All posts filed under: Blog post

Reduced Landscapes:

I’ve admired the work of the abstract expressionist artist, Mark Rothko for many years. His reduction of images to blocks of colour, mainly in the horizontal plane, appeals to me. The images are not complex; perhaps that’s the attraction. Though not specifically a landscape photographer I’ve produced many images in that genre. Most early pieces of my work are picturesque, over-sentimental, touristy pieces, but over the past 20 years, I’ve been attracted to stripping down the image, Rothko like, to bands or blocks of colour. Advertisements

Book Review: Small Town Inertia

Title: Small Town Inertia. Photographer: J A Mortram. Essays: Lewis Bush. Paul Mason. Poem:  Jamie Thrashivoulou Reference: ISBN 9781908457363 First published:  Hard back 2017 by Blue Coat Press, Liverpool Website: smalltowninertia.co.uk Size:310mm x 215mm x 20mm Jim Mortram, the master of the Long form of photo story, has released his first book. I’ve known Jim Mortram for a few years and all the while he’s been building up to producing this book; closely working with his community in and around his hometown in Norfolk. Jim’s output is reminiscent of others who have chosen to highlight this sector of our community. The disadvantaged and the disabled. He is following on* from others like: Bill Brandt, who in the 1930’s produced hauntingly beautiful images in the East End of London, the North East of England, and Yorkshire. Much of his work was published in the excellent Picture Post in the 1940’s. Nick Hedges photographs of the poor taken for ‘Shelter’ in areas of deprivation around the UK in the 1960’s and 70’s. About his work Hedges said… ‘Although these photographs …

Travel: My fellow passengers.

Like just about everyone, I travel. Sometimes on buses, trains, planes; you know, public transport. People on the move are fascinating. Often they are immobile. Sitting, waiting, standing. It’s at those times when their bodies are in transit but still at rest and their minds are thinking of other things they most intrigue me. When they are moving patterns develop and present themselves. People watching is an endless and engrossing occupation. I simply capture some of those experiences.  

UK Closed doors

The order of things in Britain has changed over the last few years. It has changed at a pace unlike any I’ve seen in my life. Or, does it just seem to be changing faster because I’m getting older? I can’t tell. I can only view the pace of change from my own perspective, distorted or otherwise. Many of our institutions we once thought rock solid have gone or changed so they’re no longer recognisable. It’s inevitable, I suppose. Change has altered much of the fabric of our society,  none more so than the media. The BBC, long regarded as the bastion of independence and autonomy seems to have buckled with its new apparent right leaning bias. The Newspaper industry, always powerful, now seems to have gained a renewed influence as its many independent elements have coalesced around certain powerful individuals. It wasn’t always like that. Britain has a fine record of independent newspapers dotted around the country. The Stamford Mercury, for example, Britain’s oldest continuously published newspaper title having been running since the early …

Exhibitions: The Reportrait exhibition, Nottingham

Today I traveled a few miles to Nottingham to view the ‘Reportrait’ exhibition at Nottingham Castle and Art Gallery. I have an interest in portraiture. I like to see the works however they were created. Whether they have been made by hand or captured through a camera’s lens they fascinate me. The last exhibition of painted portraits I visited was many years ago at the National Portrait Gallery. Things evolve, fashions change, new artists appear, so I was unsure what to expect. Not only were there examples of work made by hand using a range of drawing or painting implements, but there were photographs, 3D plastic busts and…well… just so much to involve the interest and curiosity of the observer. I can’t speak profoundly about the art works. The contextualisation of artwork is beyond my limited grasp of fine art. Mine is a simplistic, visceral reaction to each of the works. I employ little or no intellect in my artistic appreciation I’m afraid. They move me, or they don’t. However, even from that simplistic standpoint …

Documentary: That humble cup of tea.

Here in England, we drink a great deal of tea. It’s drunk throughout the day by much of the population. According to the UK Tea and Infusions Association, the British consume 165 Million cups of tea a day (60.2 billion cups a year). By comparison, 70 million cups of coffee are consumed daily in the UK. The title of World champion tea drinkers (by head-of-population that is) goes to the Republic of Ireland. Great Britain is the 2nd largest consumer of tea. The largest producer of tea is China with an annual production of about 2.2 Million tonnes, with India next, producing just about half that amount. As tea is drunk so much here in the UK you would think we would know all about it. Judging from my own lack of knowledge that isn’t so. For example, tea – Camellia Sinensis from which tea is obtained- is a small tree*, not a bush as we would have thought. And, it’s so rigorously trimmed by plucking the leaves it could almost be considered a Bonsai ( …

Documentary: Washing clothes in India

One thing immediately noticed when in India is, no matter how relatively poor the people are their clothes are clean and bright. Rarely do you see people wearing dirty or even unpressed clothes? How is this achieved in a country where the use of washing machines, though growing, is very rare? The answer, of course, is the same way it has been achieved for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The dobhi washerman is the man instrumental in the process of keeping India clean.  Hundreds of thousands of these workers exist all over India hand washing clothes all day. It’s a grueling task in the hot sun, often up to their knees in water, these workers soap, scrub, soak, rinse, wring and dry, – and even press with coal-fired irons – the full range of clothes for every type of household or business. Even the higher priced hotels seem to use this services, as marks inside my collars seemed to show when they returned from the ‘hotel laundry’. On top of the long and hard hours of work, there …