Do pictures lie?

In politics they have a concept called optics, it means that it is not only the message or project that has to be right, it has to look right as well.

Look at this image, of my former Church celebrating Palm Sunday this morning.

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The worshippers are all facing the speaker and their backs are faced away from the road, away from the general public.

What does this say to the outside world? What do the optics say?

If I was copywriter looking for a headline I might caption the picture:

Church turns its back on the world

or perhaps

Wycliffe Rejects Reading

I know that many of the people in this photo, who’s faces you can’t see because they are turned away from the road are some of the most outgoing and fab people I know. But, this is the power of photography, sometimes it can tell us something else about what is going on.

Sometimes it can show us a connection that the subject or even the photographer could not have told on his or her own.

Sometimes photos do lie, but sometimes they tell us an uncomfortable truth that we cannot see without the mirror of a photograph.

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How would you caption this pic? What has it said to you about Wycliffe and its message, proclaimed on the banner….

A slightly Trainspotteresque Post

I think we can say that I like trains – yes once many moons ago I used to travel to the delights of Reading to take down train numbers……….

Fewer moons ago I was one of a group of photographers who spent their time wriggling through the security of Reading station to take pictures of the station redevelopment. I was travelling by train from Reading at the weekend and it surprised me how normal the new station has become.

I thought I should stare my archive of Reading redevelopment pictures which show how far the station has come. As usual, click on the picture to see the whole archive.

Reading Station Redevelopment

Can I Walk On By? Can You?

Passing the nest

In today’s post-truth, post-Brexit Britain it seems to me that we have more and more people living on our streets. In the town I live in, Reading, there are more and more men and women begging. A number of ‘nests’ have sprung up in doorways and alleyways in Station Road and Friar Street.

This is a first, I have lived here for more than 25 years and even in the depths of the hardest forms of Thatcherism there didn’t seem to be so many people on the streets.

What has gone wrong? Have we enough energy to care?

I can only imagine that government policies have squeezed the bottom of society to such an extent that there is nowhere else to go. This seems to be happening when there is less and less help available. The result is nests on the streets and endless hands held out for any spare change.

The famous photographer Don McCullin stated that he aims to re-humanise photographic subjects who have been de-humanised by their experience. I have been inspired by this to try and record the state of our streets and the nests that are building up in Reading and other towns across the country.

These nests are hard to look at and to walk pass, but they are there and shoppers on their daily path of Reading consumerism are walking by because they see no answer and no solution.

I have put some of my street sleeper photos in a folder and wonder why I walked past these people and why you walk by too.

Steet Sleep 2

This is the full set here. Click on the picture to see the set

Street Sleepers

Bugsy Malone +40

Believe it or not Bugsy Malone is 40 years old. I went to see it for my 11th or 12 th birthday.

A few weeks ago as part of its culture celebrations Reading celebrated the fact that Bugsy was 40 years old and was also partly filmed here. If you know where to look the locations are still there.

The film was shown to a small audience at the Shennai Ballroom and the best part was that everyone, expect the photographer, dressed up in Bugsy vintage clothes. It was a very colourful event and I really enjoyed taking everyone’s picture.

You can see my pics here.

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Kodak Memories

Reading has an old factory, which was an old Kodak processing factory. It took people’s films and turned them in to memories. With the growth of digital imaging and the collapse of film use amongst the general public the factory closed and the building is now derelict, awaiting demolition and conversion in to flats. In the meantime it is a picturesque site of semi collapse. The roof is off, the false ceilings have collapsed, the floor is strewn with drug taking paraphernalia and the site is open to the sky.

As far as I could see the site is semi inhabited and it needs approaching with care, however it is beautiful in its dereliction.

Here are my photos

 

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A New Old Tunnel

Reading has a new tunnel, well an old new tunnel. It used to link the Huntley and Palmers factory with the Great Western Railway goods yard to the north of the mainline, I guess where Tescos is now. It has lain unused for 30 years or more. It was opened up just before Christmas as a foot and bike tunnel cutting the route between East Reading and Caversham Lock.

The tunnel has only recently been opened but has already been used by the fine Reading youth as a canvas for them to graffiti.

It is a great location I will be taking more pictures there soon.

Airlocked

I was asked by the fantastic Reading 3 piece band, Airlocked, to take some artwork pictures for their website, Facebook and publicity. We have been scouting locations around Reading and came up with this fantastic urban location, As with every photoshoot there are the technical details, getting the bits of kit to work in conjunction with each other, then comes the posing and then the processing. To me the guys looked great and I thought that a desaturated look would do these guys proud and bring out the look they were looking for.

If you are a band that is looking for either gig shots or portfolio shots give me a call.

2014 is over long live 2014

Its the end of January and I am just starting to catch up on 2014. Late I know but last year was so fantastic. I shot gigs at the Rising Sun, Shenai, Sun Inn, Risc, Walkabout, East Reading Festival, Swan Fest, Penta Hotel, Watlington House, Up the Junction and a host of other places around Reading. The bands I shot is almost without end. Some gigs stick in the memory, other’s less so, but they were all fun and I saw my pics being used by bands around the South. I thought I would put a few of the shots that I liked best up to remind me what a great year it has been and to inspire me to work harder and get more gigs shot in 2015.

If you are a band and looking for someone to shoot your gigs or do portfolio shots, give me a call. I’d love to help,