Category Archives: Photography

Fresh Air, New Year

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As a brief exercise in head clearing, on New Years Eve I took a drive to our second nearest beach. Hunstanton is on the North Norfolk coast, just past Kings Lynn. It faces west across The Wash, making it one of the few places on the East Coast where the sun can be seen setting over the sea. Ideal for watching the last sunset of 2016.

I only passed through the main town and headed a little further down to Old Hunstanton, this has several miles of soft sandy beach with the tide going out a fair distance.

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A little further around the coast is Wells-Next-The-Sea. This working fishing port is a mile from the sea, safe harbour provided by a wide sand bank. A great place to get fresh fish & chips and take a long coastal walk.

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Finally, back to Old Hunstanton to watch the sun set on 2016 at 3:53pm.

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The Commonality of Strangers – Mahtab Hussain

Mahtab Hussain

I don’t share posts here that relate to work very often. This does in that the artist concerned is someone I assisted with printing services over the last few years.

Recently, in my view, we saw our society step back from the open, inclusive country it had been developing towards over the last 30 years. It happened quickly, fuelled by a divisive referendum, with much public opinion informed by, to be completely frank, blatant, manipulative lies.

Over previous years I have been very pleased to work with the New Art Exchange in Nottingham, producing printed materials for their many diverse exhibitions. One particular show was produced by photographer Mahtab Hussain. This work has a great relevance to the current debate. Much of the below is from the press release and his website.

I received the following from Mahtab earlier and would like to share this first.

“Over the last 5 days I have been heart broken by the rise of hate, xenophobia and racist attacks that has taken hold of the British public. Britons voted to leave the European Union, steering the UK on a course of uncertainty, and critically, effecting the fate of those who have chosen to make the UK their home. It seems to be open season for migrant communities as hate crime has increased by 50 -55% in less than a week of the referendum result and I for one cannot sit around waiting for our ‘so called’ leaders to settle down the public.”

Mahtab Hussain

Much of the work for the exhibition was shot around Hyson Green in Nottingham, I lived in the area for the best part of ten years, it’s also where the New Art Exchange is based. The area demonstrates the best of what a multicultural society can achieve. The many cultures, religions and ethnicities live side by side. Many coming in from overseas gravitate to the area, contributing and striving for better futures, before moving out into wider areas and making way for new visitors.

“The Commonality of Strangers addresses the impact of multiculturalism in Britain today and humanises the migrant’s story, demystifying who these individuals really are, while confronting the viewer with the reality of their experience and why they came to live in the UK.

These stories tell of people escaping from poverty, persecution, violence and personal tragedy. What unfolds is a collection of images which challenges stereotypes and assumptions in a current political environment in which immigration is a major issue. Hussain hopes that in bringing these individuals to the fore and allowing their voices to be heard, this series will empower minority cultures by giving a deeper context to their existence in the UK. In turn, Hussain is asking the viewer to consider the commonality of mankind’s wants and needs whilst emphasising that the veneer of everyday life can easily veil the immense struggles and deeper contexts in which people live, and have lived.

The Commonality of Strangers serves to contextualise and humanise the migrant story, urging viewers to move beyond widely held stereotypes, assumptions and scare mongering tactics used unashamedly by politicians in the Brexit campaign.

Commissioned by New Art Exchange 2014/15.

Education, awareness, tolerance and truth are the best tools available to undermine the appalling and increasing incidents of racial abuse which this deeply faulted referendum has bought back to the surface of our society. As in the 1970’s & 1980’s creative endeavour can be a positive force to shame those that feel suddenly empowered by the darker elements in our political system.

Visit the New Art Exchange here http://www.nae.org.uk/

More about the artist here http://www.mahtabhussain.com/

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Avebury Henge & Silbury Hill

Avebury 02

Very occasionally I indulge my self with a trip out with my camera. As I’ve posted here previously about the various ancient monuments that I’ve visited around the UK it can be assumed it’s a standing stone of an interest.
Towards the end of 2014 when staying in Winchester we visited Stone Henge which without doubt the most well known neolithic stone circle in the UK. I’d hoped to drip in on Avebury on the return journey but time didn’t allow.

