Friday, 25 March 2011


Further to this post, here's another of Birmingham statuary -- James Watt with John Madin's brutalist central library in the background, currently adorned with Lucy McLauchlan's artwork. Worth taking, I think because this particular conjunction won't be observable for all that much longer -- if Madin's masterpiece does come down. Interestingly, as I noted in the earlier post Madin still seems to feel that it will be saved...

UPDATE: Amazingly, I just stumbled across this -- a September 1973 (74?) issue of Birmingham's Grapevine, the free press pre-cursor to What's On, devoted to a very critical assessment of Madin. Fascinating stuff. With thanks to Brian Homer.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Winter graveyard/winter rush-hour

A beautiful winter graveyard..where we are all headed, I suppose.

Two scenes in Chinatown

The River

I have hung around photographing the floozie in the jacuzzi -- Dhruva Mistry's The River -- off and on all winter, hoping that something in this much photographed scene will translate itself into a worthwhile picture.

Finally, I got a picture I love. For me, this reinforces the idea that sometimes you just have to keep plugging away at something until you finally get to photograph it as you see it. It may be just a detail, it may be in particular light, it may be a specific moment -- the interaction with people, a split second's drama -- or it may simply be finally catching an otherwise 'well-worn' view in a way that finally coincides with what you had in your mind's eye.

Winter catacombs

Monday, 7 March 2011


Ian Berry's Whitechapel

There was an excellent piece in yesterday's Observer -- a huge double-page spread photograph taken by Magnum photographer Ian Berry in Whitechapel in 1972. It captures the changing look and feel of the streets during that period and was taken as part of a project commissioned by the Whitechapel gallery to document life on the gellery's doorstep.

What in many ways is most interesting about it is Berry's assessment that it just misses being a 'great picture' because the overall composition is spoilt by a 'white car'. Now, Berry doesn't say which white car -- the one exiting the frame left (and which to me seems to balance the black cab entering the frame right), or the VW, just visible behind the head of the woman on the left... Which car convinced Berry he hadn't quite nailed it?

It also reinforces the fact that with street photography, luck, judgement and subsequent editing are everything -- the difference between great and enduring, and not quite...