Sunday, January 31, 2010












COUNTRY HOUSES
The weather in January's been pretty bloody awful mostly with our snowbound weeks but there has been the odd day that's been bright if a little chilly. So I have had the chance to go out with the camera for a wander, down to Salisbury and then Beaulieu in Hampshire with Andy's friend Laurence, who is a qualified tourist guide. He takes people on those walks you sometimes see in London and he is also qualified to drive people to places near London. So it was a bright Sunday about two weeks ago that he suggested we take a trip to Salisbury in Wiltshire and I suggested that, since Beaulieu (pronounced 'Bewley'), where the car museum and the country house is located, isn't too much of a drive from Salisbury, we should stop off there as well. Salisbury was a strange place, with parts of it very pretty but some of it filled with that horrible Sixties and Seventies architecture. It was a very pleasant lunch and we wandered around the town centre which was very pretty, including the Cathedral. Then we headed off to Beaulieu via the New Forest, past the gardens at Exbury. We walked through the motor museum there and then had a quick look at the Palace House, which has been home to the Montagu family since 1538. The majority of the building is Victorian and it's a really lovely structure especially with its mill pond situated in the village next to it. So here are a few photos I took in both places…

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


RAGING BALLS
Clint Eastwood is a director whose work I normally admire. The last of the old school, his work drips effort and research. Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman as former South African President Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as the country's rugby captain, Francois Pienaar, tries to use the sport of rugby to make points about the turmoil that the country was in just after apartheid was wrapped up. The problem with it is that, while it's well-meaning, it just comes across as clumsy and overly simplistic. The sport may have temporarily united the white and black South Africans but that unity did not last and the country is now in a pretty parlous state. It is also obvious that Nelson Mandela was an intelligent man and a calming influence for the country but Freeman looks uncomfortable here in a performance that veers close to caricature. Damon is passable as the rugby captain but his character isn't really formed in Invictus and merely acts as a foil for Mandela's actions. Also, Eastwood's directing is so clumsy and telegraphed here, accompanied by some of the cheesiest music I've ever heard on a film score and so it lacks any of the drama of Eastwood's best recent films like The Changeling, Mystic River and even Gran Turino, which was flawed but had its moments. The events in South Africa in the Eighties and Nineties do deserve chronicling on screen but Invictus is not the film to do it and Eastwood obviously isn't the director to carry it off either. This film is hackneyed, corny, predictable and a bore to watch. Let's hope that Hereafter, his next film, will restore that golden touch he has displayed in his later years…

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Friday, January 08, 2010


TOWN & COUNTRY REVISITED
I've just made the softcover version of my photo book Town & Country available to order from Blurb.com, for those people who can't stretch to the hardback. Priced at £19.45 for UK/ $34.57 US, it's the perfect post-Christmas/ New Year book:), packed with unique photos of London and England.

So why not visit http://www.blurb.com/my/book/detail/1129466 and order one?
I'll also be offering prints of my work, so watch this space…

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Saturday, January 02, 2010













A GRAVE START TO THE NEW YEAR
So with the weather being chilly but bright, I decided to take a wander with the camera on Friday, New Year's Day. It was the perfect weather to take photos, so I started off in King's Cross where I wandered past the old gasometers and into St Pancras Station. It is a beautiful station, probably the nicest rail station in London and it photographs well. Then I jumped in the car and drove to the other end of London to Kensal Green Cemetery. One of the Magnificent Seven Victorian cemeteries in London, Kensal is an amazing place. Incorporated in 1832, it is the only cemetery where bodies cannot be exhumed and if it ceases to be an active cemetery, it has to be turned into a memorial park. The notable people buried there reads like a who's who of arts, culture and history including engineers Marc Brunel and his more famous son Isambard Kingdom Brunel, mathematician Charles Babbage, author Wilkie Collins, romantic critic James Henry Leigh Hunt, playwright and writer Harold Pinter and William Thackeray (author of Vanity Fair). It has a very urban feel to it thanks to the gas tower and the tower blocks in the distance unlike West Brompton which almost feels like you're somewhere in the country. My visit to Kensal Green was a trip to shoot images for a London Cemeteries book I'll be publishing later in the year, so it was a very satisfying start to 2010. So here are some pics taken near King's Cross and in Kensal including a few shot at St Mary's Cemetery, a Catholic cemetery next to Kensal Green itself…

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