15 April 2015

Tangle





I've never really worked out why but my brain gets in a tangle and my tongue tied when I have some time off work. It only lasts for a week or so and then I return to normal. I've come to accept it but it is frustrating and I hear myself saying "thingybob" and "what's his name" a lot. Just had one of those weeks. The pictures are from a couple of lovely days with close friends in the static caravan in Grange-over-Sands, I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something.

13 April 2015

Stuffed

I managed to catch the excellent Format Festival in Derby last week, just before it closed. It has quietly become a major player over the years, representing the best British and international photography, displayed in a range of intriguing venues dotted around the city. I like picking up the brochure and using the map to navigate around town, a place that I only ever visit for the festival. This makeshift tour provides an insight into the place itself as I travel north, south, east and west, getting a bit lost, taking pictures as I go. Like all cities in Britain it has many sides, but I must say that this time it did seem to be wearing some of it's social problems more prominently than last time. Just like in my home town of Manchester there appears to be a growing population of homeless people and some quite visible class 'A' drug imbibing going on right in the centre. This was being nervously observed by perturbed looking office workers eating their sandwiches in the sunshine. These scenes contrasted quite acutely with all the political rhetoric spilling out of the television, radio and internet recently in the build up to the general election. In fact the country of prosperity that the Prime Minister had been describing smugly earlier in the day whilst I ate my breakfast seemed a very long way away, well however many miles it is to London anyway. 












26 March 2015

Birds of a Feather




I visited an old friend in Birmingham last weekend, by old I mean long standing, as she's younger than me and I don't consider myself old yet. We went to university together and shared a house with three other people who are all still close friends too. I suppose you do quite a bit of growing up together at that point in your life and there is a certain intensity sharing a home, and being part of each other's daily life. Those days were fast and long, slightly chaotic and exciting so you don't know if the people around you will always be in your life, in fact I don't think I considered it until it was time to leave. 

We watched the recent Madonna interview on catchup one of the evenings and she talked about how we are brought up to believe that family means blood, but actually we create new families for ourselves, people who won't judge, who you can trust, people who are loyal - that's family.  

15 March 2015

Back to Backs





Every so often I return to photographing people's backs. I like that we have to work a bit harder as viewers; fill in the blanks, imagine a face, an expression. You can't turn a photograph around, well not yet anyway. 

12 March 2015

Selfie Sticks & Other Devices

I'm just back from our college residential to Barcelona, which always leaves me inspired and thinking in new ways. This blog entry picks up where I left off exactly two years ago, observing the tourist feeding frenzy in Sagrada Familia. 

The original entry is here: 


My feelings are the same as then and without repeating myself too much the experience left me thinking about how we engage with 'culture' in the 21st century. Maybe we are losing the ability to actually look, see, think and respond to the physical world around us as we become obsessed with using our devices to record and share what's directly around us. We end up experiencing everything through a small screen and measuring its value in it's 'like'-ability. It actually makes an incredible spectacle in itself as people lose themselves in framing the world. In the intervening two years the selfie stick has added a whole new dimension to this performance as people throw shapes and pull faces for their loved ones possible hundreds or thousands of miles away. 












22 February 2015

Mesmerised

I've a good friend who lives by the sea, you can sit in her first floor living room and look out over Morecambe Bay towards the horizon. Tilt your head left and squint, there's Blackpool Tower, tilt right and the mountains of the Lake District command the landscape. The light is constantly flickering and changing, colours appear and then they're gone, rain lashes in, moves on, the sun breaks through. Like sitting watching an open fire, it stirs something primal. I'd travelled to Morecambe with another friend and we both sat mesmerised trying to keep up with show, listening to the sound of waves through the open door.

I've photographed Morecambe itself many times. I'd love to see it rise again and be the bustling, stylish place it once was. If Blackpool was a person it would be Bet Lynch, whereas Morecambe once had higher aspirations and would've played a good Annie Walker. These days there are sparks of optimism and some interesting events and refurbishments, but there is a long way to go and lots of neglected, faded grandeur. It always makes a fascinating day out, especially if you pack a camera, and if more of us visited and contributed to it's economy it's in with more of a chance.









30 January 2015

Change



New postcode
New light
New sounds
New routes
New sights
New thoughts
New people
New life



04 January 2015

A New Normal





My life has been turned upside down of late and I've not been able to make photographs. Today I walked and talked, observed the world and pointed my camera. I started to think about my new normal, a fresh start for a new year.

20 November 2014

For One Day Only

Once a year, and after a few primer lessons, we throw our first year photography students in at the deep end asking them to be street photographers for a day. Today was that day, with the three staff leading from the front, we spread out over Manchester, meeting regularly to check technique and review shots. The photography gods were with us and the winter sun was strong, casting long seductive shadows across Mancunian faces and surfaces.

So here are some of my own favourites from the day: 










 You can see a previous years pictures here too:



12 October 2014