… came over to see me this morning to pose for and be part of my Project 14. I hadn’t seen him for a few weeks so I went over to see him yesterday morning for a coffee and took my camera with me to photograph him doing what he normally does on a Saturday morning. I got there too late to go with him to the paper shop but he was back and doing the crossword when I got there, always The Times crossword, he used to do the crossword in the Telegraph but that got a bit too easy so he moved on to The Times.
Project 14 is the project I set myself to photograph people and places that have influenced me or had a bearing on my life from day one in 1968 to the present day. I’m doing all this with the Mamiya C33 medium format film camera, using black and white film, developing that film and printing the negatives in the darkroom. So, obviously, Dad comes top of that list. I took a few shots with the digital camera which are on here today and I also took 6 rolls of Ilford Delta 400 over the two mornings so I’ve got them to develop and add to Project 14.
I always remember Dad watching Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy on telly back in the late 70s – he worked shifts and was never able to get to see the scheduled 9pm on Tuesday night but along the way he always managed to catch a repeat or rerun so he could get to see the whole series (this was before the days of VHS and Sky+ wasn’t even on the horizon).
So I finally got out with the Mamiya C33 and have developed the first few films. Something I never did many years ago when I had a darkroom was develop my own films but now I am developing and printing them all. These few pictures were scanned onto CD by Jane at True Colour Imaging in Luton for me.
After much testing of the darkroom and not getting great results I figured out there was quite a bit of light leakage and after plugging holes and removing bulbs from some rogue lights I am now getting prints that are showing some good contrast.
I was in the Navy with Mandy, we first worked together down the bunker at the NATO HQ in Northwood, Middlesex. I joined Northwood on 28th November 1988 – 3 days before my 20th birthday. With the words “don’t go down the hole hungover” from my PO at Yeovilton, Lindy, I was down the hole, hungover, within days.
Mandy’s getting married to Tom in April next year and they have asked me to do the photos – I’m delighted that they like my style and feel honoured they want me, and my style, to capture their special day.
We met at the wedding venue, Risley Hall Hotel, Derbyshire, yesterday so I could meet Tom (and Thomas), catch up with Mandy and get a feel for what they wanted from the photos. And of course it was a great opportunity to capture them relaxed before the big day …
Tom and baby Thomas are the 7th and 8th generation Thomases of the Nottingham Andersons. My rough maths makes a generation around 30 years so the family name of Thomas Anderson has been going for approximately 200 years – well done Thomas Anderson (all of you !!).
I’ve always been a big believer in black and white photography but while editing yesterday’s photos there was something about the colours the guys were wearing and the backgrounds. They were a lot of reds and greens and that made for some great edit opportunities …
Tom works in Aeronautics and is based in Kassel, Germany – they’ve been back in the UK for Christmas and have been busy making the wedding arrangements – I’m sure they’ll be looking forward to going home for a rest.
It was great to meet Mandy and Tom yesterday and with the addition of little Thomas, they make a lovely family. They are all off back to Germany in the next few days for some well earned rest – oh yes and work of course. Drive safely and see you all in April guys !!
I took a wander down to Bury Park this morning and met the lady that runs the “In Bury Park” website, Marie. She told me what she was doing and I can fully understand the thinking behind it. For as long as I can remember the only time I have ventured into Bury Park, out of the car, has been to watch the football, and I’m guessing that’s the same for a lot of people.
My own ignorance, before I went for my wander this morning, made me think my camera and I might not be welcome but I’ve never met such a willing and friendly bunch of shopkeepers. Busy setting up, I knew I would get people busy about their business (I’ve been down to Covent Garden Apple Market while they were setting up and that was similar, although I must say they were not nearly as friendly and willing to pose as my models today).
There was a definite hierarchy at the larger shops as they were setting up – wherever you go and in every walk of life there will be a boss and underlings. It was very evident in these shops and almost gave me the feeling that there is a much stronger feeling of respect for the elders in the community. The boss would be stood on the pavement outside the shop directing the younger guys around and making sure the morning’s delivery was set out properly. It was the same in at least two shops and these were the only two large fruit and veg shops setting up. I think things get moving a bit later on – especially as it is Ramadan at the minute. I was advised to come back later in the day as things liven up once fasting is over and food and drink are aplenty after sunset.
The streets were clean and any rubbish was being picked up as they went along. It was a bit like going back in time on a few occasions – e.g. when the lorry was being unloaded and the fork truck was manouvering on the pavement – very skillfully I must say !
I met the local traffic wardens – they were keen to explain there is plenty of parking in and around Bury Park – there are two car parks at the Beech Hill end and plenty of street meters but they did advise to check the signs. On one side it might be ticketed metering but on the other it could well be resident permits only and a lot of people fall prey to the trap. Take a second look if you park on a meter – the wardens are double teamed and do their job well.
All in all it was a great morning. I was there too early but then I didn’t know any better. I will go back and I will, in the first instance, go back this week, later in the day, to see what happens as the day’s fast breaks. I will also go back on a more regular basis, the clothes are a bit colourful for me and I don’t have much money to spend on jewellery but if you are after some decent fresh fruit and veg and well butchered meat – Bury Park is the place.
As I said at the beginning Bury Park has been seen as a predominantly asian part of town and it’s true, most of the shops are run by asians. But there are a lot of other nationalities that run shops, units and street market stalls – among them are Polish, Turkish and Italian and I’m sure there are more. If you haven’t been down to Bury Park recently, park up in Sainsbury’s or on a street meter (watch the signs) and take a wander, buy some fruit and veg, have a coffee and have a chat with the people – I promise you you’ll gain from it.
I thought I would let the pictures and short captions tell today’s story –
Great day today ! For me – the helper and old gent are what Luton is all about. It’s a culturally diverse town, there are by far more positive things to talk about than you see on the news. If you tell someone outside of Luton you are from the town and proud of it – they look at you like you are mad – helper and gent show what Luton (and Lewsey Farm) are all about – living in harmony – irrespective of race, creed or colour !
PS please leave a comment – I’d love to know what you think !
… Central Bedfordshire College have brought Dunstable Town Centre to life by moving their annual end of year Art Exhibition from the college campus to 4 vacant shops in the heart of the Quadrant. Dunstable is no different to any other small town up and down the country – every time you walk through the town centre there’s another boarded up shop or that thing you went in to town to get – you can’t get because the shop has closed down. Well someone at the college had a great idea to bring a bit of life to proceedings.
For almost a week – starting tomorrow 21st June and going on until next Wednesday 26th June – the empty shops will have art installations on show and students and teachers will be on hand to discuss work and generally help viewers get around. The 4 shops are close in proximity to each other near the exit from the Quadrant onto High St North.
I really can’t think of a better way to use empty shop carcasses – I don’t know what financials are going on but I would hope the college have a good deal with the landlords and when I say that I mean I hope they are getting the space for free. This exhibition should increase the footfall in the town centre dramatically over the next few days.
While you’re in Dunstable don’t forget the college’s more permanent space at The Store – in between the college building and the Gary Cooper – where they are also exhibiting photography, sculpture, graphic art and graphic design.
The project was designed for the student to deconstruct something and work with it. This student deconstructed a doll and made casts of the component parts – I thought these pieces were fantastic!
If you are in the area in the next week it would be an hour well spent looking around the exhibition – grab a coffee from Costa and have a wander. I might see you there!