Sunday, 26 August 2012

New Colours for YellowMelen

Based on the colours used on the 1963 Cornish tartan by poet E.E. Morton Nance, Yellow, Black, White, Blue and Red.  The green is from Cornish Day Tartan (1980s) and amazingly i had all of the colours but the red of the Cornish Tartan.

Gold Bezants and old Cornish Kings/Chieftains
Oxidised tin on the flag of St Piran
Non Oxidised tin on the flag of St Piran
Sea surrounding the peninsula
Legs of the Red Legged Chough - on the cornish coat of arms

YellowMelen Colours for Website and Print
YellowMelen Colours for Website and Print

Cornish Colours and Tartan

Cornish Tartan
First created in 1963, the Cornish National tartan was designed by the poet E.E. Morton Nance, nephew of Robert Morton Nance. Each colour of tartan has a special significance or meaning. The White Cross on a black background is from the banner of Saint Piran, the Patron Saint of tinners, which is also used as the flag of Cornwall;[5] Black and gold were the colours of the ancient Cornish kings; red for legs and beak of the national bird, the chough, and blue for the blue of the sea surrounding Cornwall.

link below to text on wikipedia

Saturday, 25 August 2012


'ENGLISH OUT' Botallack Tin Mine, Kernow 2005. Phil Richardson ©

In December 2005 i took this photograph on an old Bronica ETRSi of a wall at Botallack tin mine in Cornwall. My Father was Cornish, a Spargo from Falmouth. Spargo's were located mainly around Falmouth from the village of Spargo and at Mabe Burnthouse near Penryhn in area north east of the Helford Passage, it means 'thorny area'. My deep routed affection and love towards Cornwall comes 'dreckly' from my Father's heritage. Articulated local narratives delivered in my Gran's strong Cornish accent, emphasising her affection and passion for the area. There is a clear sense of belonging, an attachment and of being part of the land.  For me it always feels like home when i  cycle or drive across the Tamar.  

'English Out', I understand why this was written, i don't agree with it but i understand it.  If you are Welsh, Scots or Irish you will probably have similar feeling.  But why?  Will it improve or affect your life?  For those whose existence is not so prosperous is this another way to vent frustration or attribute blame?  From birth culture defines us, unshackling yourself can be a 'thorny' issue.  Genetics has a part to play in this statement of intent "English Out". Surely this is just nostalgia and doesn't correlate with today's Britain.

Scots, Welsh, Irish and Cornishmen migrated everywhere, including England, often to find work. You will find more people with either first, second or third generation Gaelic or Brythonic populations and cultures living in England than currently residing natively in the three other countries of Britain. Other than England, about 80% of the British Isles can trace their ancestry to before the Roman invasion, even the Neolithic and Mesolithic peoples. The English percentage that can do the same, according to Bryan Sykes this is not surprisingly, a very similar figure.  So the British are made up of the same stuff then.  The English as a pure ethnic race don't really exist, they are an amalgamation of European cultures and peoples. When we proudly express our nationality, genetics has little to do with it, but culture does.  

Why do we concern ourselves with the nationalities of our ruling class and the monarch.  In Europe the nearly all came from a German-Frankish background, inter-married and occasionally brought in new blood.  Despite the current longevity of our current dynasty the media often refer to them as Germans.  If you look back at the genetics of our crowned heads of state they  all links other countries. The message is a little inaccurate and too late really, there hasn't been an English monarch on the throne for over 946 years. Probably either Harold or Edgar, and it is a little dodgy to give them that title as neither was true Anglo Saxon anyway, not unless you count Sweden and Hungary as part of these islands. 
What actually constitutes a person as English?  Who are the English? At what point did the English really become English. It can't be genetic, unless of course you think of it as some Northern European cake, a few ingredients from this tribe, that region, mix it up a few years later with a new flavour et voila le résultat.  England, the English are a culture and amalgamation of various peoples and influences contained by the current line on a map.

For those Cornish who are 'anti English' looking for blame then Athelstan is a good place to start, although it won't solve anything, and no doubt they probably do attribute some blame to him.  Labelling someone pure English, Welsh or Cornish is irrelevant, a DNA test will see to that.  You are English because you were born in England, live in England, pay tax in England, speak English, think England is your home, feel passionate about protecting you home and country.  If you feel that way about Wales and then you Welsh.  If like me you feel that way about Britain, then you are British.

These two words used in a current perspective could make sense in the mind of those who feel aggrieved, misrepresented, unheard, ignored or as burdenous irrelevance.  Cornwall is one of the poorest areas in Britain, Westminster takes more money from Cornwall than it returns.  If you lived there and had little prospects and no job you may create your own statement on a wall.

