Gas and Garbage

In July 1991 I arrived at Gdynia, the Polish seaport where the cracks in communism had not long since opened up into crevasses and swallowed a 70 year old ideology.  I arrived on a boat from Tilbury because I had thought it would be a really cool way to arrive in Poland.  We had sailed up the River Tees for some reason on our journey and I’d witnessed the last gasps of the heavy industry that had informed Ridley Scott’s landscape in Blade Runner.  Then we’d sailed over Denmark and into the Baltic finally stopping at the green and rusty …

An Elizabethan Poem in an Unexpected Place

So I am sitting next to my semi-conscious mother on the medical assessment ward and I suddenly find Thomas Wyatt’s “they flee from me that sometime did me seek” sloshing about in my head.  Until now I had always thought it the self dramatising lament of a roué in his cups having just been knocked back by a teenage waitress.  But right now it seems entirely appropriate. Most of the patients on the medical assessment unit are old.  Properly old. My mother will be 90 on Wednesday if she survives, and I am not sure she is the oldest.  Everyone is …

I am not an atheist, however…

I just had a ‘discussion’ with an american christian on twitter. He ended up asking me if I was a liberal theologian. I have never been asked that before. I’m liberal, I’m educated and particularly interested in history and religion because they are so intertwined, but the very idea that I would have to be a theologian to think the way I do about faith and god and all of he other stuff was kind of shocking and completely hilarious if you know anything about the way i was bought up, which was as an atheist, not a ranty dawkins …

Surface and Light

We put up our first e5Process Exhibition in the Archive Gallery at the Rose Lipman Library, ex-home of my old alma mater Open School East in mid November. An exhibition of experimental photography practice from the E5 Process Darkroom Collective.  Archive Gallery, Mill Co Project, Rose Lipman Building, 43 De Beauvoir Rd, London N1 5SQ. Artists: Guy Paterson Tina Rowe Ben Bradish Douglas Nicolson Sebnem Ugural Liz Loveless Adrian Ensor Pauline Morphett Rachel Thomson Balint Bolygo Event Photos on Facebook

My Mother’s House

My mother lives in a care home. She sits in a chair with her back to the window alone watching television all day. My brother recently put one of those convex blind spot mirrors so she could see out of the window like the The Lady of Shalott. Her life is arranged on two shelves and in various draws in an area of roughly 2 square meters. She refuses to go to the communal rooms because ‘it is full of dotty old people who can’t talk sense’ and that is to some degree true as there is everything in this …

My practice went to Barcelona and all I got was this tiny badge.

  I have been on an artistic exchange in the Catalan village of Vilassar de Dalt as part of the Revela-t analogue photo festival with nine other artists and it was great. Well the first night when we almost had to walk 10km back to hostel wasn’t a high point and if I am honest sitting through a movie in Catalan subtitled in Spanish before that was also not a high point and I won’t bore you with the details of the full English tribute breakfast I had for dinner which to be honest was definitely not a high point, …

invective

I was angry with someone recently, not annoyed, but angry at the way they have behaved.  This isn’t a person I have ever particularly liked, but I didn’t dislike them either.  But now they have capped off already questionable behaviour with some low level hostility that has stuck in my craw and I had been internalising all of this into a stupid bat of paranoia with which I had been beating myself up and as a result, work came to a bit of a halt. Well not entirely as I started mulling over a project and slowly working on the constituent parts, kind of like taking …

The Obscure

The title of this piece is the Obscure after the book about Jude Fawley by Thomas Hardy.  The image is also printed on the text from a 1917 edition.  There are lots of reasons for this but the main one is if you don’t have an education, you are screwed. I’ve never read all of Jude the Obscure despite the fact that Thomas Hardy is one of my favourite writers. It’s just too bleak and sad. Even Michael Winterbottom’s film with Christopher Ecclestone and Kate Winslet is too much for me to sit through; poverty, siblicide, suicide all under the …

60 Minutes at Speakers Corner

The main theme appears to be some kind of monotheist slap-down between the fundamental Christians and the fundamental Muslims.  Still, people listen, they join in.  I like it, though it reminds me that our society is increasingly polarised between the comfortable and those tolerating increasing discomfort. Using instant film in the cold and the wind is problematic, but kind of worth it.

60 Minutes with Fotosynthesis

I met Ingrid Guyon when I helped out on a project for Fotosynthesis in early 2014.  they had this genius idea for teaching year 4 kids about measuring and maths that involved gettingthem to make pinhole cameras, to take photos and develop them.  Nothing beats seeing a kid watching a photograph coming up in the developer.  We stayed in touch and that summer I helped her out when she was taking portraits at the South Bank Centre.  I took polaroids of the process.