Monday, 31 August 2009

Ken Rosenthal.


Image copyright Ken Rosenthal.
I am fairly sure that when I was a small child back in the sixties, a betting shop near my Grandfolks house used to keep a real live monkey chained to a stand outside. I have that vague memory and as more and more time passes I'm not even sure I still believe that memory. Ken Rosenthal's photographs remind me of that.
No not the monkey smart arse, that feeling......................

FRACTION MAGAZINE Issue 8

Sunday, 30 August 2009


A while back, I put out a call for people to assist American photographer Christina Seely with her shoot of Manchester for the LUX project. Chorlton based photographer Gill Moore stepped forward and you can read about the experience HERE.

Barbara Probst.

Images copyright Barbara Probst

There's a hint of BLOW-UP about the work of Barbara Probst. Interesting and complex stuff.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Welcome To Manchester. We're All Gay!


Or at least we are this weekend. Oh yes it's Manchester "Pride" Fat middle aged scally birds on the piss in pink cowboy hats. "Sing if your glad to be gay" seems a million miles away. THIS is the official corporate line. Having lived in the heart of the village for almost a decade and watching things progress THIS is nearer the truth.

Dedicated Follower's of Fashion.

This is going to be a brilliant resource.
"The Gallery of Costume is delighted to have been awarded a generous grant from the Getty Foundation to enable us to sort, organise and make accessible our photographic archive to support research and scholarship through web access.The Gallery of Costume photograph collection forms part of the significant library and archive accumulated by Drs C Willett and Phillis Cunnington during the 1930s.
Since 1947 when Manchester Corporation acquired the archives, they have been considerably expanded and are now the most comprehensive specialist resource for dress study outside London.The archive of images comprises over 25,000 portrait photographs dating from the 1840s onwards, although the bulk of the photographs are from the period 1860 - 1914."
Same reason why I rate this. A blinding use of this blogging lark. All this knowledge being assimilated. Fuck Art lets dress up........

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Topshit.


Topman the children's clothes shop have recently made bigger arses of themselves than the gelled up skinny jeaned lady boys who shop there. They have decided that this years trend is called "The Salford Lads club" look! You couldn't make this shit up. Anyway they have photo's of The Smiths Door and changed the sign to read Topman Lads Club. Being self important fashion types they never thought to seek permission and then got some photographer (and I use the word loosely) to shoot some gimps dressed like a cross between the big dancer with the moustache from Frankie Goes To Hollywood


Apparently it's inspired by the 80's Northern Towns and working men's clubs where Young lads would go to listen to The Smiths.
All photo's shot in London and converted to B/W to give them that authentic gritty Northern feel........... twats.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Rise of St George.


I've been interested in the resurgence of the
flag of St George for a while now and have been making work about it for the last year or so. It's profile has defiantly been on the rise over the last couple of years. I have my fears as to the reasons for this. I hope perhaps that it's due to devolution, but I fear it's not.
When I was young you never really saw it about, only on the breast plates of knights of old, oh and Nazi skinheads. It was always the "Jack" that got waved by normal people. Take a look at this footage of England's most famous win.




I only saw one St George flag, everyone's waving The Union jack. Where I live it would not be exaggerating to say that most streets have at least one St George's flag hanging from a window or on a flag pole.
I have a while longer to go on till the project is complete but from what I've learnt so far, it seems to have taken on a similar role to the confederate flag in the USA. Is it becoming the flag of people who rightly or wrongly feel disenfranchised?

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

And here's a part of England that's more like Baltimore, apparently.

A More complete England, And A Lovely Marriage Between Photography & Poetry.

Image copyright Mark Page

I've said it before but "DESTROYING THE LABORATORY FOR THE SAKE OF THE EXPERIMENT" by Mark Power is still the benchmark for me when it comes to contemporary studies on Englishness. With of course the excellent accompanying poem by Dan Cockrill.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

WE ENGLISH, by Simon Roberts.

