… DOWNTOWN & DRIFTWOOD – new #printmag

I’ve recently launched a new UK based print magazine – I’m looking to promote photography, photojournalism, street photography, poetry and short stories. Issue 1 is exclusively my own work: I’ve wanted, for many years, to self publish a coffee table book with my own photography and poetry but as some of you may know, it can be very expensive. A hardback photobook, with decent paper for displaying photographs, would cost in the region of £80 so to make it more accessible I’ve launched a bimonthly print magazine and am looking for contributors.

Whether your preferred art is photography, in a street, journalistic, landscape, portrait or fashion ilk I’d be interested in seeing it. If you prefer to write poetry, I’d love to read it or if you prefer to write short stories, I’d love to read those too.

You can see the magazine online here or you can buy it by clicking on the Issue 1 cover image below.

If you would like to have something in print, like the look of the magazine and would like to submit, please do so by sending your work to mag@stevemurphyphotography.co.uk. I’d love to hear from you ! I have contributors sending poetry and short stories through and am looking for content for issues 2, 3, 4 and on and on …

Issue 1 cover
Issue 1 cover

I was interviewed on BBC Three Counties Radio on Thursday which you can listen to by going to 02:16 of the show here.

I’d really love to hear from photographers, poets and short story writers – so if you, or your friends would like to submit please share and send work through.

Thank you and look forward to discussing work with you !

Steve

Senior …

… 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.

Doing The Times crossword
doing The Times crossword

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.

Never happier than with a book and a cup of coffee
Never happier than with a book and a cup of coffee

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).

Smiley ... and his people
Smiley … and his people – Dad’s favourite

Lakes4Volvo at Wyboston, Bedfordshire – “it’s old school”

As old school family businesses go, “Lakes for Volvos” in Wyboston, Bedfordshire is a true gem. I have recently become the proud owner of a rather old 2.3l Volvo 850 T5 (T5 being the fast one, the one used by the police in years gone by) .

LA(K)ES for Volvos at Wyboston
LA(K)ES for Volvos at Wyboston

More often than I’d hoped in the last couple of weeks I’ve visited Wyboston in the hope to find the fix to my ongoing breakdowns and too frequent calls to the fourth emergency service.

Whilst there yesterday and talking to the owners I thought they deserved a piece being written about them so I returned this morning with my camera.

smp-2-ext-front-pump-bw
Cars for sale on the forecourt attracting northbound A1 traffic

All day long the phone rings, it was never off the hook while I was there this morning and the stream of visitors through the door kept part-owner Barry at the office.

The place is run by Barry and Bernard who have run their business at Wyboston for nearly 30 years. Bernard’s Grandson Ethan (18) was busy breaking an 850, he works weekends in the workshop while he’s at college studying Economics and Politics “A” Level, he’s got his exams this summer and is expected to pass with As all round.

smp-20-ws-engine-block-bw
A “seen better days” engine block
smp-18-int-keys-bw
Not a key out of place – Barry and Bernard know where every key for every car is – all 300+ of them
smp-5-p-barry-2-bw
Barry trying to answer a customer’s query
smp-6-p-bernard-1-bw
Bernard, Barry’s brother and part-owner of the business
smp-10-p-ethan-exh-bw
Ethan works weekends dismantling Volvos while he studies for A levels at college
smp-14-ext-sl-doors-3-bw
Ethan taking a break

Barry is very proud of the fact they work in an “old school” fashion doing honest and fair business with customers who return time and time again.

Worldwide March Against Government Corruption (London)

Let's get this party ROCKING !!
Let’s get this party ROCKING !!

Hundreds of protesters turned out in Trafalgar Square in London last Saturday (01/03) to demonstrate against alleged corruption within the government. Marches took place around the world for the same purpose – to raise awareness and spread the word about the belief that world governments are corrupt.

Crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square before moving off to march through the streets of Central London
Crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square before moving off to march through the streets of Central London

The crowd moved off to reconvene at the Ecuadorian Embassy where Julian Assange is holed up in asylum limbo – the Ecuadorians offered the founder of WikiLeaks sanction while Sweden try to extradite him there on rape charges.

Protesters showing their support for Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy
Protesters showing their support for Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy

Members of the “ANONYMOUS” Movement wore masks showing their support for the movement that is planning a lot more demonstrations and action throughout 2014 culminating in Project V planned for early 2015 – “We are Anonymous, we are Legion, We do not FORGET, We do not FORGIVE, EXPECT US” is their strapline.

