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!