Competition is for dogs and horses.
Gerry Haliwell

The above is something I always used to look for early in my work. A single light in a car park with a tree and a picnic bench. Its the epiphany of the Urban Sprawl and that mixture of Natural and Man-made that I try to keep consistent in my imagery. But there's a lot more to this particular image than a patch of grass and a very big bright lamp. To the right of the image is a large electricity power plant, to the left is a petrol station. Behind me there is a little Chef with a CCTV camera directly above where I stood to make the shot which I can only imagine was to record what people where having for lunch. And behind the tree is a large landfill site which really is quite smelly. So you see, not the nicest place to have a picnic... And before you start wondering why I never included all these obscenities in my final image, well one, it would of been a right cluttery mess, and two, my camera is wide but not that wide, but here's the petrol station for good measure, and the power station (although this was shot earlier in the day)..
Its nice to revert back toIts nice to revert back to a technique and style that I have not used for a while, especially when it forms part of a new project.


The coastal quest continues...

Rock Jetty. Workington 2011
Steps. Margate 2011
Pink House. Margate 2011.
White house & Basket Ball. Eastriggs, Scotland.
By Coastal Borders project 2011.

Well a broken back has never stopped me, and neither will broken cameras or the Tax Man.
Will it all be worth it in the end, probably not. But it beats working in an office..


Food Stor. Wendover Utah 1998
Flaming Truck. Amboy 1998

Here's a couple of old classics from the dusty archives. No waiting around for the light to change. No tripod or camera the size of a small house. Just me and a 120.
I should also add that it was all gut instinct and absolutely no direction whatsoever. But sometimes that's all you need.


Angus Fraser...

Kryziu Kalnas, Lithuania. From the Shrine series by Angus Fraser.

You may recall me mentioning last year that I was dabbling in a little part time lecturing and practical tutorials (think Indiana Jones). An enlightening experience indeed keeping me on my toes with a realisation that there are plenty of other like minded people out there. Last weeks outdoor assignment was in the photographically rich, Del Boy frequented, Margate. Once the students were set their task and sent seaward I managed to take a little walk along the coast with my photographic friend and college Angus Fraser. I have always been familiar with Angus' work having been turned away very early on from a gallery due to one of his large scale night shots, which although nothing like my large scale night shots, it was too similar in tone and content to allow my work through the door (all said and done the gallery is long gone so that's that).
What I find most intriguing about Angus and his work is that we began our careers at the same time, took totally different routes, but arrived at the same place some fifthteen years later sharing similar views and opinions on photography.
So there we were walking along the sea shore, Angus heading towards a location he had wanted to photograph and me clocking areas I would return to later in the day (when the tide was in). We were like Pirates searching for photographic jewels with our lofty cameras and Goretex jackets. It was a good day with some beautiful light and sand in our shoes...

As with any 'top of the range photographer' Angus has a fine array of work, but by far my favourite series is his ongoing SHRINE, an exceptional series of images and one of those, 'I wish I'd thought of that' projects.


The rounderbout I fell off and 'split me head open' when I was a nipper.
“I talk to people all the time, particularly when I go and talk to students, and it’s amazing to me how many kids and people feel that they have to create work… they’ll look at the market and create work that fits for that market, and I think that’s a terrible, terrible mistake. And what happens then is what you just said, hundreds of thousands of people lose their job. Because what happens is they’re not being original thinkers, they’re just providing content that already exists in a slightly different form.” - Phil Toledano
Originality is undetected plagiarism.


Bang Crash Wollop....

Richard Nicholson's series feature in the exhibition Analog: Trends in Sound and Picture, at the Riflemaker Gallery, London WC1 (020-7439 0000), until 5 March


Misty water coloured memories...

It was such a beautiful morning today that I gave myself two options;
I could either mount a horse and sing 'Oh What A Beautiful Morning.' Like the fella from Oklahoma. Or I could take a walk around where I grew up and perhaps reminisce a little. Naturally I chose the latter, and although my early memories were of sunshine and rainbows, I don't remember soiled mattresses and spiked fences. Still it was nice and at one point I almost shed a frosty tear as I stopped to look at my old school the house where the six Labrador
puppies were born...


