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Showing posts from March, 2014


An extra little blog post to help see out the month of March and usher in April and hopefully spring. A few weeks ago I made some portraits of a young writer called Furquan Akhtar, it was very much a collaboration with him providing the clothes and style. We managed to create an impromptu studio in the box room which acts as my workspace, using Manchester's finest daylight and the chimney breast as a backdrop. So here is my favourite picture from the shoot which I'm posting by way of saying a public congratulations to Furquan as he won the BBC's Alfred Bradley Bursary Award on Saturday. You can find out more about the award here: BBC Writer's Room You can also follow Furquan's writings here: Huffington Post

Mother Stands for Comfort

I was pretty obsessed with Kate Bush as a child and then as a teenager. Wuthering Heights should have been the first single I bought when I was ten years old, but I'd spent my pocket money on How Deep is Your Love by the Bee Gees a few weeks before. Although we weren't very well off when I was growing up we had a very good hi-fi and headphones in the days before we wore them all the time. So as I grew into a moody, confused adolescent Kate's esoteric sounds and eccentric lyrics helped me escape to a different me. She has stayed part of my life ever since, kindly releasing The Sensual World album just as I got my first student grant cheque. When I moved to Antwerp I soon ran out of money, eventually after much angst I managed to get a cleaning job. On my first day I discovered a full set of Kate's vinyl whilst I tidied up and as I played them at full blast in this grand, high ceilinged apartment I knew everything would be okay. Tickets went on sale this mo

Box Room

My provisional title for this work as it evolves and grows into a set is Box Room. The box room of our Edwardian terrace is my studio/ work-room/ atelier/ study/ office and it's where I'm making these small still lifes, using the diffused daylight from the window. It's actually west facing but this being Manchester it appears more like north as the light is usually travelling through a generous layer of slate grey cloud. I may be wrong but the idea of a box room seems very British and slightly eccentric, too small for a double bed it often ended up as a dumping ground. That was until the invention of the personal computer gave this Victorian idea a new lease of life as now everyone needs a place to store a desk, chair, screen and keyboard. I've been making work about home and the domestic on and off for more than twenty years. I keep coming back to it, an itch that needs scratching again and again. I'm enjoying the process, fiddling, styling, composing,

Shapes Of Things

I've been continuing my experiments with colour still lifes, gathering both the objects and the backgrounds by hunting around my home. This way it feels like they are constructed from personal things that have some history with me and are part of my memories. I'm starting to see this new work as being closely connected to collage as I'm bringing things together from different places and presenting them in a new context. This was a moment of clarity for me, as I've been dipping into a beautiful book called The Age of Collage, since receiving it for Christmas and pondering how to experiment with a collage aesthetic whilst still maintaining my own style. It looks like my subconscious has led me to an answer of sorts. If you missed my first posting you can reach it here: flawlessly-typed-and-spaced The book is sumptuously produced, with a broad range of approaches, really inspiring. Here are some of my favourite collage artists from the book, with li


A little mid-week blog entry. I've been experimenting with moving image, just test pieces really until I get my hands on some proper equipment. The last time I did any video work was more than a decade ago whilst doing a Master's Degree, when people still used tape and had to digitise it afterwards. So please see this as a sketch/meditation - best watched in HD with the sound up high, music courtesy of Metronomy.

Flawlessly Typed and Spaced

Some still lifes created at home in natural light for today, isolated portions of my domestic life. We must be pulling out of winter as my pictures are getting brighter. I was looking through my 20th Century in Poetry book today which is a weighty tome as you might imagine, arranged in chronological order from 1900 to 2000.  At the back there is an Index of First Lines, which is essentially a list of fragments, thought provoking glimpses into the poems contained within. I like the slither of insight you get into the content of the poem as well as an instant sense of how writers mould language like soft clay. Sometimes that clay is fired in my imagination and I have to turn to the page to read the complete poem, sometimes I just keep reading down the list. A fragment of fragments for you: Do you drive an old car? 703 Down the close darkening lanes they sang their way 146 Dürer would have seen a reason for living 207 Even now there are places where a thought m


Lack of sleep is the bane of my life, arriving unannounced it stays for a while and then leaves without a fuss, probably for some other poor soul. I respond to the world in a different way whilst tired, more tactile and instinctive and less logical or cognitive. This can actually be quite beneficial for my photography work, as I'm very much living in the moment with heightened senses informing my creative choices. I had just such a day on Saturday, I'd made quite a few pictures and was on my way home when a couple came out of their house with their Dalmatian dog. As they walked past me the dog came over to me and I instinctively stroked him, the softness of his fur unexpectedly transported me back to my childhood as it felt precisely like Satchmo our family Dalmatian. I must have stroked hundreds of dogs in the intervening years but I'd never had that sense of sameness before, I wanted to run after the dog for another memory hit, resisted, but was left thinking