Image copyright Simon Roberts

I have been planning to post about WE ENGLISH for a few days and then I go and get pipped to the post by The Guardian! Anyway I've been following the progress of this project over on the blog that was set up at the start of Simon's tour of England last year. It's been really interesting following a project from start, through to publication of a book, a great use of blogging and something I wish more Artists would do.

To be honest as I followed I feared the end result was going to be a little twee, and it is a walk through the sunnier side of England. Nothing wrong with that though, cynical photographers are "Two a penny" and I include myself in that category. It is after all a look at the English through the landscape of leisure,and I think this is a really interesting angle and a great way to hone in on how we think of England. If I have a gripe, and of course it's me, so I do, and that's why you love me. I'm not sure about the title. It seems too broad for the subject which is England's landscape explored through leisure and pastimes and the way that, that forms our view of England. So more about the landscape and our relationship to an aspect of it than the English as a people, which I feel the title points to? But that's me just being picky and trying to find fault in what is a great piece of work that I think will stand out amongst the current crop of "Englishness" studies,

Friday, 21 August 2009

Bravehearts........

Scotland? I'm not that keen. Although this boils down to the last time Rangers came to Manchester and a particularly nasty dose of food poisoning I got in Edinburgh ( Dearest chamber maid I apologise about the sheets.) No, I hate kilts, bagpipes and Alex Salmond. I resent the fact that they have their own Parliament but also want to play in ours, they seem to want Independence when it suits them, a little bit like the student who moves out of home but still takes their washing home to mum.
However this last couple of days I've felt bloody proud of the jocks. This little country has stuck by it's decision despite of "warnings" from the self proclaimed king of the world, America. No real CHANGE stateside then, New face, black this time but still the same old arrogance.
Some people have said that it is disgusting to see The Saltire being waved in Libya, really? I thought it made a refreshing change seeing a western flag in a Middle Eastern country that wasn't being burnt. OK people may say that you never lost anyone in Lockerbie. Well no, but as far as I know neither has Obama, or any of the Obama administration and as it happened over Scotland wind yer fucking necks in.

If we ever want to stop all the shit that's going down we just got to forgive and forget sometimes. So well done my wild blue arsed porridge eating cousins, this time you really have been Brave at heart.....

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Knackered...

© Yao Lu

Ker-nacked tonight so leaving you in the capable hands of Marcus Doyle and his post on Prix Pictet for which he was a nominator.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Clare Strand.

Image copyright Clare Strand

"Over the last ten years, dissatisfied with the often complacent values of the photography world, Clare Strand has assembled a body of work that is both subversive and celebratory in its approach to photographic conventions.

During this period Strand’s art has developed through a series of increasingly interesting and unique projects that have explored various photographic genres, from Victorian portraiture to crime scene and forensic photography.

In these series she has dwelt on the oddity of photography’s strange backwaters, its utilitarian functions and its infiltration of every corner of our lives, to make us question the value and complex meanings of photographic images". Cont'd (then click info link)

I love the photographs from Clare Strand's series "Gone Astray Portraits" A little bit of Victorian brought up to date and playing with and commenting on the traditions of photography. Think John Thomson's London portraits, but done in an old studio by a man with a big moustache and a magnesium flash gun that goes bang and an Aspidistra and maybe a stuffed lion oh and costumes. Sorry I'm getting carried away but do you get me? See Clare Strand's website HERE.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009



I got an email the other day from a Michael Duggleby to let me know about a new photography site he has launched called SHUTTERSPARK. It's a resource to showcase the work of recent (2005) graduates. So give him some support. If you fall into the category send in some work and if like me you don't, then get behind it by visiting and commenting.
Britain is still lagging way behind the US and most of Europe when it comes to these kind of web initiatives, so nice one Michael.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Wanted Dead or Alive.

