South of England Agricultural show two weeks ago.
I spent last night with 25,000 other good souls at Stonehenge for the summer solstice. Back home now, I’ve had breakfast, decent coffee, a couple of hours kip, the shower can wait for an hour or two while I can catch up with all those things that build up after only a couple of days away. Observations on this years proceedings….. I heard a lot of Spanish, the policing was less intrusive, the druidical side was less apparent ( probably due to the crowds), the sun showed itself for a few minutes at sunrise then disappeared behind a curtain of grey. The highlights for me were a man dressed as a badger playing ‘Danny Boy’ on the saxophone, and a couple of chaps dressed in 18th century garb singing a song entitled ‘Take your shoes and socks off and throw them in the air’, those that did went home barefoot. The anarchic edge of Stonehenge’s summer bash has long since gone but all in all it’s a fun, free event and a chance sit in a field, dress up and be silly with like minded folk for a few hours. From a personal and a photographic perspective though I prefer it’s winter equivalent.
On the way over to Wiltshire I stopped by in a very lush and verdant New Forest in search of wildlife to add to the ‘ark’. Amusingly (for me anyway) I found a herd of ponies disrupting a cricket match while several cows looked on from the boundary rope. I came away smiling… one of those English moments I relish.
The photo is from last years Stonehenge, I’ll process the film from latest trip today when I’ve gulped a bit more coffee.
The great thing about Brighton is that there is always something ‘going on’ and it’s that for me which makes it a great place to live and make photographs, I feel very lucky to have lived here for most of my life, and I frequently remind my children of their good fortune. Yes of course, like everywhere it’s changed a lot over the years mainly in the fact that the only people who can afford to buy a house here now are Londoners with London incomes and London homes to sell. Thankfully I’m free from the shackles of a mortgage and the house is large enough to comfortably accommodate us all thus I don’t feel under huge financial pressure to work my fingers to the bone for a crust which enables me to get out and about with the camera reasonably frequently.
I’ve been in the darkroom this evening catching up on a bit of printing from the past couple of weeks which I really enjoyed as a couple of the pics made me chuckle. This weekend I’m off to Stonehenge via the New Forest for the summer solstice (yet again) which generally turns up something interesting on the photographic front. It’s always fun as well to have a night kipping/ camping in my dear old London taxi.
The lead photograph was taken on Brighton Pier a couple of weeks ago.. now that is what you call a neck !
The naked bike ride is one of those annual events on the Brighton calendar which by it’s very nature throws up interesting juxtapositions, needless to some of which are becoming cliches. It’s certainly a day out for the ‘aren’t we wacky, weird and liberated brigade’ who give the city it’s bohemian/alternative credentials and keep wandering photographers like myself on their toes and in hope of something round the corner.
This photograph was taken last year on my stomping ground at the back of London Road.
I confess to being one of those who likes to wander around a good graveyard, not out of morbidity but I simply find them visually interesting and poignant places. There was an interesting piece on Radio 4 the other day about humorous and elegiac epitaphs, none surpassed though by the great Spike Milligan’s ” I told you I was ill”. Anyway as today is one of those “dreaded sunny days” that Morrissey sang about in the 80’s and the photograph is from that same era I thought it would be (in)appropriate. I’m off on my annual pilgrimage to that melting pot of English culture the Epsom Derby this afternoon and I would prefer, both from a photographic and sunburn point of view, that there were a few more clouds in the sky.
The camera the Barney is holding I bought nearly 30 years ago and it still serves me well to this day, it has been dropped and bashed on countless occasions and bears all the scars of my renowned mistreatment of possessions. You can clearly see one dent above the viewfinder. Of the four Leica’s I own it is undoubtedly the one I reach for first, closely followed by a 1957 M3, on the occasions I use a flash I have a pocket sized 1973 Leica CL. The results they produce have a certain ‘signature’, which often invokes the question “when were these taken”. They are heavy, they have no light meters, focussing and exposure are hit and miss, they are simple, quiet and unobtrusive, for me they are a joy and I still get the same buzz as when I picked one up all those moons ago.