All posts filed under: Photojournalism

Proverbs 21:13

This image was made underneath the arches of the 16thC Stonebow in the centre of ancient Lincoln, in the East Midlands of England. Before Covid it became the natural  haunt of an ever-changing group of Jehovahs witnesses; capturing – or hoping to at least – the attention of the thousands who pass by on their way from downhill Lincoln, the commercial part of the city, to uphill Lincoln, where the Cathedral and Lincoln Castle stand, the tourist part of the city. Thousands of tourists and local shoppers pass through here everyday. Once upon a long time ago, amazingly, motor buses did the same, long since stopped. This day, a homeless man and his dog sat under the historic shelter too. In the time I stood there, several minutes, the pious Jehovah’s Witnesses, with their scrubbed shiny faces and their clarion – and yet ironic – message of “Find Family Happiness” paid him no attention; cast him ne’er a glance; certainly they didn’t offer him or his dog any comfort. There seemed something utterly at odds …

Looking backwards

As the Covid-19 lockdown bites, the ability to get out of the house has been curtailed. Consequently, images from an unfettered past are seen from a new perspective. A couple of years ago I worked on a project photographing along the length of the Greenwich Meridian as it passes through Lincolnshire. I started just north of the Humber estuary. Though not strictly in Lincolnshire, the Meridian first hits land in this coastal part of Yorkshire before entering into Lincolnshire. Using a series of 42 images I describe the passage of this notional line across 75 miles of its journey. I took many more than the 42 images I’ll eventually use. I was helped considerably by Phil Cosker who spent time with me editing down the images to the curated 42 I shall be showing. But where to show them? With the Corona virus raging across the country galleries are closed. So what to do? A while back I produced an on-line gallery of sort, now removed, which was an attempt at showing the work virtually. At …

The Haxey Hood. 2020.

This game, now nearly 700 years old, is held on the 6th of January* each year. Thousands gather in the early afternoon to see the “Fool Smoked” , hear his speech and to watch or partake in the game. The group then moves to a nearby field where the game is to be played. The games start with the Children’s Hood Games where, over a period of time, 12 soft canvas hoods are throw into the crowd. The enjoyment this gives the kids is written over their smiles and heard in their laughter. The adults cheer them on laughing and whooping. Yes it’s violent but there is no anger.  Each throw in of the canvas Hood is performed by the Lord of the game or other notables as well as the Boggins (Marshalls). These children’s games are supervised by one of the fitter and faster amongst the group of Boggins. The kids are a bit quick. This year I didn’t stop for the adult games so I’ve include a  shot from years past. Notable this …

Christmas, Lincoln 2019

  This weekend, it’s the Christmas Market in Lincoln. I rarely go into the city at this time but yesterday I did. It’s the usual mayhem – and this was just on a Saturday morning, I’m told it’s much more crowded when it’s dark- with thousands of people puffing and panting their way from the lower ground at the bottom of the city, up Steep Hill – and it is – to the Cathedral Quarter at the top of the city. I walked down the hill against the flow. The crowd was that dense it was difficult to pass. The castle and the asylum grounds were open and were filled with the usual Christmas market stuff, tat and tacky gifts, mulled wine with a side order of fast food. I’ll give you that the surroundings are very special with the 1000 year old cathedral as a backdrop. And yes, at night I’m sure it provides a very special experience but, it all seems like a senseless waste of money. I was talking to a Big …

Perishing shrines

Work by Lisa Ross. Lisa Ross is a New York based artist. Her work in this exhibition shows images of holy sites of its indigenous Muslim Uyghur population in the Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang, western China. The exhibition is beautiful. Any pictures of the show, even those on the gallery website, and my small attempt by way of illustration of the elegant basement of the Argentea Gallery above, fail to portray the glorious reality of the prints. They exude a quality of light which is mesmerising. As a photographer I stood in front of the images admiring the sheer technical expertise of the photographer and of the printer. If that is all you go to see this show for then so be it. You will not be disapointed. However, these are not chocolate box or even travel images. There is another aspect to the images. They document part of a way of life of the Muslim population of this part of China which is under threat, indeed these shrines no longer exist and access to …

Add perspective into your life.

In her own words. One woman’s life, and what a lesson it is for us all. “I am not sure of my exact year of birth but I think I should be around 66 or 67 years old.  I was born around here, near Dharamsala,  and lost my mother as a child, I was raised by my stepmother. Later I was married at the age of 15. I lost my husband at the age of 24, to some unknown sickness due to stomach pain.  I moved back to Dharamsala from my inlaws place after the death of my husband as I faced a lot of problems and was not wanted there. I sold off whatever little farmland I had and I bought a small piece of land and built a mud hut in Gamru village (quite close to Mona, the doll makers studio) as till I was 24 I could work on the farm but after my husbands death it became difficult to farm, tend to cattle and take care of the girls as I had …

Fairground attraction 1970’s

Back in the late 1970’s, I would wander around my home city of Birmingham, camera in hand. At the time it was all Black-and-White work, self-developed and printed in a makeshift darkroom. I had different cameras to choose from, nothing exotic. I used twin lens reflex and 35mm. These images were from my 35mm camera probably on *400asa film hence the grain. *(I must check as I have the original negatives somewhere) The images below were from a sojourn to an impromptu fairground, many popped up like this around the city. This one appeared in Hay Mills, adjacent to the A45 near to Small Heath.

Differing opinions.

For me, a satisfying image has shapes and layers. I was at the SteamPunk festival in Lincoln on Saturday. This image was from the lower half of the city (where there were fewer SteamPunk attendees). I was drawn by the incongruous hat of the SteamPunker – a white military helmet surmounted and enclosed by an Octopus. I use that as the front layer and slightly out of focus, with shoppers passing in the next layer.  The layer which first attracted me contains the Irish Dance Busker making eye contact with the delighted little girl.  Finally, in the last layer of interest is the shop attendant peering out of the window. I find this image satisfying even though it’s far from perfect containing as it does elements others may believe detract from the image. As you maybe aware, my images are just for me so you may not agree. That’s OK. That’s what makes this art form so interesting – alternative views of the same thing and differing opinions.

Skin Heads. Birmingham, ’70’s/’80’s

Recently, I was trying to decide on a picture to put in place at home. Knowing Sue, my wife likes this image I decided on this. It was taken at Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham in the late ’70s, maybe very early ’80s. It shows two of a group of Skin Heads standing on the Waltzers, a fairground ride at the ‘Tulip Festival’.  Both are wearing tight Levi jeans and ‘Doc Marten’ boots, one with a ‘Ben Sherman’ check shirt and with a ‘Crombie style’ overcoat over. And each, of course with the required shaved head haircut, Various pins and badges are worn on the lapels, one being a Nazi Swastika. On occasion, wrongly I’ve printed it without the badge. I print it here without any editing – as I believe it should be. The image portrayed by the skinheads is underlined by the “Love and Hate” tattoo across the knuckles of each hand further enhancing the anarchic, hard man ‘Fuck you’  image they choose to put out. It is a picture of its time reflecting, as it …