As Greater Manchester Police continue there new found love affair with big photo's I wonder if they have really thought this one through. Take some sixteen year old males who have had their heads filled with guns and films and "gansta" and then you go offer them the ultimate status symbol, a new kind of kudos a giant "Wanted" Poster in the middle of the city centre. They then say that they think he may be in Birmingham anyway. Now that's a special kind of dumb.......

Music Town

Can there be any town anywhere that has had a bigger impact on music than Manchester?
Not just the usual suspects you know your, Joy Divisions ya Smiths, Roses etc. No I mean before that. Take the
Halle for instance. Oldest symphony orchestra in Britain and fourth oldest in the world. And these guys above. Sweet Sensations. Ever heard of them? No me neither but we should have done. Sweet, sweet soul coming from Manchester town. For a good rundown of Manchester music from The Hollies up to more modern stuff go HERE. I knew Manchester produced bands but I didn't realise the complete quantity, quality and sheer diversity.

Lost In Manchester.

I've been meaning to flag this blog up for a while, I think I got a little confused because it's called Lost In Manchester but it's address is www.doorsintothepast.blogspot.com Not that matters. it's full of great little titbit's about Manchester.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Fancy 4 Grand to Photograph Bolton?

Image Humphrey Spender (cheers to Bolton Museums)

If you've gone and got yourself into more debt doing an MA in photography and you live in the North West here's your chance to clear 4 grand off the overdraft/loan with this grant to follow in the footsteps of Humphrey Spender. For more details go HERE.

Cheers to David Wyatt for the tip off, an old Manchester Photography friend, and a bloody good Documentary photographer himself.


Thursday, 13 August 2009

Twice Today,

Image copyright Zhang Xiao

I've found myself agreeing with Joerg Colberg over on Conscientious and that almost never happens. First up his post Is Black and White Dead? Of course it's bloody not. And second up there's some really great images over on Zhang Xiao's site. So that's my post done for the day. I'm just pointing you to JC's site.
I'm a lazy bastard I am...........





I loved the hick American woman who during a debate on health care said she didn't want to be "socialised like the Russians". Free health for everyone, fuck we Yankee doodle don't want that?!!?

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Keith Arnatt.

I'm a real big admirer of the late great Keith Arnett, and I still don't think that the importance of his work is appreciated as much as it should be, at least as far as the photographic world is concerned. Interesting little film here featuring his good friend David Hurn.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Image copyright Mark Page
Really sorry to hear about Miss Blears car. No honestly I am. No really really sorry. Honest. Swear to God, I'm proper upset. Cross my heart.........

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Mirko Martin.


Images copyright Mirko Martin
Mirko Martin's series L.A. CRASH puts me in mind of Grand Theft Auto or maybe Burnout. Staged photo's from the movie city, fact? fiction? photography questioning itself again. Interesting images though are the result.

TORBJØRN RØDLAND



Images copyright of TORBJØRN RØDLAND

Well what can I say about TORBJØRN RØDLAND ? Fucking chaos. In a good way. Pop photography informs his work more than Art photography. Nothing wrong with that. So pop art photography then. Well kind of. Tell you what I'll let him explain rather than me, go HERE I just like looking at it and saying to you look at this fella's work. Again though I notice this stuff is free, raw, chaotic, work again by a Scandinavian, and again I see similarities with a lot of work from Japan. Why is this.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Although the coppers hate us taking pictures, they seem to like to use it themselves more & more.

Woolies..........


I'm still wallowing in nostalgia, and so is BBC NEWSNIGHT, who put out a call for it's viewers to send in photographs of how their local now defunct WOOLWORTHS shop looks. A more interesting call for photography from viewers than what TV normally calls for. You know COUNTRYFILE wanting nature shots, the WEATHER wanting sunsets snow etc.
It's a good way to get an archive of a now lost institution or so I thought. They have only had 100 entries! Maybe we don't miss woolies as much as we thought. Or perhaps folk would rather take pictures of sunsets. Or perhaps the countries Community support officers and security guards have stopped them taking pictures. Again.........

