Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Inspired by Joel Meyerowitz, A Peniscola Picture that Sings to Me

untitled_spain_2  This picture gets me very excited, and I know that that will take some explaining…

Two reasons; actually, three. One, I’ve loved the work of Joel Meyerowitz for a long long time, and often when I’ve worked on a project I find that his work is echoed there, and sometimes I find I’ve inadvertently worked on a theme which he’s covered before. Occasionally I find that he has a new book out using a theme I’ve worked on before, like his new book looking at wilderness in NYC. Admittedly that’s a little more appealing to the book buying public than my brief series on wilderness in Bournemouth & Poole…

In this shot I was thinking of a book of his I have called The Arch, in which he looks at the same architectural subject from lots of different locations. I wanted to include the large hotel sign in the distance in at least one shot for this project, and though I only have this one shot, the stillness of the streetscape and the pattern of the picture it feels to me to be reminiscent of his work.

Two: We drove to this town, a popular resort on the coast between Tarragona and Valencia, and couldn’t get parked, but we spotted this car. It was blisteringly hot and the atmosphere in our car was fractious, so I decided that it was one of those images I would keep in my minds eye and that it would never make it as far as the camera. We drove back to our apartment and decided to head in again early the next morning. I took a stroll, and there it was again, on the same street but a different space. I almost whooped out loud.

Three: The resort in question is called Peniscola. Hilarious!

If I can persuade Vicki, I’m going to print this one up big to hang on the wall. She tends to prefer the ‘pretty’ ones, but to me this is absolutely beautiful. Stillness, Spanish heat and photos seen together and apart, the composition in each just sings to me.

Peniscola (ha ha!) is here. It’s an absolutely stunning place, and I hope to go back next year for the jazz festival. (I took the photo where the letter B is on the map, but I wanted to show you the coastline as it’s really somewhere special.)

love | landscape

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Wilderness at the Heart of the Mediterranean Coast


I realise I haven’t blogged for two months, and my poor reader must be wondering what’s going on… my only excuse is that I’ve been busy. I’m still helping establish a Free School in Swanage, I’ve been fixing up my house, and I’ve been away to the Valencia region of Spain to unwind and warm up.

Vicki, the boys and me had a great time enjoying the warm Mediterranean sea, the blistering heat and the fascinating local area – it’s lovely to see our sons (aged 6 and 8) each with a camera, photographing the backstreets of Spanish towns while we search for hearts and other graffiti. They’re getting quite an eye.

The apartment we rented was in Alcossebre, a very Spanish resort about 100k north of Valencia. Just along the coast is the Sierra de Irta National Park with 20km of almost unspoilt coastline and a number of abandoned buildings. I don’t know what this little building was, but it had the feel of a chapel. It was covered in spray paint and smelt of poo, but was really rather special. This heart was truly magnificent.

Sunny spotted this heart around the side – he took some shots of me alongside it looking fat and old, so I’m not sure we’ll use them, but maybe I’ll photoshop myself a new face, body and some hair and they’ll do for publicity.

It was here on the map. If you’re in the area, it’s worth a visit.

love | landscape

Monday, 28 June 2010

Ferreting in the Virtual Fridge

juan_jo_ _ouali_a_vie

Trawling back through old shots again, I’m finding hundreds that I’ve never put together – some dating back four or five years! My folders of photos are the digital equivalent of rolls of film in the fridge. To get to them I need to reach past some cans of lager and a really old cheese… oh, and a really old animated gif too. Used to love those.

This was from Barcelona in 2008. That’s a tree root on a cliff in the park near the big gallery with the fancy lighty-uppy fountains. That’s not its official name. It was magical at night though. I’m hoping to be in Spain again later in the summer…

It was roughly here, or hereabouts.



love | landscape

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Ben-Day Dots and the Free School


I felt like making one of the pictures from Paris last October, so here it is: Jodie Quinn 2009. I do like photographing photographs of people and I do like the big Ben-Day Dots you get in large scale prints like this one. It was taken up the Eiffel Tower, so no map required.

I’m in a funny position at the moment, and not just because I've hurt my back. I’ve been opposed to Conservative politics since the first time I thought for myself about it, yet the Coalition Government  is pushing forward with the plan to allow groups of parents, teachers etc to establish schools where the local authority doesn’t recognise the need for one. As our Conservative local authority has completely failed Swanage in its bid to make our town completely family unfriendly this is now our opportunity to create a school of our own.

This afternoon I found myself discussing this on national radio for half an hour (1hr 6mins in - this link will self destruct in 7 days) and I’ve also been on local radio this week to talk about it.

