Sunday, 10 November 2013

Four corners in Roman Road (AKA Camera Works some decades ago...)

I paid a visit to Four corners gallery a few days ago to see the thought-provoking Disposable exhibition. I used to hire a darkroom there back in the days when my camera was an analogue Nikon FM and I lived in East London. Having moved to the other side of town and with digital cameras swamping the market for the past 15 years, I assumed the place had folded for lack of custom.
But on the contrary, they merged with Four Corners Film and have created a unique space for both photographers and film makers. They have a program of training and talks, they still hire darkrooms and studios and they have a gallery. Well worth a visit!

For the Disposable project photographer Adele Watts asked a group of homeless people to take pictures with a disposable film camera. A selection of images were shown, accompanied by a text by each photographer; I'm particularly fond of the images and words by Spike Aston.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Janet Burroway answers Bernard Pivot's questionnaire

Last week Hopcyn Press launched the UK edition of Bridge of Sand, an excellent novel by US author Janet Burroway. Janet came to London and we put her through Bernard Pivot's questionnaire; she didn't even ask to see the questions in advance... we were impressed:
My first foray posting stuff to YouTube as well... so proud!

Monday, 21 October 2013

The Joys of Oxjam Chiswick 2013

Spent most of Saturday at Oxjam Chiswick Music Festival. In its 3rd edition, it was all for a good cause (all proceeds go to Oxfam) and showcases lots of young bands and performers as well as more seasoned artists. Most of the audience seemed to have brought their friends, kids, grannies, husbands and lovers along and the atmosphere was pretty joyful.
From the photographer's point of view, things were less than ideal as most venues hadn't added any lights of any kind so we could actually see the performers as well as hear them. I ended up pushing the ISO to something ridiculous like 4,000 and the result is very grainy/noisy indeed.

Here are a few shots of my favourite two performers: Asha, who performed upstairs at the fabled Metropolis Studios :
and Anouhska Lucas & Band (@AnoushkaLucas and her brilliant EP )  who did one set at the Hogarth Club and one at the Duchess of Cambridge :

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Battersea power station

A few images from my visit to Battersea power station earlier today; it was open to the public as part of Open House London and along with many thousands Londoners I couldn't wait to see it close.
It seems everybody had brought "the big camera" as well as the usual smartphones to immortalize the day. Just behind me one mother who was trying to fit her brood AND one of the chimneys AND the pigeons flying above in the same frame exclaimed: "Aren't I clever! I've got a souvenir of the family and one of the chimney before they change it all, all in the same picture!"

The light was very flat and dull, so the few chunks of bright colour really  stand out.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Back in Blighty after the big skies of New Zealand last month, I was engulfed by domestic chores, lurgy and apathy in front of the everlasting cold weather (any excuse, I know...).
But with the sun out again at last, my energy has returned and been directed towards the garden, in an attempt to revamp the veggie patch...
Obviously in an ideal world my energy would increase tenfold on demand to tackle simultaneously: the neglect of my professional life as well as the one of the walls we live in, the hours of reading in the books sitting near my bed, the kilos of earthenware clay needing wedging - I discovered a couple of years ago that I really liked playing with clay and surface decoration techniques - the many recipes collected over the years that I still haven't tried, the exhibitions not visited yet and closing soon, the list is endless and should include saving the whales and relieving hunger in the world obviously.
But I'll start small and dig the veggie patch... it won't earn me any money but it will keep the family in organic vegetables for the summer, and we won't have to buy overpriced, over travelled and over fertilized salad for some months.

I do hope I have inherited the genes of the women in my family, as they died in their late nineties with their brain intact, and most of their faculties still there. I'm always hugely pleased and hopeful when I come across people like Elsbeth Juda or Sabine Weiss (radio interview in French, click the following link for some of her images ) who, at 101 and 89 respectively, not only boast really rich and varied works but are also still engaged in the world.

So, back to the garden, graced first thing this morning by a fox; I do understand that the urban fox is essentially vermin, but such pretty vermin:
 And the tulips planted last October are coming out, the promise of imminent colour:
I'll get back to my bulging archive pictures in the near future ( I'm very careful about giving myself deadlines !)

Friday, 8 March 2013

A few beasties from NZ

In Britain we have a lot of weather, in New Zealand they have a lot of Nature. The following pictures show only a few of their native fauna.

 A skink in the Native Animals part of Auckland Zoo. And below is the emblematic tuatara, the closest we still have to a dinosaur apparently.

 A Northland green gecko at the Botanic Gardens and the pod of dolphins who followed our boat on the way back from White Island.
 A pied shag surveying the surf at Karekare Beach.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

A walk in Albert Park

Last night we went to the Lantern Festival in Albert Park, Auckland, for the Chinese New Year celebrations. As friends had warned us to label our kids, we knew to expect a crowd. We hung on to each other, stumbled on several invisible tree roots and were ravished...


As this is New Zealand, the Chinese community couldn't ignore sheep farming and the Taniwha ( a creature somewhere between a dragon and a sea serpent, and featuring large in Maori legends)


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Insignificance... or Rotten eggs, Part 2

As we were touring north of Rotorua, we decided to explore NZ only live volcano; it is a 1h30 boat trip to White Island which gets its name from the plume of white smoke the volcano spits constantly.
It looks more inhospitable as the boat approaches, and it is difficult to understand how some bright sparks a hundred years or so ago thought they could just mine the sulphur on the island and ignore the fact they were living on an active volcano; it all ended in tragedy - of course - as anybody with a bit of healthy respect for nature could have predicted...

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

I love the smell of rotten eggs in the morning!

For someone used to life in a temperate climate, where the worst that can happen in the summer is a hosepipe ban and in the winter not quite enough snow to take the skis out, having lots of geothermal activity bubbling under my feet is VERY exciting. These were taken in Wai-O-Tapu, in Central North Island about 25km from Rotorua;
I should point out that absolutely no adjustments to the colours have been made... they are all the results of various minerals in various proportions at temperatures close to boiling.

Between the heat and the acidity, the vegetation closest to the pools looks petrified in ash...

The Champagne Pools, at about 100 degrees you can see tiny bubbles on the bright orange rim

The next one is called the Devil's bath, presumably because the Devil likes lime green water (??)...