Sunday, 31 December 2017

1658 : A Cheeky Schoolboy Of A Bridge

Bangor has a grand pier, a pier that protrudes out into the Menai Straits with all the forceful exuberance of a cheeky schoolboy sticking out his tongue at the world. It goes so far across the narrow straits, it seems to aspire to grow up to become a bridge.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

1657 : Timeless Classic of Frome, Bath & Yeovil

The Victorian photographer, John Bell, promised "photography in latest styles" on the reverse of his classic carte de visites. There is, however, something timeless about the face featured on the front of the card.

Friday, 22 December 2017

1656 : The Grainy Elegance Of Doncaster

This is a scan of a negative which dates from the early 1990s - the last decade of negatives before I went digital. The photograph was taken in Doncaster and retains that grainy elegance that is unique to film-based images.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

1655 : Fifty Shades Of Sheffield Grey

Another Sheffield shot from thirty-five years ago: days when fifty shades of grey was an effective description of the inside of a factory.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

1654 : The Fat Cats Of Post-Industrial Sheffield

This scan of one of my negatives from thirty-five years ago captures a part of Sheffield that "was on the turn". Kelham Island still had the scars of industrial times gone by, but post-industrialism was on the way and the Alma Hotel had already turned into the Fat Cat.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

1653 : Glowing With Civic Pride

Cartwright Hall in Bradford looks magnificent in the winter sun; the stone seems to glow with civic pride. Built in 1904 as the centre-piece for the Great Bradford Exhibition it is now home to Bradford's Art Gallery and the new David Hockney Gallery.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

1652 : Two Women And An Analytical Engine

Two unknown women travel down the years to take a look at the twenty-first century. They find themselves looking out from a screen attached to the front of one of Mr Babbage's Analytical Engines. Who would have thought it!

Sunday, 10 December 2017

1651 : The Nature Of Elland From The Point Of View Of A Particle Physicist

"It is a matter of intense debate amongst mathematicians and theoretical particle physicists as to whether it is possible for any three dimensional object to have just three edges. It is clear that none of the participants involved in such discussions have ever been to Elland - for Elland has just three edges: Hullen Edge, Lower Edge and Upper Edge".
1904 Picture Postcard Of Elland 

Thursday, 7 December 2017

1650 : Sculptured Crossing

Mankind has been crossing the Hebble Brook to get from Halifax to Bradford and Leeds for 750 years. Each time they build higher and sleeker and by 1971 - when I took this photograph - they had created urban sculpture amongst the dark, decaying mills.

Monday, 4 December 2017

1649 : Locked Together Up Cromwell Bottom

These four photographs seemed to fit together. It was partly that they were neighbours on the same strip of negatives, and partly that they were all taken at Cromwell Bottom Lock on the Calder and Hebble Navigation some 25 years ago. They are, you could say, locked together.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

1648 : Building Antigua

THE BUILDING WORKERS, ANTIGUA, NOVEMBER 2017 : It was bad enough walking down the street in Antigua; the heat drained your energy, your clothes stuck to your sweat-drenched back. Imagine, however, working on a building site in that heat.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

1647 : The Timeless Fens

I don't know precisely where this is. I can remember taking the photograph but little else other than it was on the East Anglian coast somewhere, and it must have been about 1980. If those had been cars rather than boats, precise dating would have been easier, but dates aren't really necessary.

Monday, 27 November 2017

1646 : And Quiet Flows The Don

The River Don flows past the Manchester Hotel and some industrial wasteland in Sheffield in the early 1980s. The River Don still quietly flows on, but is now fringed by bright apartments and brighter bars. That's progress.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

1645 : Stay Calm And Carry On

Who would have thought that the wartime "Stay Calm And Carry On" slogan would become one of the catchphrases of the 21st Century? In most cases it is an over-reaction to the hassles of modern life; but in the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean it is a fittingly brave reaction.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

1644 : Shutter Finger Ready

School days - I remember them well. There were always those who could excel in all things athletic and sporting. And then there were those who stood around and watched ..... and one who squatted at the end of the long-jump pit, camera in hand, shutter finger ready.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

1643 : Caribbean Colours

I think I now realise why the flags of so many Caribbean countries feature the colours green and yellow. Wherever you turn you see the lush green vegetation and the yellow of the sun, the sands and the ochre stained buildings. 

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

1640 : Archives - Dreams And Nightmares

I am guessing at the date of this photograph, but I seem to recall I took it a year or two before we left Sheffield and returned to West Yorkshire. Housing developments such as Park Hill were seen as dreams of the future in the 1960s, and nightmares of the past by the end of the century. Both views were over-simplifications.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

1639 : Lost And Found - Feeding The Horse

This is a new scan of an old medium format negative I acquired from somewhere or other. I am not entirely sure whether it is the horse that is been fed or the child!

