Thursday, 23 October 2014

1223 : Watching The World Sail By

View from my room on the P&O Ship Ventura. October 2014

Few hotels can match a decent cruise ship. A balcony with a stunning view that changes every day. You seem to be sitting and watching the world pass by when in reality the world is watching you sail by.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

1222 : More Brass In Livorno


Still in Livorno and still fixated with brass. This distressed brass  doorbell panel caught my eye. I see myself living in the third room up on the right. Anonymous. Looking out at those who are looking in.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

1221 : Excelsior In Brass


This brass plate was set into the pavement in a street in Livorno in Italy. As far as I can tell, the hotel has been converted into apartments. But the brass plate remains. Like some twentieth century Expedia logo. Solid. Permanent.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

1220 : Smoothing The Edges Of Time

2014.09S.21 : Night in Manchester - Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. (Circa 1985)

It could be thirty years ago and it could be yesterday. Night does that. It smoothes the edges of time.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

1219 : Thoughts On A Grimsby Crane

AA17.16 Grimsby Fish Docks. Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1993
Like something out of H G Wells, like an alien creature stalking humanity, like some demonic offspring of the mating of a Dalek with a Triffid, it slowly approached.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

1218 : Off To The Seaside

AA16.72 : Pier 39, Cleethorpes Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1990

Off to the seaside. Back soon.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

1217 : Shall I See You As A June Day?

AA16.68 : Matlock Bath, Derbyshire Scanned 35mm B&W Negative Circa 1990
Shooting the countryside in monochrome film is a bit like writing a sonnet using only words of four letters or less. "Will I see you as a June day, You are more nice and fit as well ...."

Thursday, 21 August 2014

1216 : Clinging To The Contours

AM05.37 : Upperthorpe, Sheffield Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative. Circa 1984
This photograph was taken from one of those "streets in the sky" featured in yesterday's post. The vantage point is long gone, but those brick streets climbing up Walkley Hill are still clinging to the contours. Indeed, The Lad lives in one of the houses you might just manage to see in this photograph with the help of a magnifying glass and a good supply of pixels.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

1215 : From Brutalist To Anodyne

AM05.35 : Kelvin Flats, Sheffield Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative Circa 1984
The now-demolished Kelvin Flats in Sheffield were just at the bottom of the road where we lived. At the time they were famous for their "streets in the sky"; later they were christened "brutalist" and demolished with little fanfare.  They were replaced with anodyne boxes : safe and solidly boring. Such a shame that architecture seems to have abandoned the challenge of public housing.

Monday, 18 August 2014

1214 : Like Coalite - Once Familiar, Now Gone

AA16.31 : Sheffield Skyline Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1984
Sheffield skyline - black and white with grey in between. Memories of the past - like Coalite - once familiar, now gone.

Friday, 15 August 2014

1213 : Harbour Colour

2014.08B.24  Bridlington Harbour  Scanned 35mm Colour Negative.  Circa 1987
Occasionally within the five hundred and fifty shades of grey that is the exciting volume which is my negative archive, there is a splash of colour. Just a splash : up north we have learnt to use our colours sparingly.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

1212 : Filter And Fudge

2014.08A.35 :  Bikes  Scanned 6x6 Negative Circa 1982
Sometimes with old negatives, you look at them again from the perspective of 30 years and think "there's a photograph in there somewhere". So you dig, you excavate, you filter and you fudge. But the photograph never really emerges.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

1211 : Escape

2014.08A.21 : Fire Escape - Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative Circa 1976
Is it any wonder that people wanted to escape such places?

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

1210 : Off Home

2014.0811.08  Off Home  Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative. Circa 1984
It might be morning, it might be evening. It might be Sheffield steel, it might be Grimsby fish. They might be workers or they might be stray passers-by. But there is something in the stance, something about the set of their limbs, something which says they are "off home".

Sunday, 10 August 2014

1209 : Grimsby Fish Docks

2014.0808.29 : Fishmonger, Grimsby Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1985
Grimsby Fish Docks. Fish-heads piled in bins, manna for a thousand sea gulls. The thick taste of salt in the air, the last trace of ice in the gutters.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

1208 : Brick Writing

2014.0808.24 : Railway Warehouse Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1983
Early digital fonts - brick writing.