It’s a frightening prospect - the work that may be involved, not the school – and we don’t yet know what the legislation will involve us in, but if the people who are supposed to educate our children are so utterly hopeless that we have to do it ourselves, then I think that this is a strong enough community to do it. My personal dream is of a Co-operative Trust, set up to be run by the community for the community…

If you want to find out more, have a look at the Education Swanage website at where we once tried hard to educate the LA Education Officers and where now we are beginning to present information about the Free School model.


love | landscape

Sunday, 9 May 2010

I’d Like My Change Now, Please…


I’ve spent the last two days listening pretty much solidly to speculation and discussion about the outcome of the General Election. I’m enjoying the uncertainty in a way – but at the same time I’m getting heartily sick of pundits and politicians, on both wings, making assumptions about why I voted the way I voted. I was particularly annoyed about various Conservatives telling me that ‘people didn’t vote for electoral reform’ – personally, I did. And apart from that, the Tories didn’t win and they have no idea what people were thinking when they voted.

I voted against the Conservatives partly because my local Labour MP was a good man and partly because I wanted a hung parliament (the only realistic way to tell politicians that we don’t like the way things are). And also out of a genuine worry that our new MP, Richard Drax, can’t possibly understand the needs of the average person – he has huge shoes to fill if he’s going to be even half the MP that Jim Knight was. Whatever they said, our local Lib Dems didn’t stand a chance of  winning in South Dorset, but if Nick Clegg can somehow wangle genuine electoral reform out of one side or the other, I’ll be happy.

The argument that PR is bad because it would let parties such as the BNP through the doors of parliament is a denial of democracy. In my own view, it’s better to let them air their views so that the nation can see how abhorrent they are – that’s why their vote fell so badly this time around. People would vote quite differently under PR, though, and new parties would undoubtedly form and win seats here and there – there would probably be a Marxist MP for every BNP member elected, maybe a Monster Raving Loony too.

Personally, I hope that Clegg forms an alliance with Labour (ideally under a new leader, otherwise the Tory Press will burst a blood vessel) because Labour have already embraced, if a little late, the idea of electoral reform. The Tories are hell-bent on getting themselves another elected dictatorship like they had in the 80’s so will never allow the people to genuinely have their say. PR would be another nail in the coffin of the vested interests that have distorted the political leaning of the UK for so long – the left of centre parties have always won more than 50% of the vote, yet for much of the last century we’ve had right of centre political control.

So: To the politicians: all of you promised ‘change’ and none of you won, so now give the people real change - a fair voting system. Then I’ll probably vote Green. Hooray for Caroline Lucas, by the way!

[Photo taken in a shelter on a pier in Falmouth – on the left is a long list of names and a little heart. It seemed mean to leave any names out.]

love | landscape

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

One of the world’s great sheds


I know it’s very ‘bloke’, but I love sheds.

This is possibly too solid to be properly described as a shed, but it isn’t a workshop or a house, so I’ve designated it ‘shed’ and have certainly got Shed Envy for whoever owns it. It also has a heart on the door. But imagine having a shed with a chimney…

I have two sheds. Strictly speaking, they’re not just mine, and Vick may indeed say that one of them is hers, but I tidy them and fix bits when they break, so I’ve designated these sheds ‘mine’.

One of my sheds is a retired beach hut and lives at our allotment. It leans forwards where the wind at Studland, where it once stood, pushed it from behind. It’s turquoise and full of tools, though I tidied it this weekend and put some reclaimed cladding on the wall as part of my ongoing attempt to make it Pleasant To Sit In.

My other shed is, rather excitingly, underground. Our house is on a hill, and beneath our back yard is a stone shed with a door at the level of the road that runs up the hill behind. It’s dank, dark and cave-like and full of bikes and junk, but one day it will be beautiful.

The shed in this photograph is at Chapman’s Pool. It’s a ridiculously lovely place, but don’t tell anyone as it’s also tucked away from the crowds. And there are even nicer sheds right by the water’s edge, but they don’t have chimneys, so this is probably my favourite.

love | landscape

Monday, 12 April 2010

Three Steps to Devon


I hadn’t been to Dartmouth before the Easter weekend and it really is lovely.  I’m sure millions of people know that already, but there’s no harm in a truth being repeated. We enjoyed relaxing away from housework and the work-work, the gentle English ambience of the town and the cottage we stayed in and the boys enjoyed the castle, the pirates, the beaches nearby and the ice creams. And a very nice lady in a very nice gallery called Baxters has taken my Alphabet Coast work too, so it was a doubly good trip.

In a bizarrely small-world way I also bumped into our next-door neighbour from here in Swanage. We were both browsing the condiments aisle in Marks & Spencer… and were both amazed that a tiny seaside town has a Marks & Spencer!

The heart above I photographed twice, but the other set of photos are still on Sunny’s camera. He has a better zoom than me, but that’s OK, he’s eight, he needs a better zoom than his photographer dad. I’m pleased with this, though in my usual way I’ve managed to make a pretty stone wall in a lovely seaside town look like a dingy bit of a rundown inner city.

I do like this stickering though – there were three dayglo hearts on three signs nearby. Two stop signs and a one way – there’s probably something to be read into that about the nature of love, but I’ll leave that to somebody who has the time.

If you read my last post I mentioned that the heart on the stop sign in Totnes was also on Google Street View… well so are the ones in Dartmouth! Double spooky-dooky!

love | landscape