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Wildlings

A few new images taken recently, which I might include in the selection for the Wildlings exhibition at Oxford House. I found these whilst rowing, returning later with a camera. There is a completely different perspective from a boat, offering views invisible from a footpath. These trees have chosen inhospitable places for themselves to grow. It’s not just a case of surviving. They obviously thrive.

Coast of Light

Some more recent additions to the Coast of Light series, from Andalucia. This is an edit from a set taken in August 2013.

 

5 years, 3 months ago photography 0

29.3.14 Woolworths alive and kicking on Exmoor.

Bruce Reynolds, Great Train Robber

5 years, 4 months ago cars, People, photography 0
Bruce Reynolds, Great Train Robber

Bruce Reynolds, Great Train Robber

One from the archives…..Bruce Reynolds,  the mastermind behind the Great Train Robbery. I came across this shoot this afternoon whilst sorting through a couple of old negative files. From 1997, I can’t remember the name of the magazine it was originally shot for. Bizarrely it went into liquidation before publication, and I had to retrieve all the film from a lock-up in North London…the only assets of the magazine I was entitled to claim back. HM Customs and Excise always have first pickings before the small folk. The story eventually appeared in The Telegraph, probably in 1998.

Taken under bridge 127, or Bridego Bridge, near Mentmore, Buckinghamshire, it is where the robbery actually took place in the early hours of 8th August, 1963.  After the shoot, we drove along the escape route to the farm hideaway, near Brill, also in Buckinghamshire. The use of this particular Jaguar in the story was always tenuous…apart from the fact that the old classic Jag MKII was a favourite car of both good and bad in the 1960’s!

Reynolds said during the course of the interview, that one of the robbers was never arrested for the crime, and that he would take the secret of the name to his grave. As he died in 2013, he appears to have upheld this promise.

5 years, 4 months ago photography 0

12.3.14, Gunnersbury Park

5 years, 4 months ago photography 0

12.3.14, Gunnersbury Park. This poor Oak tree has coped with rot, fire and gale force winds. Unfortunately the green dot may well finally indicate its demise.

IGPOTY at The Photography Show, 2014

I received a copy of the International Garden Photographer of the Year ‘Collection Seven’ book yesterday. With the judges final choices for 2014, it is a beautiful presentation of work, especially for those whose images are represented.

IGPOTY 2014, Collection Seven

IGPOTY 2014, Collection Seven

 

A list of all the judges.

List of Judges, IGPOTY 2014

List of Judges, IGPOTY 2014

I really enjoyed meeting so many people over the two days I spent at The Photography Show as part of the IGPOTY programme of events. I lost count how many portfolio critiques I gave, but I saw many lovely images.

For anyone thinking of entering next year, I’ll repeat the main point of the talks I gave.

Tell a story. You have to do this without using words. Whether a single image or a portfolio, the idea is paramount.  And don’t be too concerned with special techniques. These can distract and actually hide what you are trying to say. Keep it simple. Look for less obvious subjects too. People and environmental topics are all relevant.

 

Some of my favourite images from IGPOTY 2014

The winning entry for 2014 by Rosanna Castrini, entitled ‘My Prairie Garden’.

©Rosanna Castrini My Prairie Garden

©Rosanna Castrini My Prairie Garden

 

A group winner Jason Liske with ‘Native Coast’.

©Jason Liske 'Native Coast'

©Jason Liske ‘Native Coast’

 

One of my favourite portfolios was by Sibylle Pietrek in the Greening the City category.

©Sibylle Pietrek   'Growing Home' community garden

©Sibylle Pietrek ‘Growing Home’ community garden

 

Another good story was from Matteo Carassale.

©Matteo Carassale - 'Mr. DB against the Sky'

©Matteo Carassale – ‘Mr. DB against the Sky’

5 years, 4 months ago photography 0

23.2.14 Wild flowers or ‘wildlings’ in Conil, Spain.

Confluence

Confluence - Mutton Brook (left) and Dollis Brook (right), forming River Brent

I have been updating my website over the last month and in particular, have added two new projects. Both of which are long term collections and relate to urban London.

The first is 51° 30′ N / 0° 7′ W, which is the longitude, latitude reference point at Charing Cross. Distances to and from the centre of London are usually measured from here. It is a selection of images and observations made on walks around the city. The current uploads are fairly recent, but this is an ongoing process, as I have film dating back to 1979, my first year as a student.

The second addition is ‘Confluence’. This is a photographic essay of the River Brent and the surrounding environment. Also ongoing, images will be added as I make further walks this year.

Some accompanying notes:

The name ‘Brent’ is apparently derived from Celtic and Old English, meaning ‘sacred waters’, which is rather sad given the river running through areas of West London has long been regarded, by many, as an inconvenience and just in the way. It has been channelled around Brent Cross shopping centre, straightened and contained by the North Circular Road, built over and diverted through a tunnel near Wembley Stadium and generally used as a tip or dump for anything from cars to chemical waste. And it’s only 16 miles long.

The name reflects the Celts’ belief that all rivers (and wells) were sacred. A belief which saw them throw valued items such as swords or shields into them as tributes to spirits. This practice has long disappeared in West London, unless you venerate the humble shopping trolley.

My interest in the Brent started with urban walks along the Grand Union Canal at Brentford, which itself is now part of the river. Some stretches, like this one, are green corridors which are so important for wildlife in cities. Other parts are included in The Dollis Valley Greenwalk, from Barnet to Brent Cross and which connects with the London Loop walk. Over the years some money has been available for work on London’s waterways and much has been done by volunteers, particularly on the canal networks, but a lot more needs to be done.

Although I started taking an interest from an environmental point of view, it dawned on me last summer, as I was photographing along it’s banks, that I have always lived or been near The Brent. As a child I used to fish (illegally) in the pond at Moat Mount, which is apparently the river’s source. My secondary school was next to Silkstream, a tributary. My first choice football team, Edgware Town, was also sited close enough to require balls to be fished out of it’s water. My first car was stolen and dumped by the river behind the football ground and a few years later I was married in St Mary’s Church, Hanwell, which is on a hill overlooking the Brent Valley and the Wharncliffe Viaduct. More recently, The Port of London Authority even pulled me out of the Thames after capsizing a boat near to where the two rivers meet at Brentford. All coincidence I suppose, but there is an affinity.

Leica M6

After my brief flirtation with a Leica M6, a set of test shots taken on a quick walk along the Thames between Chiswick and Kew Bridges last week. These are shop scans put through Lightroom. They have more jpg artifacts than you can shake a stick at, along with a very generous helping of sharpening from the person who scanned them, but they’re ok for reference.

Verdict…would I buy one? I’ll have to flip a very expensive coin on that!

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