I approach the selection of images for my desktop calendar in a structured and logical fashion. I have created a carefully designed algorithm which takes into account a variety of factors such as mood, season, phases of the moon, and circadian rhythms. Having created it, I immediately consigned it to the waste thinking bin – I have three bins in my office, one for waste paper, one for waste plastic and one for waste thoughts – and relied instead on the Random Interaction Method. I have just short of 75,000 photographs in my Lightroom Catalogue, and therefore there is a good chance that if you dive in at random you might come up with something you can share the day with. My random dive today saw me emerge just outside a Mercedes-Benz car showroom in Sheffield, four and a half years ago. It appears I emerged in the form of a Phoenix, ready to confront what the week has in store for me. It could have been worse.
Category Archives: Picture Post
As we have already agreed, it’s Sunday and therefore no words are necessary.
An old friend of mine recommended Stephen Poliakoff’s “Shooting The Past” (and even better, sent me the DVD through the post), and I have been watching and enjoying it over the past few nights. What struck a particular chord with me was the ability to love photographs for their own sake, not because they feature Uncle Joe or Cousin Ada … or even more bizarrely in these modern days, because they provide an enhanced vision of oneself. Photographs of all types, have played a massive part in my life, and therefore today I am featuring an old photograph from an album of unknown photos of people, which came into my possession via eBay. All I know is that the subject of the photograph was called Derrick. I don’t even need to know that. On its own, it is a fine photograph – good enough to grace the shelves of the Fallon Photo Library.
There is something about seaside funfairs – something about the noise and energy of them, and the way that gets mixed with the smell of fish and chips and seasoned with gusts of salty North Sea spray. The dodgem cars add an extra sensory perception – that spark of raw electricity that leaks from the overhead contact points. The time is forty years ago, the place is on the sea front at Bridlington. The signs that caution “No Bumping” are about as meaningful as a Trumpian promise.
And on the seventh day, somebody said, don’t write anything, just give us a photo.
This is the outcome of yet another late-night, malt-whisky induced, Photoshop adventure. The starting point was a rather tattered little print from an old photograph album. The album contained thirty or forty prints of entirely unknown origin, which I bought off eBay for less than the price of a cup of tea in a coffee shop. The only clue as to the provenance is a short inscription in the front of the album which states “Winter 1946-7 and Summer 1947. 431 ED“. If the prints were in better condition, I would be loath to mess with them, but they are scratched and faded, bent and blurred, and openly invite me and my pal Photoshop to do our worst with them.
Of this particular effort, all the can be said is that the original blurred photograph was the work of our unknown photographer, the somewhat surreal colouring was the work of Photoshop, and the final decision that it was a face that I would be happy to spend the day looking at across my desk was my own …. with a little help from a glass of Bunnahabhain.
In my mind’s eye there was always snow in winter when I was younger. That same mind’s eye observed week after week of uninterrupted sunshine during each summer. It is, of course, all nonsense: if your mind has an eye at all it is equipped with about as much memory as a Sinclair ZX80 computer. You don’t need a mind’s eye, however, if you had a camera and a decent archive of your old negatives – you can scan through winter after winter of snow and remind yourself just how tough life used to be when central heating meant a paraffin stove in the middle of a room and a foreign holiday meant a day trip to Blackpool (I have been reading too many Facebook nostalgia group posts over Christmas and I am beginning to be infected by their sickly sentimentality). The calendar photograph on my desk today features a photograph I took in the mid 1980s, when we were living in Sheffield. I think it was taken from the bottom of Blake Street in Upperthorpe, but I can’t be certain about that as my mind’s eye was never equipped with a geo-tagging facility. Now that was snow: boot-caking, door-clogging, welly-wetting snow of the finest variety. For a proper, nostalgia-fest approach, I would like to say that snow was like that in the good old days before we started flirting with Europe, but I will refrain in case I attract the attention of fact-checking services.
We were supposed to go out for a walk yesterday, but a single snow flake was spotted drifting over the field at the bottom of the road, so we played safe and stayed inside instead. It gave me an opportunity to scan some photographs of the good old days.
A wet day in Brighouse, fifty-four years ago. Full of memories – donkey jackets, mini cars and Timothy Whites chemist. More resonant in these difficult times, memories of crowded pavements and social interaction.
On a day that we seem to be more isolated from the rest of the world than ever before, a reminder of the times when travel was easier. A reminder also of summer, and one of the beautiful capitals of Northern Europe. This was the city of Tallinn in Estonia during a visit in 2016.