26th November 2008

Hello. 

This morning we had a party for Elliot. His birthday was over a week ago but there it is.

Also this morning I had a meeting with a design company here in Bridport. Nice bunch and after telling me they didn’t commission much photography (hmm, I have heard that before actually) they were then kind enough to tip me off about a large London publisher who would be interested in a good photographer (me, obviously. What were you thinking) down in the South West. All a bit tenuous isn’t it. That’s freelancing for you. It made me think that I may organise a day of ‘portfolio-ing’ up in London even though it’s a bit ridiculous, it being so far away. Can’t hurt can it and what’s more, I get a day hoofing around photographing busy people being busy (one of my hobbies).

I’m making great progress with the LETS project (see separate page on this blog). I have rough prints blu-tacked on the front room wall and Rachel and I evaluate them over dinner. No TV, radio off – silence. I recommend it for making decisions about images. Let the choices make themselves known in their own time. Everyone I’ve photographed so far has been into the idea. I did intend to take about six months over it but I think I’m going to take advantage of not having much work at the moment and crack on with it. That is a sure-fire way to get work though – concentrate on other matters.

A couple that I photographed in Wootton Fitzpaine live on a smallholding (quitebigholding really). I’m in equal measures inspired and confused by what they’ve achieved. Inspired because that’s a way of life Rachel and I have been heading towards. Confused because I can’t see how I could ever do it. The skills involved are real skills; making houses, growing crops, tending to cattle, buying cattle, feeding cattle (I liked the cows!). One learns skills from other people of course. I’ve learnt to make bread, light fires and chop wood.

It’s a start.

Elliot is 6

On the 17th we went to Beaulieu, home of the National Motor Museum. 

Elliot has loved anything to do with cars and mechanical design in general since he was tiny and this was his birthday treat. It was a wet and soggy day and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. It’s the second time he’s been but he was ready for it this time and had a really good look underneath the cars at which suspension they were using and had a really close look at engines etc. I’ve no idea what he’s referring to half the time. My Dad, Arthur, used to be a car mechanic. He also worked as a driver of lorries and coaches, rode a motorbike and infamously (in my eyes) backed a caravan up a windy hill in one smooth run. Elliot has obviously inherited it from him.

I can just about change a headlight bulb but there it ends.

Elliot loved it though. As we all did.

Eype Beach

Went down to Eype beach this afternoon. I’d had a meeting about some work in Yeovil and got back in time for us lot and my Mum and her Mum (who are staying in the village this week) to pop over to our local beach.

We timed it right for a sunset without any planning and for this I get all the praise from my grandma (Gra as I’ve called her since I was little); for organising the weather and working miracles. That’s Gra for you.

It was nothing.

She told me once that she often likes to perch up on her draining board in her kitchen and look out the window at the magpies in the garden. “Handsome beasts” she says.

Week ending 15th Nov 2008

Good week. What did I do… can’t remember…

Ah, photographed some graduates (human, not plastic measuring jugs) in Bournemouth on Friday. I’ve been photographing college graduates for about three years now on and off and although one could say it’s not the MOST exciting job in the world, I have to say that I really enjoy it. I get to practice my photography/psychology skills (I’ll write an essay on it sometime – remind me) under pressure, I get to hang out with other photographers (hardly ever happens) and I get to meet (literally) hundreds of people in a short space of time. This last aspect I enjoy because I feel that to be a portrait photographer, one has to form opinions of others’ characteristics very quickly. Not opinions of them as people, just opinions of their mannerisms and what makes them unique.

Whatever.

A friend who reads this blog from Hanoi in Vietnam has mentioned occasionally missing England and hot, buttered toast and tea in particular. It is for this reason that I include here a photograph of same although the tea does look a bit like puddle water. I imagine he would know what it looks like anyway but it’s the thought that counts:

tea-and-toast

My Mum and Grandma arrived in the village today. They’re here for a week’s Christmas visit. Bit early of course but that’s how we’re doing it this year. I’m really pleased they’re so near. Wish they could move here to be honest.

Also, Rachel and I got a letter from one of the Consultant Paediatricians, Dr Philip Wylie, who looked after Harper a couple of weeks ago. The letter mentions his relief at the outcome, it explains what WAS going on, he gives out his phone number should we need it and the general tone of the letter is very considerate and thoughtful. We felt very looked-after and have been talking about the letter all day. I was with Elliot in Bridport at lunchtime where they had Vinyl Day going on (lots of great records for sale and a DJ playing in Bucky Doo Square) and was feeling slightly serene listening to the music. As we waited to cross the road, Dr Wylie cycled right past us.

OK, and, it’s Elliot’s birthday on Monday. My little boy will be six. This is a dull read if you don’t have children but in some respects, six years have gone in a blink. I love Elliot. And that’s why (he doesn’t use computers) I’ve bought him the Department of Transport book ‘Know Your Traffic Signs’. I know, I know but you can’t put a price on love.

Elliot and his Mum did a bit of sewing the other morning. We’re Home Educating the boys and helping out with whatever we’re up to is one good way of learning:

sewing

Got a sharpening stone for our axe today and I’ve been chopping like a demon. I’m scraping a bit here. I’ll post more when I’ve actually done something.

Self-Portraits

I like to draw and would love to draw people much more often than I do but I either forget to have a pencil (or even a biro) on me or I’m too nervous of other people seeing the results. This means, inevitably, that it’s my face that I end up studying. Not recommended. Here, however, are some self-portraits that I’ve made over the last few years. Oh, and a drawing of my hand thrown in for good measure.

By the way, in case there are any photography clients of mine reading this and you were thinking of booking me to photograph some artwork for you, rest assured I won’t be doing it late at night on a TELEPHONE as shown here.

Roger Mayne exhibition and Monkton Wyld visit

Bit of a moping around morning with work a bit quiet. Job on Friday though! Hoo hoo.

Went to see the Roger Mayne: Portraits exhibition in Bridport today at the Arts Centre. If you don’t know Roger Mayne’s work and you’re a fan of incisive, black and white photography (which obviously, I am), then you’re in for a treat. The portraits really chime with me. Most seem to have two of the ingredients I love: empathy and significance of moment. They also suggest that Roger Mayne is fascinated by other people and what it is that makes them them. On ’till the end of November if you happen to live in the south West.

Although a bit of a moody so and so this morning, the boys always make me laugh:

20081111-074

20081111-092

Yesterday Harper went to the Treewise toddler group which is usually held in the yurt in the orchard in the village but in winter, when the weather’s a bit soggy, it’s held up at Monkton Wyld Court at the Steiner Kindergarten there. A beautiful place and Elliot loves climbing the trees:

20081111-134

20081111-117

And finally… on the way back from Monkton Wyld on the A35 we get a great view of the main landmark in our village – Colmer’s Hill:

20081111-152