Supporters of ANONYMOUS at the steps of the Ecuadorian Embassy
Supporters of ANONYMOUS at the steps of the Ecuadorian Embassy
Organisers promoted a "No Trouble" ethos both before and during the day - families turned out showing support
Organisers promoted a “No Trouble” ethos both before and during the day – families turned out showing support

 

 

 

N7

We lived in the furthest tower block of the four in the distance
We lived in the furthest tower block of the four in the distance

As mentioned last week I’m trying to photograph, and document through photography, where I grew up and what I’ve been upto in the last 45 years – in 15 to 20 photographs. I was out and about with the Mamiya C33 this morning in North London, where we lived between 1973 and 1976, after Dad left the army and worked at the Mount Pleasant Sorting Office.

Image
Couldn’t resist this doorway – I have a soft spot for old dilapidated doorways – especially if they are in the Arsenal colours

I’ve got a new website – it’s currently being housed here – but in the next few days will be house at http://www.stevemurphyphotography.co.uk.

Mandy and Tom (VII & Thomas VIII)

(L-R) Mandy, Tom (VII) and Thomas (VIII) - all will be explained
(L-R) Mandy, Tom (VII) and Thomas (VIII) – all will be explained

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 …

Relaxed ?
Relaxed ?

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-mandy-on-sofa-clr
Great colour choices guys !
Baby Thomas is adorable and was very well behaved throughout
Baby Thomas is adorable and was very well behaved throughout

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.

mandy-tom-thomas-walking-by-the-wall-clr
By the wall
to me ... to me
to me … to me
"Hey Dad !"
“Hey Dad !”
Naughty step ? No - the laughing seat !
Naughty step ? No – the laughing seat !

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 !!

Steve

Dunstable Kite Festival

The sun was out and the wind was blowing – what more could a successful kite festival want ? Well nothing of course – just a few shots of the fun …

AIR !!
AIR !!
Watching
Watching
In sync
In sync
12
12
Getting ready
Getting ready
Runaway kite
Runaway kite
Relax
Relax
Come on Grandad
Come on Grandad
Tumble tumble - rolly polly
Tumble tumble – rolly polly
Romancing the kite
Romancing the kite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bury Park

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.

The Doctor - I don't know why he's called the Doctor - but it made everyone laugh when they told me
The Doctor – I don’t know why he’s called the Doctor – but it made everyone laugh when they told me his name

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).

The Boss
The Boss

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.

Mr Shah - on the right - was most definitely the boss
Mr Shah – on the right – was most definitely the boss

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 !

Unloading
Unloading
I say tomatoes - you say tomatoes
I say tomatoes – you say tomatoes
Smiler
Smiler
Kacha
Kacha
The butcher at work
The butcher at work
Danny Jamaica is a regular
Danny Jamaica is a regular
Lady shopper
Lady shopper
They didn't have my size
They didn’t have my size
gloves
The big man
Mango season - everyone was saying their mangoes are the best between here and Birmingham
Mango season – everyone was saying their mangoes are the best between here and Birmingham
Child's play
Child’s play

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.

Warden
Warden

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.

Have a good week !

Steve

High Town Festival

Popped up to High Town yesterday to see how the festival was going. High Town is a wonderful part of town, it’s underestimated and not given the credit it deserves. The High St is currently part of a regeneration scheme by the government whereby new startup businesses on the High St receive reduced business rates to help with the early years of trading. Shop 33 (Luton Community Arts shop I blogged about a few weeks ago is on the High St) was very busy yesterday with a programme full of local musicians coming into the shop to do an hours set.

DSC_8346
Shop 33 – local singer / songwriter

Street photography is an art, your mind has to be alive and awake at all times, you have to be able to see stuff going on and capture it quickly. You also have to be mindful of people’s wishes, I stood to take a photo of a young barber cutting hair (it looked great – it was a tight afro with a pattern being sculpted into it) and I noticed as soon as I lifted the camera to my eye he caught me out of the corner of his eye and turned around sharpish. I dropped the camera, smiled through the window and asked if it was OK, he waved as if to say no so I gave him the thumbs up, he gave me a thumbs up back and we went about our business. Most people are fine and even relish the thought that someone thinks they are interesting enough to be photographed but if they’re not happy about it, I find it best to honour their wishes – no harm done.

I didn't think I needed this little fellas permission so I hope you don't mind - if you know him - can you ask if he minds please
I didn’t think I needed this little fellas permission so I hope you don’t mind – if you know him – can you ask if he minds please

These guys were very happy to have their picture taken and very good they were too, there were lots of scheduled events but I liked these guys and stood and watched them for about 15 minutes. Impromptu street corner busking, they just pitched up with their guitars and mouth organs and started playing, and very good they were too.

