Seeing Red

I’ve started a new project. Yes it’s named after a colour and falls in line with how I’ve been feeling lately. Quite angry and driven. It serves as a pointer to other things and is a good signpost when shooting. Keeps me focused. Who knows what it will turn up?

L3031525.jpg

L3031535

I’m hoping it will shed further light on the matter of the estate that I live on and the difficulties I’ve had in trying to capture its’ power. I wonder if I can come up with something coherent and strong this time? Even the local postman is involved.

L3031537.jpg

Submission

Once again it has come time to submit photographs to a Photofusion members’ exhibition that is due for display in June of this year. As usual the process conjurs up confusion. Why am I doing this? Should I be doing this? Why are all my photos so crap? What exactly am I trying to achieve?

The title of the exhibition, Made In Brixton is somewhat open ended. Although it is flatly stated that the submission should contain no more than 10 – 20 images and that they must have a connect, ie. they must work together in some way. Also they must amass themselves under the title of the exhibition and make some kind of sense in this way.

Since I have been photographing the estate I have lived on in Brixton of late I thought that this would provide a good opportunity to show. The truth is I have been taking pictures of the damn place for eons but never seem to come up with anything that interesting. One of the reasons is that the estate is so damn bleak. Who wants to look at images with no joy? Well some people. I don’t mind them for instance. Here’s one.

L02

When I first bought my Leica D lux I worked in 4:3 a lot coming up with images such as this.

And this. Not 4:3 I notice. Too many switches, options.

L01

Regardless of the camera, of the pictures even, there is the difficulty in presenting the project as a coherent set of images that pertain to a concept or actually manage to tell some kind of story. Articles I have read on such heavyweights as Alec Soth etc suggest that these people spend a long time researching their projects before they go anywhere near the shutter. Food for thought.

With regards to submission I deliberately tried to stay away from architectural images but eventually found it impossible to not be drawn back to the technical which in many ways is the essence of this estate, my block being built in the 1950’s a triumph of neo Georgiansim apparently. Who’d have thought. Well the dimensions are somewhat low and wide.

DSC00255

But again, coherence. That is the flaw in my plan. I want to see people, we all want to see people so we can draw empathy so we can understand a situation. Simply to stare blankly at a load of bricks and mortar is insufficient unless you’re a cat or something.

L3020339.jpg

Of course there were not enough good photos of the estate. There are never enough good photos so I had to draw on my arsenal of slightly dull architectural shots that I have amassed over the years despite, in my statement, saying that I would not do this. Idiot! The people at Photofusion are looking for the big guns. They will toss my photos aside! They have bigger fish to fry. Secretly I hope they will like some shots and ask for more. That’s what you do right? Like being on the reserve list. Sometimes that is the start of something big.

DSC01311L3031461

The problem as always is, too many images have been made. This confuses me because for the most part I am a less is more person. So what so many images? Well one reason is time. I’ve been here for quite a while. A straightforward solution to much of this is to photograph on one system and only publish collections from that system or camera but straight away the same problem arises. Not enough good photos. So less cameras? Should I sell all my cameras but one or two? It has crossed my mind. I do have lots of cameras and they all seem to be good in their own way? Go back to film? Wannabe hipster!

L3023328.jpg

I am drawing the gate closed. I must now sit and wait for what ultimately will be defeat. But I shall continue to photograph this ridiculous place if only for my own sanity. Besides who wants to take photos of landscapes in Kent? It might be relaxing but is it fulfilling? Maybe.

L3031380.jpg

The Resurrection Of A Motorcycle

It’s been some time since the BMW K100 has been on the road. I first bought this motorcycle whilst on a hiatus from motorcycling in general. I crashed a Ducati some three years ago, hit my head and bent my wrist. I had headaches for a year or two and I still get agro from my wrist which although I know will be fine, is a problem amongst day to day living. I quite simply can’t do certain things like pick up money from behind the sofa, hold a boom pole for long enough or turn over in bed sometimes when it’s bad. Last year however, in mid summer, having lasted a month or two thinking about having a bike again, I actually went out and bought one.

I travelled down to Chichester with Fay and we rocked up at a warehouse type place full of bikes. Once we’d arrived there was only one machine that seemed fit for the job. I rode it back a week later and had mixed feelings. This was strictly a middle aged machine that oozed gentlemanly charm and charisma. It didn’t like being revved too hard and it certainly didn’t want to be thrown into corners. It was quite happy to plod along, could turn up the heat if you really wanted it to and got you from A to B in relative comfort.

A year later she had sat all winter and her battery had run flat so last week I resolved to retrieve said battery, charge it and get her back on the road. I even called up an old friend of mine who likes German bikes and asked if he wanted to meet somewhere but he was having none it. He had no MOT and needed a new front tyre. It would have to be a trip on my own. I have ridden solo for a few years and have always enjoyed it but at the tender age of 42 I thought I could make it a more sociable platform.

Having fired her up last Wednesday I trundled off through the South London traffic in search of the A3.

Traffic is the enemy of the motorcycle. Not because it can’t handle it: it can, it simply rides up the side of it but because being freer on a motorcycle you become even more of a princess. ‘I want the whole road to myself to enjoy this thing which let’s face it is a more dangerous experience. I deserve more…’

L3031420

Seeing as I had my camera with me, yes that is a top box and you can store things in it, this is a practical bike and even has panniers bigger than life itself I was able to take the odd photo of Box Hill in early summer. There were people there flying kites and lying around snogging and even some rudeboys who’d come down for the day and who were giving it large. In many ways it gave a little contrast to the usual Mole Valley life….

L3031415L3031428Since the outing I have found renewed interest in the adventure of motorcycling and am considering a trip to Paris at the end of the month to attend a masterclass given by Steve Coleman and his crew. Foggy insanity also states that I may continue the trip down to the South of France once I have finished in the capital. It’s only 750 miles to my Mum’s place from there. Only 750 miles.

Return To Whitstable

It’s been some time since my girlfriend and I have been at the house on the coast and whilst having it renovated we have largely opted to steer clear for a while at least until the bulk of the present work is done. The financial pressure alone is enough to bear. We had to go back this weekend to pay our builder and make some small decisions about arcitrave and skirting board and other minor details but I managed to take a few photos whilst there.

L3031494

The neighbours’ cat. Not annoying obviously.

L3031496

L3031497

A cold and blustery day courtesy of the North Sea

L3031500

Local youth @ The New Inn

L3031498

Kids and a football outside the lifeboat station