Christmas Home 2018
Christmas Home 2018
Most of my photography is sparse and dark. I will try to explain.
Looking at my Photographs is like being alone in a room with yourself, or even a step worse. My images are introspective in a way that makes some people really nervous. The kind of person who immediately turn on the TV when they are alone don’t get my Photography – it makes them terribly uncomfortable.
After all is said and done, I photograph to see how the world looks photographed. And as they say the camera lens is a window to the soul……….
This image was made well into dusk. I was into that time of night where you lose a stop every few minutes and I was working with an initial exposure of several minutes as to be effected by this phenomenon. But I really liked the faint glow of colour coming from the moon and sky across the open field and I don’t make enough photos of autumn colour in the gloom of evening.
Morning broke on the day I looked most forward to, and it did not disappoint with its glorious Tuscan sunrise.
I selected and squeezed three oranges into four small glasses, took my coffee outside and made a couple of Photographs.
San Gusme was just appearing through the morning mist. I knew then that the magic here cannot be held at bay by Glass. It strikes deep and massages a tired soul. Once again the peace was overwhelming and my eyes filled with tears of bliss and joy. The anticipation of what lay ahead made my head spin.
Breakfast devoured we headed west to Siena to pick up the famous and scenic SR2 to San Quirico d’ Orcia. Driving through fields of curvaceous green plains. This is where the Unesco protected Val d’ Orcia begins.
About 5km south hot sulphurous water bubbles up into this picturesque pool in the centre of Bagno Vignoni.
We then headed 15 km further south to the tiny and beautiful (aren’t they all) village Bagni San Fillippo. A tiny path through the woods took us to sets of warm, tumbling cascades. Mudpools and Sulphur mountains. A most glorious spot.
It was fast approaching lunchtime and we headed for Monticchiello, a sleepy medieval hilltop village. Just inside the main Gate (doesn’t that sound brilliant – inside the village gate) stands the small and highly regarded Osteria La Porta. It has a small terrace with the most overwhelming panoramic views of the Val d’ Orcia. This is the place to have Lunch.
We drove unhurried to Pienza, making several stops en route to enjoy and marvel at this wonderful scenery and to make photographs.
We could see our next stop from the terrace of Osteria La Porta.
Pienza is small and boost several Renaissance buildings that should not be missed. We spent several relaxing hours here and strolled without a care and without any hurry through this beautiful village. Exploring with eyes, heart and soul.
I also found a plaque that stated that the Val d’ Orcia was an idea by several Renaissance painters. I for one will be forever grateful to them.
So we slowly made our way back to the Villa for our last night and a scrumptious BBQ.
I thank whoever needs thanking for making this trip possible.
Thursday morning and we were greeted by a beautiful Rainbow to bring in the day. Running low on supplies and a needed trip to the chemist for potions and lotions due to my encounter with the Giant Hogweed, we headed for Castelnuovo Berardenga. Thursday is market day.
I decided to take the Rolleiflex, loaded with Kodak Portra 800 and Berrger Pancro 400, with me. Boy did that caused some interest. The Tuscan folk really appreciated this camera. Words like “fantastico” drifted my way wherever I went.
A little crowd gathered and examined the old machine. Several wanted to have their photo taken. I felt very humbled and enjoyed the little place very much.
Buying supplies from the market.
Supplies bought and a quick hello to the local baker and we were on our way.
Tomorrow we will be heading south. The day I looked most forward to on this trip.
We also finally found Abbie’s resting place. We gave Abbie to our good friends James and Penny and she lived with them here in Tuscany until the ripe old age of 14 ½ years. She was a special dog and seeing her place under that Olive Tree made the whole trip even more special.
A couple of thoughts on curiosity, and how it drives and influences how I work as a photographer.
The effects of my curiosity are both sweeping and subtle, in regards to the decisions I make with my cameras and where it will take me.
One aspect of it is that I am always trying to do something different, or looking back on things I once experimented with but never explored thoroughly before heading off in other directions. So I make a point to come back and revisit some of those ideas.
Recently I decided to start working more with the very basic Daguerreoytype Lens and an unusual new film. Ferrania P30.
I am always curious about rendering the world through such images as opposed to images that are familiar in both sight and photography.
