At the end of my last post, given that I had been referred to not long before as “young and ‘andsome” and “young and beautiful”, I wrote that perhaps I needed to engage in some self-reevaluation. However, at almost 78, a reassessment of my own persona seems as if it might well be time wasted. Nonetheless, I thought that some reappraisal might be in order, if not of the body then of the soul. So, in that vein, I’ve decided to examine part of this blog, which began all of seven years ago, in December 2015.
I thought I’d been posting to the blog fairly regularly, about once a week, but the first thing I discovered when I started to look through the 275 posts was that initially, I was composing these pieces approximately once every other day! Furthermore, what I’d written in them has long escaped my memory. Mostly, I think I’d have an idea, write about it and then post it—and that was that. So … I decided to go back and if not read what I had written, at least look at the photographs that I’d included if only because I had decided at the outset to give the blog the utterly unoriginal title PhotoGeography for reasons that were obvious to me, if not to others. Consequently, I decided to look not at the text at all but at the pictures as people sometimes ask me what kind of pictures I take, to which my flippant response is usually “whatever the camera is pointing at”.
But first, a few words about maintaining a blog, which is basically fun. I just spill out whatever’s on my mind for it’s not all that difficult to concoct a few hundred words. Moreover, it doesn’t really matter who reads it or if anyone reads it at all—but nevertheless it’s nice to know if they do. I suppose it’s a bit like what the thousands of journalists who write for daily newspapers or presenters on TV do although it has the added plus in that nobody is paying me a salary for filling up space or time with my rubbish!
Of course, one of the problems with all news media is the curse of a deadline. But as a former academic, I know that if you don’t have one, some things will never get done at all. However, a deadline for a professional journalist intimates that a column must be seen in tomorrow’s newspaper with another perhaps a couple of days later, or a newscast has to fill a specified time, so if a correspondent has nothing consequential to write about, s/he still has to fill the allotted column space and the TV news show still has to make up 60 minutes, so the programme has to be padded out with inane stories. But as an amateur blogger, I am not bound by any deadline though having one, even one set by myself, helps me get something out.
The bloggers’ guru, although most people wouldn’t recognize him as such (though even he might have possibly been chuffed by that designation) broadcast a programme that lasted a period of 58 years. Alistair Cooke’s Letter from America was broadcast on the BBC Home Service between 1946 and 2004 and these pieces were veritable treasures. He defaulted only once on his deadline, towards the end of his very long life, by which time his lung cancer just allowed him to to talk with great difficulty. His formula was a gem of compactness and erudition. The slot was 15 minutes long and the opening was a short pithy statement about something topical. The middle section, which usually occupied the bulk of each “letter”, was another topic loosely — but never artificially — affixed to the opening, while the epilogue reverted to the opening and was linked logically to the middle section. Reading these pieces decades on is a pleasure for it was pure art, well practised and honed to perfection—and a model for all bloggers to emulate. It certainly is for me.
Well, it’s taken me nearly 700 words to get to this point so I’ll try to respond to that query, namely, what sort of photos I take or what does my camera see. I’m ignoring the texts of that first month of posting to the blog and I just look at the photos because until I looked at them again last week, I hadn’t given them much thought for seven years. In the event, I “discovered” that there are all sorts of things there — such as photos of
Landscapes (I used to be a geographer),
Pictures of people,
Street signs and such like…
… like this one that appeared just after he had become Leader of the UK Labour Party and it was neither the picture nor the headline that caught my eye but the two captions in the bubbles, partly hidden by the lattice!)
And inevitably, even a family picture!
So, let me present some of the pictures that appeared in my blog posts at the end of December 2015 and in January 2016. (I warn you in advance that there are a few more than usual!)
The first is a didactic photo from August 1972 of Bingham Canyon Copper Mine in Utah. I used to use this photo to explain the concept of scale, as illustrated by the more than 70 goods wagons that appear in it …
… and this is followed by a picture from 1974 following the melt of the winter snow on the Canadian Prairie. Just after the plane had taken off from Winnipeg Airport en route to Calgary, it illustrates the North American system of land division, when the pilot generously circled around twice at low altitude so that passengers could appreciate the scenery …
In recent years, spending time in both Tel Aviv and London, I’ve taken lots of pictures on and from Primrose Hill and at and from Tel Aviv Port and the Yarqon Park, all of which have provided me with subjects galore.
I have photographed these trees towards the southwesterly corner of Primrose Hill at various times of the day and in various seasons …
… even when many people might not think it worthwhile taking a photograph.
Primrose Hill also afforded me a location from which to view various stages in the construction of London’s tallest building, The Shard, south of the River Thames.
And in nearby Regent’s Park, some years ago, summer would bring us the annual “Tango in the Park”
Though most of the scenes I’ve shot in Tel Aviv were enhanced by bright light and sunshine, I often found that winter photographs provided stronger images …
… and the aftermath of a winter storm often resulted in something resembling the image below.
One of the things that has attracted my eye in both Tel Aviv and London is the plight of homeless people. I photographed the man who appears in the poster below many times over a four-year period, from 2010 until 2014. I photographed him and he knew what I was doing—but to my great shame, I never spoke with him. Then, one day, in May 2014, he had vanished and on enquiring at the greengrocer’s opposite the empty bench, I was told that he had been taken away … to die.
This young man below was a regular rough sleeper in the Yarqon Park over a lengthy period and I could never help but feel sorry for him — until one day, opposite Rabin Square in Central Tel Aviv, I caught site of him at a cash dispenser and waited until he had counted out 2,000 sheqels (over £500 or $600). Gone was the pity.
The man below was one of two individuals I used to see in North Tel Aviv lugging their belongings around at all hours of the day; there are obviously many more in the city.
And while walking in the park one day, I came across this individual. What caught my eye was not the man himself but the headline in the paper he was reading, which reads “I’m going home”
There were other images, too, such as this individual stretching on a cool winter’s day after a run through the park.
Friday morning in Tel Aviv Port also meant a farmers’ market and the opportunity to photograph fruit and veg — as well as people.
Occasionally, I also photograph animals — sometimes on the move …
… and sometimes when they pose for me.
On occasion, the London Underground provides me with interesting pics. Several years ago, I sat opposite these two youngsters on the Tube. One was looking intently at his cellphone while every 15 seconds or so the other one kept glancing to his right—but at what? …
… and there’s the answer — and she knew what she was doing, too!
I also pay attention to written words as they appear on street signs, shop windows, graffiti, &c., such as the anomaly displayed by these two street signs that are located directly opposite one another. (The reform of the London boroughs occurred several decades ago!)
And then there are the inevitable holiday photographs.
And then in Siracusa, Sicily, I spent time over three days in the fish market watching a tuna being “prepared” for the table in various stages of dissection. Big fish!
Every now and then, I alight on a specific topic and look for examples. Here, it’s hairstyles.
There are also the unavoidable fire hydrants, which I discovered when my camera began recognizing them as faces …
And once I saw faces, faces began to appear everywhere
And then there are photographs that are, well, just photographs.