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.