Why anyone feels it necessary to spray the word ‘wank’ on a street sign is difficult to fathom out. I can say with confidence that it’s something I would not have done or even thought of doing in my misspent youth. I did some crazy things I can tell you but this thankfully was not one of them. I like to think that my sprayings would have been somewhat a little more thought provoking and politically astute. Something like ‘Support the Miners’, ‘Support CND’ or ‘Free Nelson Mandela – ( with every ten gallons)’.
It’s not been a particularly good week. On Monday night we’d just finished our evening meal and the phone rang. It was my Dad. Could I come up ? Mum had just fallen in the lounge and as it transpired had broken her hip. The Paramedic came and then the ambulance came and at 4.30am I emerged from the hospital having satisfied myself Mum was safely on a ward, comfortable and relatively pain free all thanks to our wonderful National Health Service. Three days later she’s got a new hip and her recovery started.
Our local hospital is up a steep hill. I’m on my way up there last night and half way up the hill ( thankfully up) a young rather large woman I’d say in her twenties is laid flat on her back in the road. I got out the car and joined another two men to see what was up. The two men didn’t seem to want to get involved so I knelt down to the lass. Could she hear me ? Yes. Could she see me ? Yes Had she been hit ? No. Was she unwell ? No. ” I want to die ” she said, by which time I’d been joined by a couple of women who called for the emergency services. The ambulance arrived and the police arrived and as sympathetically as they could gave her two choices. She either went in the ambulance or went in the police van. Wisely she chose the ambulance.
I had my camera with me and I could have photographed the scene but on this occasion it was not appropriate. The police wouldn’t have appreciated it, the ambulance drivers wouldn’t and neither I suspect would the young lass. Priority was to get the lass off the road and safe. My intention however was on the way home to capture this street sign with its anonymous addition which Is why I took my camera out in the first place.
I had a notion to go to Chapel en le Frith. It sounds exotic, almost French sounding, like Ashby de la Zouch is also French sounding. Chapel as it seems to be known in Chapel en le Frith itself is on t’other side of the Peak District on the way to Stockport and beyond Stockport that Manchester so it’s a fairly straight drive from Chesterfield over Tideswell Moor through Peak Forest and Sparrowpit to Chapel itself. In the dark recesses of my mind I’m sure you used to drive through Chapel en le Frith on the old road to Manchester before the by-pass was built and I’m sure one time we stopped off there for a toilet break one evening coming back from a gig and a young kid was taunting some girls at a bus stop waving a dead cat about that he’d found by the side of the road. It’s funny what you remember ?
I got as far as Peak Forest yesterday before again I needed a piss ( nothing changes) and parked up in a layby, left the dog in the car while I nipped around some bushes. Do you have this fear that one day you’re going to park up in a layby for a piss, step into the bushes to find a dead body or something equally disturbing dumped by some passing motorist ? Or is it just me? Anyway no body this time but a pair of novelty handcuffs, an empty butt plug box and what looked like some bondage strappings amongst other strewn items and detritus. Road side pull ins tend to be a kind of no mans land I find. There’s a photographic project there in itself and maybe i’m the man to do it.
Chapel en le Frith is the home of Ferodo ( nothing to do with Lord of the Rings ) manufacturers of brake linings to the motor industry world and as I climbed out the car I could smell burning rubber, possibly one of the worst smells in the world ranking alongside that of rotting flesh. I had just parked next to a car mechanics garage so I’ll give Ferodo Baggins the benefit of the doubt.
Note to self, never take a dog on an exploratory photo trip to somewhere new, he’ll want to sniff every corner and every lamppost and every litter bin there is in this new place and operating a new camera in one hand while handling a dog lead with dog attached in the other is not conducive to successful photography. Bless his little dog heart ! I walked up and down a bit stopping at every bloody lamppost for the dog to sniff. I was hoping to find the Chapel Chapel of Rest but that didn’t happen. Instead I got myself into a café for default mug of tea and a fruit scone for three quid. Chapel was pretty much as I would have expected it, busy with traffic and fairly nondescript. The dog didn’t seem to enjoy it much either.
So below are a few of the images I came back with from Chapel en le Frith which according to Google boasts itself as the Capital of the Peak District ( and I thought that was Tideswell). I’m not going to pretend these are great images, they’re not. I was tempted with the Colonic Treatment but at £59 I think I’ll settle for a bowl of Fruit and Fibre.
