A Morning at Cartwright Hall

I live in a fabulous part of the world. The richness of its culture is erm well rich. Cartwright Hall in Bradford houses a wonderful art collection and its grounds beg to be photographed.

One day in June 2019 I visited the hall which is situated in Lister Park. It was built with a donation of £40,000 from by Samuel Lister a local mill owner.

The photographs were all taken with my Lumix G90 camera and an Olympus f1. 8 17mm lens.

Cloud Photographs. Equivalent to what?

I can’t really say why I photograph anything as I wander.  Something appeals or grabs me.  The photographs here weren’t taken as a project they have been culled from images taken since 2011.  I was inspired to put them together by the quote below from Haruki Murakami in his book IQ84.

‘He spent day after day feeling uneasy and muddled, liken someone who had swallowed a thick swatch of cloud’

Alfred Stieglitz made a series of cloud pictures a long time ago.  He called them Equivalents  a rather pretentious title I think, they’re clouds!  Some people talk about them as being the first ever abstract photographs.  I don’t think they are, in fact I don’t really understand how you can have an abstract photograph really. At best they are details of a real concrete subject.  Here is a link to a bunch of Stieglitz’s clouds

Here is a bunch of my cloud pictures. Click them to see them bigger and or a slideshow.



Presenting Past Pictures Perfectly

I am trying to put together a presentation for a talk to a school next week on the theme of Light and Dark using a retrospective collection of images.   One of the difficulties is not getting sidetracked when trying to look at old work without getting embroiled in editing it.  The tools available in the software I use for post production, Adobe Lightroom Classic have changed and I can now realise some fantastic pictures from the information available in old digital files effectively the modern negative.  The picture here is a prime example I love what I have been able to do now using the new tools.  The picture is also a selfie the beady eye at the bottom of the frame

I am available for one on one or small groups for tuition if you would like to know what I do.  Drop me an email there is a link on here.




Huawei P20 pro 320 feet Down Gaping Gill

On the 12th of August 2019 I did something I said I would never do, potholing. Well, kind of potholing I was winched 320 feet down into the massive Gaping Gill in the Yorkshire dales by members of the Craven Potholing Club. I felt safe throughout the whole process. I arrived in Clapham the night before and kipped in my camper in Clapham village in the street. The village itself is more than a little interesting for various reasons not the least of which is the fact that playwright Alan Bennett has a house there.

I was up at the crack of dawn to meet Lee Bosworth and Barb Hinchcliffe at 7 for the hour’s walk to the entrance of the cave. Barb runs a Facebook group Hiking Is a Lifestyle. I would recommend waterproof boots and full waterproof clothing.

We walked to Gaping Gill which is part way up one of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks via the Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail which I think costs a quid each.

The queue to enter the cave was about an hour an hour. The winch ride is quick, wet and exciting rather than scary. The cave was formed by water and you go in the same hole the water does. You can spend as long down there as you like.

I decided not to take a camera. I considered using my Lumix G90 and Olympus f1.2 lens which are both weatherproof and in hindsight I think they would have survived. All the pictures here were taken with my Huawei P20 pro. No waterproof case just as it comes. I shot in the normal photo mode at 40m pixels. I did try using the pro and aperture modes without much success. The pictures were imported into Lightroom on my phone and they then miraculously appear on my Macbook Pro in Lightroom.

Click one of the pictures to start a slideshow and to see the whole image.

When using a P20 pro phone camera if you hold your finger on the the screen 2 circles appear one locks the focus and the other with the lightbulb locks exposure. On the two screen grabs you can see the effect moving the exposure circle has on the picture. It simply moves the area where the light is measured varying the exposure. I used this feature underground quite a bit.


Artists Explaining Themselves

I have visited countless exhibitions over the years. I have always been of the opinion that explanations are unnecessary. I often relate this Robert Frost story.  When he was asked to explain a poem he replied, “So you want me to say it worse.” I once had an exhibition where the audience only knew who had taken the pictures – no titles – no explanations. I loved the look of it. Maybe just the fact that I was the maker was too much information. Maybe that would raise expectations in the mind and eye of the viewer – prejudice.

