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Showing posts from August, 2013

The Spiders from Mars

I bet you are thinking: another tenuous link with a David Bowie song title. Well actually you might be surprised to learn that this lovely triptych of concrete planters filled with municipal annuals is actually around a monument to one of the Spiders.  Mick Ronson, one third of The Spiders from Mars was born on Beverley Road, Hull, which makes him a Hullensian. He died young, in fact the age I am now. The good people of Hull have marked his life with the Mick Ronson Memorial Stage in Queens Gardens, a park in the city centre where he was once a council gardener. I love this clip of Starman from Top of the Pops, 1972: Hard to believe Bowie putting his arm around Ronson's shoulders was seen as shocking and provocative at the time. I'm interested in our connection with place, especially the built environment so for me it is intriguing that you can search on Google Maps with a person's name and it takes you to a location in the world. Mick Ronson is a

Home is so Sad

This weekend I went to Hull.  Everyone I mentioned it to beforehand reacted in more or less the same way:  "Oh I've never been to Hull, isn't it meant to be..."  They would trail off and I don't think they were going to say "the winner of Britain in Bloom?"  Sadly the media seem to have painted a very negative picture of the city, so folk who have never been assume it to be true. It isn't, it's a really characterful city with lots of grand architecture from a range of eras. Hull was the most bombed city outside of London during World War Two so there has been a lot of filling in where buildings were destroyed which makes for a pretty intriguing cityscape. Hull reminded me of several places; it's a bit like Liverpool, the city anchoring the other end of the M62, before the City of Culture inertia, which is strange as Hull is shortlisted for 2017.  It made me think of Antwerp too as there is quite a Flemish flavour to some of the

White Van Man

Once vehicles came in just a few colours, and vans usually one - white. However over the last few years I've noticed how photography has become more and more a part of the road-scape. The age we live in is very visual and the photographic image is omnipresent, I imagine due to developments in printing technologies. Pop Art has taken over the streets and it does make for some amusing and incongruous sights.  These two pictures are from Blackpool on Sunday (bottom) and Liverpool on Monday (top), found without even looking.  Here's one I made a few years ago, that well know desert that runs through Lytham St Ann's...

Super Heroes & Maxi Dresses

A visit to Blackpool never disappoints, especially if you take a detour away from the main drag and venture up some of the back streets. I put these two pictures together by accident and then started to see that actually they worked well as a pair, masculine and feminine extremes; floaty dresses dancing in the wind and rugged cartoon super heroes ready for action. Strangely there is a door in both pictures in almost the same position.  


Urgh, such a strange day today, I just couldn't wake up properly and everything seemed complicated or difficult, even speaking. We drove to Liverpool, I went the wrong way even though the car could probably drive itself there I've been so often. We nearly ran out of petrol, I should have stayed in bed. Surprisingly I managed to use my camera, I thought it best to go off on my own for a bit and leave my companions to catch up without me gibbering in the corner. Normal service will be resumed soon I hope.


I walked the border between Manchester and Salford on Thursday, twin cities divided by a river. The Irwell has always struck me as neglected but full of potential, and there are some signs of it becoming a greater part of city life as Salford has developed a walkway and there are two new bridges. Manchester unfortunately still seems to turn it's back towards the water and I'm sure there are plenty of people who live in or use the city centre that don't know it is there.  Anyway the point I'm working towards is more to do with the creative process than urban development as I spent several hours weaving across the bridges trying to make a small set of pictures that might be the start of something. I'm interested in borders and in-between spaces, thresholds, so it seemed like a good starting point, but it just wouldn't click, nothing worked, I shall return. Strangely the next day I walked maybe 500 metres to post a card to a friend and managed to make a

No Words, Just Colour

A Lovely Pair of Pins

I knew the expression 'pins' referring to legs but had to Google what the Cockney rhyming slang comes from. It looks like 'pins & pegs', but there are some great alternatives like 'bacon & eggs' and 'dolly pegs'. I think I might start trying to incorporate more Cockney into my everyday speak, I do have London roots but they are more South  (Saff)  London than East London, where I think it originates.  Anyway this is all to illustrate a new picture that sits quite neatly with an older picture. So brogues, legs and a sea view from my two main muses. This might be turning into a set...  Oh by the way the top view is Morecambe Bay and the lower image is from The Wirral looking across towards Wales. The North West of England is a beautiful place, with some stylish residents. 


A day in Liverpool always puts a spring in my step and it was looking beautiful today. I left Manchester in torrential rain, with heavy leaden skies and arrived at the Anglican Cathedral car park wishing I'd brought my sunglasses and a lighter coat. I had a meeting, a photography related meeting that I think went okay and then had an hour to look around the city and use my new camera. Then homeward bound via a good friend in Wavertree Garden Suburb for tea and cake.


This is the last roll of film that I put through my Mamiya 7, which I've now sold. It took me 18 months to come to terms with letting go as for many years this was my daily companion and reliable work horse, a perfect exposure every time, the photographs always looked how I envisaged them. I very occasionally forgot to remove the lens cap, this being a rangefinder you don't see through the lens so I had to train myself to have a routine that involved instinctively going for the cap when I saw a picture. I've never warmed to DSLRs, they just seem too heavy, too macho so I stuck with the Mamiya until I discovered Micro Four Thirds cameras. Suddenly shooting with 10 frames per film, sending away for processing, scanning and then dust removal seemed too much, especially for the blog, so the Mamiya got used less and less.  I first made photographs on a digital camera in 1991 and used the very first version of Photoshop to rework the results, so I guess I was an early ado

The Edge

Life has been busy recently and I've not had many opportunities to make photographs or blog. I don't like that situation and start to feel I have an itch that needs scratching, so I took my new camera for a walk after lunch today. More about cameras in my next post... I'm often most engaged when I just have time to look at the ordinary, and can walk from my home into the centre of Manchester. This takes me through so many diverse residential areas, and I suppose from suburban to urban. I like observing and recording how people adorn their homes and front gardens, whether they look after or neglect their small part of the world, what choices they make. I suppose I'm a bit of a detective or just plain nosey but I like speculating about the people that use the streets I'm navigating. Well today I struggled to find much of interest until I reached the edge of the city. A place that is somewhere between urban and suburban, where the houses are replaced by ap