Monday, 13 August 2012

What is the point of spot colouring?

Does a photograph really need to have part of it left in colour with the rest black and white?    Surely this is just an effect or does it actually add something to an image?  After all we use other compositional tools such as apertures, lenses and view points to highlight our subjects.

Do these four photographs on the right tell a different story, or do they tell the same story but just look different?

One image is full colour, one full black and white, one has the top half colour and last one top half black and white.

When i look at the four images each one attracts me to a different part of the image.  This changes the feel of each image, the emphasis placed on the interior and exterior really alters when one is black and white. Because of the strong colours, i find at first glance that i ignore the B&W parts of the image and concentrate on the colour areas.

In the top image, there is a tussle of colour between the green shirt and its complementary colour in the tomatoes.  The hash browns seem to gesture and angle up to the tomatoes, on to the coffee cup at which point they meet with the man's gaze forming a connection between the cafe and the street outside.  A similar thing happens with the B&W image, although in this image the coffee cup is most prominent. This is partly due to the composition of the image.  The cup sits a third of the way into the frame and it is dissected by the edge of the bar.  This is also the point at which the camera focuses and the cup acts as the pivotal part of the frame taking on the role of a portal between the two worlds.

A very different point of focus occurs when the image is split in to half B&W and half colour.  The cup appears no longer to signal that it is a conduit but instead attaches itself to the colourless part of the image, even if it is not actual grey itself.  The third image is about the man on the outside looking in at my breakfast.  When desaturated the food on my plate feel as though they are hiding themselves away from the man outside.  Contrast this to the last image when they are in full colour and he is B&W it is as though they are taunting him.

As a rule i really can't stand 'spot colouring' or 'colour popping', but this is because most of the time it is applied simply because someone learned a new photoshop trick on YouTube and not because they felt it added anything to the image.  If an image has good lighting and very composition then B&W is more than adequate for most images.  Sometimes the colour is integral to a scene that it seems erroneous to remove it, but at what point does an image really need to be both black and white and colour?  Almost never, but just occasionally it can add something to the story.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Skip - James Fenton

The Skip - James Fenton
I took my life and threw it on the skip,
Reckoning the next-door neighbours wouldn't mind
If my life hitched a lift to the council tip
With their dry rot and rubble. What you find

With skips is - the whole community joins in
Old mattresses appear, doors kind of drift
Along with all that won't fit in the bin
And what the bin-men can't be fished to shift

I threw away my life, and there it lay
And grew quite sodden. 'What a dreadful shame, '
Clucked some old bag and sucked her teeth. 'The way
The young these days.... no values....... me, I blame..... '

But I blamed no-one. Quality control
Had loused it up, and that was that. 'Nough said
I couldn't stick at home, I took a stroll
And passed the skip, and left my life for dead.

Without my life, the beer was just as foul,
The landlord still as filthy as his wife,
The chicken in the basket was an owl,
And no one said: 'Ee, Jim-lad, whur's thee life? '

Well, I got back that night the worse for wear,
But still just capable of single vision;
Looked in the skip, my life- it wasn't there!
Some bugger'd nicked it - WITHOUT my permission.

Okay, so I got angry and began
To shout, and woke the street. Okay, OKAY,
AND I was sick all down the neighbour's van
AND I disgraced myself on the par-kay

And then.... you know how if you've had a few
You'll wake at dawn, all healthy, like sea breezes,
Raring to go, and thinking: 'Clever you!
You've got away with it' and then, Oh Jesus,

It hits you. Well, that morning, just at six
I woke, got up and looked down at the skip.
There lay my life, still sodden, on the bricks,
There lay my poor old life, arse over tip.

Or was it mine? Still dressed, I went downstairs
And took a long cool look. The truth was dawning.
Someone had just exchanged my life for theirs.
Poor fool, I thought - I should have left a warning.

Some bastard saw my life and thought it nicer
Than what he had. Yet what he'd had seemed fine.
He'd never caught his fingers in the slicer
The way I'd managed in that life of mine.

His life lay glistening in the rain, neglected,
Yet still a decent, an authentic life.
Some people I can think of, I reflected
Would take that thing as soon as you'd say Knife.

It seemed a shame to miss a chance like that
I brought the life in, dried it by the stove.
It looked so fetching, stretched out on the mat
I tried it on. It fitted, like a glove.

And now, when some local bat drops off the twig
And new folk take the house, and pull up floors
And knock down walls and hire some kind of big
Container (say, a skip) for their old doors.