I usually look at works and if I feel satisfied I leave without reading explanations.

However I went to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. There is a work there by Roger Hiorns which is simply 2 scrap jet engines from a U.S. military plane sited on a terrace.

Sculpture by Roger Hiorns
Two redundant jet engines, form a sculpture by Roger Hiorns photograph Robert Norbury

I remembered seeing his exhibition at the Hepworth Wakefield which had a profound visual and emotional effect on me, I never wondered what Hiorns intended us to feel. The exhibition was a number of old engines and steel work benches like the ones I imagine you would find in a laboratory. Plus other objects. At the time I was working at the Hepworth as a kind of resident artist running workshops. I wandered round the work but initially it left me cold. Then someone came in and placed small piles of white powder on the benches and set fire to it.

At some point I became aware of two young men (I think two) in white shirts and black trousers. I watched one of them remove all his clothes and then seat himself on one of the benches. Few people in the room seemed to notice what was going on. I photographed this process. I can’t remember whether I read any kind of explanation but it didn’t seem to matter at the time.

Click the pictures to start a slideshow.

However when I saw his current display at the Y.S.P. I was at a loss as to what it was all about. I don’t think dereliction is an interesting subject any more. I read the explanation and was impressed to say the least. I will still always look at work first then read the explanation but I will read them. The engines are from a decommissioned American reconnaissance plane. Machines designed to reduce anxiety of a threat from another nation. Within the engines are crushed tablets commonly used to treat depression and the symptoms of trauma. I would never have known this without the explanation. I was impressed by Hiorns’s train of thought.

When I take a photograph I rarely have any kind of philosophical intent. The elements of the composition or the main subject impress me to capture them. As I press the button my mind is blank. Maybe that’s why I have had difficulty working on themes or series. I don’t know why I take the pictures but my mind eye and heart are in register when I do.

Heartbroken Potwasher

Today’s office is Starbucks at Hartshead Moor, Service Station. Drinking out out of paper because the pot-washer is broken.

Having visions of a human pot washer sitting in a shitty room behind the scenes having a nervous breakdown or a heart breakage.

Image taken with Huawei P20 pro on Aperture setting at f0.95.  Processed in Lightroom Mobile using my own black and white high contrast pre-set and a little burning in.  I find getting a satisfactory image straight out of the phone impossible.  Same with a camera really.  If you want to learn how to do it get in touch.


The Tate St Ives

I came to St Ives to be solitary, to think about blogging and my work.

Also to work out the WordPress apps. I have been solitary and tried to think of things to blog about. Of course my mind has been blocked. Until this morning I went to the Tate St Ives. A fabulous building. So I decided to produce a snippet from this trip as a taster.

All the shots were taken with the Lumix G90 which I absolutely adore. Matched with an Olympus 17mm f1. 2 lens. A great combination for the seaside as they are both dust and splashproof. I used the program mode for all the shots and varied the exposure using the exposure compensation feature using my thumb on the rear control wheel. One way for darker t’other for lighter.

I had spotted the woman in cloche hat earlier, I used focus lock again with my thumb to focus on the back of her head as soon as she turned..snapped the shutter.

The guy in silhouette was in the restaurant sitting behind me. Using wifi I pointed the camera rearwards. I was able to compose and take the shot with my phone without ever looking in his direction.

The pictures were then sent to my Huawei P20 pro phone by wifi and processed there in Lightroom.

Bleedin ‘ell I am in Beadnell again.

I am at Beadnell for the umpteenth time. I love it here. Took these pictures this afternoon with my new Lumix G90 and Olympus 17mm f1. 8 lens then wifi whizzed ’em to my phone. Decided one just had to be colour for a change.


For What its Worth, Buying Second Hand Books

I do like to support local businesess when I can. However at Barter Books in Alnwick this morning I spotted a second hand book about the photographer Brassai priced at £32. I saw the same book at 81p on Abe books with £2.60 postage, this seller cannot be making any money.


Any road here is a selection of photographs inspired by the experience.