Ever get that sinking feeling...

I remember hearing a radio interview (archived) with Ansel Adams and his upset on discovering pin holes in his camera bellows. The worst part was that he had just come back from a month long trip, so even before the film was processed he knew they would probably be ruined. I tell you this because I find myself in a similar situation having discovered a small gap between the lens and the mount on that cursed 6/17 (see previous posts for details). It may indeed be time to retire that bugger of a camera and save myself the face ache.
I thought mentioning Ansel would make me feel better, afterall he was one of the ones that started this nonsense, but I think I feel worse. Its a bit like finding money in the bank, spending it, and then being told its not yours and you have to pay it back.
Of course I wouldn't feel so bad if I hadn't spent all afternoon hanging off a cliff face over crashing white water counting to 120 for each exposure while shouting at seguls...


~ Be glad that you're greedy; the national economy would collapse if you weren't. ~
mignon mclaughlin

Excellent edition of the BJP this month full of all kinds of advice for photographers suffering the plight of being a photographer in these dodgy times. Personally I think the photographer has always had a hard time of it regardless of economic downturns and slashed budgets. We have no kind of union type body in the UK and for some reason the photographer is always expected to pick up the tab getting bumped to economy while the writer flies in the front of the plane.
Rant over, I do believe we will look back at this decade and see some of the best work ever made. One only has to look at work which came out of the great depression of the 1930's and the likes of Walker Evans to see that great work comes from hard times. Ok, we may not be in that much of a state, but the planet seems to be in a bit of a mess if you believe everything you see and read, but that's because we are all greedy selfish idiots.
As we strip the planet of it resources one thing will always remain....Photography and the evidence of what we have done.
Now excuse me while I purchase film for my dinner..


The Doyle Experience..

Image by Nathan Doyle. 2010

So this week sees me accommodating my Nephew for his work experience. A week with Uncle Marcus, how great. I only wish I could of spent a week with myself when I was 14 rather than at the animal shelter mucking out pigs and wrestling wild beasts. The memories of been bitten by two dogs a cat and a big fat horse will always stay with me in what became one of the worst weeks of my younger life..
The week started well but Tuesday ended badly after I had forgot to engage my 6/17 to the tripod. The camera fell six feet onto concrete for the second time in the space of a fortnight (I am beginning to think that dam camera is cursed!), only this time the damage was a little more severe and involved a hammer, a bench grinder and a big pair of pliers to straighten everything out.. Once again I am left with a camera that looks like a burnt Wellington boot, but hey, its a tool, not an ornament... (do not loan me a camera).. I did however loan my Nephew a camera and it would seem that he has the Doyle eye when it comes to the urban landscape (see above image). So all was not lost.
Wednesday consisted of a trip to the darkroom, gallery and the studio, in what can only be described as a bit of a work experience frenzy..
Next up will be tea making, floor sweeping and perhaps a cushion fight...




Corinne Day, Tara, Wales, 1997 (c) Courtesy of the Estate of Corinne Day and Gimpel Fils, London.

The Photographers' Gallery is looking to "raise the final portion of funds" it needs to renovate its Ramillies Street premises in London

Author: Olivier Laurent

The Photographers' Gallery is staging a February charity auction to raise the final funds it needs to finance its major refurbishment works. In September 2010, the London-based gallery closed down for 18 months to renovate and expand its Ramillies Street premises.

The auction, which will coincide with the Gallery's 40th anniversary, will see nearly 70 lots offered to the highest bidders at Christie's in South Kensington. "The event will comprise a Live and Silent Auction," says the Gallery, with estimates ranging from £600 to £10,000. "This will be the perfect opportunity for collectors of photography to add to their collections, while supporting a new state-of-the-art photography gallery in London," say the organisers.

