Category Archives: Picture Post

You Can’t Beat Tradition

The Theakston family have a long tradition of brewing in the North Yorkshire town of Masham, the original brewery having been founded getting on for two hundred years ago. I have a long tradition of taking photographs of pubs and breweries, these photographs of the Masham brewery and the nearby White Bear Hotel, were taken getting on for fifty years ago. You can’t beat tradition.

Cardhu And Queensbury

This image of Queensbury, a village high on the hills between Bradford and Halifax, was the result of a whisky-fuelled Photoshop accident. Somehow, it has captured the very essence of the place. Based on the evidence of the well-drained bottle on my desk this morning, the whisky concerned was Cardhu Gold Reserve. I would like to compliment it on its artistic powers.

A Look

In the midst of busy family photographs, you sometimes find a special moment: a look, a touch, a smile that can scream down the generations and remind you that the great thing about common humanity is that it is common to all. 

This photograph was taken shortly after my brother, Roger, was born in 1943. He was the first of a new generation in the family and his arrival provided an opportunity for all the grandparents and uncles and aunts to gather together. I won’t name them all, they are of limited interest to those outside the family,

Focus, however on the lady with her arm in a sling – it is my grandmother, Harriet-Ellen Burnett. And focus, in particular, on that look – a look almost dangerously overloaded with pride and hope. I know the look well – I saw my grandchildren this morning.

Rediscovering The Fellow Travellers

This is a photograph of unknown origin, the type of thing some people call an orphan image, which I must have acquired at some point as part of a job lot of old photographs nobody wanted any more. There is, however, an almost painterly quality about it: someone has taken the time to pose the group and the composition is outstanding. Equally, it has the ability to suggest both famous people and occasions: blink and I see President Roosevelt inspecting plans for the Panama Canal, blink again and it is Eiffel planning his tower.  I’ve coloured it a bit and cropped it a bit, just to prove that you can’t spoil a good photo by messing with it. I even did a Google Image search to see if it was a copy of a more famous photo, and surprise, surprise, I found an exact match! It appeared in a blogpost five years ago by someone who said: “I have found this old photo and I don’t know where it came from!”.  The post was from me – which just goes to prove two things: that life is a constant process of rediscovery ….. and my mind is beginning to go!

RIP In DPI

The colour has gone from my life. What was once a rainbow’s worth of saturated hues is now an endless progression of grey on grey on slightly more grey. This chromatic calamity occurred suddenly yesterday evening, and was apparently due to a blocked nozzle. I attempted to clear the blockage with some patent mixture I bought from a man on the internet. The process was long, and some people may find a full description of it upsetting, so I will limit myself to saying it involved plastic tubes, syringes and sheets of blotting paper. After a few hours I was left with blotting paper images that could give any Turner Prize winner a run for their money, colour-coded fingers …… and a blocked nozzle. I would be more than happy to ditch the blessed thing in the nearest natural beauty spot, but it is built like a tank and I’m not as young as I once was. Anyway, it still prints in black and white. It sits at the end of my desk and whispers things like, “monochrome used to be good enough for you, until you started all this colourising nonsense“. It taunts me and teases me with an occasional cyan promise. It was once my best friend, now it is nothing but a dead printer. RIP in DPI.

Artificial Intelligence And The Fieldhouses

I was sorting through some old family photographs yesterday, and I came across this somewhat sombre study of two, somewhat distant, relatives: Wilson and Clara Fieldhouse. They were the parents of my Uncle Frank and they lived their life in Bradford, Yorkshire. I never met them, and they may well have been perfectly charming people – although, it has to be said, that their son was somewhat strange – but I am not sure I would want to be at the wrong end of an argument with Clara. I decided that they could be made a little more presentable as the kind of relatives you want to show off to all your Facebook and Twitter friends, by the addition of a touch of colour, so I headed over to one of the sites that uses Artificial Intelligence to bring old photos back to life. Whilst the results improve matters a little, I still have to live with them at the end of my desk, looking at me all day. The alternative was to go one step further, and use the Artifial Intelligence to bring the faces back to life. I must confess, I tried it. The results were so frightening, I wouldn’t want to share it with others who might be of a nervous disposition.

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