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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PEOPLE 366 – GOING TO WORK 90

 

 


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Walking to work – and Modern Life too, I suppose – booze, news, smokes and headphones >>> and a wonderfully coloured frontage that is instantly alive and real, and instantly apart from the drab conformity and aching sterility of “High Street Correctness”.

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 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 enlarge it further.

Technique: TG-5 at 38mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Bedminster, south Bristol; 29 Jan 2019.
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OUTER SUBURBS 69 – A GOOD NIGHT OUT 2

 

 

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Self-expression on the walk home, after a good night out in the Outer Suburbs.

Or perhaps this is the good night out.

And maybe fuelled by booze and banned (but eminently available) substances, or a perceived aimlessness and emptiness in modern life, or a desire to impress, or … who knows?

I’ve never felt the need to express myself in this way but then, as I do deeply believe, we are all different.  But then again, as I do also deeply believe, there is the question of whether those causing this carnage would view such damage to their own property with composure.

And subsequent events?  Well, the bus company will carry out the repairs, after which events may repeat themselves.

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There is an earlier Good Night Out post here: 1 .

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 .  Each will open in a separate window.

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

Technique: TG-5; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; south Bristol; January 2019.
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PEOPLE 365 – GOING TO WORK 89 (MONO)

 

 


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GOING TO WORK: THE PROJECT

This project has been running, on and off, for sometime now – the first post (number 1, below) was in July 2016.  For those not familiar with the earlier posts, this project is now in three parts.

First there is the great bulk of posts in the earlier stages: numbers 1 to 86 below.  This really came about for two reasons.  First, having retired in 2013, I became increasingly interested in the work phenomenon, and a single photographic look at Bristol’s early morning rush hour ramped this interest up to the level of a fascination for a twice daily event – a twice daily tide –  that, until recently, I had been a part of.  And such long, early morning visits to the city centre were considerably facilitated by the excellent, lighter and smaller Fujifilm mirrorless cameras (X-T1 and X-T2) that gave me a break from my also excellent but bigger and heavier Nikon DSLR gear.  In some part I felt (and feel) that commuting and city centre working can be something of a pressurised and dehumanising experience; as I recall from two bouts of overwork and stress-related illness.

And then part 2 of this project is a single picture (number 87) taken in heavy rain with the Olympus TOUGH TG-5 camera.  I’d bought this camera with the aim of looking at the rush hour in atrocious weather conditions, but that aim has yet to be fulfilled – >>> the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak???  🙂  But the TG-5 has  instead proved itself very flexible and useful in the Outer Suburbs project, which makes up the bulk of my posts these days.

And, last week, I found myself with the TG-5 in the morning rush hour in Bristol’s Bedminster suburb, and so to a few more images, part 3 of Going to Work, starting with post 88.

But where this project will go from here – as usual – I have not the slightest idea!!!

POST 89

Alone on a cold, damp morning.  Overcast, and going to work.

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 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 – recommended.

Technique: TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 500 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Contrast and Structure preset; St Luke’s Road, south Bristol; 29 Jan 2019.
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ARCHIVE 396 – PEOPLE DRINKING TEA (MONO)

 

 

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A couple having a hot drink beside the beach in the harbour at St Ives, Cornwall; 10 Oct 2013.

The man is hunched over towards the right, sipping his cuppa, while the woman is inclined towards the left, intent on screwing shut her bottle of milk.  Their two shapes tend to come together somewhat, in the shape of an arch or dome, an effect heightened by her inclined hair bun.  I’ve tried to enhance this impression of togetherness by adding a slight, pale, circular vignette.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 200 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2’s Full Dynamic Smooth preset; mild copper toning.

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OUTER SUBURBS 41 – SITTING IN DEB’S CAFE AND TAKEAWAY, ON A DULL FRIDAY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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

A dull Friday morning.  But, of course, to those working a five day week, Friday morning is never dull.  It is enriched with the promises of both edible treats to celebrate the working week’s end and, equally, to celebrate the start of the weekend, when all good things in life appear – for a day or two –  eminently possible.  But, weatherwise, this was a dull morning, with low, dark overcast and no sign at all of the rising sun’s glow.  In just over a week’s time we’d be in winter and, meteorologically, this Friday morning was getting all set up for it.

And also, for those into consumerism, materialism and our incessant manipulation by the mass media – and also, of course, those who know it as just plain, simple, good old shopping – this was indeed a dark day.  Indeed (there’s that word again!), no day could be darker, for this was Black Friday, when many hope to grab bargains (why does the word “grab” seem particularly appropriate here … ? …) and so accumulate yet more, “happiness inducing stuff”.  The more of it we have, the happier we are, right?

Anyway, oblivious to all this mass hysteria, I’d had a first breakfast before dawn, and then set off on foot into the dark streets with the little camera in my pocket.  And after an hour or so – and seeing that it was a Friday – I dropped gratefully into Deb’s Café & Takeaway and ordered a second breakfast – a thick, “doorstop” bacon sandwich, and a mug of hot, strong, sweet tea – ah, Life’s Simple Pleasures!

I’d been into Deb’s before.  Indeed I’d been into Deb’s when it was packed out, with no room to sit down, and so been forced to look elsewhere for what the more cultured gourmets of my social circle term “a good plateful”.  What’s Deb’s like?  Well, its a little street café  staffed by women whom I take to be three generations of the same family, it opens at 7am and closes after lunch, and it specialises in good, solid, simple English food, much of it in the full English breakfast vein.

And I like this place for three reasons.  First, obviously, the food is good, and not expensive.  Then, the women are natural and friendly – there are no airs and graces here – and since many of the early morning clientele are builders, scaffolders and other workmen, the atmosphere can be humorous, irreverent, ribald and earthy – in a word, three words actually, real and human: this is not the place to go if you like pretence, café au lait and croissants.  And that’s the third reason I like this place: there is a complete absence of the usual marketing, hype and bullsh*t that is so often a feature of the modern commercial/retail world – these women simply produce good, enjoyable, basic food and, as you eat it, likely as not there’ll be some convivial chat, gossip and banter around ……

So, as I sat there, taken aback somewhat by just how much of a doorstop I’d contracted to get outside of, I looked out at the grey morning and the grey urban landscape.  In that moment, what could I see?  A woman, head down, trudges through the parked cars towards the at best uninspiring (except for Deb’s!!!) row of shops.  Down left of her there is a litter (trash) bin, while the shining metallic semicircles immediately outside of Deb’s are the backs of chairs set around tables, for those who like to smoke while eating.  And further away, the suburban landscape: houses, a single decker bus, and bare, pollarded trees.  Rather a bleak scene, but one which was amply compensated for by the warmth and conviviality of the café.

And, grey and bleak though that view may have been, it was immeasurably enhanced by the absence of any hint of the burgeoning greed and materialism of Black Friday.

I downed the doorstop with lashings of ketchup, drank the delicious tea, struggled to my feet, made it to the door, and lurched off, heavily and uncertainly, into the gloom.

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 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique:  TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Spectrum Inverse preset and selectively restoring some of the colour; south Bristol; 23 Nov 2018.

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ARCHIVE 387 – MORNING RUSH HOUR, BROAD QUAY (MONO)

 

 


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Morning rush hour, Broad Quay, Bristol; 9 Dec 2016.

This is an early image from the Going to Work series: a recent image in this series can be found here .

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 1600 ISO;  Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at Full Dynamic Harsh preset.

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