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Once we were friends.

I have early memories from when I was a child, of furniture, amongst other things, being dumped on waste ground. This was post-war Birmingham. In the inner city, there were “bomb sites” as they were called, where houses, shops and businesses had been destroyed by bombing. The city was slow to change so many of these remained into the 60’s.

People would dump, prams, bikes, old mangles and just about anything else on these sites. As they were getting rid of the utilitarian, kite marked, wartime furniture and replacing it with the ‘latest look’ tacky objects, furniture would make a temporary appearance too. If it wasn’t carried off by somebody who was worse off than the person who dumped it we used it as a trampoline, or ocean liner or wartime tank or medieval castle. Inevitably it would be set on fire – especially around Guy Fawkes night, November the 5th.

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Urban decay in Birmingham Wimpey or Stubbings flats off Summer lane with demolition going on in the foreground. Early 70’s

 

Child playing on waste ground. Inner city Birmingham, late 60’s

 

There were no council run waste tips when I was young. There are lots now, which is why I’m surprised people feel the need to dump their furniture in woods or hedgerows. Afterall they have to drive to get to those places so why not take their junk to the tip? That’s simply perverse.

A sadness remains in these once loved and cherished items. I know you cannot ascribe human emotions to an inanimate object; nevertheless, they wear real loneliness. Perhaps it’s the comparison to the surroundings. Or perhaps somewhat childishly, I just think of them as dumped pets.

Spain 2017
Spalford 2019
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Rural Lincolnshire 2017
Lincoln 2017
Lincoln 2017

What am I doing this year?

This year sees me working on a number of long term projects plus anything which attracts my attention.

I started the year with some additions to the “My fellow passengers” blog where people on local transport grab my attention and I make a picture. I shall have to see where this takes me this year.

Lincoln. January. 2019.

That was the year that was 2018

As the calendar year draws to a close there is a temptation to take stock of where you’ve come from, how the journey has been and where you have arrived at. So here goes…


This has been a year of change. I suppose you could say that about most years, but I do feel this year has been about re-evaluation and change. Simplification and stripping back have been recurrent themes running through most of what I have done over the past 4 years but none more so than this year. That extends to camera gear, clothes (though don’t take the ‘stripping back’ too literally here), car, the accoutrements of daily life even my watch; all becoming as simple as possible.

Simplification even changed our travel destinations. Sue and I haven’t travelled long-distance this year. No trips to the far-flung. Southern Spain and Greece have been our chosen countries this year. That, in itself, was a sizeable change. However, more significantly, photographically I have been working on other projects.

For those who are curious: I have become more interested in shape and form in general rather than being fixated on people – though inevitably they will appear in my work. And yes, paradoxically, I still enjoy making street portraits.

I have started to see elegance in the everyday elements of our surroundings. That’s where I’m pointing the cameras gazing eye. At the ordinary, the mundane, yes, the banal.

Some of the works shown here stem from this drive to simplify.  What I see has been affected by that change in approach, though, as you can see there are many other images in our environment which interest me. I am truly a flaneur. Just passing by and shooting what I see.

This sounds very ego driven, doesn’t it? Please accept my apologies if that seems so, that was not intended, but remember; I take pictures to satisfy me. I don’t sell them or publish them, other than on social media.
I don’t profess to be anything other than a person who takes pictures of that which interests me. I’m the complete amateur I suppose. There is no pressure. It is true freedom.

As for “Level 1”?
It’s a good metaphor for where I’m trying to get back to. To a place where I’m unencumbered by artifice. Level 1.

Peter
December 2018
Lincoln UK

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In closing…
At the end of each year, I make a mental list of my mistakes, embarrassing gaffes, faux pas and other ‘general’ cock-ups. and it’s a pretty long list I can tell you.

I know failure in some things is inevitable. I just hope to fail ‘better’ next time. That’s all I can hope for.

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Set yourself free from the megapixel race.

The megapixel race, with its pursuit of sharpness, seems unending. Is this really important or is it just a callous marketing ploy used to make the last iteration of whizzy cameras redundant?

Here’s an interesting fact…

According to Thorsten von Overgaard, the Danish writer and photographer;

“When we were using film ( I assume here he is talking about 35mm film) those images equalled around 18-20 Megapixels.”

 

And I ask – didn’t those images set our perception of “Sharp”?

– Where does that leave us with modern digital cameras being 24, 37 and 100 Mega Pixels?

– Thorsten argues those extra pixels are simply “overkill”  because as he puts it  “What are we going to do with that level of sharpness – or detail might be a better expression”?

Making a print will not evidence those extra pixels. Thorsten argues the only benefit of such pixel size is when you want to use just a portion of the image.

He closes his argument with the simple statement of…

“If it looks sharp, it is.”

I would echo that.

As we have reached, surpassed even, what we could see with film then is it not wise to stop chasing the rabbit set loose by the camera manufacturers to get you to chase after it into the local camera dealer with your credit card?

If you must buy gear would it not be better perhaps to spend on lenses attached to a functional, if older camera? Though personally, I would argue. One camera, One lens especially for street-work.

Better to spend your money on photobooks, go to exhibitions anything in fact, except buying new cameras loaded with more megapixels – which will go unseen – thinking that is going to help you take better pictures.

I’m ready for your incoming… Seconds away!

Lincoln Steam Punk Festival 2018

Each year the ancient city of Lincoln in the East Midlands of England hosts the “Steam Punk Festival”.

I’ve been visiting for some years now and the event has grown and grown. Thousands now attend, even from overseas. This year the numbers far exceeded anything I have seen before.

There are some astonishing outfits created by the devotees in which they parade around the top end of the city, near to the castle and the cathedral. Those who are dressed in the most exceptional, outrageous even, outfits can hardly move for photographers who buzz around them, most with medium to long lenses. My choice is one camera and one lens, a short lens at that, so I have to get close. For example, this girl was deservedly mobbed. Quite astounding style and technical ability.

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This man was dressed as a Pirate, complete with a wooden leg. I asked if he had the leg strapped up. He said “I have no legs at all. Even the other is fake”.

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I saw a bus being filled with Steam Punk visitors. Before it started off I stepped on, said hello to everybody, took their picture and said to them all ” It is the most outrageous group of people I have ever seen on a bus”. I left, wishing them all a good day.
Great good humour from them all.

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Steam Punk visitors at the cash machines.

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Steam Punk market Stalls and visitors.

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