Monday, 23 October 2017

1638 : Archives - Roll On, Roll Off

It was the late 1960s and I was on a holiday in Ireland with my parents. We were driving around Kerry and I was navigating. I remember discovering a car ferry marked on the map which would provide us with a very useful short cut. When we got there, my father stopped just long enough for me to take this photograph and then drove off at speed in the opposite direction.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

1637 : Lost And Found - Hats And Chains

This is a scan of a whole plate glass negative which was sent to me by person or persons unknown, safely packed within a plastic DVD case. There is a wonderful array of chains - holding coats together, holding purses in place - and two rather magnificent hats.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

1636 : Something New - Live And Swinging

Dave O'Higgins : Huddersfield, October 2017
Taking photographs at live events is not one of my favourite activities, but it is one I am happy to do to help out a friend. I was therefore down at my mate Ben Crosland's gig at Huddersfield Parish Church the other night for his interpretation of the Ray Davies' Songbook. This was one of the photographs from that session and it shows the excellent saxophonist, Dave O'Higgins.

Friday, 20 October 2017

1635 : Archives - The Fishy Sadness Of An Empty Gutting Shed

In the 1980s I would visit Grimsby frequently - sometimes on business, occasionally for photographic pleasure. By then the port was in decline and many of the fish docks and gutting sheds were standing empty. There was a fishy sadness about the place.

1634 : Something New - Rain And Fog

HALIFAX PIECE HALL : There will be plenty of photos of the sun shining on the ancient stones of the Piece Hall, but this is the building in its natural habitat - rain and fog.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

1633 : Lost And Found - The Anti-Moth Regiment

There is the remnants of a date stamp on the back of this photograph of an unknown soldier and it seems to be 1933. What kind of soldier could this have been and what was he trying to catch in his net? A Tiger Moth maybe!

1632 : Archives - Alone On A Hill

I seem to recall that we were somewhere in Sussex, not far from Eastbourne. It was early evening and our friends were highlighted against the setting sun. I suppose it would have made a better photograph in colour, but times were hard and colour film was well beyond our means.

Friday, 13 October 2017

1631 : Lost And Found - The Newcastle Engineer

There is something very strong-looking about this Victorian gent. He reminds me of one of those Victorian engineers renowned for building bridges, tunnels and ocean ships. The photographer, William McKenna, was recorded as being a "Photographic Artist" at "the corner of Neville Street, near Clayton Street West" I have found records of a photographic studio on Neville Street as early as 1864, although at that time it was under the name of C. Wilson. This particular photograph looks like it dates from the 1880s or 1890s.

1630 : Archives - Mending The Nets

Another scan from the same strip of film from the early 1980s. Fisherman on the harbour wall in Bridlington mending their nets.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

1629 : Archives - The Marine-Ply Aristocrat

Strings of rowing boats in Bridlington Harbour, their names redolent of times gone by. Ron, Pam, Jim, Ada, Keith: there is even an Alan in there. And floating around within these common circles is the Duchess of Montrose - like a marine-ply aristocrat fallen on hard times.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

1628 : Lost And Found - Sepia Coated Beauty

YOUNG WOMAN WITH HAT - Late Victorian Studio Photograph
The photograph itself is tiny, not much bigger than a postage stamp, and some of the detail has faded away. Over the years it has acquired a patina of sepia-coated age: but still it is a delightful study of a beautiful young woman.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

1627 : Archives - Tally Ho!

We were staying for a few weeks in Eastbourne in the early 1980s and I came across the beautiful Tally Ho pub. It is now a steakhouse rather than a pub, but at least the building remains due to its Grade II listing. It was built in 1927 for the Kemptown Brewery and designed by their in-house architect John Leopold Denman.

1626 : Something New - The Arms Of Talbot

This was the whitewashed walls of the Talbot Arms public house in Settle. There was something about the simplicity of the lines and colours that was attractive, simple and refreshing - like a lightly-hopped Chinook beer.

1625 : Lost And Found - The Apprehensive Woman

APPREHENSIVE WOMAN : William Davey Studios, Islington
There is a look of apprehension on the face of this unknown woman. The photographer was William Davey (1844-1925) who was active in London in the last decade of the nineteenth and first decade of the twentieth century. He was at the Upper Street studios in Islington between 1900 and 1910, so this portrait obviously dates from that period. There is a famous family of photographers in Exeter with the name Davey and William is probably related to them, although the precise link is unclear.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

1624 : Something New - The Purton Hulks

During a walk along the banks of the River Severn in Gloucestershire we came across a series of abandoned barges and small ships that seem to have organically grown out of the riverbank. These are the famous Purton Hulks, old boats that have been deliberately sunk to shore up the fragile river bank.

