A Dozen Eggs - Private View

Had a fantastic evening on Thursday, officially 'launching' A Dozen Eggs at Bank Street Arts Gallery. John Clark, the Gallery owner, said that the exhibition had already had some very positive comments (especially the Installation) (the exhibition actually opened to the public on Tuesday), which was really encouraging.

Unfortunately my Mother couldn't attend the exhibition as she is quite poorly (and immobile) in a Care Home, so I promised her that I would make a little video for her to see (which features both the exhibition itself and a few of my sisters who were able to come along). My wife also took a couple of photos of the event, which I have included below.

All in all the evening went superbly well, and the Installation proved to be an enormous success (it was rather pleasing to see that everybody gravitated towards the 'family room' by the end of the evening, being 'drawn' to the comfort of the setting). The way that the images were viewed between the Gallery and the Installation settings was fascinating to see (the former being 'detached' and 'elevated', with the latter creating 'connection' and 'intimacy') and was exactly the kind of reaction that I had intended when I decided to split the exhibition into the two different contexts. I am now really fired up to taking this work further.

A Dozen Eggs - Exhibition Launch

I'm absolutely delighted to announce that after an intense day of setting-up on Monday, my exhibition for A Dozen Eggs opened to the public yesterday at Bank Street Arts gallery in Sheffield. I'm really pleased with the result (and will post a few images of the exhibition after the Private View, scheduled for tomorrow evening).

Elizabeth Underwood (from UnderwoodWorks) has done a marvellous job with the PR, getting features into the Sheffield Telegraph and the Big Issue in the North, as well as onto various websites, such as Arts Council England, Ephotozine, Sheffield Town Talk, and Sheffield's official Tourist Information site. I owe her a debt of gratitude and I hope for some positive reviews after the show.

Jose Navarro, from the Open College of the Arts, is going to be hosting a student visit day within my exhibition, based upon family photography, on 24th November, which I hope lots of people will attend and get the opportunity to comment on my images.

I've already started work on 2 projects that have stemmed from A Dozen Eggs. The first is a collaboration with my mother, who is now in a care home in Salford, exploring aspects of memory and meaning within possessions, and the second is an extension of the family photography album, exploring  the lives of the children (and grandchildren) from those depicted within A Dozen Eggs, thereby creating a visual (and fluid) family tree. I shall post images as the projects develop.

A Dozen Eggs - Exhibition Update

As the exhibition date for A Dozen Eggs draws nearer (12 Nov to 1 Dec 2012), it's really exciting to see that the gallery (Bank Street Arts in Sheffield) has advertised it, with a synopsis and an image (of my brother Graham) for all the world to see.

Even more exciting, the Open College of the Arts have just launched a small video of my work on their blog We Are OCA (developed through Vimeo), with my tutor (Peter Haveland) discussing the development of the project and his thoughts as to its success in achieving my aims. The OCA have been truly amazing in their support, not just with A Dozen Eggs, but during the entire time I spent with them as a student of Photography and Creative Writing. I really cannot recommend them enough.

Gillian Rose Blog

I have been researching opportunities for PhD study for next year and have been very keen on studying with Professor Gillian Rose, from The Open University. Professor Rose's book Doing Family Photography: The Domestic, The Public and The Politics of Sentiment was an enormous influence on the work that I did for A Dozen Eggs, which is to exhibit at Bank Street Arts Gallery in Sheffield between 12th November to 1st December this year.

Whilst trying to find some contact details for Professor Rose, I came across her blog (visualmethodculture.wordpress.com), which is absolutely fascinating and is a well of information and ideas concerning visual cultures. I shall be visiting the blog regularly; I'm sure it will inform a lively debate upon which I can base future practical application for my photography and art.