I'll watch it like a hawk, and every day
I'll make at least - oh - half a dozen trips.
I've furnished an existence in this way.
You'd not believe the things you'd find on skips.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Wear Sunscreen Mr Desiderata


Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

The Video

 To read the original poem by Mary Schmich click on the link below 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Little Pip

Little Pip, my black cat now has his portrait in the blue toilet, balances up the cow in the yellow toilet.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Jodie Andrews

take a look at Jodie Andrews work and read her blog.  A very open, honest, creative and starry individual.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Taryn Simon photographs secret sites

David Griffin on how photography connects us

Nathan Myhrvold on archeology, animal photography, BBQ ...

Frans Lanting's lyrical nature photos

Nick Veasey: Exposing the invisible

Ryan Lobo TED

More TED Links - try something new every 30 days

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

TED Ideas worth spreading

TED Technology, Entertainment, Design is a website devoted to letting us know about Ideas Worth Spreading.

Look at the site and borrow some ideas for your own inspirations.

I have attached a link to Erik Johansson talking about his photography and his post production.

Dave Hill

Hiding The Map
Dave Hill
Photographer and digital artist Dave Hill was brought to my attention last year by one of my A level students.

This is exceptionally good work, the post production is not just at a high level but creative.  These images are works of art, they cross over from photography to become an image in its own right.  The photo realistic style is beautifully post produced to give this lovely 1950s painted feel.

Finish Line Spring
Dave Hill

The Rescue
Dave Hill

Jordy Smith for O'Neill
Dave Hill

Dave Hill

Erik Johansson - Digital Artist

Fishy Island
Erick Johansson
I have just been sent a link to this digital artist Erik Johansson and i really like this work.  The image construction and composition work really well and there is a sense of humour proliferating his work.   His personal work is much better and i suppose here he can explore ideas further and be more  risky, in comparisons to the nervousness of marketing people.  The work is of a high standard and play on many aspects of photography and art from Chema Madoz and Dali.
Pulling a Road
Erick Johansson
Road Workers' Coffee Break
Erick Johansson

Chema Madoz

Chema Madoz's photography was introduced to me by Matthieu Espleyfrom Albi, France. The images are very simple in construction but clever in their conception.

Spanish photographer, born in 1958 as Jose Maria Rodriguez Madoz and known for surrealist black and white photographs. The images are astutely humorous in a similar vein to a René Magritte painting or an Elliot Erwitt photograph.

Most of these image produce a wry smile on my face when I view them. They fit well with my own culture and thought processes, and no doubt I will take influence from them when taking my own photographs.

Chema Madoz

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Fantastic Photographers Blog - Open Eye Photography

Simon Harsent
If you are looking for some ideas and inspiration, or just to view good photography do look at this blog from Open Eye Photography.

There are some fantastic images in here, so take some time and through the archive.

The 'Melt Portrait of an Iceberg' project by Simon Harsent is a fantastic study of icebergs near Newfoundland and Greenland.

These images do convey a sense of portraiture, as if Simon has given each iceberg an personality, they each have a different shape and texture due to their formation and eventually cleaving from their glaciers.   I suppose partly due to their dimensions and form there is an element of architectural photography here.  Not just any old building but favourite church or country house, or even a family home.
Jürgen Heckel Photography - Wald

Forrest images by Jürgen Heckel, they take me back twenty five years.  We used to sneak off into the woods and fields near by our council estate, with old tools and food borrowed from various sheds and houses to build camps, light fires and pretend we were living rough.  Early liberating escapism.

These images with their folkloric quality are inviting you in to amongst the trees and shadows, yet they still retain a sense of uncertainty.  That uncertainty, cloaked with an element of risk provided me with the motivation to venture into those woods near our estate as a 12 year old, accompanied by my 9 year old brother and comrades, carrying our hoard of leased utilitarian instruments, pickaxes, knives, hammers, nails, saws, string, glue, matches and mainly raw potatoes.   A starchy tuberous plant which takes hours to cook and is slightly unpleasant raw.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Six of Me, One of You

Don't date a photographer.

