Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Brian Micklethwait on Photoing last Friday's Last Friday meeting
Michael Jennings on Photoing last Friday's Last Friday meeting
Brian Micklethwait on Tim Marshall on 'Sykes-Picot'
Patrick Crozier on Tim Marshall on 'Sykes-Picot'
kenforthewin on The most newsworthy thing so far done by a drone
6000 on UPS drones and drone vans
6000 on Guess what this is
Erin on The most newsworthy thing so far done by a drone
Patrick Crozier on The Robert Stephenson statue at Euston
Edna on The most newsworthy thing so far done by a drone
Most recent entries
- Indian sign cautions against selfie sticks
- Leake Street photo session
- Longer life would make most of us (certainly me) more energetic and ambitious
- Azure Window broken
- Beltane & Pop van parked on the South Bank yesterday afternoon
- New River Walk
- Die Meistersinger was very good
- Spring in Islington
- ROH Covent Garden here I come
- Today’s plan
- Photoing the faces of strangers (or in my case: not)
- England crush Scotland in the 6N – plus the hugeness of home advantage
- If Pugs could fly
- Chronicle Tower and its roof (and window-cleaning crane)
- More Dezeenery
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Category archive: My photographs
Leake Street is that tunnel under the Waterloo approach tracks, filled with an ever-changing display of grafitti. And of photoers photoing it.
Presumably they were selling stuff like this.
I like it when my pictures include clocks, and that clock is a particular favourite of mine.
My day in Highbury and Islington (and Canonbury) began with me not seeing much in the way of Big Things from
Islington Highbury Fields. But very quickly, I made my way to the north eastern end of New River Walk, and took the walk along it.
The thing is, Google Maps, what with it being so easy to change the scale of, can mislead about how far apart things are. One Google map shows you a big area, that it will take you a day to explore properly. But then, following further button pushing, another map, which looks like it is of an equally big area, is actually of a place you can be all over within less than two hours. So it was last Monday.
Everything that day was smaller and more suburban and contrived and just nice, compared to what I had been expecting and compared to what the more northerly bits of the New River are like, when GodDaughter One and I checked them out, back in 2015.
In particular, the New River Walk turned out to be a piece of miniature canal that has been turned into a tiny, elongated version of Hyde Park, thanks to some lottery money that was bestowed upon it in the nineties, complete with fountains, and ducks, and carefully manicured footpaths, and views of nearby affluent houses and apartments, thus:
It’s the sort of place I am happy to have visited just the once, to check out what it is. But it isn’t really my kind of place.
But, this is Friday, and there were ducks. And dogs. Quite a lot of dogs actually. Also lots of signs saying don’t let the dogs do dog do, or if the dogs do do dog do, then do tidy it up.
Or maybe Highbury. The nearby tube station hedges its bets and claims it’s both. (This particular spot may actually be Canonbury.)
Die Meistersinger goes on for ever, so since I don’t want to be fretting about this blog after it, but before I go to bed, here is a pre-emptive quota photo, taken on Monday:
The pink blossom signals the arrival of spring. But happily, 2017’s tree leaves have not yet arrived to spoil the view of the Shard, which you can just about see through the trees, to the left, as we look, of the pink blossom.
I’m still photoing photoers, basically because the photos of photoers I took about a decade ago get more interesting by the year, and so, I’m betting, will photos like these, which I took in Trafalgar Square, last October:
The difference from ten years ago is that I avoid photoing faces far more than I tried to then. That means, as explained in this earlier posting, that I find myself photoing a lot of hair, as above. Although, 3.3 is the hair on a lady’s sleeve, and the guy in 2.3 has no hair. But, he has a hair style.
But I’m not a hair fetishist. I’m just a not-face photoer, when I’m photoing strangers who are themselves photoing.
There was a posting at Mick Hartley’s yesterday which showed that concern about photoing the faces of strangers and thereby in some way stealing from them is not new. Hartley reproduces a great pile of photos, photos like this:
Scroll down to the bottom of Hartley’s posting, and you will encounter quotes from the man, Richard Sandler, who took all these ancient black-and-white photos, of strangers. Go to where Hartley got these pictures and the quote, and you’ll get one of the questions, as well as the answer.
