London Photo Fair

It’s the London Photography Fair this Sunday 20th February at The Holday Inn, Bloomsbury WC1N 1HT. Hope we can pick up some interesting stuff.

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Covent Garden – Jubilee Antiques Market

Covent Garden Antiques Market

Monday mornings are often spent searching for material and inspiration in Covent Garden’s Antique Market.

If we’re in the right mood we will always find something to provide a new idea for our work – it’s a great source for adding to our growing collection of photographic ephemera.

visitors cards

 Amongst the strange colourfull camera shy storeholders we scramble with the dealers and tourists through the mixed jumble of shit and treasure hoping to be the one who leaves with a prized trophy.

On our recent trips we’ve been searching for Victorian/Edwardian visitors cards. They’re quite common but when you have an agenda to placate it’s hard to find an image that will fullfill our needs. Luckily we leave with some good examples and head for the British Museum.

It’s an interesting feeling ‘touching the past’, a feeling that becomes more apparent while walking through the pristene galleries of the Museum and following the crowds leering at and paying homage to the valuable, beautiful and exquisite objects suffocating behind their glass cages.  We make a decision, today should be about touching – we leave the museum and return to the jumble sale at Covent Garden.

more things to explore

lots of things - shortage of money

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The Mermaid in The Room of Enlightenment

The Room of Enlightenment

‘The room of enlightenment’ is always the first place to explore when we visit the British Museum.

One of our favourite objects is the ‘Mermaid’. A strange mixture of monkey and fish stitched together by an imaginative 18th century oddball to bring reality to the creature of seafarer’s myth.

Like most objects in the room it lies in the darkened shadows of one of the many curiosity cabinets that surround the room.

When sailors fall for this you need to question their rum rations!!

The mermaid  epitomises the most interesting characteristics of humanity; creativity and imagination. It’s quite extraordinary that someone would make so much effort to realize this creature and totally ignore the general view of a beautiful & alluring vision that would drive sailors to despair. Even the scale has no part in the myth, this object is just over a foot long.

But with all the faults that seem so apparent in the disparity between the object and it’s subject, the mermaid for us, does succeed in providing a far more important element; a belief in imagination and the triumph of a mind still open to possibilities.

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Fox shoots man

Here’s another gem from Reuters:

MOSCOW | Thu Jan 13, 2011 7:47pm GMT

do you feel lucky punk??

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A wounded fox shot its would be killer in Belarus by pulling the trigger on the hunter’s gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle, media said Thursday.

The unnamed hunter, who had approached the fox after wounding it from a distance, was in hospital with a leg wound, while the fox made its escape, media said, citing prosecutors from the Grodno region.

“The animal fiercely resisted and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw,” one prosecutor was quoted as saying.

Fox-hunting is popular in the picturesque farming region of northwestern Belarus which borders Poland.

(Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Matthew Jones

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The ‘Hitler salute’ Finnish dog

While sifting through the BBC  News website I came across this gem.


” A Finnish dog which gave Nazi salutes so annoyed Germany’s World War II government that it launched a campaign against its owner.

Tor Borg’s wife had reportedly given Jackie the nickname Hitler – saying the dog’s strange way of raising its paw and barking reminded her of the Fuhrer.

Newly discovered documents show Mr Borg was interrogated by the Germans on suspicion of insulting Hitler.

Attempts were also made to sabotage his business, the papers show.

Researchers at the German Foreign Office uncovered a cache of documents and diplomatic cables concerning Jackie

The documents had been exchanged by the Foreign Office, the Economy Ministry, the Chancellory of the Nazi government and German diplomats in then Nazi-friendly Finland, the Tagezeitung newspaper reports.

In one exchange, dated 29 January 1941, German Vice Consul Willy Erkelenz in Helsinki wrote that “a witness, who does not want to be named, said he saw and heard how Borg’s dog reacted to the command ‘Hitler’ by raising its paw”.

Mr Borg was called into the German embassy for questioning, where he admitted that his wife Josephine – a known anti-Nazi German – had called the dog Hitler, but denied being involved in anything “that could be seen as an insult against the German Reich”.

The Foreign Office spent three months investigating ways of bringing Mr Borg to trial for insulting Hitler, but no witnesses would come forward, the newspaper reports.

But in March 1941, the Chancellory decided that “considering that the circumstances could not be solved completely, it is not necessary to press charges”. It was unclear whether Adolf Hitler had been involved in the saga himself.”

BBC News 7 January 2011


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New Years Parade – London 2011

Clowns need caffeine!!

Searching for the start point

We arrived early as usual to watch the parade build.

It’s facinating watching such an assorted and often unexpected

group of people,  coming together to create an extraordinary event.

We spent a lot of time exploring the strange sights before us

Sometimes a flag just doesn't do it for you.

At 12.00 the parade began (15 mins late)


…and the crowds looked on…..



………along with assorted locals came the famous???

A bloke Deppin about

"Where's my agent, I knew this was a mistake!!"

….but some people are just happy to be here..

Got any pies, chips or nuts mate??

"get a load of that bloke, cheeky bugger!"