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So, ignoring the weather forecast I took a drive down to Avebury for a look around. I went there maybe 25 years ago, and as sleepy villages go, its hasn’t changed. The National Trust & English Heritage now look after the site and its noted as a World Heritage site.

As a child I remember watching the quite scary series ‘Children of the Stones‘. Whilst based in a the fictional village of Tilbury, this was filmed inane around Avebury. I rematched this recently and its still a potent little story.
Avebury is the only village that sits inside a stone circle, surrounded by a back and ditch. Construction of the circle is dated to around 3000BC although as in the case of Stone Henge there are suggestions the site was important prior to this as recently discovered evidence of Wood Henges indicate.

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The weather was pretty blood awful unfortunately (note rain spots on the lens) but I’m pleased I managed to spend a few bracing hours walking around the site. There is a mass of speculation about the meaning and intent of the architects of the site. Undoubtably giving the scale of the site and the effort required to create it, it was important to them.

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The following is a more atmospheric gallery of Hipstamatic pictures – still my go-to iPhone app.

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Avebury Stone Detail

A little one a mile to the south of Avebury is Silbury Hill. At 30 metres (98 ft) high,[1] it is the tallest prehistoric man-made mound in Europe and one of the largest in the world; similar in size to some of the smaller Egyptian pyramids of the Giza Necropolis although constructed somewhat later around 2400BC. Despite numerous excavations there’s no real indication of its function.

Silbury Hill

Silbury Hill 2016

I’m now off to read John Drews book ‘The Silbury Revelation‘ which i bought a while ago but neglected to put in the ‘to read’ pile.

And finally in the spirit of ‘if you liked this, you might also enjoy’ heres some pictures and sounds from Dol Tor stone circle.

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November Fog

 

Woodthorpe Grange 01

A quick diary style photo post. I awoke earlier than seemed reasonable this Sunday Morning. Last nights Halloween celebrations didn’t keep me awake and with the family lost to a lie in and spying an early morning fog I took a walk to our local park, Woodthorpe – with my camera & tripod. At 9.00am there where mainly dog walkers and a few council workers.

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These set of images are post processed in Lightroom with VSCO Kodak Gold filter and a touch of Snapseed.

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….and of course, some cobwebbery….

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Once my shoes were completely soaked through I took a trip into town. These are all Hipstamatic using Black Keys Ultrachrome & Murry lens. Pictures include Victoria Park, Sneinton Market, The Lace Market, the Market Square and finally some cake.

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Cornwall Land – August 2015

Bude Cornwall

In previous years when I’ve taken the little blokes on a brief cultural tour of the UK I’ve posted a daily blog on its own page. Admittedly this is for my own entertainment and with a nod to posterity, but its also a good way of sharing some pictures and sharing some links for local industry.

This year we when to Cornwall and in a one off point of agreement with our beloved leader, Mr David Cameron, it’s true that mobile coverage in the County sucks. It took me a day to discover this and I resolved to spare the children from my swearing and grumbling and wait until I got home.

So, her it is. Briefer than it might of been but illustrated appropriately I hope.

Bude

We stayed in an area called Widemouth Bay (thats wid-muth, not wide-mouth, I made that mistake once, not good). It’s on the North Cornwall coast near Bude, just across from the Devonshire boarder. The coastal area is cliff heavy with many stony bays. Its popular with surfers and very dramatic. Bude itself has a wide beach bay with a very shallow tidal area. There are surf schools and a sea pool and its very popular. Unlike many British sea side towns theres a complete absence of arcades and the normal riffle of holiday towns. There are boating lakes in the river lock and some large constructed rock pools with brave kids ‘tombstoning’. Evidence as follows;

