Sunday, May 16

Gordon Brown: an iconic* photo dissected

In this Guardian article, Ian Jack analyses a powerful image taken during the last few minutes of Gordon Brown's reign as Prime Minister. The photo is by Martin Argles for the Guardian. (I read the article in Saturday's Guardian but unfortunately can't find a link to a bigger pic online, or the key used in the printed version.)

Ian Jack
"The place: Downing Street's 'war room'. The time: 19.17, according to the wall-mounted TV. Three minutes later, Gordon Brown resigns. At least one person is crying in this remarkable photograph, but plenty more have cried at the sight of it. Look at the detail, and you see why."

The photo is from a series by Martin Argles

*I believe that The Guardian style guide advises that the word "iconic" should be used sparingly, but it would be appropriate if one of these photos ends up with this label.

Friday, May 14

I spy – on the trains

As a frequent train traveller, I was delighted to be asked to contribute to a new edition of the I-Spy book of train travel. I have started jotting down some notes for the book:

(1) A group of middle-age ladies in hats get on the train at 10 am and crack open some little bottles of champagne. They are off to London to “take in a show” – 20 points

(2) Not getting your ticket checked on Friday and Saturday night because the guard is too scared to walk down the train (and who can blame him?). – 10 points

(3) You get a seat. – 20 points

(4) The person who you’ve been chatting to mentions that he’s just got out of prison for murder. – 100 points

(5) Someone is smoking in the toilet. – 10 points

(6) You successfully ignore the family who are lingering near your table kingdom in the vain hope that you will move for them. – 30 points

(7) Seeing elation turn to despair in the face of the revenue protection officer when you ask to buy a ticket, only to reveal that you are joking and are fully ticketed up. No penalty fare joy for him today. – 50 points

(8) The automated announcement system makes over 100 announcements during your journey. – 20 points

(9) You see some bunnies and a moo cow out of the window. – 10 points

(10) The buffet attendant is a bit rude to you. – 20 points or 200 points for use of the actual c– word.

(11) A person leaves the Quiet Zone in order to make a phone call – 50 points.

(12) The automated announcement system tells you about the Quiet Zone again. – 20 points

(13) You are sitting opposite someone famous, like Ken Russell. – 50 points

(14) You are sitting near a person who keeps looking at you just to check that you are not looking at them. – 30 points

(15) Part of the train comes away in your hand. A door handle, for example. – 40 points

How did you do?

Sunday, May 2

In Camera: now showing at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield

Now showing at Sheffield’s Bank Street Arts is the first instalment of In Camera – a series of photography and video exhibitions.

The current exhibition features thematically driven slideshows located around the gallery, displaying street photography, portraiture, landscapes and documentary work from photographers and videographers the world over (even Sheffield). The show has been curated and organised by James Dodd, and marks an expansion of the centre’s photographic activities.

I have a picture in this show – possibly the one used in the flyer above. The presentation runs until 10 May 2010 (the run has been extended since the flyers were produced). Other photographers featured include Chuck Patch and Kramer O’Neill.

The In Camera exhibition will be followed by a show of prints from Simon Roberts’ Motherland (10 May to 9 June 2010). The work is a result of Simon’s travels throughout Russia between July 2004 and August 2005, and is one of the most extensive photographic accounts of this vast country by a Westerner. The show consists of 15 large-scale prints.

“I hope Motherland may be read as a footnote to the current debate about Russian identity during a time of major geo-political, economic and social change. Ultimately these images are a celebration of Russia, aiming to deepen our understanding of a country and its people.” – Simon Roberts on Motherland