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.
Earlier this week one of my readers took the trouble to contact me and of course I thank that person for making the effort. I post that persons comments below. To be honest I’m not very good at receiving compliments, something in my psychology I guess. I always tend to read the negative in them so at first what was said felt a bit like what we term here in the UK as a ‘back handed compliment’. My images are at first impression ‘mundane’ ? ” but on further reading “embedded with a lot of social meaning”. I’ve been thinking this over for a few days now and in the dead of night while trying to sleep, I remembered that somewhere in my collection of notebooks I write about just this aspect of my street photography. The ‘mundane’ I realise is something I’ve been exploring for a while now within my images. Particularly of my home town. I often go into town and see people stood about doing, on the face of it, very little ! Standing around waiting to do something, go somewhere or for something to happen or waiting for someone else. I see this and I make images of this happening or not happening as the case maybe. You see, here’s the thing, life can be very mundane at times. While a lot of street photography is concerned with the ‘decisive moment’ while I go for that, I’m also concerned with the ‘mundane’ existence for a lot of people here in the UK and in so capturing this I hope that my images are embedded with social meaning. So I’ve also spent some time this week thinking about ‘mundane’ and why I feel it exists. I’m afraid I can’t give any answers here but I do feel that mundane is closely associated with boredom. I think a lot of people here in the UK are just plain bored. Why should that be ? After all a man who is bored is boring so the saying goes ? One thing photography has given me has this ability to be seldom bored. While considering photography I am constantly looking ( and feeling ) for images. Photography teaches you to look at everything with a new and fresh perspective. The steely blue grey of a storm cloud, the way the light hits a pavement. The way a person stands on a street corner and so on and so forth. With a camera in my hand I’m seldom bored and unoccupied. My dog has taught me to live in the moment as well and that’s something else I hope I bring to my image making.
The image above is a particular favourite. I love that he’s holding a ‘Bag for Life’ and the way he’s holding his arms. The watch on his wrist gives further weight to this aspect of ‘time’ as does the large banner on the bus that says ‘Every Ten Minutes’
So here’s the comment. Thank you that person.
“Hi Andy, just went through all your posts and they are great! I am doing my research on elderly with walking aids and it seems like you have a great interest in it as well. I think your street photography is mundane in its first impression but embedded with a lot of social meanings. Again, very inspiring. Great works!”