Bude Sea Pool

Bude Cliff Sides

Bude - He Did It

Bude Tomb Stoning

Bude Beach Huts

Bude Bay - Bodyboarding

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Tintagel Castle

The weather stayed clement for the first two and a half days before English Summer Time took hold. On the Wednesday I persuaded the boys to indulge some English Heritage culture with a visit to Tintagel Castle. Tintagel is a small village (again on a cliff top) but with a dramatic bay and the historic site on the nearby cliff structure. The castle probably dates back to around 1000AD and is one of the few clearly traced sites of Arthurian Legend. I’m very fond of our ancient history and tracing the Arthurian Legend is fraught with speculation. Tintagel claims to be the seat of Uther Pendragon, Arthurs father, and the site of many battles, and the mysterious and impressive Merlins Cave. Its one of those places with human activity writ large on its collapsed walls and unique for it. The landscape is incredible and as with many neolithic & bronze age sites its evident that our ancestors really appreciated a nice view.

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Eden Project

The Eden Project was a Millennial scheme that took an ecological and world view to renewal and developing technology. I visited there around 10 years age and its great to see how the site (an ex open cast mine) has flourished in that time. It was a very rainy day when we visited so also quite crowded. The organisation was however quite professional and we managed to enjoy the many interesting features of the project.

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The Hurlers

The Hurlers are a unique arrangement of three neolithic stone circles arrange in a line. They exist high on Bodmin Moor and on the day we visited we found a quite scary cloud of…..cloud which could easily have lead to numerous lost children and potential Hound of the Baskervilles terror. I took the best pictures I could in circumstances and in retrospect it was quite an experience to see the artefact overwhelmed by the environment. As an aside I was able to engage the smaller child’s attention to this trip on the basis that the nearest village is called ‘Minions’.

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St Ives & Porthleaven

Whilst geographically St Ives is maybe 40mins from Bude, given local roads and holiday traffic volume the trip took 1 1/2 hours. Still worth the trip. Another town with a very individual identity and locality. As with many Cornish villages, originally tied to the fishing industry it now relies on its natural beauty, coastlines, dudelicious waves and the wonderfully placed Tate St Ives. Always busy and shifting a million calories worth of Cornish Pasties a day in peak season. I didn’t have the heart or parental strength to take them around Barbara Hepworths studio but if you are ever down that way, I recommend it.

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We also took the opportunity to drop down across the peninsular to Porthleven, another scenic fishing village with great coastal views and the remnants of local industry, now threatened with big city seasonal investment. A very pretty place non the less.

Round Up

So, essentially – Cornwall = Good. Shoddy mobile coverage, beautiful landscape, road infrastructures that defy sat nav predicted eta’s, generally friendly locals, great (really great) local food produce, totally stuffed with historical points of interest, scenery that makes any amateur photographer look good …..and above, miles away from the day job. 5/5 whatever the weather.

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History – A funny old place…..

Once more into the land of the Glove. This again originates from the ‘Glove of Bones‘ site. Feel free to hop over there to experience the look and feel of the place.

Bible - Session 1982

History of the Glove

Whilst the Glove of Bones is new for 2015 it’s predated by a number of pieces made under A4(+) since 2012 (all here), and lurching back 30+ years to an exercise in youthful exuberance that briefly called itself ‘Bible’ after the popular novel. This could be accurately described as a proper band having a singer of sorts, a guitarist (Chris), a bass player (Steve) and a drummer who at this moment in time is unnamed.

The band rehearsed a few time in Chris’s parents house, once in the upstairs room of a pub (blue plaque status pending) and played one raucous gig at the ’77 club in Nuneaton supporting local NewRom band Versatran. Sadly, to the best of my knowledge the gig wasn’t recordered and there is thankfully no photographic evidence.

However, recently unearthed (or unlofted) is an Ampex 370 C60 cassette that has the rehearsal in its entirety.

Amped 370

Please find herewith the content of the historic jewel below, from the dark days of 1982 or thereabouts, with a slight nod to influences such as Magazine & Bauhaus, newly digitally transferred and remastered – Bible (there is no ‘The’).