Friday, 8 August 2014

1207 : The Compass Point Jury Is Still Out

2014.08.09 : Park Hill Flats, Sheffield. Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative. Circa 1983
Park Hill Flats. In the 1960s I was taken on a tour of them by City Councillors and they proudly pointed to where the future was. And then they fell out of favour, polarities switched and they pointed to the past. Now they are Grade II listed, refurbished and student-centred. The compass point jury is still out.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

1206 : Mud, Posts And Cleethorpes

2014.0806.25 : Mud, Posts & Cleethorpes - Scanned 35mm B&W Negative Circa 1983
There is no doubt a meaning to all those posts that break through the estuary mud like knotty pimples on the face of a teenager. Such a meaning is lost on a passing seagull.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

1205 : Sat Thinking

2014.0804.10 :  Bench Man In Flat Cap  Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1983
Sat thinking. Flat cap protecting care-bald head from the sun. Thinking about life - or thinking about the runners and riders at Catterick in the 3.45. Sat thinking.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

1204 : The Luminosity Of Sheffield Diamonds

2014.0804.07 :  Crookes Valley Steps. Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1983
Light is magic. It can turn black into white. It can take a soot-encrusted stone and transform it into something with the luminosity of diamonds. It can transform a mucky old stone staircase into something rather beautiful.

Monday, 4 August 2014

1203 : Slowly Degrading Into Old Masterdom

2014.0804.09 : Fishing In Crookesmoor lake. Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1983
I have a theory : as old negatives degrade, as the emulsion splits and the grain disintegrates, they morph into paintings. Details fade and shapes and lines emerge. Who knows? The Mona Lisa might have started as a smartphone photo taken by some middle aged Yuppi and then slowly degraded into old-masterdom.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

1202 : Part Film, Part Photo

2014.0802.14 : Fairground Roundabout  Scanned 35mm B&W Negative, Circa 1967  
Life is like that sometimes. Some of it in sharp focus whilst other things are a blur of movement and change. Part realism, part impressionism. Part film, part photo.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

1201 : Back Street With Rabbit-Ear Chimneys

2014.0802.01 : Back Street With Chimneys Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative Circa 1973 
Enough stone to fill a quarry. A back street that leads from nowhere to nowhere else. Two rabbit-ear chimneys pointing skywards with conceited pride.

Friday, 1 August 2014

1200 : Iron Picture Post

2014.0801.10 : Footbridge in Halifax - Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1970
Iron posts protecting a footbridge from anything but feet.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

1199 Again : Neither Up Nor Down

2014.0730.02 : Spiral Staircase, Lincoln. Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative, Circa 1985
Checked Blogger and this, rather than the one yesterday, turns out to be post 1199. So this is 1199 again. Going around in circles. Marking time. Going neither up nor down.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

1199 : Naked In The Demolition Fields

2014.0728.19 : Mount Zion Congregational Chapel, Sheffield. Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative. Circa 1985
Mount Zion : an evocative enough name. Built of Sheffield brick and faced with Yorkshire stone. Almost naked in the demolition fields.

Monday, 28 July 2014

1198 : Half A Gasworks

2014.0728.09 : Brighouse Canal Basin. Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1967
Some years ago I got an e-mail from someone seeking a photograph of Brighouse Gas Works. All I had was a rather blurred and distant shot. I said I would keep my eyes open in case I had another picture of the long-dismantled gasometers. I found this today. Half a gasworks is better than no gasworks.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

1197 : Coming Around Again

2014.0727.20 : Isobel  Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1984
Isobel - about thirty years ago. A negative randomly taken from my negative files and scanned. The interesting thing is that in the background is a print of the photograph I randomly scanned yesterday. As Carly sang : "I know nothing stays the same, But if you're willing to play the game, It's coming around again."

Saturday, 26 July 2014

1196 : Moulding The Shifting Sands

2014.0724.20 :  Bridlington Beach. Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative. Circa 1984
I suspect we are hard-wired to dig: to mould and change the world we live in. Kids dig the shifting sands and grow up to be builders and architects. Then they create structures that no tide can wash away.

