I’ve fallen in love with my wife.

Technology 

My email account on my Windows Phone started working again after about a week. I’ve no idea why it started working again any more than I know why it stopped working in the first place. I deleted the account in Settings several times and double checked the what do you call its more than once. It occurred to me that the  Chinese blackmail man might have got into it and buggered about with it but that seemed a bit far fetched. Numerous searches on the Internet  of Windows Mobile phone forums failed to find a solution either. I find those things as much use as chocolate teapots. A radical and drastic  resolution was to factory reset the phone so I prepared of that eventuality by manually writing down all the phone numbers I would certainly lose. I also spent some considerable time deleting archive crap from my email account on my laptop. I’d like to think it was these two actions that brought about it’s rise phoenix like from the ashes. I like my Windows phone, my Lumia 535 but I’m not convinced Microsoft devote as mush time to them these days as they should.  Just because they’ve lost the competition to Android phones, Samsung etc doesn’t mean they’ve got to give up the ghost on the rest of us who don’t want to shell out thousands of pounds for a new phone every ten minutes.

Photography 

British photographer Paul Reas has just published a 30 year retrospective of his work which you can read about here Fables of Faubus 

Here’s a classic image by Tony Ray-Jones: Brighton Beach 1966

Poetry 

The Luckiest Guy Alive John Cooper-Clarke’s second book of Poetry arrived today and it’s already a classic. JCC is now sufficiently well known for him to be applauded by pop Artist Peter Blake to have designed the cover and very nice it is too. There’s some crackin poems in there, some I’ve heard and some I haven’t. I’m gonna try and memorize the brilliant ‘I’ve Fallen in Love with my Wife’ in time for Valentine’s Day next February.

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Revelations

If there was one book in my photography book collection that I would grab first in the event of a fire this would be it !

Diane Arbus – Revelations 

The Question of Belief by Sandra S Philips 

The following extracts are quoted in Diane Arbus – Revelations the Essay by Sandra S Philips. Some are quotes from Arbus’ own writings and some are quotes from the Author.

Arbus:  “For me the subject of the picture is always more important than the picture. And more complicated.” 

Arbus: There’s a kind of magic power thing about the camera. You’re carrying some slight magic which does something to (the subject). 

Sandra S Philips: On Winogrand and Friedlander  – “The street work of Winogrand and Friedlander is less obviously composed than her photography. Their photographs often play upon happenstance and the irony of finding what strange and marvellous conjunctions occur within the frame” 

Arbus: “Everybody has this thing where they need to look one way but they come out looking another way and that’s what people observe. You see someone on the street and essentially what you notice about them is the flaw. Our whole guise is like giving a sign to the world to think of us in a certain way, but there’s a point between what you want people to know about you and what you can’t help people knowing about you. And that has to do with what I’ve always called the gap between intention and effect” 

Arbus: ” A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know” 

 

Another Place

 

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I’ve been suffering from a bit of anxiety and depression just lately. It happens from time to time ! It’s been a bit of a shit year what with one thing and another. I looked up ‘anxiety’ on the internet and some of the symptoms listed  I could identify with. It’s not an easy thing to define or deal with. No matter how much I kept telling myself that there were hundreds of thousands of people much far worse than I was and how lucky I was I could not lift myself out of this dark pit that I felt I was in. I had this dark negative mood hanging around me and as much as I tried to smile and feel happier I just couldn’t and there was absolutely no reason other than things that have been happening this year that I could do about it. I felt oh so tired as well. It wasn’t that I couldn’t be bothered, it was just tiring.

A few days away at a lovely hotel on the West coast has lifted my spirits somewhat. Amongst other things we visited Anthony Gormley’s Another Place on Crosby Beach. I was under strict instructions to leave the Fuji X-Pro at home so just took along my Lumix GF2 ( I told you I was lucky ). I counted about ten photographers on Crosby Beach, all taking photos of Another Place. So ! the question for me was this; how do I go beyond the mere recording of it ? How do I capture the essence of it, what the artist themselves was trying to communicate while at the same time initiating a more personal response ? Something that resonates with the place and the work of art while simultaneously adding my own creative stamp. As photographers this is often what we are dealing with is it not ? We deal with what is in front of us and the challenge is to create something else or personal. 

