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.
I’m currently reviewing a stack of images taken on our recent holiday trip to the Northumberland coast. For a while now I’ve been interested in how the English engage with the coast, or seaside as we prefer to call it. Oh we do like to be beside the seaside as the popular traditional music hall song goes………tiddly om pom pom ! This is how these gentlemen were spending their leisure time on this particular Saturday afternoon. I asked them if they minded me taking some photos and they didn’t, so that was alright. Fishing is a bit like photography isn’t it ? Need I explain ?
We’re back off our holidays. We’ve had a great time. Celebrating ‘just being’ because believe you me I don’t take holidays for granted and in these troubled times I don’t take being alive for granted either. Sometimes we need to just stop and live in the moment. If that’s one thing my dog teaches me, it’s to live in the moment. I like nothing more than to walk the beach, camera in hand, watching, listening, looking. Listening to the waves. Feeling the wind on my face. Looking at the play of light, the colours of the clouds, the brilliant white of the waves. Just being!
Stay tuned for some holiday inspired photo work.
Well a very hopeful and brave New Year to all my followers and random readers and a special warm welcome to my 300th follower of this blog. Although I don’t like the term ‘follower’ very much. Jesus had followers and I ain’t no Jesus.
I’ve not been on here for a while. Before Christmas my Laptop Hard Disk crashed. Fortunately, friend, neighbour and computer geek helped me get up and running in a relatively painless manner and saved me some cash in the process. A new hard disk in the same laptop against a brand new laptop at a fraction of the cost. What was disconcerting about the event was that it brought home to me just how dependent on having a computer and being attached to the World Wide Web I’ve become. From having to pay bills on line to just being in touch with friends and a multitude of other things. It’s a dependency I can’t say I’m happy with oh no.
I’ve resisted the urge to do a Review of 2016. I haven’t got that much to say about it that probably hasn’t been said already. Like a lot of people I know, for me personally, it was a pretty bum year and I’m glad to see the back of it. My father in law passed away at the end of September after an 18 month illness. Much of 2016 was spent helping the family to look after him.That’s him in the above photo which I took back in 2009 for my project on Englishness. He died of what we categorize here in the UK as an “Industrial Disease”. Actually it was Mesothelioma, commonly known as Asbestosis. As a Pattern Maker for the local Iron Foundry he’d worked with asbestos back in the late 70’s early 80’s. Doing a job he loved to provide for his family but a job which eventually would kill him. I’m glad I made the effort to make this image of him and his wife in their back garden, one foot on the path and one foot on the English soil.
On the subject of English soil I didn’t vote for this country to leave Europe. I didn’t believe it was in the nation’s best interests, economically or socially. Certainly not for the majority of us anyway and I’ve not seen anything yet to change my mind. Now the deed has been done and we’re waiting for a soft, hard or semi erect Brexit I hope, very much hope that it will all turn out alright in the end and I’m wrong in my opinion. I suspect we’ll not know for about 30 years by which time I’ll either be gone or too old to give a shit. One of the men to blame will be Nigel Farage and he’ll be long gone too. When Trump won the election Farage went over to congratulate him and have his photo taken with him. Like Trump, Farage is one of those people who abuses anyone who doesn’t agree with him; a political bully.
Meanwhile over in the USA !
What is there to say about Donald Trump that hasn’t already been said ? There’s a part of me that thinks he’ll not actually achieve much, if anything at all. He’ll be the most ineffectual American President in history. He strikes me as a dodgy business man who’ll say anything to anyone in order to sell something. I’d be interested to hear and see him perform in front of an all black American audience in one of the Southern States and compare that to an all Hispanic audience. Might be alright as a business man running your own Companies but quite different as President of the good ole US of A surrounded by lots of intelligent bureaucrats who have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves to delay policies that don’t fit. Here in the UK we have the Civil Service for all that malarkey. You’ve got to laugh at the Democrats though haven’t you. I mean if they didn’t write dodgy emails in the first place then the Russians wouldn’t have found them to leak. Give someone enough rope and eventually they’ll hang themselves which is kinda what I hope will happen to Trump.
So in 2017 I’m very much hoping to curtail my dependency on computers and not worry about all those things like world politics that I can do absolutely nothing about. My New Year’s resolution ? Do More – Say Less.
A brave and hopeful New Year to you all.
I’m happy to report that my self published book Breugel Town has been reviewed in latest issue of Flip magazine the group of which I am a member and not a bad review it is too. I’ve provided a link for those of you wishing to investigate further.
fLIP is published three times per year and each issue has an overarching theme. Our primary aim is to showcase work from our membership of over 500 photographers, and to engage readers in a wider dialogue concerning diverse approaches to photography. The magazine is funded by member subscription fees and contains no advertising. fLIP offers a truly independent voice for photographic practice in London!