Have you had anyone ever question your motives in the street? Did you ever piss off anybody?
Occasionally people get angry and they have a right to, I am stealing a little something from them. Also for many years I used the strobe on the street and so there was no hiding what I was doing ... it can be startling. I have been kicked, spit on, and chased, but not very often. Once a woman with a rabbit pursued me for 30 minutes because I had flashed her and her pet.
Hartley also quotes Sandler saying this:
I think those were more interesting times because the warts of corporate/capitalist society were more visible then they are today, and those contradictions could be photographed more directly than now ... also every third person was not virtual, being on the fucking phone and not really on the street ....
Two things about that. One, there is something rather exploitative about these photos, as he goes on to admit, sort of like an old school colonist photoing the natives. Second, why the hell are “fucking” phones not themselves fit objects for his photoing? Not really on the street? Come on.
They are certainly fit objects for my photoing.
Could it be that Sandler is suffering from a dose of professional jealousy? Suddenly, the damn natives can photo the warts of corporate/capitalist society for themselves. And nowadays, they don’t even have to use a dedicated camera.
And as for flash, well, the latest cameras hardly need them. They can pretty much see in the dark.
Whenever I encounter interesting vehicles, of which London possesses a great many, I try to photo them. Taxis with fun adverts. Diverting white vans. Crane lorries. That kind of thing.
In particular I like to photo ancient cars. And, I also like to photo modern cars which are styled to look like ancient cars, like this one:
This is the Mitsubishi Pajero Jr. Flying Pug. How do I know that? Because I also went round the back and took this photo:
Is a pug a non-feline creature? Sounds like a non-feline creature to me.
More about this eccentric vehicle here:
On sale for just three years between 1995 and 1998, it sold reasonably well and has been popular as a grey import. None of which explains what on Earth Mitsubishi was thinking when it devised this horror show, the special edition Flying Pug.
The Japanese have always loved old, British cars. Through the Nineties it was one of the biggest markets for the original Mini, but retro pastiches had become popular as well, led by the Nissan Micra-based Mitsuoka Viewt, which looked a bit like a miniature Jaguar Mark II.
Mitsubishi thought it would jump on the bandwagon. Out of all the cars it made, Mitsubishi decided the Pajero Jr would be the best platform. Ambitiously, the brochure said it had “the classic looks a London taxi.” In fact, it looked more like the absolutely gopping Triumph Mayflower.
The press thought it was ugly and the buying public agreed. Mitsubishi planned to build 1,000 Flying Pugs, but just 139 found homes. The deeply weird name can’t have helped, but Japanese-market cars are notorious for it; another special edition Pajero Jr was christened McTwist.
I agree that “Flying Pug” is a strange name. And I agree that the Flying Pug doesn’t look much like a London taxi. But it resembles the Triumph Mayflower even less.
I also do not agree that either the Flying Pug or the Triumph Mayflower are ugly. And they are definitely not, to my eye, “absolutely gopping”, or a “horrow show”. Each to his own.
But I do like the fact that I photoed a car of which there are only one hundred and thirty nine copies in existence.
This afternoon I was in the vicinity of Angel Tube Station, and after my socialising was concluded I took a walk along the Regency Canal, starting at the eastern end of the Islington Canal Tunnel, and proceeding east, until it got dark.
I refer confidently to the Islington Canal Tunnel, but in truth I only today became aware of its existence.
Another thing I only became aware of today was this tower:
This is Chronicle Tower, as I later discovered after much googling. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who have been in business for many decades now. I remember them from my days as a (failed) architecture student.
Almost all of the pictures of Chronicle Tower on the internet that I found are from the other side. But I find that roof very diverting. On the right is my close-up of it, tilted to fit into a vertical rectangle, thereby enabling me to fit more detail in. I must say, I am impressed by my camera’s ability to record detail, in fading light, at something near to its maximum zoom.
