I have taken pictures from an early age and subsequently, I’ve been producing ‘work’ for over 50 years. I have no formal education in Photography. I am entirely self taught. So it comes as no surprise I only recently heard the term “New Topographics” applied to a style of images. First coined by William Jenkins in 1975 when he was describing a group of photographers such as Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz and Bernd and Hilla Becher. At the time each of whom adopted a similar banal aesthetic in their formal black and white prints of the urban landscape. For them and their ilk, car parks, suburban housing, pit-head winding gear, water towers etc were depicted in high quality, stark beauty – as the TATE says on their web site “almost in the way early photographers documented the natural landscape” – hence, I suppose, the term was coined from seeing a new topography directly opposing the picturesque images from the past. Bernd and Hilla Becher were lecturers at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf. There they influenced a number …
Taken recently in Lincoln, for me at least, this image seems to hold much of what 2020 has become. Boredom and the ennui generated by that. And yet so much has changed and is still yet to change. We are engulfed by a curious storm. One which is invisible to us and yet surrounds us. Let’s hope we become free of its stultifying effects soon. Life cannot continue to be ‘on hold’. It just can’t. Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. Haruki Murakami
This morning when I woke, I was thinking about pictures – this is not unusual for me. I think about images a lot – and this morning I thought about what makes a good picture. I take pictures – not so many under Covid restrictions because I work mainly on the street – but how do I know it’s a good picture? Firstly, I suppose, you have to define what constitutes a “good picture”, and as we are all different, then what makes a good picture to one does not to another; yes, it’s personal, as they say. There is no simple answer.
This is my 3rd picture by way of a contribution to the “One a day for a year” project initiated by David Barrett, a British photographer living in Gloucestershire. David says the project, which he calls “Trip around the sun” was inspired by Barry @pixelsonapage and ‘The Once More Around The Sun’ project shot by Joel Meyerowitz. “It’s not intended to produce a masterpiece everyday” he says. Adding, “It’s more a survey of your everyday”. This is my image No3. It’s a wooden mask I have at home. The developing results of the project reside over on Twitter under the hashtag: #365aroundthesun PDBarton Lincoln 03.01.2020
A picture taken in Boston, near to St Botolphs church, aka Boston Stump. This image was originally taken as part of a series I was making about the meridian as it passes through Lincolnshire. However, it does have carryover to other series; for example the series on dumped furniture and another on reduced landscapes. The abstraction of what I saw appealed to me greatly. PDBarton November 2019
I was in Birmingham last week, the city of my birth. And just to remove any confusion, I’m talking of Birmingham in the West Midlands of England. Every time I visit there has been change. The city seems incapable of standing still for just one minute. Perhaps that’s how it should be, afterall, Birmingham is known as the driver behind the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19thC. and was for many years, the home of manufacturing in the UK earning it the aphorism of “The City of a Thousand Trades”. It’s not an old city. Its growth, fed by the industrial revolution, came as a result of hundreds of thousands of ‘immigrants’ from the farming communities in surrounding counties. My own forebears on both sides were “Aglabs”, agricultural labourers, from Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, together with true ‘immigrants’ from Ireland. Birmingham is a crucible, and always has been. With that growth comes continual change. As a reason for change, added to that of growth, is development – in the shape of technology, working methods etc. …
Shop window sign in the sun. Lincoln 2019.
South Hykeham, Lincolnshire. April 2019
I’ve been spending time in hospital waiting rooms of late. Nothing special; just test after test – another later today. I was sitting reading in one such just the other day and made this picture with my phone. It appealed to me. Lincoln County Hospital. March 2019
Baltic centre. Newcastle. March 2019.