This is easy enough to do, and these images aren’t the point. It doesn’t really matter if a photo is any good or not. In this case it was about being curious, asking myself questions and then answering them by making pictures. Hoping to capture that elusive lost Image.
Sometimes I get the shots, sometimes I don’t but ultimately it is not why I am there, nor is it why I pull out that camera. Which itself might sound crazy.
I don’t solely use my camera to make photos, I also use my camera because it is a sort of meditation and a justification to linger a bit longer.
Sometimes we get so hung up on how best to make the photos and we fret and worry and ultimately distract ourselves.
I know this is very abstract and I also know it is easier to say when you have several decades of experience doing as much photography as I have and I know it is easy to claim not to worry about the pictures when you have a whole hard drive full of images you love. I know abstract advice isn’t easy, but for me this is my driver. And maybe that truth doesn’t work for anyone else. I cannot comment on other photographers approach, just my own.
I can offer insight based on that, invest myself in being there with a camera in hand. I make photos, and by the time that shutter fires that goal has been met, my destination has been reached and the story has been told.
Creativity is on the back foot everywhere, even within schools. The powers that be don’t really want people to think.
It’s like an old ideology – thinking! It’s the dying of the light.
Nine o’clock in the morning
I’m taking the overnight train
Checked the Date – February 2018
I’m riding to someplace
Where I’ve never been
And I’m waving through the window as we go
What are you waving at ?
Well what do I have to lose
Somebody might wave back
Seven o’clock in the morning
I’m carrying bags under my eyes
Been awake all night
Counting the hours to sunrise
Drawing patterns on a breakfast table top,
I lift my gaze, my mouth just drops
There’s someone in the room waving at me
What are you waving at ?
What do I have to lose
Somebody might wave back
To the Bone, Arepas, Tapas and flying Catalans
I took the red eye to Barcelona to see Dominic, enjoy some Barcelona culture, some cuisine; and experience the magic of Steven Wilson in Concert. All in a 36 hour visit.
One of those impromptu trips that has greatness written all over it, but could also move slightly off course.
This one didn’t drift astray, not for one bit.
Dominic was the perfect guide and we had a ball. We ate, drank, talked and talked and then drank, talked and ate some more.
And then we sat down and had something to eat and drink.
As the evening turned magenta we made our way to the auditorium to take our seats for the most wonderful musical experience. If you have the chance to see Steven Wilson – do not miss it.
I was in my element.
Thank you Barcelona, Dominic and Steven.
A day I shall treasure for all time.
A Life of Sundays
Spiedini Di Ivoltini Di Agnello
Lomo Iberico, Manchego, Olives, Rioja and Focacia
Since I have been housebound these last couple of weeks and will be the next couple of weeks, due to our litter of four, it has been not possible to go out and make new photographs. So the creative mind starts to think in a different way.
Lentils with Goats Cheese and caramelised Walnuts
One a day…….
I have written over these last couple of years about Trees, Dogs, Music, ND Filters, Autotelic, Books and of course Photography in general, all important for Mind, Heart and Soul. However the mortar that keeps it all together is great food.
Vingnole and Ciabatta
One of my passions (I know I know I have a few) is sourcing and cooking with wonderful ingredients.
Slow roast Shoulder of Lamb
I am by no means a food Photographer but these are some dishes we have enjoyed.
Piquillo Peppers stuffed with Oxtail
Tarte au Citron
And so another Sunday has ended and crumbled. Wouldn’t a Life of Sundays just be the best…..
I dreamed and I wandered
Wayward like a restless wave
Spanning from here to yonder
Most spectacularly saved
Dream and life entwined
The old day cracks and crumbles and it’s fine…
Yesterday saw the last of our puppies depart for its new home. Rigby is going to live in Wales with our good friends Mark and Juliet.
They came bearing lovely gifts. I had absolutely no idea that there is such a thing as a Welsh Single Malt Whisky. And if it tastes half as good as it looks I am in for a treat.
And like the other Aur Cymru used to make jewellery worn by kings and princes down the ages, Penderyn single malt is also rare and highly priced.
To those who love it, it’s a new kind of Welsh Gold.
As for Aur Cymru, I have been sworn to secrecy about the location of this River. One of the very few places the rare Welsh Gold can still be found.
“Iechyd da”! To you all.