Binhole

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A couple of years ago, I found a skip full of boxes of geological samples, powdered stone and earth from all over the world. I strapped some of the boxes I’d emptied to the back of the bike, as they now seemed full of the possibilities of future use.

Of the flat kind, I have a small pile, still empty but one, in a filing cabinet full of negatives and photographs. The one that is filling up has the irregular shaped, stained and bad-dry-distorted test prints from my black and white printing within. Torn strips of people’s faces, broken images of… well, a variety of things.

The cube boxes I saved I took to school to make pinhole cameras. Yesterday we made one with a bin, a binhole camera perhaps, and had the group sit on the steps for the 15 minute exposure, in the cold, complaining a bit, listening too to the tinny phone beats, chatting, warning cars away from our array of cameras. We’re a little blurred, but you can see a few details; the flowers on my shirt are white stains there. I built the 12 or so 10×8″ sheets up into an image in photoshop. It’s okay. The Edifice of the school is there clean lining it against the Sky, and we merge with ourselves reflected, into indistinction.

This isn’t from the bin, it’s from one of the boxes from the bin.

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Fizzle

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…is a free improvisation night, occasional, amongst other places, at the Lamp, one of the best pubs around, on Barford St in Digbethish

this from some long rolls i shot with a 1906 folding pocket kodak that friends found in a skip, to sit alongside the surprising music… this is them. and this is some of them too:

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Resurgence

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I’ve been looking at edges; now that I think about it maybe this has to do with Permaculture’s interest in the generative potential of edge zones- the seashore, the delta, the hedgerow, the riverbank. In this city, the urban and the rural have edges that are closer to the surface than is often evident at first glance. All the place names, Balsall Heath, Kings Heath, Acocks Green, Small Heath etc., point to what was here relatively recently, before industrialisation. And in other places the rural pokes through, and what it meant and means changes, and impinges on what we think of as our urbanness.

I saw an irritating programme on ITV last year sometime about what the world would look like without humans. They’d CGI’d bridges and towers weakening and collapsing without maintenance, and had footage from inside the exclusion zone at Chernobyl. I thought it was bad tv, but it stuck in my mind too I suppose. Without being alarmist, or maudlin, it seems the shape of things is changing, and I’ve been wondering how much if it is evident in these edges I’ve begun to see, or think into existence.

I was going to leave out the burned bible I found at these empty offices, but that too is a kind of edge

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Firebird

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We thought it might be good to document some of the spirit at the Firebird social centre in Balsall Heath. This is the first part of what I’ve done to make a record. More, and more collaborations to follow.

see Justice not Crisis for details of the protest.

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New Post Old Photos

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I’m adding sets of pictures to the archive here to give a fuller picture of some of the work I’ve made. Click here

to look at work shot in 2006 in Cuba.

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Cleansing

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I walked around Aleppo all day yesterday: the souks and small workshops, 10 second cooked bread skimmed down the handle of the paddle used to put them in there and flip them, wholemeal for once and I want to try it, but lose the place, and am shy to try to negotiate the price of a single fresh one.. tea in numerous situations offered, sometimes accepted. A man repeats assertion that the scarves would be perfect for my mother or my sister over and over, ‘..very light, very nice…’ Very salmon pink, I think. Continue reading

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Damascus with Love

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It’s been a long time since doing this kind of thing. beyond spluttering about broken cameras- no luck still as yet making visual updates to the blog o reading public- I’m in the Christian quarter of the Old City in Damascus, planning my next move and thinking perhaps not the greatest thoughts, for reasons not to go into here. Unlike Beirut, which sometimes seems contradictory and at pains to remake itself, this place appears immediately, relatively at least, whole. Maybe what I mean is whole in its otherness.  You really feel out of Arabic here, or I do today. We were walking around the centre earlier, in the stifling midday heat, and a kid started talking to me in bare bones English, common denominator topics to many perhaps. We spoke, till he got to the door of his mosque, about God and Football. A list of European players, and affirmations of his devotion. The intensity of the old city, full of the bustle of millenial commerce, all the souks with clustered specialities- silks, perfume, wooden cookers tools, inlaid chess sets, Islamic literature, gold lame shirts- I might get one for the next bad taste party-  sweets, spices,  carpets of course, tools and hardware of every shape and size, old phones, tiny repair workshops… is almost overwhelming. I understand so little, and I’ve not shot a frame.

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Technical Issues

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Before coming here last time, I bought a Hasselblad 500cm in apparrently very good nick, tired of the unreliability of my old Bronica S2A, semi trusty medium format bought in 1999 in Havana for 80 bucks. The light seal had gone, and though I’d wanted to test her with a couple of rolls before I set off, somehow it passed me by to do so, and when the scans came back from the lab, there was intermittent light seal fogging on some of the shots all of the rolls. Several lessons there… so i fixed the seal before i came, and tested it and, fingers crossed, all well… slw connection here trying to put up some snaps but not working well… Continue reading

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The sky at night

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Rooftop Beirut

This I suppose will be the last one from Beirut. Tying up loose ends would be good punctuation, but as with all travel, it’s hard to be conclusive, especially when you start to leave before the cab leaves for the airport, the plane takes off, Continue reading

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from the middle.. Armenian shirt.

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The old crust is ringing somewhat, and there’s a bit of frustration, perhaps from being alone with my thoughts in the daytime, trying to keep at it, making pictures and all that. Most of the people I know here have jobs, and good for them too, a bit of balance is always good. I’m in a cafe in Hamra, W. Beirut, and there has been a call to prayer. There was a show opening about the Algerian war, looked like good Documentary photography, but I think it’s a bit far, 2 service, the 1500 Lebanese pound/ $1 shared taxis, and more to the point, as I seem to be doubling the service quite often now, I really don’t know where it is. Except that it’s near the airport, in a Hangar. Somewhere like Staines or Chelmsley Wood. Continue reading

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