Hello and welcome to my photography blog. I’m a documentary photographer and writer from Manchester in the UK. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or watch a short film or three here on vimeo and you can read my own publications here at Issuu.
Manchester had it’s own version of the Tweed Run last week, where people dress up with a bit of style and ride their bikes round town. I joined in and took this photo which was used in a Dutch newspaper article about the phenomena, which baffles the Netherlands, where cycling is such an every day occurrence the idea of cycling culture is completely alien. And no, I didn’t have a go of the penny farthing.
A little over a week after ordering my one-off artist’s book A Nice Pair has arrived. Being a bit of a sucker for Moleskine notebooks, I’ve fancied a go ever since they introduced their photo book printing service.
I’ve just compiled a one-off artist’s book – but there’s no point in producing stuff if it can’t be seen, so it’s available as a pdf. But to make you have to work a bit to see it, you can’t download the pdf here – you will have to email me and I’ll email you the pdf (about 8mb). The original book is a 96 page small landscape shaped Moleskine. Inside are a collection of ‘found’ individual photos from Tumblr and similar sites that are paired with one another so meanings that didn’t exist are made between them. Sometimes the pairings are humorous, sometimes they make uncomfortable associations.
Whenever a number of pictures are presented together, the artist, curator and viewer all make associations between them and if stories don’t exist we make them up. So you are cordially invited to make it up as you go along.
I’m very pleased – nay honoured! to have an article in the new issue of The Modernist, the magazine about 20th Century design published quarterly by The Manchester Modernist Society, a snip at £5. The theme for this issue is ‘Engineering’ and my article is about the Moulton bicycle. There’s also a feature on the Brompton folding bicycle, electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, pylons and other erudite entertainments. The article grew from a blog entry I wrote for Vulpine and they’ll be another on a similar theme in the next issue of The Moulton Club magazine. You can read the text of the Modernist article here, but you will have to go and buy a copy to read the rest and support a very worthy enterprise. Read the rest of this entry »
PART TWO: HIROSHIMA TRAGIC
There are thought to be just 35 photographs taken in Hiroshima on the day the atom bomb was dropped. 4 photos of the burning city, 5 photos of wounded residents, 1 photo of a truck transporting victims, and 25 photos of the mushroom cloud. In the case of 29 of these photographs, the negatives or prints are preserved in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Museum or by newspaper companies. The negatives or prints for the remaining 6 photos, cannot be located, though they once appeared in print. 5 of the 35 were taken by Yoshito Matsushige, a photographer for the Chugoku Shimbun newspaper.
Matsushige said: “The scene I saw through the finder was too cruel. Among the hundreds of injured persons of whom you cannot tell the difference between male and female, there were children screaming ‘It’s hot, it’s hot!’ and infants crying over the body of their mother who appeared to be already dead. I tried to pull myself together by telling myself that I’m a news cameraman, and it is my duty and privilege to take a photograph, even if it is just one, and even if people take me as a devil or a cold-hearted man. I finally managed to press the shutter, but when I looked through the finder for the second time, the object was blurred by tears”. Read the rest of this entry »
PART ONE: HIROSHIMA HEROIC
“In that terrible flash 10,000 miles away, men here have seen not only the fate of Japan, but have glimpsed the future of America”. – ‘Dawn of a New Atomic Era’, James Reston, New York Times, 12 August 1945.
We understand many of the key moments of 20th Century history through the photographic record of those events. There is a relative sparsity of images of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In a way this tells us something of the hidden history of the event, which as I’ve written elsewhere, sees the atomic bombings as the beginning of the cold war rather than the end of the second world war.
There are two perspectives of Hiroshima. They each illustrate and reinforce either an heroic or a tragic narrative. Heroic as seen by the victors above and tragic by the victims below the mushroom cloud.
For their part the Americans took three sorts of photograph on 6 August 1945. Firstly, the historical record of the first military use of an atomic weapon, what U.S. President Harry Truman described as “…the greatest thing in history!” Enola Gay the aircraft that dropped the bomb, had to perform a manoeuvre immediately after releasing the weapon to escape the blast. (Another aircraft would therefore film the explosion.) Read the rest of this entry »
So far, this century has like most others been shaped by war (the title given to Don McCullin’s major retrospective exhibition and book). Since the end of the second Gulf War (the invasion and occupation of Iraq from 2003 to 2011) invasions and battles between armies of nation states have been largely replaced by terrorism and insurgency, intervention and drone strikes. This period has also seen great changes in the way war is reported as the nature of war itself and the technology used to record events has developed.
What is important is how our understanding about conflicts are actually shaped by the availability of images. If images are not available events go under or unreported, or sometimes the side with the best images gets to control the narrative. Read the rest of this entry »