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Dorothea Lange

 

The following quote by Francis Bacon was tacked onto Dorothea LAnge’s darkroom door in 1923, where it remained until her death in 1965 

The Contemplation of things as they are        

Without error or confusion 

Without substitution or imposture 

Is in itself a nobler thing 

Than a whole harvest of invention 

The following notes have been extracted from this book; 

Notes From :  Dorothea Lange – With a critical essay by George P Elliott – Museum of Modern Art. Second Printing 1968 

In every are glancing is an enemy of vision, but in none so much as in photography. Mass journalism has trained us to glance, and the big money photographers have made themsleves masters of the craft of the quick impression: visual elements so whimsically juxtapsoed that the effect is to jolt or tickle the viewer. 

It is the photographer’s faith that anything really seen is worth seeing. 

There are ways to get a viewer to second look at photographs which do not make a socko first impression, and the photographer can do something about some of these ways. However essential pre-condition is beyond his control: the viewer must be willing to pause, to look again, to meditate. 

On “Migrant Mother” 

This picture, like a few others of hers, like a few others of a few other photographers, leads a life of its own. That is, it is widely accepted as a work of art with its own message rather than its makers, far more people know the picture than know who made it. There is a sense in which the photographer’s apotheosis is to become as anonymous as his camera.  

What had come to matter to her most was that a photograph, perfect or not should say, “Here is what these people look like now”. 

“Vision” has religious or mystical overtones. Yet no art is less mystical, by its nature, than photography , especially referential photography 

The appearance of actual things, which comprise photography’s subject matter, are by definition superficial and often illusory or deceptive as well. 

A paradox: glancing is a foe of art, yet a person walking around in the world with a camera in his hand must see in glances. A camera shutter does not glance so much as super glance. Glancing for so short a time, it takes out of time what it sees. 

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Migrant Mother – Dorothea Lange 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Invisible Man

 

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I asked this chap, “what’s all that about then?”. Dr Griffin is the Invisible Man in H G Wells’ classic tale of a man who manages to make himself, well invisible ! Not having read this classic tale I obviously didn’t know. I asked this chap buying an ice cream if I could make an image to which he replied, “No I’m invisible”. Make your mind up I thought to myself. Nevertheless I admired his intelligent humour although I suspect the joke would be lost on most people as it was on me.

Further along the High St I got chatting to this chap. I say chatting but actually he was talking to me.  He’s from Rumania and as friendly as he was I struggled to understand what he was telling me although I picked up the words ‘discrimination’, ‘IPCC’, ‘Chief of Police’ and one or two others of a similar vein. I smiled and told him it had been nice talking to him. It had. 

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Deleting on demand

No sooner than I had taken this image than a woman came running up to me waving her id badge at me and demanding that I delete the image. I refused and explained to her that as we were in a public place she had no right to demand such an action. She threatened to phone the police on her mobile which she similarly waved about in the air. Not even the police can demand I delete images from my camera. That would be destroying potential evidence you see ? The young lady in the image was under her care as was a group of people with learning difficulties stood a few yards away. I didn’t know when I took the image that this young lady had learning difficulties or was with the nearby group.  I showed the carer the image to prove that the young lady’s identity was not compromised and as such there was not, and should not be a problem. Had I deleted the image and she had subsequently gone back to her office and contacted the police where would that have left me ? Explaining what I did with an image I no longer had ? What would have she done if I’d said It was a film camera and so I couldn’t just delete it ?

I can’t help it but I get irritated when people start trying to tell me what I can and can’t do when it comes to photography especially out on the street.

Human traces

You can walk past a certain spot a hundred times or more and then one day something catches your eye and you see an image to capture right in front of you. Sometimes in a morning I don’t know what mood I’m in until I open my mouth to speak. Sometimes I don’t know what mood I’m in until I lift my camera to my eye to make an image. The Mrs dropped me and the dog off at our local woods this morning and we walked back home. The light was clean after the early summer rain and the air was cool and breezy. I’m always looking for signs of human activity; marks, tracks and traces. It’s good to get away from the street and just walk alone in the woods. Time to think and contemplate.