Goodwood Revival Photography Posts

Really pleased that some of my images from working with The Vintage Hair Lounge at the Goodwood Revival have been posted on the official website and facebook page for Goodwood. The dates for next year's Revival have now been posted (13-15 Sep 2013) and I cannot wait to get embroiled in all the fun again. My wife Venetia is working with The Vintage Hair Lounge team once again this weekend, with events at Cambridge and Ipswich, from which we will have some more images to display, but in the meantime, I've been working on some more photographs from previous vintage shoots to display on my website (HaVe Photography), a couple of which are shown below.

Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed Exhibition

An interesting and diverse range of talent was on display at The Photographers' Gallery exhibition for new and aspiring photographers and artists. They were not all to my taste but a couple of ideas really struck a cord. The first was by David Birkin, with a piece entitled I Was So Entranced Seeing that I Did Not Think About the Sight, which depicted a sheet of gelatin silver paper that had been exposed to the light from atop the Empire State Building whilst facing south towards the World Trade Center - embossed onto the paper was a braille translation of Helen Keller's blindsight description of the New York skyline in 1932, which I thought was a wonderfully inventive way of bringing the viewer towards the image (although I was desperate to touch the paper and feel the braille - maybe that was what Birkin had intended, but I didn't feel the gallery would be too pleased).

The second series of images which really caught my eye were by Jonny Briggs, which I thought were truly original, creating 'new realities' through re-imagining what at first glance was a simple 'family snap'; by cutting the image within its frame and 'sliding' it along, it created a fun, yet bizarrely faux-real concept of the documentary.

Of other worthy note (from my own subjective perspective) was Anders Birger, Alison Bettles, Emma Critchley and Seo-Yeoung Won; excellent and thought-provoking work.

Anders Birger

@Hey_Joud #Syria: Why is everybody spreading the zionist media lies about alleged 3’500 ppl “killed” during “crackdown” ?

Alison Bettles

From the series Unruly Habits

Emma Critchley

Freediver Portraits, 4 metres

Seo-Yeoung Won


I got some great ideas for presenting my own images for my exhibition in Sheffield - or should I say, I feel more comfortable about my choice of presentation, having now seen the diverse display of arrangements offered in this exhibition.

Fiona Tan - Vox Populi

Fiona Tan's Vox Populi series is an eclectic and eccentric collection of 'family snaps', chosen to represent the cities (and countries) of Norway, Sydney, Tokyo, Switzerland and London, from Tan's edited choice of publicly-contributed albums. I visited Tan's Vox Populi-London exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery and found it stimulating and engaging, both in content and display. From the latter perspective, all the images were presented at the same size (6" x 9") and format (simple, dark-brown frame) and were 'clustered' together in a single mass against one wall (very much like family images are often displayed together at home). The content follows a rough pattern from left to right (but with overlapping themes) of portraits, home and nature, with significant moments from personal lives, as well as what has become to be the stereotypical norm (see Gillian Rose's work on Doing Family Photography) of banal and insignificant (as far as the viewer can be concerned) aspects of the snapshot. As a collection, the images are fascinating; however, for me the choice of images seems to reinforce the stereotype and I wonder, given the volume of images that Tan had available to her, whether a completely different edit could have been achieved that steered away from the host of baby, wedding, holiday snaps. That said, maybe the stereotype was reinforced because ultimately they truly are the very essence of a family snap. It would be interesting to take an anthropological view of these images and see what was done with them, above and beyond placing them in an album (which is of significance within itself).

Writing Britain Exhibition

The Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands exhibition at the British Library ended today (25th Sep 2012), and what a shame, as this was one of the most remarkably inspirational exhibitions I have ever seen. With over 150 literary works on display, it was hard to narrow it down to its highlights, but for me I have selected a few below:

1.  Tolkien's drawing of 'The Hill' for 'The Hobbit'.
2.  Lewis Carroll's manuscript for 'Alice's Adventures Under Ground' (exquisitely beautiful and precise handwriting).
3.  Thomas Hardy's manuscript for 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'.
4.  J K Rowling's manuscript for 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'.
5.  Robert Louis Stevenson's manuscript for the 'Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'.
6.  James Joyce's notesheets for 'Ulysses'.
7.  Kenneth Graham's manuscript for 'Wind in the Willows'.
8.  John Lennon's lyrics for 'In My Life'.
9.  Seamus Heaney an Felim Egan's artist book 'Sandymount Strand' (wonderfully-realised fusing of prose and visual art).
10.  Charles Dickens's manuscript for 'Our Mutual Friend' (miniscule, compact and precise handwriting).