There’s no doubt about it. Architects are now taking steadily more interest in “designing” the tops of buildings. Soon the days of flat roofs and random clutter, for all the world to see and enjoy, if it’s far enough away to see the roof, may soon be gone.
I particularly like the way we can see the window-cleaning crane there.
LATER: It’s not like me to miss this, but ... Dezeen reported yesterday on this same building. Their report includes a better version of my left-hand picture.
The tower designed for property developers Mount Anvil and Clarion Housing includes 300 apartments – of which 35 per cent are considered affordable – and a five-story, 405-square-meter penthouse with 360-degree views from all levels.
So, that would mean that 65 percent of the apartments are considered unaffordable.
But I do. (Clue in the categories list.)
Click if you want slightly more context.
Photoed by me, earlier this evening, at Victoria Tube Station.
As many times threatened here, this blog is going, more and more, to be about the process of (me) getting old. As you (I) get older, your (my) grasp of the everyday mechanisms of early twenty first century life becomes ever more stuck in the late twentieth century.
One of the best known symptoms of advancing years is short-term memory loss. In plain language, you do something or see something, and then you immediately forget all about it. You put a remote control down, and seconds later, a portal into the seventh dimension opens up, swallows the remote, and closes again, and you spend the next ten minutes looking for the damn thing. If I write with feeling, it is because exactly this just happened to me, when first-drafting this. But at least when it came to this remote, I managed to persuade the portal into the seventh dimension to open and disgorge its prey, after only a few minutes of searching and brain-wracking.
Altogether more tiresome was when the same thing happened to this, about a fortnight ago:
As you can guess from the fact of the above photo, I eventually found this Thing again, but only after about a week of futile searching, through all the stuff in my small, one-bedroom home.
In the end, I had to give up, because I had instead to be preparing for the meeting I held at my home last Friday. And then, in the midst of those preparations and much to my amazement, the above Thing revealed itself to me again. It was in a place I should have looked in at once but failed to, but at least I found it.
What the Thing is is the electrical lead for my ancient laptop. Time has not yet rendered this laptop useless, by which I mean not useless to me for my primitive late twentieth century purposes, but losing this lead might have this laptop useless even to me, if Maplin‘s had been unable to supply a replacement. At the very least, I had started to expect a hefty bill, because people selling leads for such purposes know that they are dealing with desperate buyers, for whom a vital piece of kit will either resume working, or be forever useless. Twenty quid? Arrrrgh! Hmmmm. Okay, so be it. (Bastards.)
I have a couple of bags entirely full of leads like the one above, In Case They Come In Handy, which of course they never will. This is yet another category of stuff that you have to get used to chucking out, but being old, you find it hard to do. Because, Sod’s Law decrees that as soon as you chuck one of these wires out, you will realise you do need it.
But, like I say, I found this particular bit of wire. It wasn’t the best thing that happened to me last Friday. (That was the meeting.) But it was pretty good.
I find sunset hard to photo interestingly. Towers, I find easier to photo interestingly. (Or maybe I just find sunsets uninteresting and towers interesting.) So, when I photo a sunset, I try to include a tower.
Here are two sunset-with-tower photos. On the left, the most famous tower of London, the Tower of London, is seen (with a sunset behind it), reflected in a a more recent building. And on the right, we see the top of the London Hilton Hotel (with a sunset behind it), with my camera pointing along Oxford Street towards the west. Well, it would have to be the west, wouldn’t it?:
Photoed in January and February of this year. Click to make these photos bigger, if you want to. But I think sunset photos often look better when smaller. Certainly the Tower of London looks much clearly like the Tower of London, when small. I also like how the two sky colours look right next to each other.
Also, and not changing the subject at all: what he said.
It has taken me quite a while to learn how to photo my meetings. The problem is that the room is so small that whichever way you point the camera, you are going to miss two thirds of what is going on.
The best place to photo from is above, standing on a stool:
That shot was taken at last Friday’s meeting, the one addressed by Marc Sidwell, Marc being the one sitting, in a white shirt, on the brown sofa with the big arms, next to Real Photographer Rob with his real camera. The formalities have ended and informality has begun. It was an excellent talk and an excellent evening, and I hope to be saying more about it, maybe here, but more probably there.
