probably considerably more! So my favourite two images from today seem to work well together for my eye thanks to the mix of deep red and silver. The candle was literally shining out of the shadows and stopped me in my tracks, thought I was having some kind of epiphany for a moment.

Friday Corners

A couple of photographs from a short walk across Manchester and Salford today. It was one of those days that we get a lot of, slate grey skies and 'Manchester light'. I thought these two made a decent pairing, colour wise and in terms of balance. I like the way the yellow chain appears to float and the manmade wooden box has been forced open by the soil attempting to escape.  I started to think about corners when I realised that is what I'd been drawn to and the first image that popped into my head was from Stephen Shore, actually one of my all time favourite photographs. So I've included that too for your delectation.    " Photographers have to impose order, bring structure to what they photograph. It is inevitable. A photograph without structure is like a sentence without grammar — it is incomprehensible, even inconceivable. " Stephen Shore

Elephant & Giraffe

I’ve been searching for a quote that explained how I feel about my own photographs, that I am essentially taking a picture of one thing but thinking that it represents another. Walter Benjamin often provides the right words for me and once again I’ve found one that does the job:  “The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses ”. Walter Benjamin liked the work of Eugène Atget saying of his photographs, "they suck the aura out of reality like water from a sinking ship." The Surrealists also liked Atget’s work, probably as he swam against the tide leaving the usual subject of the photographer at that time, people, out of his images. His cities are deserted, populated only by simulacrum, the shop window mannequin. His pictures always make me think of Dr Who, I must have been traumatised as a child by an episode where dummies come to life. Anyway here are two of my pictures that prompted me to mull this o

Concrete & Skin

I'm not a street photographer but I am inspired by the built environment around me. Here are two pictures in Manchester taken the other day, making the most of the autumn light. Now here is THE street photographer, Joel Meyerowitz. I could listen to him talk all day, so articulate and thoughtful...