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.
Here’s another image ( above ) I keep coming back to. I just saw him in front of me, lifted the camera up to my eyes and made the image. Chesterfield High St is now pedestrian only but I can remember as a kid cars and buses travelling down this road. Further back beyond my memory were trams and further back still were horses and carts. Sometimes I’d love to travel back in time to see how things really were.
News just out is a new publication from Cafe Royal Books of Chris Killip work from 1982. Killip’s book In Flagrante is much sought after and I’d love a copy.
14cm x 20cm
Edition of 500
This is one of those shots I keep coming back to. It’s similar to one or two images I’ve posted on here recently. Those shots the distance between us. The what Barthes refers to as the ‘punctum’ is the dog of course, right in the centre of the image. I like dogs. I’ve got one of my own. I love him to bits and I photograph him a lot. Photograph the things you love. If you photograph the things you love, your love for that thing will shine out of your images. Likewise photograph the things you dislike or hate if that’s too strong a word to use.
I’m struggling to understand what’s good about the music of Ed Sheeran but then I am 55 so maybe that’s where I’m letting myself down somewhat. Let’s just say that being “in love with yer body” is no basis for a stable and lasting relationship. Currently on the Radio is Coldplay whose first album I used to enjoy even though as someone described, was it the man who discovered them ? it’s music for bed wetter’s. Their second album wasn’t bad either but even then there were ominous signs it you listen carefully that it was going down hill. Chris Martin was beginning to find a winning formula. That of writing instantly catchy tunes that include at some point the wah wah wooing while waving your arms in the air holding a light at some mass participation stadium concert, the bigger presumably the better. Music to wet your bed to from a long distance. U2’s current single is similarly cringe worthy dross, “You’re the best thing about me so why am I walking away?” Because you’ve started releasing shit songs Bono ! That along with the utterly dreadful SOS by the Corrs, a single the equivalence of wearing wet socks in bed never mind wetting it. If you like the above mentioned artists then I apologise unreservedly if your loyalty is offended. Music is such a personal issue anyway. Like photography really.
Catharsis – the process of releasing strong emotions through a particular activity or experience, such as writing or theatre, in a way that helps you understand those emotions.
I find photography a cathartic experience. There I’ve said it.
The image below I captured while drinking a lovely pint of Plum Porter brewed by the Titanic Brewery of Stoke on Trent. Granted there’s not much happening in this image but it gave me an idea for a photography project which would become an extension and if you like continuation of my English project work. A search for national identity. In Post Brexit ( Brexit ! a horrible word) Britain there’s little excuse for a lack of photo projects. The social landscape is likely to be changing quite dramatically.
On the subject of Britain my friend Simon Roberts’ latest project and book ‘Merrie Albion’ looks interesting. Check it out.
Merrie Albion: Landscape Studies of a Small Island by Simon Roberts, published by Dewi Lewis and priced £45 will be launched at Paris Photo, and Roberts will sign copies of the book at 4pm on 10 November. Signed copies of the book can be pre-ordered for £37.50 plus P+P from Roberts’ website. dewilewis.com
Prints from this project will be at the Flowers Gallery booth in the Grand Palais at Paris Photo, and Flowers will host a major exhibition of the work in its London gallery from 17 January 2018. flowersgallery.com
This blog post I’d also like to highlight the work of David Severn. I’ve provided a link in the photographers section. Of interest to me is his Whitby Goth weekend series being as we were in Whitby last week.
Do you think all these people in this image know each other ? That they are friends comfortable in each other’s company ? There’s something about the way they are stood, the distance and proximity they are to each other that tells me they are all friends. I could be wrong of course. I’m interested in how people stand near to each other and what that tells me about their relationship or not as the case may be. How people relate to each other in a particular environment and how I capture that in my images.