Sunday, May 31, 2009

Man Smoking 2

Man Smoking

A series from the bus station. Would these images be stronger in black and white? Sometimes black and white can become rather relentless, and it often seems a lazy way to designate a photo as "art", without adding any other specific qualities to it.

Bus station

This place is full of Steinbeckian characters. It's a brutalist building, very generously proportioned, but it manages to sustain the seediness that seems everywhere to characterise bus stations.


I shall re-visit this place and see if I can get more images later in the week.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Here are some recent photos. I shall be concentrating on photography for the next week.

I think the thing that photography might be best at, for me, is detail and I want to use it to explore the gothic. By this I don't mean tombstones and valhallas- by gothic I mean an intimacy with the strange and unknown.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Work Not in Progress

I've reached an impasse with The Garden City, and the method of working that I used for it.

So I'm going to take a few paces back and try to think of another project or another technical approach.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Work in progress

A monotype in process, and then drying in the rack.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Here is a short interview with me-


This woodcut from 1960 is by Stanislaw Wojtowitz, and is entitled "City". I photographed it from Wspolczesna Grafika Polska, Arkady, 1975.

I think I will try to use similar thin lines to suggest "walls" in my next run of prints.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Some more images from the recent "Homage to Corot" series.

Homage to Corot

A very bright day, but not too warm. I'm working on a series of pastoral photos, which will go in a Flickr set as "Homage to Corot".

Corot is one of those 19th century painters whose work has fallen by the wayside. Wildly popular in his time, its difficult to imagine it being rediscovered by the 21st century gallery going public. In truth there are a fair number of dubious quality Corots, and the work lacks intellectual complexity. And the contemporary public probably wants something much more dramatic. However, I have often found his work beguiling.

The smell of mud and the distant sun made me think of the woods round Aberdeen, where I grew up, while I was out taking photos today.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

One of a number of photos of my hands- the full set is here-

This particular image might for a good starting point for The Garen City series. The hand here is an opened container, the shell is itself a home, much like a dwelling in a city.

Today was a very unsuccesful day in the print studio, the second such this week, and I need to start afresh. Oddly, it is often a relief to produce really poor work. It tells me, without equivocation, that I am on the wrong track. Merely mediocre work is much more difficult to learn from.

There is something immensely reassuring about the geometric orderliness of shells which I think might also provide me with a new direction for the Garden City series.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


The Garden City - Nocturne (details)

I shall publish the whole print later this week.

I think of these with piano music in mind-

There is a beautiful tradition of night pictures which I'd like to tap into.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Garden City- more work

Here is some more recently completed work-

The Garden City

The first prints of the new series have dried, and I'm showing them on Flickr.

They're called "The Garden City", as a sort of homage to the planners of the nineteenth century.

I've structured the pieces with an underlying grid, with circles and other shapes overlain.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Back in 2001 I did a series of monotypes based on city plans, called The Ideal City.
These were quite successful, and were featured in the Urban Planning journal, Planum.

They were also exhibited in The Polish Cultural Centre, in London, and a couple of prints sold to the accountancy firm Ernst and Young.

It's time for me to revisit these themes. I'm most interested in 18th and 19th cnetury planning- as seen in Edinburgh and London, especially the use of the "circus" used as a visual contrast to the more frequent rectilinear shapes.

My working methods here will be subjective- responding to the shapes and colours as I procedd, usually from a simple schematic base. I'm not going to copy the plans. I want to work from felt memory. I'm confident that I've internalised the ground plans of these cities.

And in the end, it is the emotional effect of the finished image that counts, not its veracity.