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Showing posts from May, 2013

Back of the Bus

Another great day in Liverpool with my friend and fellow photographer Mike Stephens on the last day of May. The light was special as always in this great city, so we were both documenting the day in our own ways, see here for Mike's work: The title of this blog entry is because I was reminded when I was taking the first picture of the experience of travelling to school by bus and there being a hierarchy, nay mafia who controlled the back seats. I remember feeling like I'd made it when I was invited to sit at the back of the bus, in fact I can even remember that 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll' by Joan Jett was playing on the radio at the time.


A gentle reminder that we are about half way through LOOK/13, and my five books in four libraries are still on display should you be interested in visiting. Here they are for the first time all on display in their new homes.  There is more information on my website: The festival programme is here: I've made a Google Map to find the libraries here: GOOGLE MAP University of Liverpool also did a feature about the project here: university-library-opens-new-photography-exhibition Central Library  Located in the Picton Reading Room University of Liverpool The two books can be found in the Sydney Jones Library on both the first and second floor link between the Abercromby and Grove Wings LJMU The book is on the Lower Ground Floor of the Aldham Robarts building, outside Archives and Special Collections. TOXTETH LIBRARY The book is located by the staff counter. Please

Yellow Action Painting

My blog reached 30,000 visits this week so I'm celebrating with this beautiful tarmac canvas ice cream painting. Could this be the real start of spring/ summer after a few false starts? I did foolishly take a similar, slightly less dramatic scene to mean the same thing a while back:

John o'Groats to Lands End

This weekend we have played host to our good friend Piers who is cycling from John o'Groats to Lands End over a two week period. He has a tight schedule that he can't waver from with accommodation  arranged along the route. So we were a good halfway stop off in Manchester for him, we literally hung out the bunting to greet him. The enormity of what he is doing only really sunk in as he relayed his tales from week one, an impressive life enhancing challenge, solo and unsupported. He left us this morning, heading towards his next destination - Ironbridge, between Wales and The Midlands. He is raising money for Get Kids Going, a national charity which gives disabled children and young people the opportunity of participating in sport. If you'd like to support him there is a link below to his fund raising page.

Smoking Kills

Four pictures from the streets of Liverpool, taken over the launch weekend of LOOK/13, Liverpool International Photography Festival...

Central Library

Yesterday was the launch of LOOK/13 The International Photography Festival in Liverpool. It was also the opening of Liverpool's Central Library after being closed for several years for a major re-fit and makeover. I somehow managed to inadvertently involve myself in both events by creating a book for LOOK/13 that is placed in four Liverpool libraries. I'll cover all of the locations over a few blog posts but thought I should start the ball rolling with the venue most people are likely to visit. I didn't know until yesterday where my book would be placed within the library and was quite overwhelmed when I found it in the Picton Reading Room. The Library actually takes your breath away as you walk in, it's like no other library I've ever been in, it's spectacular and awe inspiring. It's on a vast scale and managed to make me think of it's illustrious history as well as exciting me with an example of what a contemporary library can be.  The Picton


LOOK/13 opens today and my five books will be on display for all to see. They are such personal and understated objects that I hope they don't get lost in the spectacle. It's a strange sensation having invested many hours in their creation to hand them over and hope they start a life of their own in new homes in Liverpool.  The theme for the festival is 'Who Do You Think You Are?', and my response was to Google my name. The Google Images result is shown above, which then formed the basis of my books. It's Google curating my work, so all of the images are mine, other peoples's that appeared have been black out and these blacked out shapes go into the book too.  I made a small book that contains the images, which is hidden inside a 1950's encyclopaedia, linking contemporary ways of finding information with traditional methods. These have now been donated to four libraries in Liverpool - Central, Toxteth, University of Liverpool (which has two books, one


I had a thought provoking stroll on Tuesday around bits of Liverpool I'd never seen before. I visited Toxteth Library as it's one of the locations for my LOOK/13 book. It's right next to the splendour of the Anglican Cathedral. The library though is a gem in it's own right, opened in 1902 it is beautifully proportioned with a dome, all harking back to a time when libraries were an essential way of accessing information and central to a community. This description is from the Victorian Society website: "Red brick and stone trim. Symmetrical to Windsor Street, with two big  Venetian windows under gables with obelisks, the main entrance with a far-projecting hood. Small  cupola above. Two more Venetian windows to Upper Parliament Street. The former reading room  (north side) contains a mural by W. Alison Martin and Clinton Balmer, an allegory with Knowledge  enthroned; also a copper plaque in Celtic Art Nouveau style by C. E. Thompson, commemorating the  opening


Anyone who reads my blog with any frequency or looks at my website will know that my home plays an important role in the pictures that I make. I'm interested in how we personalise our spaces, the gap between private and public as well as how and why we surround ourselves with 'stuff'. This little scene in our kitchen just seemed like such a perfect arrangement of the domestic that alluded to so much more - nature, nostalgia, memory, the exotic, foreign climes... All this from a tea towel on a radiator.  If you are interested here is some more work I've done connected to the above themes: www.

Forty Winks

Yesterday was spent helping a friend choose and buy a wedding suit. Not an activity that lends itself to too much observational photography, especially when you're not allowed to reveal the outfit in advance of the do. However for a moment the sun came out and the shop was flooded with light, casting this perfect scene across the floor. It's not a black and white picture, there are some beautiful subtle colours tucked in there if you look. I like how the carpet gives the impression of film grain. The title of this blog entry refers to my nap in the car on the way back (I wasn't driving), a lovely term that my grandmother used to use, in her London accent. If you've never heard it before forty winks refers to a quick impromptu sleep, usually not in your bed. The modern equivalent is probably power nap which sounds much more macho and business-like. My grandmother, was a seamstress early in her long life so actually there is another link with picture too. 

One Week

Believe it or not self promotion doesn't come easily to me. However I would like people to see my quirky little photography book project, so I've got to push a bit. This time next week, LOOK/13, The International Photography Festival will be opening in Liverpool and my books will be on display. They will be in Central, University of Liverpool, LJMU and Toxteth libraries - for addresses and more details have a look at my website: Of course there is a huge programme of exhibitions and events all over Liverpool so have a look at the official site too: I've included a few stills here of how the books work, but I hope you get to see them for real as they provide quite a tactile experience (I hope). See you in Liverpool!

Mother in Law

This weekend we were in Nottinghamshire to celebrate the 75th birthday of my partner's mum. The journey back to Manchester takes a couple of hours through spectacular Derbyshire valleys and woods, and there's nothing like an awesome view to give a bit of perspective on life. I was thinking about Joan's generation and the admirable qualities they have and the changes they have experienced over the duration of their lives. Things that must have seemed etched in stone as certainties evaporating over the decades. Like many women of her age, she is completely selfless, putting everyone before her. She is about as non-materialistic as it is possible to be, not lusting or craving 'things'. She was born just before the second world war, growing up as a child in a time of austerity, then thrown into a period of nearly full employment as an adult. The roles of men and women were very distinct and clearly defined, for better or worse. The world was in many ways muc


Life seems quite busy at the moment, all good things, but the simplicity of this scene appealed today. Almost meditative, a stark white circle in a dark grey rectangle, only the shadows of trees cutting across the picture. Okay, I'm so much calmer now!