The lots will include prints by photographers such as Helmut Newton, Rineke Dijkstra, Sebastião Salgado, Sally Mann, Lee Miller, Martin Parr and Corinne Day among many others. In addition, 18 past winners of the Gallery's annual prize, now sponsored by Deutsche Börse, have donated works "in recognition of the Gallery's support of their work at pivotal times in their careers."

The works will be on public display at Christie's South Kensington from 12 February until the 17 February Live auction, which will see 30 lots go under the hammer. The Gallery is also planning a series of public talks during the viewing days with artists such as Simon Roberts, Blees Luxemburg and Karen Knorr. Another 30 lots will be offered in a Silent Auction.

Director, Brett Rogers, says that the auction will allow the Photographers' Gallery to raise the final funds needed for its new building. "We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the photographers and gallerists, as well as private individuals, who have chosen to donate works to the auction," she says in a statement. "Their support demonstrates their enthusiasm to help us realise our vision to create a new home for photography in London."


West Bay, 1997 © Martin Parr.

For the past four months and until the end of the year, the Gallery is undergoing massive refurbishment works that will see its Ramillies Street premises expand with three new floors in addition to the three it currently has. The new space will comprise an improved bookshop, three dedicated gallery floors, a street-level café and an education floor. The new space has an Autumn 2011 opening date.

According to the Gallery, the work will cost, in total, £8.7m. It is being partly financed thanks to a £3.5m Arts Council England grant, as well as a £1.41m remortgage against the former Ramillies Street building.

But the final design, which BJP revealed in September 2010, is a scaled-back version of the gallery's original plans. When it first talked about moving out of Great Newport Street - its location since Sue Davies founded the gallery in 1971, up until 2008 - the plan was to build a new six-storey premises on Ramillies Street with "ceilings as high as 10m in the gallery" [BJP, 12 December 2007], at a cost of around £15m. But the gallery failed to raise enough funds (until 2009 it was still looking for £7m), and so opted for a cheaper alternative. Read our full report Photographers' Gallery to close down for a year, answers criticisms.

For more information about the auction, visit www.photonet.org.uk.


waste of money

Why on earth would anyone want to give a penny to this gallery ? It's run by a bunch of self-serving twerps who are totally out of touch with the average photographer. The standard of exhibitions is poor, and it is clear that only those with a Left wing ideology stand any chance of having their work accepted. I wouldn't mind if the quality of the photography was excellent, but the prints are often utterly dire. It is clear that the gallery believes that political intent is far more important than the photographs themselves. If the Coalition wants to save money then they need look no further than this gallery. At the very least it is long over due for a major reform, to turn it into a centre of photographic excellence rather than the personal fiefdom of an unaccountable, Left wing metropolitan elite.

Posted by: Roger Evans on 07 Jan 2011 at 16:16


All photography is political Roger. I understand your concerns myself as someone who is not part of the 'metropolitan elite' (i'm in Yorkshire where the left wing originated from! .i.e 1890 ILP and all that) but not too sure what 'photographic excellence' means. If it means pictorialism or the kind of pictures we see in popular magazines or so called 'fine art' galleries which produce illustrative unchallenging work then there is no room for that at the PG. Photography should be a radical medium of communication even more so now. TPG was improving. I mean Jim Gildeberg, Sally Man, Keith Arnatt - just a few of the people exhibited at PG over the last few years. Are these guys not 'photographic excellence'. I think they are world class.

Posted by: Garry Clarkson on 07 Jan 2011 at 23:22


If the image at the top is anything to go by, they'll be at the fundraising thing for a while - "readers wives" is so 1985.

Better they hand over the funds they've already raised (along, perhaps, with the name) to one of the many UK organisations who could do an infinitely better job of fairly representing the vast diversity of modern photographic practice. The current narrow minded staple of bland, repetitive, large and passionless C-types is dull in the extreme and represents nothing beyond a narrow cliquish agenda.

