Just messing around with some landscapes from Wiltshire and Ennersdale Water (Lake District).
Sorry, another odds and sods post, mainly because I haven’t had time to write a more fully fledged post.
Every now and then, scanning through the various bits of information afforded me by WordPress, I have a look at the search terms that lead to my blog. Other than the odd bizarre combination of words, there really hasn’t been anything of note.
Over the last few weeks though I have noticed a particular trend, and have kept an eye on it. Fulfilling anything from 25% to 50% of the search terms leading to my blog are variants on “life full regrets”, leading to this post.
I am not sure what this says really, speculative speculation leads me to wondering if there is a pandemic of regret going on currently (one could say it is and always has been) or a paucity of blog posts on the subject (hard to believe) or it doesn’t say anything at all (probably).
On Eyoki’s (@Eyoki) recommendation I purchased “Snow And Summers” by Solveig von Schoultz (read Eyoki’s superb review here). A little while ago I also bought “Ways of Returning” by Linda Saunders. Other than the superb poetry, both books contained unexpected treasures:
I absolutely love this sort of thing. Snow and Summer contains the scribbled notes of a previous owner’s journey to Reyjkavik, with all its attendant horrors. Ways of Returning contains a lovely letter from the author to the recipient.
As you may know I am a huge fan of the scribbled inscriptions and dedications that you often find inside the covers of books. No matter how tenuous, they give me a sense of connection and (occasionally) insight into the owners. I find these little snippets of life as rich and important as the books themselves and have occasionally purchased a book on the basis of this alone.
Years ago, before the Bristol Bookbarn became a sad media spectacle upon its closure I came across several hardback classic science fiction and fantasy books, scattered within the disorganised and incomprehensible system that the BB used. After further investigation I found more, each with a carefully inscribed name (one I sadly cannot remember) and the date of ownership, and nothing more. And there were hundreds of them. I was left with an indescribable sense of sadness, as this was obviously the lifetime collection of someone who had recently (?) passed away, with all that love and pride and effort disposed off in one fell swoop. Had I the money I would have bought as many as I could find, in a futile and foolish attempt to preserve this collection. I wish I had done so regardless.
Sainsbury’s Ethiopian Sidamo ground coffee is a current favourite; lovely, rich and not overly bitter.
demuth’s in Bath is a very nice vegetarian restaurant indeed. Great food, full of flavour and very light, using fresh local ingredients. Yummy.
Eyoki’s blog is another firm favourite. I never fail to come away have thinking about something in a different way, having learnt something new and outside of my immediate sphere of interest. Go and read.
Today I am visiting Lacock and Lacock Abbey, an architecturally fantastic place, lovely in the summer, and the ‘birth-place’ of photography, being Fox-Talbot’s residence.
At the top of the page (up there) is a link to my photo project on ‘People and their Passions’, featuring 3 sets of nine photographs from each session. Each link opens up a new window with a flash ‘presentation’ of that set. This was the closing project from the ‘Environmental Portraiture’ course I did with Morag MacDonald of documentary image.
My thanks to Becky, Paul, Jonathan, Lis and David for being such good sports and letting me photograph them – I had an absolute blast doing it and got to see them enjoying and doing the things they love. I owe you all dinner, at the very least.
I have been thinking that I will continue this as a personal project, so if you want to be photographed doing whatever it is you do, then I am happy to oblige Anyway, I will be posting more as I do them.
If you have any feedback or constructive criticism then please do let me know in the comments below… I look forward to whatever it is you might have to say.
I hope you enjoy the photographs.
As some of you may know I am currently doing an environmental portraiture course with Morag MacDonald of Documentary Image.
The course has been quite good thus far, and I have learnt as much about Lightroom workflow and picture editing as I have about environmental portraiture. Part of the course is that we are to do a project during the course, which is quite open in subject matter (as long as it is it has to do with E.P.), to be printed and displayed at the final session. Mine is to do with my friends and their passions (I have two more people to shoot this weekend).
Below are a couple of only just rejected photos from the two shoots conducted to date. The first is a shot of my friend Becky, who does pole dance as exercise. We spent a frenetic 20 minutes shooting prior to her advanced class. It was enough to make me appreciate the strength, grace and dedication these girls have.
I like this shot because it gives a good impression of the sense of space whilst indicating the strength and grace of the subject. I also like it because of the anonymity it retains.
The second image is taken from my second shoot with Jonathan and David, two exceptional percussionists. I got to direct them about a bit and then let them play, shooting the whole time. Excellent fun and fantastic to listen to.
I really do like this (establishing) shot, showing the two subjects discussing what they are going to do next in a very relaxed manner. The only issue I have is with the contrast of light on Jonathan’s face, something that I could work on to mitigate.
I’ll post the complete sets from the finished project. I am toying with having a little show/exhibition for those involved and interested, but that might require a bravery pill.
A few years ago I visited India on a whistle stop three week tour of the country. I barely rested on the surface, let alone scratched it.
I have a deep and abiding love for the country, of its history and its myths, legends and creeds. It is a fantastic place, well documented and commented upon in its various extremes, and its impact on visitors is equally well known. You either love it or hate it.
Around the same time I watched the excellent documentaries, Bombay Railway and Monsoon Railway. Beautifully shot, engaging and captivating yet treating its subject with a light touch, both these series examine the lives and existence of the Indian Railway. The railways in India employ in excess of 1.6 million people, making it the largest single employer in the world. It has nearly 40,000 miles of track and shifts an enormous amount of freight and number of people every day.
Statistics aside, it also has a wonderfully unique culture and continues to exert an incredible amount of influence on Indian society. It is an enabler and a way of life, bringing cheap, reliable transport to all levels of society, providing immense amounts of employment, both directly and indirectly. It is a fantastic opportunity to see and understand the meld of colonial impact and the Indian character.
I remember visiting Delhi Junction (station) and being in utter awe at it. I was bemused by the bureaucracy, fell in love with the bustle and buzz of the place. The first couple of times it was busy, and waiting for the trains was an experience in itself, with employees and customers alike taking time to chat and find out more about these strange people in their midst. It took me a week to understand the Indian Railway timetable, and to this day it remains one of my favourite ‘books’, such is the nostalgia and fondness attached to it.
The final visit was simply beyond my comprehension, a melee of bedlam and chaos, a brutal battle to stay focused and on course to your carriage in a vast conflicted herd of people, pressed so closely together in unintelligible streams of movement. It was heady and hectic and confusing and beyond comprehension.
The final trip itself was a memorable and intoxicating 52 hour journey from Delhi to Trivandrum in the far south (Kerala), full of quiet moments, interesting companions and unexpected incidents.
I have many photographs from India and one of my goals over the next six months is to convert them from slide and black and white film to digital.
However, it has been an ambition of mine, since I both saw the above documentaries and visited the various stations themselves, to spend time at a station like Delhi Junction, photographing life there, trying to capture the essence of these nodes of commercial/personal activity and cultural byplay. To spend time, to get to know the people, to photograph and capture and craft images of the inhabitants of an Indian train station. To understand and explore their lives and the unique culture and society that has grown up around the simple act of travel. and to capture it, document it, and show it.
As far as ambitions go, that will do nicely.