Wednesday, 14 March 2018

What joy ..

Thirty nine years! That's how long it is since I shot my Joy Division photographs at Bowdon Vale Youth Club in Manchester. Thirty nine years ago today, as a callow 18 year old junior photographer just 5 months into my career. Now I wouldn't normally have mentioned this anniversary, but ..

Tomorrow I'm off to meet with a chap in a town near here to discuss an exhibition of my pictures, and I was literally taking them out of storage this morning when today's date dawned on me. Funny how things work out ..

Moreover, I had an email last weekend from a Blogger, asking if he could use some of these photographs to go with a piece he was writing. The fee to me? Zero. My answer to him? No, you can't! Funny what people for free expect these days ..

Also last week, an email came from the Visitor Centre in Macclesfield - Joy Division's home town. I'd had some prints and booklets for sale there but the Tourist office has decided to return them to me. They weren't "selling well enough"! What joy ..

(Just as a matter of interest, today's shot shows an original scan of a strip of negatives from the gig. Interesting to see that, in those days of shooting film sparingly, four out of those five shots were selected for the exhibition!)

Monday, 26 February 2018

Makes me spit ..

There's a chance you played that 'drinking game' the last time you watched a film. You know the one? You take a drink every time someone on the screen has one. Depending on the movie, there's a good chance you could end up being completely sloshed. Well yesterday I played the 'spitting game'. I watched two football matches back to back and decided I'd spit every time I saw a footballer spit. Every goddam time there was a close-up of a player - or Pep Guardiloa, come to that - they coughed up a lovely big ball of snot. And full marks to subs Fabregas and Gabriel Jesus, both filmed spitting before they even got on the bleedin' pitch. Put me right off my family bag of Maltesers, it did. And what am I supposed to do with two and a half gallons of saliva?..

Friday, 16 February 2018

Who needs a watch? ..

It's been raining most of the week. The garden is a mud bath and there are now not one, but two leaks in our ancient red tiled roof. And do you know what? I love it! I love the fact that I still feel like I'm on holiday. This weekend marks five months since we moved over to France, and we're really getting into it now. Our chickens are laying two, sometimes three eggs a day (Omelette anyone?), we've given up on ironing our clothes and my kinetic wristwatch - which relies on movement to wind itself up - has stopped. I haven't worn it in weeks ..

More importantly, I'm really getting the time to do the things I want. I've decided to re-edit my book - The Boy who missed Next Year - and I'm putting together a Slide Show (Sorry, still can't stop calling them that!) that I'll be giving soon at our local community hall. I once went round the world with my little doll Minnie - that's her in Tahiti - featuring her in hundreds of shots as we journeyed around together. I thought it was about time her shots had a showing. Happy holidays ..

Technical PS: The pictures of Minnie are actually slides. Shot in the early 90s, I got through about 150 rolls of Kodachrome 64 using just one Nikon FM and two lenses.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Thinking of summer ..

Delighted to say I've just added another summer booking to the diary but, unlike years gone by, this was a booking for our gîte rather than for any Wedding photography. Funny how times have changed, eh? Yesterday I received a message from my e-mail domain name company, asking if I wanted to renew my 'UK Wedding Photography' domain name. Sadly, I told them 'no', as I won't be needing that anymore. My life is now focused over here in France, where bookings for the gîte are almost as important to me as Wedding enquiries once were. My photography is still the centre of my life of course, and coming soon is a 'Photography Walk' for keen amateur snappers in our village. The weather's getting better and the cameras are out. Seems I'm not the only one thinking of the summer ..

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Think warm thoughts ..

The first shy flakes of snow are falling as I write this - our first snow in France! All a far cry from yesterday, when I took this photograph during our afternoon walk. Still, it won't be long until the Spring is here (we tell ourselves!) and it's fantastic to be enjoying the start of our first 'full' year here, and to be in at the start of the changing seasons. The room I'm sitting in now was one of the first we converted, and it's hard at the moment to recall the 100˚ heat of last May as I chopped up plasterboard and scraped ancient mortar from between the stones in the wall. Still, it's lovely to know that that kind of weather is on its way again. Warming thoughts indeed .. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

The Fallen ..

Very sad to hear of the death of Mark E. Smith, lead singer/dictator of Manchester band The Fall. I can still remember the excitement I felt as an 18 year old, hearing the unbelievably different 'Bingo - Master's - Break- Out!' on John Peel in 1978, a single I still own and play to this day. I even have on my wall a poster for a Fall gig at Manchester Students' Union. I took it down when I moved to France and put it straight back up as soon as I got here. He's definitely one of my musical Marmites - some of his stuff is totally unlistenable to - but yes, it's safe to say Mr Smith has had quite a defining part in my musical tastes. God bless ya, Mark E ... 

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

What a square ..

I've set my Fuji X10 to 'Square' again in an effort to emulate the 120 film in my old Yashica 124 camera. I love the challenge I get from fitting the world into a square, with no advantage being gained from shooting either portrait or landscape. The thing is, I find it very easy to have my subjects 'look right' when they're put into that format so I know it's going to be a great new project. However, the privacy laws in France mean it's not legal to take photographs of people in the street without permission, so I have a feeling that this series will generally be landscapes. No problem. There's nothing square about that ..

(Click the shots to see them larger)