Sunday, 29 March 2009

Thematic photographic - 'Drab' take 2

These are further images for Carmi's thematic photographic weekly subject. Have a look here and have a go yourself.

On reflection many of my B&W social documentary images fall within the title Drab either because of the weather or their subject...

However one area that I have always through of as being drab is a border crossing or border area and the hinterland; they become even 'drabber' when they had been the subject of conflict. Part of my masters involved European post conflict borderlands and here are a few ~ mostly these were made on medium format 6x12 film and scanned to a large file size, so here are some smaller email size images.

Near Sangatte France

Gib - Spain

Spain -Gib


Former E German border town

Just in E Germany by Iron Curtain

Iron Curtain remains - looking in

Iron Curtain remains - looking out

Section of Iron Curtain (by towns it was often a wall)

E Germany post unification abandonment

E Germany post unification abandonment

E Germany post unification abandonment

E Germany post unification abandonment

E Germany post unification abandonment

Cyprus North of Green Line

Cypus North of Green Line

Cyprus North of Green Line

Cyprus North of Green Line

Spanish Africa border

Spanish Africa border


Spanish Africa border

Spanish Africa border

Former Yugoslavia near Italy

Organised labour and the recession

Carmi has asked for comment about "Should we be getting tough with unions, and the old-style companies that can't seem to break them? Will this recession finally kill organized labour? Should it?"

As my thoughts are lengthy for a comment I thought it best to put them on my blog and link it to his. It is a big subject and much could be written on it... However...

From a UK perspective the unions are sometimes necessary. I used to live near where the Tolpuddle Martyrs were sentenced to death for meeting to organise the opposition to wage cuts for farm labourers exploited by wealthy landowners (later commuted to 7 years transportation to Australia), similarly with the Peterloo Massacre here in Manchester on 16 August 1819, many were killed by dragoons when they charged the crowd on horseback with their sabres drawn for meeting to oppose the evils that were taking place.

I joined a union when a government minister decided we would have miniscule percentage rises while he would a large % rise on his already large salary. I left when they became more concerned over political correctness and fringe rights than their main purpose.

If all businesses were fair and just – no we would not need them. Unfortunately this is not the case and many businesses have strange views of their employees wealth as a human being. Some years ago a French co-operative (80s?) operated on the basis of no one was worth more than three times the lowest paid employee based on a full working week. If something like this came in world wide and those who sought to get round it were very heavily financially penalised....

In the UK we had a bad case where the CEO of a bank which had very done badly and had to be bailed out by the government received a mega million payout on ‘early retirement’ in his early 50s. He refused to give this back despite public outcry and government requests; and whilst some years ago words would probably have been spoken and an accident would have occurred, today it is left to members of the public who in this case attacked his house and car.

I believe there is a case for a strong workforce representation at board level and it should have more influence than the shareholders currently do. Maybe we should make greed an imprisonable offence...

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Thematic photographic - Drab

Oh Dear!

Carmi suggested Drab as the subject for this weeks thematic subject and just after reading it today it rained... heavily and the wind blew... This was on my way to work.

It would equally have have been grayish buildings, clothes or weather - I just hope are not facing a week of this!

Monday, 23 March 2009

Swiss Blue

This is a scan from a medium format fujichrome transparency.

Spring in Switzerland a few years ago when the water took on a variety of different colours from this to a milky green. My father, brother & I enjoyed a meal in a fish restaurant overlooking the lake and I nipped out to make this image when the light briefly changed.

Time, Water, hills and sky provide an ever changing set of images whether in the UK Lake District, a Med beach or in Switzerland and no one can ever say they have captured everything these places have to offer... I read someone saying that they went to a national park made famous by AA and found that he had been everywhere and taken all the images... all I can say is did AA photograph absolutely everything from every angle under every lighting condition ~ I doubt it.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Drinking Water - The other Mediterranean

Drink ~ Take 2

How much do we take it for granted that we just simply turn on the tap and clean drinking water flows out in abundance.

North Africa. The stench was unbearable and you couldn't move out of its reach. Sheep, sewage and rubbish shared the 'river' just before it flowed into the Mediterranean where men were fishing from the shore. This was a place of waiting where people came for a chance to get into Europe.

Some new 'building' was in progress but so was a massive corrugated iron shanty town; even the old 'fort' on the beach had a temporary neighbour.

Yet even here the people are fortunate compared with some of those further down into Africa.

Back in 'Europe' (Spanish Africa) I met a man in his 20s from Zimbabwe, all his family had apparently been killed or died. Having walked up from Southern Africa and crossed the border illegally he was now waiting the six months to see whether he would be given a permit to travel.