If you have any further information about this lost cultural phenomenon please leave a comment or email therighthand@gloveofbones.com

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Glove of Films

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On one of the ‘other’ channels of my on-line time frittering I did this. Please feel free to follow The Glove of Bones if you don’t mind inviting this kind of occurrence into your digital file. If nothing else it uses a very nice theme.

Information in relation to work flow.

When I started planning the musical aspect of 50/50 it was under the A4+ brand, as per previous issues. The theme of biography was implicit, the format (five 10 minute songs, each broadly representing a decade of life) was built in, and other intentions of continuity (all the visual content would be monochrome for example) seemed reasonably attainable.

As with all such grand schemes it seemed likely that supplementary materials would emerge so the idea of an epilog sprang to mind (and in fact inspired the ‘segue’ pieces), cutting in existing references into a mash-up, sweeping the floor, exhibiting good recycling practices. At some indeterminate point the ‘Glove of Bones’ phrase gained traction and from that the idea of a filmed piece. This is the outcome.

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“The tooth root and aching backbone of the Glove of Bones creative project was an idea for a road movie without a road, a biography without a chronology or subject and an imaginary soundtrack for a film, based around a real movie.”

Almost a film in five equal sections with both structured musical content and more abstract found, soundscapes, atmosphere. Holmes would have a field day with the evidence but like all good conspiracy pedlars, I prefer to protect my sources.

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I would like particular to credit the use of the ‘Holcombe Tarot’ by Wayne Burrows. I’m continually impressed by his diversity of creation. The Tarot can be seen in use somewhere around the 25 minute mark.

There are a small number of filmic references which movie geeks will spot. They are cited as points of reference for the various immersions the biographical subject has encountered and soaked up. I do not and would never claim any rights to these reflections.

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Newstead Abbey, May 2015

Newstead Panorama

A couple of weeks ago I took the boys to Newstead Abbey which is about 20 minutes from our home, near Ravenshead & Newstead Village. We have been there on many occasions but it was a sunny day with time to kill and also the ‘Big Day Out’, an annual City Council run event that offers free entrance to various museums and other attractions.

Newstead has extensive grounds and play areas for the boys, a huge lake and waterfall features and a very well run main building with museum and café.

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The ex Augustine Priory was also the home of Lord George Gordon Byron, infamous poet, traveller and bad boy.

Whilst I took a lot of pictures on my DSLR and filmed some slo-mo water on my phone, I’m more pleased by the B/W images shot on a Holga using 120 Ilford Pan Plus film. On this occasion I’ve only made one over-layed panorama, the others are single frames that show tree’s in blossom and some wire frame sculptures that sit in the formal walled gardens. Pan plus is a slow film perhaps better suited to a tripod and good light. The images are shakey but full of tone. There is only minmal post processing of these after being scanned.

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The seems to be a proposal to develop Newstead in a similar way to Chatsworth House which uses the grounds and other feature to display a range of contemporary arts pieces. Newstead would be a perfect site this given its history and landscape. Click on the images below to open the gallery view.

On show at the time we visited and in the main Drawing Room was a piece by Nottingham artist Tristram Aver titled ‘And Stand A Ruin Amidst Ruins’. The multiple panel screen references Newstead artefacts from wall papers, period portraits, local flora and hunting trophies. I hope the plans for the Abbey produce more thoughtful site specific pieces of this type. Below is a panoramic shot of the Drawing Room and the piece which is on display until the 5th of July.

Newstead Tris Aver

As well as taking more than a few photographs I also managed to get a number of sound recordings which will end up in whatever new musical piece materialises this year. The piece ‘Sea Song’ that I made last year features the waterfall from the lake and other images around the grounds.

More about the ‘Sea Song’ piece here. and the bigger piece that contains it here.

Thanks to Photo Parlour, Nottingham for film processing, analog love in a digital age.

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The Grey Ladies & Arbor Low – Lo-Fi Pictures

Grey Ladies, Derbyshire

A short pictorial post, following up the previous concerning The Grey Ladies. I developed the two films, a 35mm B/W and an out of date colour 120 film at Photo Parlour in Nottingham. The 120 wasn’t a great success, its very underexposed and anything visible on the images below is forced through Snapseed. The B/W film from the Konstructor Camera is better than the last set and strangely lurches from a little underexposed to a little overexposed.