50 Reasons not to date a Photographer
  1. They rather hold their bulky camera, than hold hands with you.
  2. On a romantic date, you’ll watch the sun go down and think “Wow this is gorgeous” and they’ll go “mirror lock, tripod, and stop down f/8 at 1/125.”
  3. You’ll never be able to enjoy tv, movies, or magazines because they’ll point out all the visual flaws.
  4. They like to sit in obscure coffee shop and voyeuristically watch people for great lengths of time.
  5. If you’re taking a walk outside and you come across some “interesting light” they will make you sit/stand/pose in public so that they can take a photo.
  6. You’ll never get to enjoy freshly cooked meals because they’ll spend 15 minutes taking 20 variations of the same dish with their iPhone.
  7. They get angry when your friends go up to them and say “I am interested in photography, can you recommend a good camera for me?  Nothing professional I just want to take pretty pictures.”
  8. You’ll wait longer for them to finish analyzing art in a museum than you’ll wait at the dmv
  9. Same goes with old used bookstores.
  10. When you think they’re giving you their undivided attention, they’re really wondering how they could fix you with a little Clone Tool and Patch Tool.
  11. Or they are actually using you to not look so creepy as they people watch everything going on around you.
  12. They rather drop $1,000+ on new glass than a purse for you. 
  13. You can’t take a photo with them without taking at least five more.
  14. If you ask them if you look fat, they’ll say “don’t worry I can photoshop you later.”
  15. They’ll never photoshop something simple for you if the content is not up to their “standards.”
  16. That photo they randomly took of you yesterday?  Good luck getting them to send it to you.
  17. They spend all their time on the computer (and not for porn.)
  18. They can’t have a normal conversation with throwing acronyms and random numbers.
  19. They still use film cameras.
  20. They spend a lot of time with people cooler than you i.e. models, actors, musicians, successful rich people.
  21. They’ll be fussy over the position of a common household object, like a coffee cup.
  22. They won’t return your calls or text messages, but you can bet they’re still posting pics on Instagram.
  23. They like watching old films that you’ve never heard or will ever understand.
  24. They like looking at weird things in general.
  25. Instead of having penis-envy, they have camera-gear-envy.
  26. If there’s a natural disaster in a far away land, they’re already on a plane going over there.
  27. Everything is watermarked.
  28. They think everyone else’s photos suck.
  29. They want to color correct a lot of scenes from Twilight and Jersey Shore.
  30. They hate rainbows, especially ones spinning in a circle.
  31. Whenever you’re in a group talking and the conversation goes deep, they’re taking notes in some form of Moleskine.
  32. They use over priced Moleskine notebooks.
  33. They like trespassing into old abandoned buildings filled with health hazards.
  34. They always want to show a new photo they took, but don’t really care if you like it or not.
  35. They hate your n00bie friend’s new artsy profile picture.
  36. Bright, sunny days make them sad, but cloudy, overcast days are apparently great!
  37. They’ll take you into places that have “culture” as well a high chance of getting mugged.
  38. Your birthday present will be a portrait that they’ve taken of you.
  39. You can’t go anywhere new without them stopping to take a photo of everything and anything.
  40. They will always bug you to be a test subject.
  41. Nothing can ever be naturally pretty, everything must be fixed in Photoshop.
  42. Bringing their camera means, bringing 50lbs of equipment.
  43. If you break any of their things on accident, you’ll owe them thousands of dollars.
  44. You can’t get them a birthday/Christmas present without spending at least $500
  45. They are natural hoarders, collecting and keeping piles of old newspapers, packaging, magazines, and other things that “inspire” them.
  46. They are weird and geeky.
  47. They have hard drives of photos, but probably have printed 10 images.
  48. They are always secretly judging your creativity.
  49. If you’re ever in auto mode, they laugh at you.
  50. They orgasm every time they learn a new lighting technique

I think all but four of these relate to me, and i am sure i could find some photos on my hard drive (won't be any printed on the wall) to prove it.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Chocolate Boat

As a child what would you have given to have  had a boat made of chocolate?

Click on the links to see Chocolatier Georges Larnicol's 3.5m chocolate boat sail from Concarneau, Finistère, in Brittany .

Aparently he plans a 12m boat with mast for this year.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Does your body need an MOT?

If so then you will probably need an Osteopath, give Samantha Sullivan at call at Hemel Osteopathic Practice.

Both Samantha and Chris Sullivan are professional and experienced Osteopaths recognised by all major insurance companies and registered with the General Osteopathic Council.

If you have back ache, neck strain, shoulder stiffness, muscular and joint issues all gain from age, work or sport related activities then contact them.  They will not only repair your discomforts but help to prevent future problems.

If i can still run around playing football at 38 with almost the same vigour as if i was 21 then a large part of that is due to the treatment received from Sam at HOP.

Their new blog

Do you feel like treating yourself?

If so contact Alison Richardson at Pure Therapy, based in Berkhamsted for a Massage, Back Neck and Shoulders, Indian Head Massage, Aromatherapy, Hot Stones, Facials and many more luxury treatments.

Also read her blog about how to stay healthy and look after yourself.