There were, of course, dozens of other highlights, but those above were my Top 10. What was most inspiring was to see these legendary works in their 'raw' originality; it's about as close to the artist/writer as it is possible to get and shines a light on their creativity and - most importantly - on the fact that (in the main) when these works were written, they were simply words coming from the imagination with no concept of the impact that they would have on the world. The important thing is to have the idea, and then to put it down on paper, nurture it, mould it, and then work with every living fibre to get it to a wider audience.

If there is one exhibition in the past 10 years that has inspired me to continue to write, photograph and draw - and seek an audience for the output - it is this one.

Joel Meyerowitz Talk

I had the most superb evening a couple of weeks back, when Joel Meyerowitz gave a talk at The Photographers Gallery in London to mark the launch of his retrospective book Taking My Time. Not only was Joel extremely engaging (and his work incredible - some of which I have displayed below), but I was rather taken aback by how personable he was - no ego, just a thoroughly approachable, gentle man who had an almost 'zen-like' calmness about him.

I got the opportunity to have a brief chat with him (and he kindly signed a print that I have of one his images); there was a rather surreal moment when I found myself talking about the quality of light in London that evening (it was a beautiful golden evening, with long shadows) with one of the world's most respected photographers and I had to pinch myself.

Having already spent the afternoon looking through the exhibitions in The Photographers Gallery (the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize 2012 was being displayed with some stunning images from Pieter Hugo, Rinko Kawauchi, John Stezaker and Christopher Williams), including a chance to indulge in the Japanese Photobooks 'installation', it made for a fantastic photographic feast of a day.

Joel Meyerowitz

Rinko Kawauchi

Pieter Hugo

The Surprise of Light

I've started a new, long-term, project called The Surprise of Light, which is quite literally about the moments when the startling beauty of light catches me by surprise. My eyes have really been opened lately to the wondrous joy of form and colour that light has the ability to display, that at times really stop me in my tracks. A few of the shots I've taken to date are displayed below, and I shall add more as the project develops.

Goodwood Revival 2012

Whilst I was officially at Goodwood Revival to take photographs for the Vintage Hair Lounge, I got the opportunity to see many of the fantastic activities on offer at the event - most especially the cars (for which I have a soft spot). Roll on 2013 - I can't wait!

Vintage Hair Lounge

Had an amazing (albeit hectic) time photographing for the Vintage Hair Lounge at the Goodwood Revival. The girls worked their socks off from dawn to dusk and beyond to create an incredible vintage look for the throng of visitors. One of the most memorable weekends of my life - truly fabulous!

M25 - Free Parking

It is a sign of modern times to be stuck in traffic on the M25. There have been very few occasions when the M25 has been free-flowing and problem-free (in my experience), but it really came to a crunch last week when the motorway was completely closed (albeit, unfortunately, because of an accident) for nearly 3 hours. My wife and I, travelling down to Goodwood from Norfolk for the Goodwood Revival (to work with the Vintage Hair Lounge) decided to go 'left' at the M11/M25 junction instead of 'right' and found ourselves slap-bang in the middle of a carpark.

What does a photographer do with time on his hands and his cameras in the car? Go and have a chat with his 'neighbours' and document the situation. To my surprise, everybody I spoke to were quite upbeat considering the situation we were all in (good old British spirit) and were, without exception, very happy to have their photograph taken. I suppose having a camera pointed at them, and chatting to some stranger on a motorway, was a welcome diversion from the tedium of the traffic jam.

There are not many places left in this country where you get free parking - but the M25 is certainly one of them!