Less a blog and more a manifesto

This part of my website is less a blog and more a series of posted statements about my various ongoing photographic projects - a set of artist statements to explain the rationale behind each of the projects represented on this website

Godrevy Point, Cornwall
Cornwall
St Ives
St Ives
Cloud formation
Stubbington e © slider
Waltham Abbey
Graffiti
Sawn logs

Blog

Bespoke Numbers

This collection of numbers represents the more individual and hand-crafted numbers that I have come across in my wanderings in France and England. It does not include professionally made, customised house numbers but those that have been lovingly made as one-off designs. The technical and artistic skill involved in the making obviously varies considerably but the intent is quite clear to make a personal, proud and positive statement to the outside world. Interestingly the more exotic ones have tended to be found in seaside locations, or places where there is a strong craft or artistic tradition. Some of the images are also included in other themed galleries.

Click here or on one of the numbers below to go to this gallery of bespoke numbers

Rochefort-en-Terre

La Roche-Bernard

Locmariaquer

Newlyn, Cornwall

Pagham, West Sussex

French Numbers

House numbers in France (when compared with those in England) tend to reflect the more subtle cultural and political differences between our two countries. Some towns and villages that I have visited in France have settled on a kind of ‘house style’ for their house numbers, to identify and celebrate the local community, what might be termed civic pride. There is, of course the distinctive and ubiquitous white numbering on blue enamel style to be seen throughout large parts of France that speaks of national pride, but towns like Bayeux and St Malo (for instance) have their own very distinctive style of number ‘plates’, and in Quimper faience style decorative ceramic tiles abound. But there are always idiosyncratic exceptions to the ‘rule’ and nowhere is this more pronounced than in coastal locations where the exception tends to become the rule and where sometimes weirdly individualistic and distinctive house numbers are much more in evidence. In some of the Petites Cités de Caractére the house number style would appear to be strictly controlled (as it would be in a National Trust village like Lacock, here in England, for instance) but there are always intriguing exceptions to be found – statements of individuality and minor acts of rebellion, and uniqueness. And then there is the wear and tear; the rusting and peeling; the cracking and crazing that create the patina of ageing to add meaning, significance, character and personality to the otherwise anonymous number. Click here to view the Gallery

Pontivy

St Malo

Bayeux

Quimper

Locmariaquer

For more individualistic numbers from France and England visit my Bespoke Numbers Gallery

A new collection

Breton Shutter Dogs: Breton in style and name but found all over northern France. These little hinged beauties are made from cast iron or brass and are used to hold back traditional opened window shutters. In the design of a traditional Breton ‘shepherdess’ (or sailor) they can take various forms, depending on the particular manufacturer, and can be found in various states of dis-repair or decay. Sometimes, like the metal hinges, they have clearly out-lived the wooden shutters that they were once supposed to hold back. And sometimes the years of rust and layers of paint have all but obscured their original form. Although only a very small and apparently insignificant (but practical) architectural detail, they have a fascination for me that is all their own, as they are so typically ‘French’. Click on any of the images below to see the full collection , so far . . . . . 

France-2015-3-268-esq-© France-2015-4-205-esq-© France-2-2015---Day-2-031-esq-© France-2-2015---Day-1-049-esq-©France-2-2015---Day-6-075-esq-©

I have recently organised these images into a digital e-book with a historical introduction – see here

Boat Numbers

Boat Numbers: Not quite train-spotting but not far off! Somehow though boat registration numbers are a little more romantic, and importantly are somewhat more visually interesting and colourful than train numbers. That these boats have registration numbers means that they are able to sail out of British territorial waters, and that they are linked to their home port. Click on any of the images below to see my gallery of boat numbers.

SS1-St-Ives---Day-8-323-esq-© SS2-St-Ives---Day-8-321-esq-© SS4-St-Ives---Day-8-305-esq-© SS10-St-Ives---Day-8-318-esq-© St-Ives---Day-8-311-esq-©

French Boat Numbers

A recent brief visit to France afforded me the opportunity to photograph some French Boat Registration Numbers to add to my meagre collection of two. That collection has now grown to twelve and will hopefully, in the coming months, expand further. For the current Gallery click here.

Boat Number - CN 260875

Boat Number - FC 276205

Boat Number - CH 449345

Boat Number - CH 922443

More Number Galleries

The Number Galleries just keep coming on my website – First, as an extension of my Numbers in Colour, there is a gallery of Numbers in Pastel Shades, then a gallery of Numbers in Tertiary Colours, and Numbers in Monochrome, and then a gallery of Numbers in Words, and meanwhile various others of my existing Number Galleries have been added to or developed, including Numbers on Boats, Numbers with a Seaside Theme, Numbers 301 – 400, Numbers 401 – 500 and Numbers 500 plus“. Further Galleries will follow shortly.

