Friday, December 20, 2013


After months of painful neglect, the back garden was finally cleared, thanks to Scott from Greenleaf. I told Scott I liked the garden to be kept in its 'natural state' and not to move any of the various discarded items he found lying around, pots of dead plants, broken chairs, cooking utensils, etc. — You did a great job, Scott, thanks!

This blog isn't for technical stuff about photography, but as it happens I'd never done a stand development and wanted to try it out. There was some film in my old Rank Aldis Rangefinder, so I just went round the garden quickly, shooting anything that caught my eye.

Gloomy mid-afternoon. The light meter said f2.8 at 60th at ASA 800 but contrast was flat so I thought it was safe to go down to f4 (ASA 1600). Then the film was stand developed for 70 minutes in Rodinal R09 2.5ml + 250ml in a steel tank. Theory is that the relatively small amount of developer gets completely exhausted developing the highlights so it starts working on bringing out the shadow detail.

The result was decent, negs thin but well detailed. I've read that you need at least 6ml of developer, or even 10ml per film, which would require a 1000ml tank. That's complete rubbish. The Agfa Rodinal data sheet says 'minimum 2.5ml per film' which is good enough for me.

For the second image (garden bench) I stopped down to f5.6 at 30th to get a bit more depth of field, which is about the slowest I can risk without camera shake.

Job done.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Minimalism/ symbolism

I'm not sure about these...

Miniature clay head, unknown provenance

Beach at Bridlington, East Yorkshire

Or these...

Asline Road, nr Bramall Lane, Sheffield

Heeley Retail Park, Chesterfield Road, Sheffield

As Andre Kertesz says, you've got to keep looking for something different, don't take a shot just because it resembles images you've shot before. Don't lose your photographer's eye.

I won't make any judgements. I saw something I 'liked', and these are the record. On to the next.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


I am Gulliver
In the Land of Lilliput
And you are
The Little People
Your squeaky
Boos and cheers
Are like the buzzing
And chirping
Of insects

Zero-RAM Friday, June 8 2012

Sheffield Canal Basin

Ruskin Gallery, Sheffield

Footbridge, Meadowhall Interchange, Sheffield

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Absent presence

'The inescapble fact is that the world is a human world. The human being is in every photograph you take, whether you actually see a human being there or not, just because the photograph was taken by a human being. But that is not news. The common factor, factors out.' — Metaphysics of the Photograph

Car park opposite Sheffield Bus Interchange. I wasn't trying to make a point or express a mood. I just like the image. I liked what I saw enough to take the camera out and shoot it. But looking at it now there seems to be something extra that wasn't in my mind at the time, at least consciously — the question: Why isn't there anyone here? What happened?

Here too:

Newark Castle, sacked and burned by the Roundheads in the English Civil War after a protracted siege.

Gardens of Beauchief Abbey, Sheffield.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Car park

I had a vision
Which I am trying
To understand
Looking out
Through the windows
Of a multi-storey car park
On the concrete stairs

Zero-RAM Friday, June 29 2012

Starbucks, Market Square, Newark

Art gallery, Bradford

Meadowhall Bus Terminus cafe, Sheffield

Saturday, November 9, 2013

It's about the frame

I'm tempted to make a new rule for myself, 'I don't do vertical.' A row of horizontal rectangles is boring you say. Well then, why not square? circular? triangular? This is the frame I work with. It's 35mm, the same size, the same proportions every time. That'll do for me.

To get the full effect click and see the larger version. One of the photos on the wall is looking at you.

Taken on the stairs after the museum attendant at the Graves Art Gallery chased me out. At first, I didn't notice the hunched figure on the right edge of the frame. I'm guessing that the 'birds' mobile is a school kids project.

Chef and waiter taking a quick cigarette break outside the Pizza Express, Peace Gardens Sheffield. The stainless steel stop sign was the first thing that caught my attention. The effect of all the vertical lines is disturbing.

A view of Newark Castle, Newark upon Trent which you probably haven't seen before. The second shadow is my eldest daughter Ruth, who came along for the car ride.

This was done with a 24mm lens on my Ricoh KR-10 Super SLR. The other three were with a Leica Mini-Zoom 35-70mm. I need an unobtrusive camera to carry around in my pocket, and the plastic Leica is a good ruse to put people off the fact that I'm going about things with a sense of purpose. The Ricoh is for when I don't have to worry.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Baby steps

Sheffield city centre, standing in one of the doorways of the Lyceum Theatre opposite the Crucible. An obvious picture, but I worked at this.

Nothing much else to see... then I turned round and noticed my camera bag. Tried that, then looked for a better doorway. Not much to choose between them but this had nicer light.

It occurs to me that these are another two examples of 'flawed symmetry' (January 7th 2012). Why am I so obsessed by this?

Then to the Ruskin Collection in the Millennium Galleries where I've spent many a quiet half hour. As in the previous two images, the main object of interest is right in the middle of the frame.

Not much, but it's a start. Baby steps.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Starting again

Wittgenstein in his extended discussion of 'following a rule' talks about the feeling that you have, 'I know how to go on.' You just know. You get it. You can be wrong, of course. You think you have it but you don't, still. The proof is in the execution.

I know how to go on. I have shot less films in my entire life than some photographers shoot (or used to shoot, before digital) in a week. I have a 500ml bottle of Kodak Photo-Flo wetting agent (1+200) which I bought in 1970 and there's at least another 50 films to go before the bottle is finished.

This time it is different. These pages (this is the 4th!) have helped. My interest isn't humanistic. I know that now. It isn't pictorial (despite many lapses). It isn't an interest in abstraction or composition. I was clear enough about that in Metaphysics of the Photograph. The problem was I couldn't see a way to work. There's got to be a better way than walking randomly looking for you don't know what.

There is a way, and it is so simple. Find a place and stay there. It doesn't matter whether you can see 'photographic possibilities' or not. Give it time, and you will see them. The pictures will come to you. Sit or stand, whatever works for you, and start looking. Start thinking.

The first image was taken canal-side in Newark-Upon-Trent. This is further down the canal. The second shadow is my daugher Judith.

And here she is again in a strange reflection shot. Or is it? I remember seeing something similar in Lee Friedlander. A reflection that somehow couldn't be a reflection, but you couldn't work it out. Because it's a double-exposure (unintentional, in my case).