I noticed this house on my way down to the shops. It’s just around the corner from where my Grandparents used to live. They’re buried just up the road in St Johns Church. I took a special trip to get this image, I just had to capture it for my archive. What was Halloween when we were kids has been hijacked by commercialism slowly but surely and is now ‘Trick or Treat’. It still is known as Halloween but you don’t hear any kids saying to their parents ” can we just stop in and see if we can get apples out of a barrel of water with our hands behind our backs, please oh can we Pa while Mom rustles us up some toffee apples and hot buttered muffins?”. Trick or Treat was brought over from America by, I would believe, Charlie Brown and Peanuts. I blame them. The idea that if you don’t give us some sweets we’ll play a trick on you. In the case of a neighbour up the road it was their car tyres getting slashed. Little old ladies up and down the country spend the night in fear that they’re going to open the door to a bag of flour or broken egg. Despite us barricading our front door some kids still didn’t get it that we weren’t playing, knocked on the door and sent the dog bonkers. I heard on the parents saying “I don’t think they want it”. I wouldn’t mind so much but about four years ago I went out to document the estates activities with my camera and some parent took offence and phoned the police. Ten minutes later there’s three police cars turned up blue lights flashing questioning why I was out photographing children. “I’m not” I told them, “I’m a photographer and I’m documenting Halloween night per se, I do a lot of social documentary stuff, it’s what I do”. The policemen knew that I wasn’t breaking the law so told me ” well someone phoned us up to report someone photographing children, it was probably a curtain twitcher”. The irony of this of course that photography out in the street i.e. in the public domain is not illegal but ‘Extortion’ i.e. ‘demanding goods or money with menaces’ is illegal.
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.
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.