Impromptu belting out of chooons
Impromptu belting out of chooons
Love the doo rag !
Love the doo rag !
This guy was a great accompaniment to the two guitarists
This guy was a great accompaniment to the two guitarists
Street food - noodles - £1 a pot
Street food – noodles – £1 a pot
the facepainter - with  angel wings
the facepainter – with angel wings
Harmony
Harmony

This blog is about Luton – the positives within Luton – it’s about the town but more importantly for me – it’s about the people – there are fantastic people in Luton. People who are proud to say they are from Luton, and this in a week where Luton, again, has been listed in the top 100 crappiest towns in the UK, an honour they won in the books 2004 publication. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the whole crap town affair. Well you know what !! I don’t give a shit about that book and I know a lot of Lutonians don’t either. I could go to ANY town in the country and shoot a series of photographs of dirty back streets, bins overflowing and general detritus. Luton’s got it’s bad points but it’s got a hell of a lot more good points ! I think this subject needs a full blogpost all to itself – I feel quite strongly about this !! Watch this space …

Have a good week !

Steve

THE ACADEMY – LUTON …

… is an amateur boxing club – established in 2008 – with a difference. It’s not just another boxing club – it’s a classy club – it has a winning ethos – a club where champions will come from (Steven and Niall pictured below have had 12 and 13 bouts respectively and each won 9 of those bouts). The guys that run the club are also the benefactors – they don’t get money from the council – the club underwent a major improvement 6 months ago where they took over the unit downstairs at the expense of the owners and coaches. Before Christmas 2012 the club occupied the upstairs of a fairly run down unit on a small industrial estate near Wardown Park. The occupants downstairs went bust and moved out leaving a derelict warehouse. Academy club owners took over the space, completely gutted it, moved the training ring downstairs and converted the upstairs space into a self contained training area complete with bags and a weight training area – they have spent thousands of pounds to bring the club up to a very high standard and now occupy both upstairs and downstairs. A second ring was donated and also installed downstairs.

Steven and Niall
Steven and Niall beside WBO Champion Nathan Cleverly’s signature from the club’s re-opening day ceremony

Most of the members are kids but there are a handful of adults and ladies that train at the club – there is a dedicated ladies only session on Thursday nights where a small and dedicated number of ladies come to train. The coaches are keen for more ladies to train at the club. The self contained upstairs training area was set up during the refurbishment – ladies have their own secure well lit entrance, their own changing rooms and the training area can be shut off from the rest of the club to allow the ladies to train in the comfort of their own company. Doors can be opened up to allow mixed training but the coaches are keen to allow ladies to have their own space. I think this is truly unique and only one thing at the club that sets it apart from other amateur boxing clubs.

Bag training

The Academy will be taking part in Luton’s Open Air Boxing Exhibition on 6th July this year and I’m guessing they will do well. Personally, I have loved boxing for as long I can remember, I’ve watched lots of boxing on TV but never been to a live fight. Steven and Niall – they are cousins so there’s always going to be a bit of rivalry there – did some sparring for me – coach Graham told them to take it easy with each other – I must have led a sheltered life because to my clouded eyes they looked like they were going for it – and the sounds the punches made sounded pretty full on to me. I’ll need to go again to educate myself more. Steven and Niall come down to the club five times a week – they live about 2 miles away and get there on their bikes – they are two very dedicated kids !

Steven and Niall sparring
Steven and Niall sparring with coach Jim looking on from the shadows

There were approximately 25 members training tonight – mainly kids but there were also 5 or 6 17/18 year olds and there was at least one senior member (I’m guessing he was about my age – I’m the wrong side of 40 – tonight was mixed carded fighters and seniors). Graham, said it was quiet tonight, there were more at the Saturday morning session. Halfway through the evening they split up – some went upstairs to do some technical training while the others stayed downstairs doing their 3 minute circuit, 60 second rest, again and again …….. and again. I was there nearly 2 hours and short of a couple of small breaks the 3 minute, 1 minute, 3 minute routine carried on – punctuated by the end of round bell. For me, the uninitiated, it felt like a full on training session – and these kids do this 5 times a week – on top of whatever sport they do at school. These kids are fit ! They take their training seriously but I also noticed they all have a lot of fun while doing the serious business of training.

… believe in yourself …
All mod cons
All mod cons
Under 11 - shadow boxing
Under 11 – shadow boxing

The Academy Luton is fresh, it’s fun, it’s well established and run on passion and desire. If a champion doesn’t come out of this club in the foreseeable future I will be very, very surprised. Get along to the club, take your son, take your daughter, take your wife or husband. It’s a family club, run by and for families, with an underlying will to produce a champion and in the meantime have fun doing it.

Keep it going guys and see you soon !

Steve