Friday, 25 July 2014

1195 : Concrete Pillars Of Hercules

2014.0724.21 : Burdock Way, Halifax. Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative. 1971
Scale is a funny thing. Sometimes the boundaries are slowly pushed back - inch by inch - against the drag of technological inertia. At other times, conventions tumble and a new scale spans the landscape, like some concrete pillars of Hercules.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

1194 : Stained Steel And Kiln-Fired Bricks

2014.0724.01 : South Riding. Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative. Circa 1980
Most of my old photographs were taken in the West Riding of Yorkshire. But there is the West Riding of my youth - hills, moors and mills - and the West Riding of my 30s and 40s (which should have been the South Riding if such a thing were possible). There you would find a scene set flatter; stained steel and kiln-fired bricks.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

1193 : Between Civilisation And Sky

2014.0723.16 : Yorkshire Moors. Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1988
Someone, not from these parts, once asked me what the moors were. I'm still not sure what the answer is. Necessary wasteland. Nature's grouting between civilisation and sky.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

1192 : Walls, Roofs And Aerials

2014.0721.12 : Rooftops, Southowram Bank - Scanned 35mm B&W Negative. Circa 1975
Stone walls. Slate roofs. Television aerials designed to physically rip the signals from the leaden clouds. Halifax forty years ago.

Monday, 21 July 2014

1191 : Piece Hall Market Day

2014.0721.02 : Market Day - B&W 35mm Negative. Circa 1978
The Piece Hall, Halifax. Stone colonnades and 300 rooms enclosing a large public space. Built in 1779 and gradually coloured with a patina of grime, sweat and smoke. In Venice there would be pavement cafes and string quartets. Up north there are market stalls.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

1190 : Black And White Cold

2014.0719.02 : Skegness Beach. Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative. Circa 1984
Summertime on the beach. Blue skies; golden sands .... blackened ironwork; grey seas; bracing north wind: black and white cold.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

1189 : The Triumph Of Watery Persistence

2014.0719.01 :  Skegness Pier. Scanned 6x6 B&W Negative. Circa 1984
Piers are a testament to that age-old contest between mankind and the sea. Like some iron-clad Canute, they defy the waves to part and stay away. But, eventually, the waves always win with their watery persistence.

Friday, 18 July 2014

1188 : Images Emerging From Swirling Liquids

2014.0717.16 : Crossley & Porter Photographic Society Meeting, 1966. Scanned B&W 35 mm Negative

Back in those days photography was something done in dark rooms. With chemical baths and silver salts, images emerged from swirling liquids like revelations of an alternative reality. Unpixelated, two dimensional, black and white and without a mobile phone in sight.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

1187 : A Grayscale Town

2014.0716.11 : Halifax From Shibden Valley. 35mm B&W Negative Scan. Circa 1967
50 years ago Halifax still had its mill chimneys, its muck, and its brass. It was a grayscale town, framed by less than green valleys. Sometimes the smoke spilled out, as if coming from the lip of a giant industrial cauldron. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

1186 : Studied Concentration

2014.0716.13 : Trafalgar Square, London. 1968 Scanned 35mm B&W Negative
Trafalgar Square, London. The 1968 demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. Banner-carrying protesters with looks of grim determination. Helmeted policemen with looks of studied concentration

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

1185 : Stone-Storied Mills

2014.0715.21 : Escape From The Mill. 35mm B&W Negative Scan Circa 1969 
At one time there were hundreds of textile mills in each West Yorkshire town. Stone-storied mills capped every street and lane, discharging waves of mill girls with each passing shift. Now the mills that remain are half demolished or converted into smart apartments for accountants and management trainees commuting to Leeds and Manchester.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

1184 : Backs of Oxford Street

2014.071325 : Backs of Oxford Street. 6x6 B&W Negative Circa 1983
You may have heard of the Backs of Cambridge. This photographs is of the little known Backs of Oxford Street in Sheffield taken from the door of my home at the time. A small terraced garden had been carved out of the rock and brick cliff and washing hung out until it either dried or disintegrated from the effects of the constant acid rain.

1183 : Boys In The Pub At The Paris Gates

2014.0712.16 : Boys Lane and Paris Gates, Halifax
This picture, which dates back to the late 1980s, shows Boys Lane leading down to Paris Gates in Halifax. At the junction of the two stood - and I am delighted to say, still stands, the Shears Inn.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

1182 : Trooping The Monochrome

2014.0712.14 :  Trooper Lane, Halifax  Circa 1988
Trooper Lane is said to take its name from the time of the English Civil War when troops would use the lane to avoid passing through the notorious dirty and disease-ridden town of Halifax.

Friday, 11 July 2014

1181 : Manchester-on-Don, Sheffield

2014.0711.04 :  Manchester-on-Don, Sheffield. Circa 1990
The pub in the mid-distance is the former Manchester Hotel on Nursery Street (now The Harlequin), the river is the River Don, the city is Sheffield.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

1175 : Fish Boxes


2014.0609.05 / AA15 : Fish Boxes, Grimsby Fish Docks. Circa 1986 B&W 35mm Negative