…then there’s always next year??

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A doodlebug crashed here

While helping my father create an account of his childhood during the second world war we spent Boxing Day morning walking around the village taking reference photographs to illustrate his memories.

The snow was still heavy on the ground and although there were a few people out walking it was very quiet – we headed downhill  along a path between two fields populated by friendly horses aiming for the small wooded area known locally as Church Wood. It was here that my father saw the doodlebug explode in 1944.

We followed the slippery path down into the wood, we were suprised at what we found there.

The magical pond of Church Wood

 The ice and snow had transformed this site of wartime devestation into a magical experience that lifted us from the strange feelings that the Christmas break produces.

We wandered around taking photographs we totally lost ourselves in the experience, It still remains the most memorable time of my visit home.

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Walter Potter in the Museum of Everything

Welcome to everything

Last week we visited the latest and possibly the last exhibition at the Museum of Everything.

This show was based on Peter Blake’s extraordinary collection assembled throughout his career.

Two-Headed Lamb

Amongst the array of fascinating objects and images we were most looking forward to the taxidermy marvels of Walter Potter.

Walter Potter had created a museum in Sussex to install his complex tableaux, after his death the family continued to operate the museum before eventually selling it in the 1970’s.  After passing through a number of owners it eventually came up for auction (which is where Peter Blake acquired a number for his own collection) and was broken up, much to the dismay of Damian Hirst who had offered £1 million in the hope of keeping the collection together.

animals can do anything when they have the chance

Fi had been a fan of this Victorian eccentric for many years but I was quite new to him.

At first the concept of stuffing dead animals is quite an odd preoccupation – giving them human attributes and arranging them into social scenarios takes it to a very different level.

Maybe time to call for the nurse? Or is there more to it?

The presentation of animal/human characteristics is ingrained into our psyche from an early age – most fairy tales include animals with human personalities. Helping us to explore and come to terms with the structure, rules, hopes and fears of our society.

The Player - 2010

But the emergence of the late nineteenth/early twentieth century interest in the’psychological self’ and the birth of surrealism provide a whole new interpretation on Potter’s work.

The Possible psychological readings suggested by potter’s tableaux allow for darkly comic visions of our own experiences and the way we navigate the world around us.

As you can see from the example of our work on the right, Walter Potter has proved an important influence on our own work.

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1066 again

It’s the middle of October and the Normans have arrived……again!!

The tension rises

 We have been going to the annual  1066 reenactment at the site of the original battlefield at Battle Abbey in Sussex for nearlly 10 years now.

We continue to attend because it presents great possibilities for taking photographs for our work. It’s difficult to find people who are happy to be photographed in their ordinary everyday lives but given the oportunity to dress up and become someone else they relish the experience.

Equiped for any situation

Another reason that draws us back each year is the obvious enjoyment and passion for the ‘total experience’ that the reenactors have for their tasks. Often one can find that whole families (babies too) have been enlisted into the historic experience – all the participants camp on the battlefield in authentic tents, living the life of warriors from the 11th century with an enthusiastic reverance and dedicated emphasis on the known historic details of the period.

Never too young to start!

 It’s always a pleasure to turn up early in the morning to see the participants preparing their breakfast and enjoy the sights and sounds of history.

The day includes many experiences of daily life from the time, music, hunting with hawks and battle practice – which must come in handy when they take to the battlefield at 3pm to follow the script of the day.

Bring it on!!

The battle is the highlight of the day, and all the participants really go for it. It seems remarkable that there are so few injuries sustained after the hour and a half they spend hacking at each other.

But the effort they put in is evident on their faces when they march off the field after Harold’s defeat.

Some of the visitors move through the period ‘shops’ looking for a souvenir – or maybe a weapon or piece of armour with an anticipation of taking part in next years event.

For us we go away with our memory cards full of interesting images, the fun starts continues for us when we get home and start to use them in our work.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Till next year

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..and around the corner.. it’s….Russell Brand?

A while ago we were walking back along the South Bank after visiting Tate Modern when we stumbled across an excited crowd.

We were carrying our camera’s as we’d been out photographing details to complete our work. The option of photographing some people in a crowd seemed like a good idea (we never have enough images to work with), so we started to mingle, snapping away.

To the right of us was a group of excited teenage girls, jumping up and down and flashing away with their mobile phone cameras. The object of their excitement was the comedian Russell Brand, obviously on location for some filming – he’d stopped to chat to the girls.

Say cheeesseeyy!!

While I stood their watching with facination as the girls grew more excited, I noticed Fi had totally missed the focus of the excitement and fixed her camera on a large well built man (obviously the bodyguard) and was trying to take his picture.

As she struggled to get the man into her viewfinder (he was very big) her lens blured. As she focused a little more she realized thar Brand had wandered right in front of her camera (she was annoyed because she’d wanted images of the big guy – not his weedy charge).

But as she snapped away at the comedian his reaction seemed to change from the frivolity he’d displayed with the girls to confusion. The sight of a professional camera didn’t fit in with the idolising phone waving fans, he just stopped and stared! I was saying...

What's goin on?

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