In a perfect world, I could attach my camera to a stick, and take the shot from the middle of the ceiling, rather than from its edge. Even in this picture, there are people missing who were present.
This would be a good use for a selfie stick, of the sort that those who moan about selfie sticks don’t pause to think about.
I like London’s (England’s?) long, thin, very vertical, outdoor maps. Whenever I am out and about photoing, I photo them:
There’s nothing like a photo of a map with “You are here” on it, to tell you exactly where you were. That’s where I was, early on, on the day I later took these pictures.
Seriously, it is often quite difficult to work out exactly where I was when I look through the products of one of my photographic perambulations. This kind of snap turns it from difficult to obvious.
Especially if you can actually see the bit where it says “You are here”, like this:
I’ve recently been on several expeditions to this intriguing part of London, with its convoluted waterways. Maps are nice, but there’s no substitute for actually being there. With a camera.
I often travel to Euston by tube, changing there from or to the Victoria Line to or from the Northern Line, but I very rarely emerge into the street at Euston. But yesterday, I did this. I arrived by tube and I exited via the main concourse of the main railway station, on account of these new concourses being, I think, interesting places. And then when I exited from the main station, I noticed, for the first time, the rather handsome statue of Robert Stephenson that is to be seen out there, if you do that.
This statue is very fine, I think:
Perhaps because of its modern surroundings, I suspected this statue of being a recent piece of pseudo-antiquity, perhaps motivated by guilt for all the architectural antiquity at Euston that got demolished. But no, the statue dates from a mere decade after Stephenson’s death, which was in 1859.
I only discovered just now that Robert Stephenson designed the Rocket, the first ever steam locomotive. I thought his dad George did that, but George merely did the railway. Blog and learn.
You don’t have to believe that animals either have or should have rights to realise that people who are gratuitously cruel to animals are likely to be more cruel than usual to their fellow humans. But what of fake cruelty to fake animals leading to real cruelty to real creatures, animal or human? I imagine there is some kind of correlation there too, although my googling skills fell short of finding an appropriate link to piece demonstrating that.
Being cruel to a fake animal that another human loves is clearly very cruel, to the human.
As was, I think, this demonstration of fake cruelty that recently hit the internet. That link is not for those who are squeamish about beheaded teddy bears.
And what of people who are nice to fake animals?
Here is a picture I took in my favourite London shop, Gramex in Lower Marsh, in which there currently resides a teddy bear who was recently rescued from sleeping rough, by Gramex proprietor Roger Hewland:
If you consequently suspect that Roger Hewland is a kind man, your suspicion would be entirely correct. I agree with you that kindness to fake animals and kindness to real people are probably also correlated.
I sometimes drop into Gramex just to use the toilet. Never has the expression “spend a penny” been less appropriate.
Yesterday I told you about a photo I took on January 20th of this year. Earlier that day I had journeyed to Bromley-By-Bow tube station, then walked south along the River Lea, and ended my wanderings at Star Lane Station. It was a great day for photoing, and I especially enjoyed photoing this witty sculpture:
But who did it? This evening I realised that I seemed to recall Mick Hartley having something to say about this, and so it proved.
It’s by Abigail Fallis, and it is called DNA DL90. Well, I say that’s what it’s called. That’s what Abigail Fallis called it, but I bet nobody else calls it that. I bet what most people call it is more like: Shopping Trolley Spiral. I’m guessing further that Abigail Fallis regards her sculpture as some kind of critique of late capitalist consumerism. But such ArtGrumbling need not stop the rest of it thoroughly enjoying the thing, and also continuing to relish our trips to the supermarket, there to sample the delights of early capitalism. Because you see, Abigail, capitalism is just getting started.
Yes. I was right. Says Hartley:
It is, says Fallis, a symbol of modern society’s consumer culture, which has now become entwined in our genetic make-up. They can’t help themselves, can they, these artists?
The usual bitch about Artsists is that they are predictable, and indeed they are. But this was something else again. I literally predicted this, before I read it. How predictable is that? Very, very.