1623 : Archives - Ligging About

I seem to recall taking this photograph in Eastbourne in the early 1980s. There was something about the wonderfully relaxed stance - it reminded me of the old Yorkshire phrase - "ligging about"

Saturday, 30 September 2017

1622 : Lost And Found - The Leaning Post

There must have been a name for those strange upholstered posts provided by Victorian photographic studios for their patrons to lean against during the lengthy periods of time it was necessary to maintain a pose. Perhaps they were called "leaning posts" - if not, they should have been.

1621 : Archives - Winding Down

Abandoned Mill - Halifax (1974)
The original of this photograph was so under-exposed that I don't think I ever bothered printing it. But modern scanning techniques and programmes like Photoshop allow you to rescue images that otherwise would have been binned. This was taken at a time when the industrial pulse of West Yorkshire was winding down - just like an old iron staircase.

Friday, 29 September 2017

1620 : Something New - Binless Climb

A lone cyclist climbs an otherwise deserted Tetbury Street in the village of Minchinhampton. I don't know which is more surprising - the fact that there are no cars, no people or no dreadful plastic rubbish bins.

1619 : Lost And Found - Mr Polyish

In have no idea who this chap is - there was no studio information on the photograph and it was acquired at one of those jumble sales or antique centres that I frequent in my dotage. When I look at it, however, I am immediately put in mind of the books and characters of H G Wells. There is something rather Mr Polly-ish about him.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

1618 : Archives - Albert

There is something about black and white portraits - they clear away gaudy distractions like a dose of panchromatic DDT. This is my father, the very essence of him, the lines and blemishes of him.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

1617 : Lost And Found - The Electrifying Woman

This Victorian studio portrait comes from the Ipswich studios of J Kerby & Son. The firm was active in the Ipswich area in the 1880s and 1890s, and at one stage advertised that they were able to take portraits with the help of electric lights - albeit for a premium price above their normal rate. This could well be one of those premium photographs - the lady has an electrifying look about her.

1616 : Archives - Beware Of The Trains

I have no idea where I took this photograph. When I came to scan the negative, it was an off-cut, a single frame from the end of a film. It was a black and white negative, but age - and a little help from a Photoshop filter - had given it a pleasing patina. There will be people out there who can tell us what the train is, where the crossing point is, and no doubt, the name of the driver. If so, feel free to write in.

1615 : Limited Exposure 10 : Sooty Monochrome Mill-Land

The last frame of my virtual film provides us with the very solidity which is West Yorkshire mill-land. The squat chimney, the generous windows which provided lights for the weaving shed, the hoist and the loading bay that lifted the bales of wool from the wagons - all in a sooty monochrome. My land, my home.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

1614 : Lost And Found - The Helyer Sisters

The only information on the reverse of this old photograph is the names Edith and Flo (Helyer) and the date Christmas 1923. They look quite prim and proper - I wonder what happened to them?

1613 : Archives - Home Collections

This is one of my earliest pictures, taken well over fifty years ago, and it features one of the wagons being used at the Halifax Charity Gala (in 1965, I suspect). They were collecting for the Halifax Children's Holiday Home which had been established in Norland (just outside Halifax) in 1937 in order to "provide holidays for needy local children". Those were the days, when an exciting holiday could be had two miles up the road in Norland.

1612 : Limited Exposure 9 - The Fag End Of A Mill

Moving along the viaduct a little gives rise to a second shot of the mill (it must have a name, all mills had names, it is just that I can't find it). This is the fag-end of the mill (that is a term I have just invented). Originally there was more, now there is less - soon there might be none.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

1611 : Limited Exposure 8 - The Two Rules Of Photography

West Vale Mill
Another photograph from the top of the West Vale railway viaduct. When taking photographs, I have a couple of rules. Rule 1 is "If you pass a pub, take a photograph of it before it closes down". Rule 2 is "If you pass a mill, take a photograph of it before they pull it down".

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

1610 : Limited Exposure 7 - Completed By Pots

A second photograph taken from the West Vale railway viaduct and this one concentrates on the Victorian chimney pots that still grace the rooftops of the terraced houses. Most are now redundant, but when they are removed - as is the case in a couple of them - the houses seem strangely incomplete.

FOUND 1 : Walking With Confidence

  FOUND 1 : The joy of found photographs is that, whilst they provide a visual superstructure, you are free to construct your own backstory ...