PEOPLE 374 – VERY OLD FRIENDS (MONO)

 

 


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Life moves on.  As Dylan Thomas so wonderfully put it, in Under Milk Wood, “Time passes.  Listen.  Time passes.”

And so to an Italian restaurant in a reasonably run down, seaside town, and five people around a table – already hitting the electric sauce, if only moderately, and good naturedly corralling a waiter into taking a snap of the occasion.  He was somewhat disconcerted by “Focus on the wine bottle!”.  While after “Squeeze yourself right back into that corner to get us all in!”, it had to be explained that we were not in fact all planning to try and get in the corner with him.  Ah, the youth of today …  But, anyway, here is the result.

So just who are these smiling worthies?  Well, as a landmark, something to navigate by when in distress on the sea, the lolling lout front right (magnified by proximity to the TG-5’s wide angle lens I might add) is me >>> does my tum look big in this??? 

Then the two women are the partners of the two blokes opposite me.

But the two blokes opposite me are the thing really, because we three were in the same school in the 1960s.  I’ve been friends with one nearest the camera for 60 years at least, we were in adjacent primary schools.  And the other is one of the two luminaries responsible for getting me into birdwatching in 1967, an interest that was to later take me to Kenya for 12 wonderful years – an experience from which, thank goodness, I’ve never quite recovered.

And although three of us live locally, the other very special thing about this occasion is that the other couple live on the other side of the world, so that we see them only very occasionally.

And so here we three are, back in our home town as it happens, and not a stone’s throw from the primary schools where two of us started out.  And we are all stunned by the fact that, having known each other since our childhoods, we are now all approaching our 70th birthdays.

“Time passes.  Listen.  Time passes.”
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ARCHIVE 417 – WOMAN WITH HER EYES CLOSED (MONO)

 

 


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Woman with her eyes closed; 21 Aug 2007.

This is part of a much larger negative – another product, I suppose, of my tendency for getting in close!

Trying to make it at least one step removed from a straight mono photograph, I’ve reduced sharpness and introduced a digital tone.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: F6 with 24-85 Nikkor lens; Ilford Delta 3200 Professional black and white film rated at 3200 ISO;  scanned into digital and manipulated with Silver Efex Pro 2.

UPDATE:  well, 12 years ago, and using fast, black and white film in a Nikon SLR, the F6.  That was a really excellent camera, but the appearance of Nikon’s D700 DSLR seemed to promise equal things and – having been a confirmed film fan – I changed to digital and have never looked back.  I am extremely grateful for the enhanced creative potential that digital provides, and astonished at the pace at which the technology has progressed, especially with regard to sensors.

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ARCHIVE 413 – MOTHER AND CHILD (MONO)

 

 


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A mother comforts her child;  26 Nov 2009.

They are both old friends of our’s.

In the emotion of the moment, the mother’s eyes close and her lips part slightly to murmur soft comfort and reassurance.

And, to me, the baby’s anguish is reflected in the widely splayed hand that desperately clutches her mother’s neck – and especially in that little thumb.

Technique: D700 with 24-120 Nikkor lens at 120mm; 25,600 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Sepia preset.

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OUTER SUBURBS 115 – BUS STOP, WET MORNING

 

 


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A cool, wet morning in May: waiting for the bus.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further.

Technique: TG-5 at 100mm (equiv); 1250 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 8 May 2019.
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PEOPLE 371 – GOING TO WORK 92

 

 

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Going to work but also, for the moment, going nowhere: traffic cones rule OK!!!  

The Z 6 takes a first – very brief – look at Bristol’s morning rush hour.

You can see a summary of the Going to Work series here

Earlier images from this series can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 1213, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 2324, 25, 26, 27, 28,  29, 30,  31,  32, 33  34  35  36 37  38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45  46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further,

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX (= APS-C) format to give 360mm; 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Portrait V2 picture control; Temple Gate, central Bristol; 10 May 2019.
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BRISTOL 132 – CITY LIFE (MONO)

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – certainly recommended.

Life in the city, for four people.

At upper left, a blond woman walks beneath the trees that border the river.  At this time of the morning, perhaps going to work.

While a man – perhaps a barman – takes a break with a hot drink and a cigarette (only just visible!) outside the door of a pub.

Another man hurries into the frame from the right, engrossed, on his phone – and hence walking through a world that, for the moment at least, he is barely aware of.

And lastly, encased in his classy, mobile, metal and glass machine, another man sits in a traffic queue, waiting for the lights to change.

A moment (1/640th of a second, to be exact) in the lives of four people, a moment in the life of a city, early on a Friday morning in May.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 122mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid V2 picture control; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast And Structure preset; Baldwin Street, in Bristol city centre; 10 May 2019.
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ARCHIVE 406 – AFFECTION (MONO)

 

 


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Our friend and her cat; 1 Mar 2015.

We went to visit our friends, a truly lovely family, and, as usual, I slouched back indolently in an armchair with this damned great camera and lens perched on my paunch, enjoying the moment.