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Dirty Old Town.

Image copyright Mark Page

There's a misconception that the song written by Ewan MacColl Dirty Old Town is an Irish song due to the popularity of The Pogues and The Dubliners versions. It's not though, it's about Salford. You can hear a good version of the ditty HERE if you've never heard it. The first verse of the song goes "I met my love by the gas works wall" And then it dawned on me that after passing these towers twice a day and doing a little research that this is what remains of Salford Gas Works and there is the bloody wall!
Another bit of useless information is that Salford Council were so upset at being called Dirty Old Town that they managed to persuade MacColl to change the lyrics from "Smelled a spring on the Salford wind" to "Smelled a spring on the smokey wind", thus loosing this song to the Irish and another piece of Salford heritage to oblivion.............

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Who's Guarding The Guardian?



Now don't get me wrong I've not always been a fan of The Guardian, I think they have a lot to answer for, for glamorising the behaviour of tow rags in certain parts of this town and by coining the phrase "Gunchester" how many little dicks wore that T Shirt? Guardian readers wind me up as well, sanctimonious Chorlton types, yeah I know I'm generalising but tough shit it's my blog, no doubt they to have at times taken that editorial line......

But wait I digress the point of this post is to big them up in their hour of need. They've hit hard times like so many of us. As Guardian media they've already binned some of the smaller concerns but now it looks like even the Actual Guardian and Observer brand are really feeling the pinch.

I'm not concerned because of their so called PC, left of centre leaning. In these crazy days it's The Right wing Telegraph that's been taking the politicians to task right across the parties anyway.
No the reason I'm concerned is far more shallow than that, I'm going to call it The Woolworths feeling. Pure unadulterated sentimentality. First off because it started here, as The Manchester Guardian in 1821 until it "got all above it's self" in 1959 and moved to London.
Reason number two is photography and it's use as a journalistic tool. It appointed it's first staff photographer as far back as 1908. It was one of the first papers anywhere to do so.
It kept a noble tradition using the talents of Don McPhee and Dennis Thorpe, and helped to invent and define the role of the photojournalist, for that alone it should be thought of as a national treasure and I hope it's future is brighter than Woolies was........

Sergey Maximishin

Image copyright Sergey Maximishin

Sergey is the first Russian I've featured on the blog. I checked and was a bit surprised. I think compared to a lot of European or American photography blogs Manchester photography has done a pretty good job of being "cosmopolitan" take a look down on the right under "Photographers Worldwide" there's all sorts.

Anyway the photojournalism of Sergey Maximishin is a good place to start. Take a breath before you view some of it. He pulls no punches. That pile of carcasses left over from the fur trade, Jeeez........

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Dan Dan Daaaa Halina 6-4 !


That's the answer to the camera conundrum.

What Wiki says about them;
"The Halina 6-4 is a basic viewfinder camera made by Haking in Hong Kong. It has a focal-plane mask, allowing it to be set for taking either twelve 6×6cm or sixteen 4×4cm images on 120 film - and there are two viewfinders and two red windows to accommodate the two sizes.
The lens is labelled "Halina Achromat", with a maximum aperture of f/8, and
Waterhouse stops for f/11 and f/16. The front-element focus is marked into three zones.
The shutter is single speed + B, with double-exposure prevention interlock with the winder. Flash can be connected using a PC plug.
The body has a lever in the base, detaching the back and baseplate for film loading. A small folding foot is built in to the bottom of the lens barrel to support the camera when standing on a flat surface"



And below some shots taken around Salford precinct with mine, it was my first camera and was given to me by my Nan, bless her.


Images copyright Mark Page

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Sir Bobby Robson 1933-2009


God Bless ya and thank you for Italia 90 we my not have won but memories of that summer will last me and a whole generation a life time.......