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Full Circle.

An exhibition of Images by Emma Bowater and James Millichamp.

Taking their inspiration and source images from the built environment, particularly urban decay and dereliction these two artists have worked to produce the images for this show.

At first glance, you would imagine this exhibition is by one artist, such is the consanguinity of their approach to the work and the resulting images.

The exhibition notes speak about their images much better than I could, so…

“We have always shared a fascination for the built environment, and particularly urban decay and dereliction. Over the past year we have been working together to exploit this theme through various processes, cross-pollinating and stimulating each other’s practice. Through painting, drawing, print and cyanotype we aim to capture the atmosphere of a space, alluding to the history lost through the process of decay. A disused building can act as a symbol for the temporaneous nature of mans’ achievements, or as a metaphor for emotional abandonment. Through the works, we seek to document the vacant and transient environments of architecture. Empty spaces, devoid of human life, freeze and reaffirm human existence. Detailing remaining relics of human presence, the images emphasise a sense of isolation and abandonment; echoing the emotional anxiety of absence.”

The show is well worth a visit. Go see if you can.

It’s running in the Digbeth Art Space Gibb St., Digbeth, Birmingham B9 4AT

ENDS… 2nd September 2019

Faded Grandeur.

In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

I’m not sure this image shows that principle exactly, but somehow, the imperfection of dilapidation and the consequent transience has a beauty of its own, albeit the process has perhaps gone just too far.

Nevertheless, this image of an old French Colonial townhouse in Pondicherry, Southeast India, for me anyway, has a faded grandeur and a presence all of its own.

Peter Barton
July 2019


The Beautiful Error.

I visited an exhibition of striking work by photographer Katie Hallam in the delightful, bijou Gallery at St Martin’s, in Lincoln yesterday.

Katie is a degree qualified photographer. In her current work, she takes the structure of her initial pictures and re-works them to produce surprising and questioning images, turning them into strident artworks, full of energy and colour.

The concept explores glitches – errors if you will; hence the title of the show – momentary aberrations of the norm, be those glitches natural or induced, in order to create ‘another worldliness’ in exploring and dividing what is captured from what is seen.

The technique explores the manipulation of those glitches using alteration to the code producing those jpg digital files. The work dispels any doubt, if the is any, that photography is art*.

The work is exciting and is well worth seeing. Sadly it closes on the 13th July 2019 but you can see her work on her web site here.

The image above is part of one of Katie’s images, who, of course, owns the copyright.
Katie can be contacted from her website or here…

*When asked if photography is art, David Bailey delivered a pithy reply,

“Of course it’s fucking art”.


An image made in July 2014 on the pier at Skegness, Lincolnshire. This image has been very popular over on my Twitter account.

It shows a group of people occupying a bench at the end of the old (now truncated) pier as a storm rolls in from the North Sea over the offshore wind farm.

Camera bags; it’s all bollocks.

A while back I wrote this piece on my personal, non-photographic, site. I’ve re-posted it here as the discussion has awoken again elsewhere.

You may know I’m not keen on talking about camera gear.  It’s my opinion the gear you use is not what makes the image.  Just use what you want to so long as you get the picture.

However, whatever you use there may be a need to carry it in some sort of bag.

The camera bag industry is large, catering as it does to all price points in the huge camera market.

I confess. I have had, even still have, a whole slew of camera bags. All of them stuck in a cupboard. I keep telling myself I’ll sell them someday. Really?

The first bag of note was an early Billingham. I bought it over 30 years ago. It went with me everywhere. It became my everyday bag when I travelled in the Exhibition Industry. So it had been around a bit. It became that knackered on the inside that I had it re-lined by Billingham. 

It gave me good service. It even got me into places where I shouldn’t have been, seeing the bag the police thinking I was a press photographer would let me in. This happened once at a demonstration in London and I found myself standing next to Bailey, but that’s another story. We parted company a few months back – the bag that is, not Bailey and me – when I gave it to a friend who was in need of a decent bag.

I’ve had lots more since, and a pretentious group they were too. OK, they had a use when I had heavy pro gear and lots of lenses but now…


Now with my ‘one camera, one lens’ guiding principle I have little need for a “Camera bag” as such. A few years back I bought a fishing bag. It’s perfectly adequate. It was once black but it’s been sun bleached on our travels in India and the far east and now looks delightfully scruffy.

The canvas isn’t waterproof so it has a rubberised insert, probably so you could carry wet fish, which I can remove if I like. It has 2 pockets on the front, one I use for lens cleaners, batteries and other small stuff and the other holds stuff for my medical needs – I wouldn’t need a bag at all if it wasn’t for having to carry pills, potions and needles –“Growing Old Ain’t For Cowards”.
The strap wasn’t very comfortable so I bought a padded strap attachment. 

That’s it. Oh, except inside the bag I usually carry a Sainsbury’s “Bag for Life” – tough little bugger – for the odd bit of shopping or more usually for putting the whole bag into so I look even less like a photographer (handy at times).

For the sort of work I do, I like to look as inconspicuous and as invisible as possible. This tired old fishing bag suits me and my style.

And remember:

If a camera isn’t what “makes” a picture then a flashy camera bag certainly won’t help.

p.s. If I need a bigger bag I take an old black Tenba courier bag out of that cupboard I mentioned, with all the labels removed of course.