All posts tagged: Comment

Our rosy coloured past. Hmmm.

This picture is of a house in front of one of the gas holders at Saltley Gasworks in Nechells, Birmingham. The image was taken in the late 60’s. I was born just a couple hundred metres from here, within sight, or more accurately within ‘Smell’ of the gasworks. My dad worked there after he came back from fighting with the Desert Rats, Montgomery’s 8th army, in second world war. What’s more, those gas holders were nearly the death of him. He fell off one and survived, but that’s another story. This image is a picture of my youth. Although my parents moved to the newly built council estates out in the suburbs, many of my relatives lived in or around this area. I would return often as a child. What this image made me think about was just how much of a product I am of the social and political thrust occurring after the 2nd world war. I am the product of the time and of the policies of Labour, the  political party in power …

I can’t move the sun, and it’s always in the wrong place

I’m going to start this piece by declaring that, at no time in my life have I ever been a trainspotter or engine enthusiast. No, it’s not that particular obsession which feeds my appreciation of the technical ability and art of O. Winston Link – who? Ogle Winston Link  (1914 – 2001) was an American photographer, originally from Brooklyn, New York City. Introduced to photography as a boy by his father, Link went on to achieve a degree in Civil Engineering. Whilst at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn he served as ‘photo editor’ for the institutes’ newspaper. He later moved into photography proper. Link had a longstanding love of railroads (probably resulting from his training as a Civil Engineer), particularly steam, which became sharply focused by the impending conversion of the railroads to Diesel power in the mid-’50s. Link became heavily involved with the Norfolk and Western Railway (N&W) one of the last steam railroads in America. Link’s work was self-financed, though he was encouraged by N&W officials from the President of the railroad downward. …

A nail in our cultural coffin perhaps?

Designed by the architect Sir Reginald Blomfield R.A. The Usher Gallery, on Lindum Hill, was officially opened on the 25th May 1927 with a solid gold key by the Prince of Wales.  The gallery was built as a result of a bequest by Lincoln jeweller James Ward Usher.  Usher never married and devoted his life to collecting, travelling far in search of particular items to enhance his collection. He never sought public honours but was offered the position of Sheriff of Lincoln in 1916.  In 1921 he died at the age of 76, and as was his wish he bequeathed to the City his collection of watches, miniatures, porcelain and silver. He also left a considerable amount of money for a gallery to be built in order to house his collection. Now, in 2019, the County Council wishes to turn the gallery into a wedding venue – despite the fact they do not own the building. This seems to be against the wishes of the original bequest by Usher. It’s certainly against the wishes of …

Do we stay or do we go?

If, like me, you are sick to the back teeth of hearing the word Brexit I’m afraid this piece is not going to help much. But, but, but – yes. it’s worth the repetition – if we relent in our efforts to push back, then we can blame nobody but ourselves, for not trying to reverse what has transpired to be an uninformed, corrupted and consequently, bad decision. One million of us joined together in London yesterday to protest against what we see as madness. I owe it to my grandchildren to try to protect their future. It would be hard to look them in the eye and say I did nothing. That’s enough of the ‘why’ of it. Here are some pictures of how the day panned out from the people walking through London before the march until my crocky old bones could literally stand no longer a few hours later. I didn’t get to the end. Sorry. As to whether we should stay or go… you have your own opinion – and long may that …

Protesting in the torrential rain over low pension increases. Jerez de la Frontera

Going backward​.

I have been taking pictures since I was around 10 years old when I had a Brownie 127 for a birthday. That’s over 60 years ago. Even back then, with this basic camera, I had to have the clip on close up lens adapter. None of those pictures still exist, my mother had a penchant for slinging stuff out you see. All of my clockwork Hornby trains, track, signal boxes etc went the same way. But that’s another story. After a pretty long hiatus, I took up photography again in my early 20’s when I bought a German single lens reflex camera. And so it went on until the present day. One camera after another, foolishly thinking the camera was what produced the picture. Yes, it made the image but the picture is made in the head. Many years, many cameras and many thousands of £’s later I had full Nikon digital professional cameras – yes 2, a range of lenses, flashguns etc. You name it I had it. And then I woke up. I …

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 …

Vernak camera made in Birmingham.

Don’t Talk Cameras. Use them.

I saw a small piece recently that had a clip by Hunter S. Thompson on focusing too much on the “technicals of photography”. You can read it for yourself here… But this is the element which chimed with me… “When photography gets so technical as to intimidate people, the element of simple enjoyment is bound to suffer. Any man who can see what he wants to get on film will usually find some way to get it; and a man who thinks his equipment is going to see for him is not going to get much of anything” I’m probably going to upset colleagues when I say… “Don’t talk cameras. Use them”. I admit to once being beguiled by the  equipment. Still, today, I collect cameras – of all types. I have dozens but I’m not really interested in them photographically. I just like old cameras. I shall be putting a few up on this blog from time to time just to share my obsession and to show, by comparison, I suppose, where we have come from and how we …