black and white

Alternative Christmas Tree - if you prefer to leave them uncut - get a Sandra Jordan photograph! Feature on the photographer's contemplative winter landscapes photos at

Winter Photography: Alternative Christmas Tree

If you prefer your Christmas trees left in nature, unchopped, au naturelle – then an alternative for December decoration is to buy yourself a print from Sandra Jordan Photography.

The print featured is “Winter Forest #1”.  And, encouragingly, that number would lead you to assume that there are other photographs in a similar vein.  And you would be right.

With a touch of the poetic and humorous, this particular series is called Cabin Fever – and Sandra describes it thus:

cabin fever noun

a term for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person is isolated and/or shut in a small space, with nothing to do for an extended period.

I live in a busy city, I live with a busy mind, sometimes I feel trapped within my own limited space and have an urge to run away, to escape. Photographing this series allows me to stop, breathe and take stock.  I hope that my  photographs allow the viewer to experience the same sense of space, serenity and peace.



The Unmagnificent Obsession… jigsaws

Be warned, folks.  This is a public safety announcement.  Jigsaws may severely damage your financial futures.  Also, having Stan Laurel as your best man increases the risk to life and limb.

So you want to be a writer/musician/director? (2 mins)

Listen to this poem by Charles Bukowski if you want to follow a creative career, especially writing.  It just take 2 of your earth minutes.  It is compelling and clear.

He lists the main reasons to be creative – and traps that hold you back.  It’s that simple.  It’s the entry level test for creatives.

The Radical Eye

If you had a shedload of money, more than enough for necessities – enough to seriously collect something – what would it be?



still thinking…


Elton John, with a lifetime’s creative work, accidentally fell into the art love of his life – black and white photography.  Fortunately for us, he collected “avariciously” and is displaying it, generously, for all to see at Tate Modern until 7th May 2017.

The show is called “The Radical Eye – Modernist photography from the the Sir Elton John Collection” (Ticket price:£16.50 for one adult).

A writeup about it here, on Tate Modern’s site:

(excerpt from collection notes)  This unrivalled selection of classic modernist images from the 1920s to the 1950s features almost 200 works from more than 60 artists, including seminal figures such as Berenice Abbott, André Kertész, Man Ray, Alexandr Rodchenko and Edward Steichen among many others. The exhibition consists entirely of rare vintage prints, all created by the artists themselves, offering a unique opportunity to see remarkable works up close. The quality and depth of the collection allows the exhibition to tell the story of modernist photography in this way for the first time in the UK.

There is a fascinating video of them in his home – and this has more colour and impact and excitement (for me) because they are literally jampacked together.



Coastal photography – Heather Maslen

If you love photos of sea, sand captured in black and white simplicity or slightly tinted soft colours… have a look at Heather’s website.

Her work includes the Orkneys, Lewis but also Trinidad and English piers.  Here is a quick sample from the website.

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There is also a whole section of photographic essays on traditional crafts which are trades – joiner, stained glass etc.

Again, in the black and white with subtle tones and the sense of texture.



Street Photography – Eugene Atget

This whole blog is about the overlap between art and life: street photography is one obvious place to find both interacting.

As you visit a town or city over the years, you notice buildings changing use – somewhere that used to be a coffee shop is now a pizza place, what was a cardshop is now a cafe…. but how intriguing to capture the changing uses of buildings as they reflect changes in society.  Eugene Atget did this for Paris at the turn of the twentieth century and for two decades.

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(Intriguing street photograph of Atget – Les Avenue de Gobelins in Daily Muse)

There is a great introduction to his work, lavishly illustrated over at the website, The Daily Muse

The picture above is my personal favourite from the website, because it is intriguing what is artificially and statically arranged inside the window and the outside real life, reflected into it.

Eugene’s photography begins as the city of Paris moves into the 1900s, through to his death in 1927.  He works quietly, not exhibiting his photos, but selling them to artists and museums. He only discovered photography aged 41, after unsuccessfully trying to work as an actor and painter.  I wonder if this is why his work has a quiet authority – a man who has reached maturity, has seen a wide variety of life (as a youth he worked on sailing ships), who understands staging and human posture (via acting) as communication and the way to frame and compose a picture (via painting).

His work only becomes well known because the more famous Man Ray and Berenice Abbot champion his work, Berenice editing many books of his photographs.  She herself is so inspired by his work, that she takes on the photographing of New York as it changes, working on this project from 1929 – 1939.

When Eugene Atget dies, those who look at his work are mystified by reference numbers on the backs of his photographs.  It was only after many mystical theories as to their meaning were examined – was it found that he had simply used the library classification system.  (presumably Dewey Decimal – the numbers written on the spine of a book to classify where they should be shelved).  As a confirmed fan of libraries myself, this only makes me like Eugene more.

(Thank you to the book “Photography a crash course” by Dave Yorath, which introduced me to Atget’s work and the information above).