Pastel Shades

1-ludlow-sept-2016-242-esq-2_resize 011-southsea-dec-2011-68-esq-_resize

17 St Ives - September 2013

Hill Head

009-hayling-island-april-09-009-esq-_resize

Tertiary Colours

5-ludlow-sept-2016-179-esq-_resize 11-ludlow-sept-2016-391-esq-_resize 048-hayling-island-april-09-053-esq_resize 352-chigwell-may-2012-069-esq-_resize 680-woodford-may-2012-008-esq-_resize

Monochrome

005-chichester-march-07-45-esq-_resize

24 Rennes, Loire Atlantique

Winchester

55-ludlow-sept-2016-212-esq-_resize 217-fareham-2012-05-esq-_resize

Words

1-london-april-24-esq-_resize 3-the-green-liskeard-02-esq 7-chichester-nov-2013-46-esq-_resize

16 St Ives - September 2013

027-winchester-april-09-25-esq-_resizeWhite bar wide

More waves

Two more Wave Galleries – I have added another two galleries to my “waves” collection, having recently visited Hill Head in Fareham and Stokes Bay in Gosport (each for the umpteenth time), with my camera. I was reasonably pleased with some of the results and have created a second and third photo gallery. There is something endlessly fascinating about how and where the sea meets the land, and about watching even small insignificant waves relentlessly landing on the seashore, whether lapping or crashing – each one unique, but part of and endless pattern of rhythmic movement. Personally I prefer to have my feet firmly planted on terra firma, but could watch the sea for hours as it interacts with the shoreline. The sound of this never ending interaction of sea and land is also fascinating so I have included a soundtrack to go with the two slideshows. Click here to see my “Waves II” Gallery and here for the “Waves III” Gallery

Stokes Bay 2 - Aug 2016 163 es ©_resize Stokes Bay 2 - Aug 2016 060 es ©_resize

Breton Shutter Dogs – The Book

Quite pleased to have finally got this e-book thingy to work on my website. Had a printed version made by PhotoBox and again was quite pleased with the result.

Added to collection

An expanding collection: Still celebrating World Photography day (19th August) I visited Portsmouth Harbour yesterday afternoon and made significant additions to my on-going collection of Fishing Boat Registration Numbers – interesting to see the number and range of ports represented there (from North Shields to Newhaven) – the recent heatwave continued unabated during the day but it was good to see the large number of visitors to Old Portsmouth which seems to have undergone something of a revival in recent years – an on-going gentrification process. See the full collection here, including ‘spares’

NN 25 Boat registration

BH4 Boat registration

RX 82 Boat registration

SN 108 Boat registration

P 1016 Boat registration

Numbers on gates

Numbers on gates: Still celebrating World Photography Day (19th to 25th August) with another ‘new’ collection of photographed numbers on my website – these numbers are linked by being on gates. There are some conscious repeats and some notable omissions, in this collection, which is arranged randomly this time, rather than in sequence. There are many that are ingenious, some surprising and even a few stunning examples. The collection has so far taken me some eight years to build but this is the first time I have put them together in this garden gate themed collection. All very well and good if you have a garden gate to put your number on, but not all of us do, so please enjoy the sheer range and variety from those who have, in this gallery.

Brighton

011 Southsea esq ©_resize

3 St Ives - September 2013

60 Bristol '07 (Dec) 05 esq ©_resize

Fareham, Hampshire

World Photography Day

World Photography Day* – To celebrate World Photo Day 2016 (19th August) I have uploaded more images to my personal website, adding to my photo collections of Boat Registration Numbers, House Numbers with a Seaside theme, Worn or Stitched Numbers, Lighthouses and “Signs of Colour“.

*But let’s not forget the very significant contributions of the Englishman William Henry Fox Talbot and the other Frenchman Nicephore Niepce

Bognor Regis39-Pagham---Aug-2016-009-esq-©45-St-Ives---March-2015-053-esq-©_resize

Garden Lighthouse

Another on-going collection

French Carousels and Gallopers –

Day-9b---Quimper-003a-esq-© France-2015-3-390-esq-© Paris-Day-1-173esq-© France-2012-D5-1144-esq-© D5-France-2013-330-esq-©

New arrangement

Brief Encounters – a new arrangement: I am in the process of re-arranging my Brief Encounters photographs on the website, to make more sense of them. The main change is to divide the photographs into groups, according to location – e.g. encounters in Paris, France (mainly Normandy), Brittany, Munich & Venice, and a new set from Cornwall. This is a project which is on-going and I still have many photographs to process and add to the collection. It is my intention to create a series of slideshows (one for each of the galleries) and to properly caption each of the photographs to give a brief explanation of every encounter.

Paris 2011

Paris

Encounter 2012

France

France-2-2015---Day-4-176-esq-©

Brittany

7-Venice-4142

Munich & Venice

St-Ives---Day-11-033-esq-©

Cornwall

Waves

Waves: There is something endlessly fascinating about watching the sea breaking on the shore; whether it is fierce storm waves crashing onto the rocks or the gentle ripple of waves lapping on a sandy shore – in the first instance the experience can be exhilarating and in the second it can be therapeutic and calming. Whatever the science behind wave formation and the tides I am more than happy to soak in the experience with my feet firmly planted on dry land. Clearly for others the experience is best enjoyed while actually on, or in, the water. Still photographs can obviously only capture a small part of the all-round sensory experience of standing at the water’s edge but hopefully, through these photographs, I can share my fascination with the visual qualities of waves breaking on the sea shore. Click on one of the images below to view my larger gallery of wave photographs.

