All posts tagged: Pictures

Soot and Distemper

In a conversation I was having with fellow photographer John Meehan over on ‘WhatsApp’ he quoted the phrase “Soot and whitewash” to describe prints using an economy of tones in mono printing. The conversation started after I  published the image shown above of Saltley Gas Works in Birmingham taken back in the late 60’s – early 70’s. Very reduced tonal scale, very grainy and even scratched. I said it was redolent of the times. John’s phrase came from a book called “Young Meteors” by Martin Harrison in which he discusses photographers and their styles in the years 1957-1965. The tonal compression style of McCullin, Bulmer et al is dramatic. The images jump off the page. I wrote in my previous piece on WhatsApp how Saltley, where I was born and lived for a few years, has left a strong impression on me, reflected in this Gas Works shot. For me *“Soot and Whitewash” has 2 meanings: The first, clearly, is the graphical reduction of tones in a black and white print; The second meaning reflecting …

A Line Runs through it – online.

Back in early April I wrote here about the possibility of an on-line exhibition of the works comprising this show. I’m pleased to say the exhibition of the images produced is now live. It can be found here. “A line Runs through it.” The work describes, both geographically and in pictures, the transit of the 0deg Meridian line as it passes from just above first landfall in Holderness in the east Riding of Yorkshire, South across the Humber and continuing on through Lincolnshire until reaching the Lincolnshire / Cambridgeshire border some 76 miles due south. The image above shows some of the Ordnance Survey maps and photographic and GPS navigation tools to make images. I would like to thank Masshaus Exhibition Design of Birmingham for the renders of a virtual gallery for these images and, in particular to Kate Naylor-Barton, the Design Director at Masshaus – our daughter – for the design and production of the website. Images are available to purchase. Please contact me on peter@peterdbarton.com for details. PDBarton Lincoln, UK 2020

Just a little of Birmingham’s brutalist architecture.

Three Brutalist building in Birmingham. Two of which have gone. The first is the now-demolished Birmingham Central Reference Library designed by John Madin and constructed in 1974. It lasted 41 years before its recent destruction. The second is the signal box at New St Station (comprising 2 images), designed by Bicknell & Hamilton and W.R. Healey and completed in 1965. This is listed and so remains. The third is 103 Colmore Row, the Nat West Tower, as it was known. Designed by John Madin. It opened in 1975.  It was demolished in 2015-16 and is to be replaced by another, taller tower.

Faded Grandeur.

In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centred on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Wikipedia. I’m not sure this image shows that principle exactly, but somehow, the imperfection of dilapidation and the consequent transience has a beauty of its own, albeit the process has perhaps gone just too far. Nevertheless, this image of an old French Colonial townhouse in Pondicherry, Southeast India, for me anyway, has a faded grandeur and a presence all of its own. Peter Barton July 2019  

The Beautiful Error.

I visited an exhibition of striking work by photographer Katie Hallam in the delightful, bijou Gallery at St Martin’s, in Lincoln yesterday. Katie is a degree qualified photographer. In her current work, she takes the structure of her initial pictures and re-works them to produce surprising and questioning images, turning them into strident artworks, full of energy and colour. The concept explores glitches – errors if you will; hence the title of the show – momentary aberrations of the norm, be those glitches natural or induced, in order to create ‘another worldliness’ in exploring and dividing what is captured from what is seen. The technique explores the manipulation of those glitches using alteration to the code producing those jpg digital files. The work dispels any doubt, if the is any, that photography is art*. The work is exciting and is well worth seeing. Sadly it closes on the 13th July 2019 but you can see her work on her web site here. https://www.thebeautifulerror.com The image above is part of one of Katie’s images, who, of course, …

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 …

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.     There were no council run waste tips when I was young. There are lots now, which is why I’m surprised people feel …

New project pages

I’ve been rationalising these pages recently. I’ve included a section on the site called “Projects and Series” . You can see it top right in the heading navigation. This leads to a page providing links to the different projects and series I’ve been working on (and continue to do so). Some of the pictures in these sections date back to the late 1960’s – early 1970’s.  I hope you enjoy them all. PDBarton Lincoln 2018