This was not an easy place to make photographs with a very large camera, but I could go back to my European hotel where there was fresh water!

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Thematic photograph 40 - Drink

Carmi has selected the subject 'Drink' for this week's thematic photograph

The occasional drink at a pub, sometimes a glass or can of beer or Guinness at home in the evening, wine with special meals... and well Christmas ... I consider myself to be a socially responsible drinker. Yet where we live (England) there are continual problems over alcoholic drink and the inability to legislate effectively for its supply and use. Some roads and areas have become alcohol free zones while others are allowed to have it to excess. Empties are a continual problem ~ with the mentality of why recycle when there is no large ie £5 say $10 deposit per container ~ so is the sight of those who have drunk to excess. Supermarkets sell cheap alcohol, kids wait around trying to find an adult to buy it for them... So my contribution on the images of drink are mixed.

...In the UK they used to advertise Guinness, a dark Irish stout, with the slogan 'Guinness is good for you' and give it to expectant mums because of the iron it contained. Gill and I both like our Guinness so here is one (almost) ...
and btw she is not!!

..the empties problem... by the canal

...and empty glasses following a meal...

And for something different... Gill & I were in an old French hilltop village about 60 milers from the Mediterranean. We turned a corner into a small square and came upon the village fountain ~ originally for drinking and probably the only source of water in the village ~ but what made this different was the little fairy-like girl with amazing red hair leaning over to touch the water. It was one of those timeless moments... the light was negligible, evening and we were waiting for a storm, the only camera was my wife's small digital one, so three quick images bracing the camera as well as I could and only one successful picture which is slightly blurred. [Yes I have removed a twentieth century sign and the girl was wearing sandals which is another debate earlier in my blog under the title 'Girl at the Fountain' . This image has had the colours partly reduced.]

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Thematic Photograph 39 - Transparent - Take 2

Carmi has had many posts on the subject 'transparent'... have a look at them...

Today I went into Manchester city centre on a photographic jaunt with a friend and kept the concept of 'transparent' in my mind. We have had much redevelopment here and transparent images hit you from all sides since glass has replaced brick and stone as the favoured exterior surface. Forget the polarising filter as I like the idea of having both reflections and transparency.

Here is part of one such example: Transparent Working

I can only imagine that working there you must sometimes feel like a goldfish in a an old fashioned glass goldfish bowl.

Here is the second example... Transparent Living

I know that I could not live like this in an open window for all to see. Could you?

Friday, 6 March 2009

Thematic Photograph 39 - Transparent

Carmi is his blog extols us this week to examine the subject 'transparent'...

So with lateral thinking I soon arrived at politicians, an ex one in particular and thought about a montage with some of his errors / disasters showing through his face... but realised this would be too big a challenge...

...Then 'trans-parent' (others have done this before with a split portrait combining both sets of ancestors in one face) so back to the drawing board...

Think that's not me...but until I take something specifically for the week how about this:...

...The notices were intended to be read through the transparent plastic coverings, but urban artists have had other ideas. So now only some of the important information remains 'see through'...
while the remainder surrenders to 'K'...

So who was 'K'?
Are you intrigued; ... and what about the hidden notices: ... why were they there? ...What did they say? ...What is private? ...Why university? What ground...And why have they not been made visible again

I suppose one could say it is a transparent act of vandalism ... but a short distance away was a monstrosity of a building that the graffiti artists had significantly improved ~ nothing transparent here - but wait a minute transparent also means 'obvious' and that really is one thing you can say about the graffiti building...

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Thematic photographic 38 - Winter

Check for details of this subject under the theme 'winter' and join in if you feel able...

I thought again about this subject - winter - and the images it conjures up: greyness, rain (here at least) cold and then I thought further ~ sometimes we have those exceptional winter days when there is a clarity in the air, no wind and the sky is a wonderful blue...

...or goes pink as the sun sets...

...and finally the aftermath... the canal had been frozen over for some time and numerous objects had been thrown onto the ice just to see if they would break it...the ice began to melt and some of these items sank, adding to the debris on the bottom. But not this crutch... it remained suspended - timeless - forlorn and painful even though released from winter.

So how did it get there?

Had they, whoever they were, ceased using it and brought it along to chuck across the ice?

Had they miraculously been healed whilst hobbling along the towpath and thrown it away in a moment of joy?

Had someone mugged them and thought it amusing to skim it over the ice?

Was it one of a pair, and if so, then where is the other one?

Questions but no answers...