Whenever I get a new camera - in this case a new Smartphone - I can't resist taking a few photographs just to see what it is like in various circumstances. The subject matter of such shots is entirely inconsequential - it is whatever happens to be there in front of me at the time. Last night, Bradford Road in Fixby just happened to be there at the time. When I look back at such "test photographs", they are always some of the most interesting from a historical perspective because of the randomness of the subject. History sticks to the inconsequential like iron filings on a magnet.
Halifax From Prospect Street (c.1970) Alan Burnett
You could base a whole town planning conference around this photograph, or keep a classroom of kids occupied for a month. What colour is the Town Hall? How many mill chimneys are there? Why the large-scale demolitions? I must have taken the photograph in about 1970, just as work on Burdock Way was being started. When I enlarge the photograph and look at the individual streets - many of which are now long gone - it is like a trip down some winding memory lane. We used to queue up to get our Co-op Divvy up that street, and I used to walk down that street to meet my father at the factory gate. There is the story of the first part of my life in this photograph.
I am no animal expert, but that doesn't look like a deer to me. If it is, it is the most unnatural deer to trot around the deer parks of Huddersfield. And whilst we are talking about unnatural, this photograph was taken in February when the weather is supposed to be cold, dark and dismal. Something is very wrong with the world.
10 From The Caribbean : 10. Some Final Thought On Cruise Ships
They are big, they are not particularly beautiful, and they dominate the landscape. They deliver hoards of tourists, who flock up and down the main streets like mill-mucky pigeons on an outing to Harrogate. They turn travellers into tourists and then tourists into trippers.
All this may be true, but so what? At least they sail away rather than leaving a permanent blot on the landscape like some concrete-posh boutique hotel. At least they allow people, who in the past had to be satisfied with a week in Skegness, a chance to see some of the wonders of the world. They may be phoney structures, but they are full of real people who are just as entitled to a couple of weeks in the sun as any landed lord. And this particular cruise ship - the MV Britannia seen here at St Vincents - facilitated a lovely holiday in the Caribbean, so my last photograph is dedicated to her.
10 From The Caribbean : 9. Sunbury House, Barbados
Sunbury House is an old plantation house on the island of Barbados. The grounds are tropical, the interior is full of period furniture, the story of the house, its owners and its workers is fascinating ... but it was the curious collection of old spectacles, optical equipment and cameras that attracted me most of all. Anyone can collect postage stamps or china pots, but it takes a certain type of character to collect such things as spectacles.
I have visited St Lucia on a number of occasions, but last month I went to the south-west of the island for the first time and saw the magnificent Pitons. My photograph shows the peaks of the two volcanic plugs - Gros Piton and Petit Piton - and the town of Soufriere. Soufriere used to be the capital of the island, and the Empress Josephine of France was once a resident.
This photograph was taken on the island of St Lucia, at a little fishing village called Anse La Raye. Like one of the earlier photographs in this sequence, I was drawn to the sculpturesque feel about the scene. It was a few days before I met up with my brother - who is an artist and sculptor - so it was probably his influence. Shapes, angles, movement - all the things I like best in an image.
10 From The Caribbean : 6. Reflections On Martinique
A reflection of the Cathedral of Saint Louis in Fort-de-France, Martinique. The cathedral is the seventh church on the site - the previous six were victims of natural disasters, including fire, earthquakes and hurricanes. The current church was designed by the great French engineer, Gustave Eiffel, and has so far survived over 120 years. It is unlikely that the glass fronted building at the other side of the town square will last that well.