Posted by: Mark on 08 Jan 2011 at 01:25


I visited the gallery in 2009 after they just moved and I was never so disappointed in anything as I was this place, a total waste of time.

Posted by: Jim on 08 Jan 2011 at 03:18


Dinosaur Museum. Cazabon 2010



Pioneer Town. CA 2010

As with a lot of people at the moment I was feeling a little sickly last week, but rather wallow in my own snotty self pity I decided to print up some work from my last trip. To say I had an off day printing was probably an understatement and I had as much enthusiasm for it as a food factory Pie Filler. But what I found most unbearable was not the delicate colour balance in my prints, or the crappy Fuji paper I was using. It was the constant images of out of date carrots shot against a plain white background. There were carrots with mold, carrots with deformities, Siamese carrots, carrots with faces, a carrot that looked like a willy, a carrot that looked like a friend of mine, so on and so on, it was never ending. Every time I went to the paper processor low and behold a flaming carrot. I did not know who made them or what purpose they served, if any, all I know is that there were saddest images I have seen of any carrot, raw or cooked..
It probably wasn't the carrots that put me in a mood, but they sure did finish it off..
Anyway, despite the curse of the carrot and my deteriorating condition I was still able to produce a small array of images I was mildly happy with.
Bloody root vegetables...


Boots. Palm Springs

Full Moon. Palm Springs.


The Old Dino Cafe...

Dino 2005/6

Dino Cafe 2010

I had toyed with the idea of slipping off to the old Salton Sea while I was in California just for old times sake, but the weather was big time lousy and sometimes, like a good holiday, its better not to return and spoil those memories. I did however make it to Palm Springs and the old Dino cafe (actually the Wagon Wheel Cafe). The cafe served as a stop off on the way back to Los Angeles for what had become a weekly ritual to The Salton Sea with all its stinky decaying loveliness. As the place was open 24/7 I would often find myself slumped over the above table slurping coffee and wondering if I could take on the Cop sitting at the bar.
The cafe itself is on the grounds of a small Dinosaur Museum, three roaring beasties and a car park originally built by Claude K Bell. The museum itself has since been expanded with an entrance fee and a dream of riches which is a shame as it had lost all its character. I was even told I needed a permit to take pictures which was plain nonsense as I was in a public space. I did however tell the young lady I in fact had a permit and would retrieve it from my car. Of course I did not have any kind of permitization and simply drove off on the wrong side of the road shouting ' Fat Permit Arseholes.'


Where does one begin after a two week beige food fatty feast extravaganza and a dozen pair of socks?
I don't have much to show in terms of photography although I did manage a couple of frames out in the desert before wrecking my camera (as mentioned previously) with a combination of wind, rain and stupidity. But I will post those babies later.
What I did do was arrange myself a workshop space and have been busy fixing and modifying a couple of cameras to suit my own mysterious endeavours. I have always enjoyed using a more unique camera but it does come with a fair few issues. The mentioned 6/17 I took to the States has been adapted to produce a 6/12 negative and because of this I had to make my own viewfinder. I also added some slight rise and tilt movements with the help of some old 5/4 parts and a few trips to B & Q. What I was left with was something that resembled an old 110 camera with a very big lens on it. Anyway, as I sailed threw the security checks in Heathrow dressed in my sports casual attire I removed my booties and placed them with my camera bag. As the bag containing my camera passed through the X Ray, an alarm was sounded and shutters on either side of the machine locked shut.. I hadn't even thought to tell anyone I had a some crazy looking camera concealed in my fine leatherette bag.
"There's a weapon in the bag!" Apparently it looked like some big gun in the X Ray.
"Nahh" I cried," its a camera."
"What make of camera is it."
"It's Japanese, but I modified it a little." Obviously this was the wrong thing to say and I spent the next ten minutes explaining myself, and then another ten minutes taking the camera apart. Well we all laughed about it eventually, but a lesson was indeed learnt that day. Always wear booties when getting on a plane, it makes things much easier..