Their front room has a bay window with translucent panels that looks out onto the street and, as often happens, the light in that room was diffuse and gorgeous.

Things caught my eye but I was too slow with the camera.  Then their friendly cat got up on the arm of the sofa, and sat there, contentedly wagging her tail.  She enjoys human company, probably for the sounds, and she sits or lies with us for long periods.  An open fire was an especial draw for her on that chilly afternoon.

Suddenly our friend reached out to stroke the cat and murmur something to her, and my camera came up and caught this single frame.  What do I like about it?  Well, of course, the interaction, there’s eye contact there, and also some kind of, if not friendship, then calm familiarity – these two living beings know and trust each other, at the very least.

I like the way our friend is leaning across the sofa, introducing a dynamic that heads up towards upper left, at right angles to the cat’s gaze.  And then there are the sidelit curls and textures in her hair – and a striped sweater that is crying out for black and white photography!

The occasion was good too because, having had medical dressings on my face, it was the first time I’d used a camera in seven weeks or more, and it was very good to “get back behind a lens” again.

Click onto this image to see a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D700 with 105mm Nikkor lens, used wide open; 3200 ISO; Dfine 2; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Dynamic Smooth preset.

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OUTER SUBURBS 99 – GREENGROCER

 

 


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A shop specialising in fruit and veg, almost an anachronism really – but certainly a very refreshing one – in a world now dominated by the bland, impersonal, mass market uniformity of the supermarkets.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Click onto the image to open another version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; 29 Jan 2019.
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PEOPLE 370 – DAME JOANE YOUNG

 

 


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This picture is certainly best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

This is a picture of a tomb in Bristol Cathedral, which was founded in 1140, not long after the Norman invasion of 1066 had put an end to England’s Anglo-Saxon monarchy – in the person of King Harold, killed by an arrow in the eye at the Battle of Hastings.  I’m posting this picture – and posting it in this blog’s People category –  because, for me, it evokes various emotions.

Firstly of course, its quite picturesque – it could be a tourist postcard – and the picturesque is not what I usually photograph.  But, then again, I’m conscious of being lucky to live in England, where many such relics of former ages can still be seen.  There are, after all, many places in the world where this is not the case, or where such remains are purely prehistoric – so that although they are notable treasures, they do not give the almost intimate picture of a former life seen here >>> which is why I urge you to enlarge this image.

Joane’s history, related above her hands held devoutly in prayer, is interesting for its content – and for its spelling.  From it we learn that she was born in 1533 – King Henry VIII was on the throne, and the threat of the Spanish Armada still in the distant future.  Joane died in 1603, the same year as Queen Elizabeth I, one of Henry’s daughters.

So I look at her effigy and wonder what sort of world she lived in – what she thought, what she believed in, what she knew of the world.  Well, she was an aristocrat and thus insulated from the poverty and other privations that affected much of the population.

Google tells me that Elizabethan scientific advances were mainly in the fields of astronomy, maths, human anatomy and marine navigation.  But most people would have been in the thrall of religion and superstition, and all of the grey areas between the two.  To put her world more into context, Joane died in 1603, but it was not until nine years later that the last person was burnt at the stake for heresy – while the hunting and execution of witches in England peaked around 1645.

Joane’s  was a very different world to the England we know now –  and a world in which the people were kept very much in order by the combined attentions of monarchy, church and army – you owed loyalty and obedience to the monarch, the church had your sinner’s soul but could save it from Hell, and the army provided the muscle if muscle were needed.  The influence of two of these institutions is now in decline, while the use of the army is a huge political hot potato – indeed as I write this, British soldiers are now on trial for civilians killed in Northern Ireland in the 20th century.

And lastly, looking at the monuments and fabric of Bristol Cathedral, I cannot but think that it reflects the “have’s” in society, like Joane, rather than the great mass of the population of the time, who lived in far humbler circumstances, perhaps not that far removed from what we now call Third World Poverty.

Joane’s tomb is a wonderful artefact from another age, something certainly worth preserving, but it makes inevitably makes me think of the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the former prime minister, which cost £500,000, with an additional £3.1 million for security.  I’m living in a country with increasing social inequalities, an increasing gap between the “have’s” and the “have not’s”, and I’m wondering where we are headed.

And I leave you with this link, in which Raghuram Rajan, an Indian banker and former International Monetary Fund economist, looks at today’s world and says “I think capitalism is under serious threat because it’s stopped providing for the many, and when that happens, the many revolt against capitalism,“.  I urge you to look at this link, its not a long read.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Natural film simulation; Bristol Cathedral; 12 Feb 2019.

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OUTER SUBURBS 84 – LIFE IN THE SUBURBS (MONO)

 

 


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Hurrying past in the early morning, alone with her shadow.  Thick jacket, gloves, boots:  the air is cold, the sun just up.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 53a 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique: TG-5 at 30mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; in-camera processing of a RAW file, using the Dramatic Tone II art filter; followed by cropping of the resulting jpeg in Lightroom; south Bristol; 26 Feb 2019.
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