Sunday, 31 July 2011

London's Gardens

Chelsea Physic Garden looks fantastic at this time of year, the legacy of Rosie Atkins's curatorship over the last few years.
A new team is now in place. It's a good place to eat outside, without being a pavement victim of fumes and god knows what else.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Dear Bill,

I met someone who knew James Ravilious, the closest I'll get to the late photographer, whose work is sublime. A quick on line search will reveal plenty of his black and white photographs. I think his wife, Robin still sells prints. I'm lucky enough to have two of them. Andrew Lawson (well known garden photographer) showed me the tree Ravilious had used in one of his shots.

This is Andrew, collecting yellow rattle seeds to thin the grass out.

I'm casually envious of those who live near the sea, though not so keen on the traffic that chokes the roads on the way in and out. The price you pay for living on a little island. The coastal walks are a breeze (if you are fit, and a struggle if not). We surrendered to the Navy at Falmouth, and spotted two peregrine falcons from a hide that overlooked their nest.

St Ives was humming with all sorts of fascinating people enjoying the pre school holiday calm, I even bumped into the photographer Gavan Goulder who works and lives there. He photographs the seascape every morning at dawn, so you can have a shot taken on the day your child is born. What a neat idea. We also saw BH's studio, discovering in the process that some of her work left me quite underwhelmed. Did you know you can get curried parsnip Cornish pasties?

Driving back, I passed this sign. Who is responsible for counting them? And what a lovely round number. I failed to spot one...

Lastly, I hope you've made the exhibition of Hungarian photography at the RA. There's some blisteringly great photography to see, including my all time favourite image, Kertesz's photograph of Mondrian's studio, a masterclass in composition. I didn't know that Mondrian had painted the tulip's leaves white to cover up their green colour. Now my knowledge of photograph is vastly improved. There are gems in every direction, including many of the classics and a good deal of work I'd never seen before. It's a must see.

Monday, 4 July 2011

PPE at the Hampton Court Flower Show.

I bumped into the Philosopher at the Hampton Court Flower Show this year. She was compiling her list of things to be banned forthwith which included tennis commentators who didn't know when to belt up. I commiserated, and thought how well off cricket listeners were in comparison. John Arlott; he knew the score, as did Brian Johnston. As for Wimbledon, we liked to listen to McEnroe, but not to have to endure most of the other witterers, save possibly Boris.

She wasn't that keen on the cameraman's propensity to focus in on the family and girlfriends of the players, almost to the exclusion of all else. That's our celebrity culture for you. She overheard a couple talking about the "Bog Brush" versus "Bum Fluff" match, and instinctively knew who they were referring to, despite not having experienced a British public school. Mind you, she doesn't have a clue what an apple pie bed is.

I'd only add the use of graduated filters on cameras to her list, including those used by the BBC on their coverage of the flower show. So 1970s. So dreadful, so amateur!

Friday, 1 July 2011

William Cooper Ltd

My thanks to Rob Hughes for showing me his copy. They used to be in south London. Maybe they supplied the church photographed in Brixton, (see Architecture 8th May 2011, below).

Don't you love a bit of nostalgia? Reminded me of the Anderson shelter we used to play in a kids. Forgive the sod awful photography. It was competing with a muffin from the Deli in Hay. Anyone who's been lucky enough to eat one, knows that nothing gets in the way of that process.
Has anyone seen or even own one of these studios/darkrooms? Could you get in touch if you do?