All the photographs in this collection were taken in various locations along the south coast, including Hayling Island, Stokes Bay (Gosport), Lee-on-Solent, Hill Head, Titchfield Haven (Hampshire), St Ives and Godrevy Point (Cornwall).

Intro Slideshow 022 ©

Waves breaking on Porthmeor Beach, St Ives, Cornwall

St Ives - Day 3 141 e ©

Brief Encounters II

Brief Encounters II: This set of brief encounters comes from a visit to Venice in 2014, travelling by train from London to Venice via Paris and Munich. On this occasion I met with a little reluctance from some people, and some simply refused, albeit politely. Although I had practised my request in French, German and Italian before the trip I sometimes had to resort to English when my memory and courage failed me. There were also times when it was difficult to make eye contact with my subject. ‘Merci’, ‘danke’ and ‘grazie’ to all those who were willing to participate in my little project. See the Gallery here

12-Venice-6355-esq-© 11-Venice-5910-esq-©Paris 20146-Venice-2469 Encounter

Seaside Numbers

Seaside Numbers: It has been my observation that house numbers in coastal areas are somewhat more interesting and varied than those in inland areas, at least in those parts of England and France that I have visited. Maybe this reflects a greater sense of individuality and independence by those living on the edge of land. This collection though is about numbers which have a particular and obvious seaside connection in terms of the visual imagery. Click on any of the images below to see the larger collection – Numbers with a Seaside Theme

210-Hayling---March-2012 045 Hill-Head-- 028 France-14---Day-five-079 016 Lee-on-Solent---Jan-15-331 58-Littlehampton 34-Brighton 15-Auray 13-Concarneau 2-Lorient16-l'Etretat

Another Number Collection

Classic Paris numbers: I guess we can thank Baron Hausmann and Napoleon III for these classic numbers from Paris. Not sure when I will next be able to go back and add to the collection, but hopefully one day. For more examples in this nascent collection click on any of the images below to see my gallery of classic Parisian numbers

001-Paris-Day-1-046esq-© 006-Paris-Day-3-022esq-© 038-C1-Paris-110esq-c-Paris046-Paris-

A new number series

A new number series: Not sufficient for a collection yet, but a start at least. I am still debating what to call the set, but in typical deadpan style will probably go for something like “Numbers – worn on the back”

5-France-14- 28,-Honfleur,-France-2015 50-St-Ives- 66-St-Ives-- 82-Port-en-Bessin-France-2-2015--

Bricked Windows

Bricked Windows: I have long been fascinated by the idea of bricked-in windows – their infinite visual variety, their ironic, or at least contradictory nature (can a window still be a window when one cannot see through it?) their meaning, significance and causation. On the latter point, the so-called ‘Window Tax’ introduced in 1696 by William III (to pay off national debt and to fight wars in Ireland and on the continent) is an obvious explanation for many of the bricked-in windows that we see in our towns and villages. The tax which was effectively a progressive one, was relatively easy to assess, and was only repealed in 1851 (156 years after its inception and nine years after income tax was effectively introduced). The fact that so many householders were prepared to forego light, air and views to reduce their tax bill shows a significant degree of popular dissent (by the property owning middle classes – so nothing new there then), and was therefore a clear political statement of its time. The Candle Tax (1709 – 1831) and Brick Tax (1784 – 1850) clearly also have a bearing on the Window Tax explanation. For properties with bricked-in windows built after 1851, we have to look for other explanations which probably have more to do with internal modifications and changes of usage to the property. One is left to wonder why remaining bricked-in windows in houses built before 1851 were not returned to their former state when the tax was repealed. The window, whether bricked-in or not, represents a structural problem for the house builder (i.e. how to support the weight of the wall and roof structure above the ‘opening’) and thus we have the variety of solutions visible here in the form of lintels and arches. For bricked-in doors and doorways we have to look for alternative explanations, but ones which also must reflect social and political change in a similar way to the bricked-in windows. For more examples of bricked-in windows see my “Bricked Windows” Galleries, and for bricked-in doors see my “Bricked Doors” Gallery.

Ryde Portsmouth-09 Somerset Bricked-Window-3a-e-© Audemer

More Bricked Windows

French Bricked Windows: If the Window Tax is not a full explanation for all the bricked in windows in England, then it is probably also not a comprehensive explanation for all the bricked in windows in France, although a similar tax also existed in France from 1798 to 1926, Impôt sur les portes et fenêtres (French). There is something of an irony in this – the revenues raised in Britain from the window tax are often quoted as being used by the government to fight off the threat from the French. It would be interesting to know if the French Government used their window tax revenues to bolster their war chest. By clicking on any of the images below you can see a Gallery of French Bricked Windows.

B1-Cormeilles-

Cormeilles

D8-France-

Rennes

France-14---Day-five-190-e-©

St Malo

Quimper,-Brittany

Quimper

Bricked window, church of Villedieu-les-Poêles

Villedieu-les-Poêles