"We carry within us the wonders we seek without us." - Thomas Brown, Religio Medici, 1643
Image Of The Week
The flywheel in operation at the Grade II* listed Grane Mill. Part of the Stott engine that bears the name 'Alice'.
On My Photo Stories Site
You walk into All Saints’ Harewood and you feel like you’re imposing upon the deep slumber of its alabaster occupants. [more...]
From The Shop
Download this digital print at the click of a button. This is one of my favourite photos taken in the Lake District. Wray Castle is swamped by the majesty of nature shouldered by the snow capped Langdale Pikes. [more...]
From The Blog
I hate to say it, but it actually is. This mill is a rare survival of an era that produced tens of thousands of these steam powered factories and then, just as quickly, demolished them. Grane Mill, in Haslingden, [more...]
📸 I've been commissioned for a second round of photography from the van on The Romney Marsh in Kent and East Sussex. Plans are for two days of photography in the Spring.
I don't have a solar panel on the van - so when I'm staying in off-grid locations (such as the Romney Marsh) I use a power block with a 240V plug socket. It runs my laptop etc. The fridge runs separately off my leisure battery which charges when I'm driving. Usually, the van is charged by an electric hook-up supplied by a campsite.
On My Coffee Table
📸 Dark and mysterious with an indigenous feel - I'm drawn to Romanesque sculpture like a moth to a flame. Remarkable to think that these visual nirvanas exist in the heart of our nation's countryside. This style wouldn't look out of place in Angkor Wat. I see Byzantine, Asian, Mediterranean and Celtic influences - what do you see?
From The Charo's
A few years back, whilst in York, I bought a first edition of a book by my venerated photographer, Edwin Smith. Entitled English Cottages and Farmhouses. It held all the elements that appealed to me, combining the organic vernacular of buildings with the creative prowess of my photographic mentor. It’s a highly visual book with delightful black and white photographs of Englands diminishing vernacular heritage: lop-sided roofs, asymmetrical facades, gouged and skewed oak windows.
Hidden inside the book cover are a dozen loose pieces of complimentary writing paper taken from hotels in the USA. One is from the Coliseum in Los Angeles - with the strapline: “ALL ROOMS WITH BATH AND STEAM HEAT”. Another from the Jung Hotel, New Orleans advertises a “charcoal room featuring finest in charcoal-broiled foods”. Written on them in a small neat script and dated “DEC 1957” are some notes taken by a previous owner of my book. In the notes there is talk of stepped roofs and steep gables, oolitic stone and whitewashed granite cottages, chalk and clay, brick and flint. The writer is Alec Clifton-Taylor (whilst lecturing in the United States) taking notes for his as yet unpublished book The Pattern of English Building. Here inside this mid-century book was another chromosome in the creative DNA of everything that was dear to me. The photographer, the photographs, the buildings and the writer.
It’s very rare that you encounter the process of research for a book and a real privilege to get inside the mind of Alec Clifton-Taylor.
“‘Pattern of English Building” - on Twitter
The Romney Marsh Churches
(from the last visit)
All Saints, Burmarsh This week I’ll be photographing fourteen historic churches of Romney Marsh. I’ll be following in the hallowed footsteps of John Piper and visiting places with names that have the rhythm of a Betjeman poem: Brenzett, Brookland and Burmarsh, Snargate, Lydd and Snave. [more...]
The tweet says it all. I sat and watched enviously as a film crew captured the last dregs of sun at St. Thomas Becket in Fairfield, before it was shrouded by a gathering storm cloud. [more...]
St. Augustine lies upon the Walland Marsh in the hamlet of Brookland, Kent. My first site of it was from the north road. Against the sun, its silhouetted mass was struck by the most remarkable C13th angular bell tower. [more...]
Grane Mill, Haslingden.
A wonderful visit this week to visit the volunteers at work at Grane Mill in Haslingden. Here's a few photos from the day.
📸 This is a remarkable read. The lexicography of landscape comes about from our need to make our environment meaningful. I love the bell sound maps - often, the sound-reach of a church bell shaped the medieval town boundary. Eye opening.
How did medieval villagers understand the world around them? Stephen Mileson and Stuart Brookes addressed this question in a research project and recently published book.
Well-Preserved Tudor Wall Paintings Discovered Beneath Plaster at Medieval Manor | Smart News | Smithsonian Magazine
Carbon dating of the artworks' timber frame suggests they date to between the 1540s and 1580s
Fashion photographer Perou and Underworld’s Karl Hyde capture the strangely atmospheric variety of the English underpass
Horatio Clare explores the life, legacy and mythmaking of Jan Morris.
📸 More melancholia for the twilight hours playlist.
I'm fascinated by mirrors. I think it's something about their revelatory nature. A photograph of a mirror is a mirror within a mirror. They ask questions of the observer. Is it the mirror, or what the mirror reveals, that is of interest? There's a voyeuristic element - but (in the photograph or painting) there's also an element of worlds being caught within other worlds. Tied up within the composition is the mind of the photographer, the expectations of the onlooker and the reflection of the image itself.
My home is full of mirrors. I'm comforted by them - they reveal another self, other worlds - they confound my introspection.
Before the Pandemic I started using an old mirror in portraits of people that I met on my travels.
Then, during lockdown, I took a series of photographs of a piece of silvered glass.
The subject of each photo is a piece of silvered glass [more...]
And then after lockdown I exhibited a piece as part of the Portraiture and Place exhibition at Bury Art Museum. A portrait of subject and artist.
The Walker Family: Portraiture and Place Just before the onset of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, alongside other volunteers, I became a ‘culture champion.’ Guided by project leader Gina Warburton, our task was to explore the nature of portraiture through a series of Victorian portraits of the Walker family. [more...]
Recently, in Herefordshire at the Grayson Perry exhibition I noticed a mirror on the wall of one of his tapestries. In placing a photographer within the mirror, Perry creates another world beyond the tapestry. There's the reflection, and then there's the imagined world where the photographer stands on the spot that corresponds to where I am stood. The photographer in the mirror is me. It is also a world that captures another side of the person in the yellow dress - a world of diverse perspectives.
The disappointment of coming across a burnt out van in our local woods was turned int the joy of creative photography. Afterwards I felt like I'd popped the proverbial flower into the proverbial gun barrel.
Thanks for alll your support and emails. See you next Friday.