My dog’s Twitter @HarrybtGreaves is romping away with 140 followers while mine @AndyJGreaves1 limps sadly along with only 30 followers. My dog is undoubtedly better looking than me and evidently more interesting. You too can follow the musings of my dog, of course you can and sometimes I think it might be nice for my dog to start his own blog. Something like the ‘Harry Dog Blog’, life with a Border Terrier in which he could elaborate at length on some of his Facebook ( about 650 friends) and Twitter musings.
Actually I’m finding that with Twitter I’m gradually getting a bit more exposure for my images. Now I’m beginning to work out how the hashtags work and remember to enter them, I’m getting my images viewed by more people from around the world. Other photographers and artists whom I probably would have never heard of and whom I hope appreciate what I try and do with my images and of course vice versa. That can’t be a bad thing can it. Twitter, Facebook, this blog and my own £40 per year website has always represented for me a cheap and cost effective way of getting my work out there into the public domain. Ever since I did my Photography MA I’ve never been happy with this whole submitting your work to Gallery Owners, Curators and Portfolio Review merry-go-round nonsense. In my opinion it’s not just another revenue stream for those organisations but not just that, and this really pisses me off, it’s a way of these people putting themselves at the top of the tree pecking order. These people present themselves as the gatekeepers of the photography and art world, continually saying what’s in and what’s out, whose hot and whose not.
My argument is quite simple, there’s enough photographers and artists out there who utilise social media and the internet to show and talk about their work that if these organisations were genuine about their stated motives they’d trawl the World Wide Web for practitioners to promote and show and do away with this whole “submit your work to us for £250 per half hour slot with an industry professional’ bollocks. Moreover I’ve known some of these photographers, so called industry professionals who’ve given Portfolio Reviews and frankly while I respect them as photographers and human beings they don’t know any more or less than I do and reviewing the work of others is just a revenue stream for them. Putting in their pockets some much needed cash. Most photographers in this sector don’t earn much you know and it’s time photographers and artists were at the top of the tree instead of somewhere in the middle being looked down upon by Curators and Gallery Owners.
Right that’s it I’m off to chop some trees down.
Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized
We were sad of getting old
It made us restless
Oh, I’m so mad I’m getting old
It makes me reckless
It was just like a movie
It was just like a song
When we were young
Songwriters: ADELE LAURIE BLUE ADKINS, TOBIAS MACDONALD JESSO
Well ! I’ve finally gone and done it after months of cogitation. I’ve gone and traded my Nikon D300 for a Fuji X -Pro 2 with XF 35mm F2 R WR lens and free half case. How excited am I on a scale of being excited 1 to 10, 10 being very excited and 1 not at all ?
Actually I don’t find buying something new and expensive that pleasurable. Firstly during the months of thinking about it I have to justify the cost and the desire to firstly myself and secondly the wife. Eventually I get to the point ( and the wife gets sick of hearing me ) that I just think sod it and get the thing. Once I’ve made the decision I then fret for a further period on whether It’s the right choice of camera for me and then once I’ve got it I fret again on whether I’ve made the right choice before concluding that I’ve done it now so should just ‘jolly well get on with it’. This is exacerbated by the anxiety that, and this is a deep within my psyche thing probably from childhood, that if anything can go wrong with my purchase it will and I’ll have to hotfoot it back to the shop to get a refund or a replacement because of all the thousands of cameras sold I just happen to have been given the factory duff one where the operative went for their lunch and missed loading some vital bit of software onto my camera. Only last night I convinced myself that the menu I could not retrieve on my Fuji X-Pro 2 was a fault only to discover once I’d had my tea and settled down that I’d set the lock on the camera ( as my dear wife predicted).
It helps of course if you can negotiate the manual which despite me teaching photography I still don’t find it easy. There’s terms in there that I’ve either forgotten or didn’t understand in the first place not to mention all the different settings you can personalise. Fortunately the manual, unlike the D300, is not of Bible thickness and it comes both as hard copy and CD copy so at least I can read it in bed before drifting off into dreams of winning the Deutsche Borse photography prize for my contribution to photography in 2025 only to be disturbed into nightmare by the inevitable Firmware Upgrade that buying a digital camera these days entails. Now If I can just find the Global Warming and World Peace button I’ll be bloody laughing. i’m comforted by the advice my good friend and left wing political activist currently travelling around Europe photographer Martin Shakeshaft once gave me and that was to treat it just like I did with my Olympus OM-1n when cameras were in retrospect so bleedin simple.
Right that’s it I’m off to chop a few trees down !