This set are from Arbor Low

Arbor Low 35mm

Arbor Low 35mm

Arbor Low 35mm

These overlaid 120 shots are from the Grey Ladies.

Arbor Low 120 Film

Arbor Low, looking over to the horizon.

Arbor Low - Horizon

And finally some more paired images.

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The Grey Ladies & Arbor Low

The Grey Ladies - White PeakOn Saturday we took a road trip out to the White Peak area of Derbyshire to try and find another of its megalithic treasures.

The Grey Ladies is a small monument near to the Nine Sisters and Dol Tor. It is located on private land a little distance from Youlgrave. Like the the Sisters and Dol Tor its proposed age is between 3000 & 4000 years. All that now remains are four large up right stones (so really a stone square). Previous investigations suggest there were once nine stones. Those remaining are a little over 6 foot tall and more imposing than the smaller stones of the Sisters and Dol Tor.

Standing high above the Ladies is the natural rock point of Robin Hoods Stride. From the top of this you can get a good 360 degree view of the local area.

I took a couple of rolls of 120 & 35mm film as well as the digital images below. I’ll post those separately at a later date.

The Grey Ladies - White Peak

As shown above, on the day we visited the land owner had decided to park is trailer in the middle of stones which didn’t afford the best overall views of the stones but I’ve tried to make the best of the situation.

The Grey Ladies - White Peak

The image above looking through two of the stones and up Towards Robin Hoods Stride.

The Grey Ladies - White Peak

The view below is a panorama from the top of Robin Hoods Stride looking down into the field where the Grey Ladies reside.

Robin Hoods Stride - Panorama

And the image below, standing on the incline leading up to Robin Hoods Stride.

Robin Hoods Stride

The informative Northern Antiquarian blog suggests the following about the area;

“One of the old names of this site was The Grey Ladies. This came from the well known tale found at other sites across the world, that some ladies were dancing here at some late hour and were turned into stone. A variation on this theme told how Robin Hood stood on the nearby rock outcrop to the south and pissed over the landscape here, “where seven maidens upon seeing it turned to stone.” In this case, Robin Hood replaced an older, forgotten account of a giant, who forged the landscape and the sites around Harthill Moor. and also another tale — whose origins and nature are allied to that of the petrification of the Grey Ladies — narrated with considerable sincerity by local people, was that the circle was a place where the little people gathered and where, at certain times of the year, “fairy music and the sight of hundreds of dancing shapes around the stones” would happen.”

Moving on from the Grey Ladies we went to Arbor Low. This is a large Stone Age henge high on the White Peak with dramatic views across the valley. The site is managed by English Heritage. this Northern Stonehenge has a deep circular ditch and high barrow, its also overlooked by a large Bronze Age buried mound known as Gib Hill. The wind is biting when standing on the high border mound but disappears when you walk down into the ditch. All of the stones now lie flat to the ground but its theorised that they would have been upright and greater in number when it was originally in use. Its a dramatic and impressive site.

Below is a panoramic view from the head mound, looking down across the valley below.

Arbor Low - Panorama

Two further images here, the second from inside the circle.

Arbor Low - Derbyshire

Arbor Low - Derbyshire

I’m constantly intrigued by the ancient history in the region just north of Nottingham, including the amazing Cresswell Crags which has some of the oldest Ice Age cave markings in the country. The combination of isolated and often unaffected landscape and the effort of our ancestors to produce works of mysterious significance and great permanence resonate with living history.

Below are some links to further information.

http://www.peakdistrictinformation.com/visits/arborlow.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbor_Low
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Ladies

https://adrian4acn.com/2013/06/16/creswell-crags/
https://adrian4acn.com/2013/05/06/the-nine-ladies-arbor-low/
https://adrian4acn.com/2014/03/23/dol-tor-stone-circle/

https://megalithix.wordpress.com

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