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Showing posts from January, 2014

Three Hull Mice

A non-productive seven days. I've been ill for an entire week and not left the house since Monday, missing three days of work. I'm not going to moan on, it has reminded me of being poorly as a child, lying on the sofa with a blanket watching rubbish TV, having soup for lunch and a soak in the bath to clear my sinuses.  So no photographs until today. My last blog entry was called 'Precious' in which I was starting to think about how we preserve human culture in museums and galleries and photographing the paraphernalia used to display and conserve. Whilst lying at home surrounded by my 'stuff' I've been thinking about what would go in my own private museum, what is precious to me?  The first three items are the Hull mice.  These were knitted by volunteers and sold by other volunteers in a charity shop to raise money for the Caring For Cats Charity in Beverley on the outskirts of Hull. These now live in a drawer in a 1960's dresser in our di


I spent a few hours today in Manchester Art Gallery. This was only unusual as I wasn't looking at the art works, rather the way we preserve and present objects and artefacts considered 'precious' and/or culturally important. It's an idea I've been carrying around in my head for a while and today I started experimenting with how I might explore this concept photographically.  I visited every room from 17th Century Flemish paintings through to Victorian ceramics and lots in-between. By far the most congested galleries were the ones housing Grayson Perry's tapestries - The Vanity of Small Differences. I watched the faces of the people admiring the pieces and they appeared truly fascinated, studying details and pointing things out to their companions. This certainly wasn't the art glitterati but a diverse crowd in every sense, from toddlers to the elderly, drawn from many social and cultural backgrounds. Not bad for a transvestite from Chelmsford. Hi

Hex Code

I thought I'd share an ongoing project with you, which I admit is a work in progress. For nearly a year now I've been sampling colours from my photographs as I make them and then incorporating this colour as an integral part of the finished picture. My work has become quite diary like as I always carry a small digital camera with me and I record whatever I feel instinctively drawn to. So there is a process of observing the surface of the world, framing and then photographing wherever, whoever, whatever is around me. This process continues when I get back to my computer as I can then continue to observe, only this time I'm looking at the surface of the picture, the world already having been reduced from three dimensions to two. I've experimented extensively with which colour to sample and this is an on going thing, but generally I'm interested in how the colour influences or extends the feeling and reading of the picture. This gives me an element of choice

A Second Class Return To Nottingham Please

Somehow it's a different experience viewing a place as a visitor rather than as a local. My partner is from Nottinghamshire so we visit on a regular basis but we rarely get to see the centre. However this time we stayed in a hotel not far from Nottingham and so got to explore the city. I suppose you notice what you don't have at home and Manchester is flat so it is a novelty to walk around a town with inclines and vistas. Manchester barely existed before the industrial revolution whereas Nottingham has architecture from the 12th Century onwards; quite a concept when you think about what those buildings must have seen play out in front of them.  I usually take photographs instinctively and then go through a sorting process when I get home. It is at this point that I often see a theme or something revealed about my preoccupations from that time. I liked these three pictures because they record the temporary, in-between nature of travelling and visiting that many of u


For almost my entire childhood Cheltenham was the main big town in my life. I had no point of comparison and so didn't realise it was and still is a place of geometrical beauty. I suppose most towns and cities in this country have evolved through necessity at various points in history as a response to human culture and the way we live, London being the ultimate example of an unplanned city.  Revisiting Cheltenham now as an adult I realise that the whole place was planned and built in the same late Georgian style, claiming to be 'the most complete Regency town in England'. For someone now used to the redbrick and terracotta tones of Manchester, the town's buildings literally seemed to luminesce, stone and stucco glowing in the Cotswold winter sunshine.  Often I'm drawn to the in-between when making pictures, places of transition or change, no-man's land. So I was intrigued to read about the Regency era being just such a time. A short


The lack of light and heat through the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere means we just have to accept being indoors more. I quite like this time especially having an open fire and getting a big jumper on. Also post Christmas there are usually some good books to be read.  2013 was the year I rediscovered poetry, which took me by surprise, triggered by a visit to Hull and reading Philip Larkin's work for the first time. Since then I've got my hands on a 20th Century Poetry Anthology, Philip Larkin Collected Poems and a book called What W.H Auden Can Do For You by Alexander McCall Smith. These have all helped me to understand the power that can be packed into a few short stanzas.  It has come as a revelation to me that a poem can help interpret the world around us in a similar way to photography, suggesting layers of complexity and providing alternative readings of the everyday. I like being thrown an idea or concept that becomes a new framework through which