30 April 2008

What we sometimes do to one another

James Nachtwey at TED. Unmissable.

Oh Lordy

Had on my Bridgend Specials today, trousers so horrible that offing myself crosses my mind whenever I notice them (which, given the driving rain accompanying me both to, from and during work, was quite often as they flapped soddenly round my lillywhite ankles). Down to 3 pairs for work at the moment, partly because I am obviously freakishly dysmorphic judging by the sizes on offer in the shops, and partly because buying trousers has to be up there with digging your own grave on the list of things one wouldn't want to spend one's spare time doing.

27 April 2008

Tin Ears?

What happens when one of the world's foremost violinists busks during rush hour - does he make much cash? Find out here in a great multi-media, well thought out article that makes for very interesting reading.

Twine: A Work in Progress

Am trying out the beta of Twine. Don't quite get it yet but watch this space.

Update 30/04: It doesn't work. "Twine This" - I can't. Report the problem? It comes up with a link to a hotmail account I haven't used in centuries (admittedly probably a problem with my computer set up perhaps).

Ducks

Benches, Kew Gardens

24 April 2008

My Eyes - courtesy of today's eye exam



See my Flickr stream for a full run down on the ins and outs of my lazy eye should your life be incomplete without this information.
I can, I must say, heartily recommend Vision Express - very professional, very clear, a special offer on the eye exam meant very inexpensive, and all in all very reassuring. Their glasses are not cheap but the service I had today was exemplary.
Up top is my lazy right eye, below is the better functioning left. I was told not to worry about the darker red areas - dust on the machine apparently.
Do go to Vision Express if you are in need of a check up - after all, it isn't every day that you get photos of close ups of your body parts to post on the interwebs.

Empty Benches in the Sun


You know, I like my "Empty Bench" series and the fact that nobody else does? Well to hell with them.

Sackler Bridge, Kew Gardens

Rushes

Depressed Moorhen 2

Depressed Moorhen

20 April 2008

Florentine sunset

Photography as Art

Having spent Friday night in prison in Oxford I wanted to recuperate a little yesterday and so took the time to visit the Ansel Adams exhibition at Oxford's modern art museum. Now, back when I were a nipper during my phirst phase of photographic interest, between the ages of about 18 and 25 (before the Exeter sojourn and the heavy-duty clubbing period thereafter), I remember I loved his work. However, since then, sadly, a more cynical Patrick held sway for a while (cynicism, for a long while, being my idea of sophistication) and I rather went off his pictures, or at least, the idea of his pictures. It seemed to me that everyone who had even the remotest interest in photography cited Adams as a key influence and criticism of him appeared off-limits. During this time I wasn't even sure that photography was an art, and that Adams couldn't be as good as I'd thought because he earned near universal praise for his work (I know, strange distorted thinking, but that's how it went). So anyway, I didn't much bother with him.
Fast forward to April 2008 and I can see what a Dumbkopf I have been. The pictures are, as any fule kno, astonishingly beautiful. They have an impact that totally belies their size and, if you have even a passing interest in photography, should be seen at least once in a lifetime. But anyway, you probably knew that. What was also good for me, though, was the fact that the pictures got me interested and made me pick up a book of his letters in which I almost immediately came across the following quote, written by him in his early thirties:

"The economic problem is a perennial one which I accept because I made my own choice many years ago. I could have spent time and effort making money; I chose to spend it on my work. My real problem is a more personal one;- the need of being alone. I am not anti-social; I have a deep affection for my friends and family, feel deeply for suffering humanity (also for suffering animals!) but at times I have a desperate need to be absolutely alone. This desire is all bound up in my work."

This was a revelation to me - I hadn't known anything much about the man before (still don't of course, though I bought the book so I hope to partially rectify this), but here he was echoing exactly what I have thought myself a thousand times about the need to be alone. Now, if I can be strong enough to make the connection he made between the need for solitude and the Art of photography (I can call it that now that I have revisited his pictures, though I make no claims here for my own), then this will be an exciting new chapter of my development.

UPDATE: Of course all the above would be better were it not for the fact that the man responsible for the quote was not Ansel Adams but his friend Edward Weston. Ah well, I'll have to go to one of his exhibitions now...

16 April 2008

Four Pints

It is too many. Three and things are fine. Four and online scrabble becomes a challenge and one begins to wonder about death. And one's diet.

The Heffalump Comment

Heffalump comment: visible both here and at Flickr - one is initially excited to see that one has a comment, only to discover that it is a reference to one that the author oneself has left in reply to someone else's musings (normally, of course, their musings are singular).

14 April 2008

Florence

Florence


This one is growing on me more and more. A bit cheesy I thought at first, but now I'm coming back to it frequently and thinking fondly of Florence in the spring, the beautiful old city somehow able to remain aloof above, behind and around the teeming hordes. You can go, you can see, you can try and capture the essence, but you won't be able to spoil the city - which makes you feel kind of good.

13 April 2008

Somerset House

My Bedside Table


There was a great article on this theme in the Guardian yesterday which gave some interesting insights into how people operate, or at least how they might want other people to perceive them to operate. Anyway, I present to you my bedside table. The writing is a bit unclear - apologies. Essentially, however, the picture shows a radio alarm tuned to BBC radio four. Goes off six thirty. Thus is the getting-ready-for-work routine carried out to the cadences of the Today programme. Next up: some tablets - probably medicines will come to dominate more and more space as I get older, but for now at any rate they don't take up much room. Then there is the photography magazine - late night reading for inspiration, education and techno-lust. Then we have some random sunglasses - not sure why they are there; they are not prescription so, when wearing them, although I look as cool as Officer Francis Llewellyn "Ponch" Poncherello from CHIPS (!)*, I can actually see bugger all. A book of gardens follows - looking at this is very relaxing and soporific. Finally there is a copy of Lionel Shriver's There's Something about Kevin, one of those books that everyone who has read it says, without fail, that it is an amazing piece of work - I have yet to start it.
There now, that's my bedside table, where's yours?

*Minus the tan, teeth, torso, uniform and motorcycle of course.

The Women of World War II: Memorial, Whitehall


The London Marathon today meant that Whitehall was closed to traffic so shots such as this were possible.

'ello 'ello.....

Earl Haig's Hoss, Whitehall

Nice Ass (!)

The War Against Terror (TWAT): Downing Street


Ooh, thanks Tony, I feel much safer now.
By the way, I in no way mean to imply the occifer is a twat, rather that his ultimate boss, the PM, was and, of course, the current one has done little to change this perception.

London Marathon Supporters

7 April 2008

Shedding light on China

First London, now Paris: fiasco in the streets. How marvellous. I don't, I'm afraid, have a deep understanding of the history of Tibet but then I wasn't taking part just for that poor benighted country, I was there to oppose Chinese human rights abuses in general. Oh I know, it was a little thing and but a pinprick on the elephant, but still it felt good. I hope San Francisco continues the trend.

In the Woods