I started this blog exactly a year ago hoping that I might be able to keep up the effort for perhaps 20. I surprised myself when I posted my 50th just over six months ago and now that I’ve made it for a year, I’m quite frankly flabbergasted.
As I’m short of time this week and am not sure when I’ll get to sit down at a computer again for more than a few minutes, I thought I’d write just a few words and show a small number of images that appeal to me. Some of them have appeared before and some, to use a golfing term “missed the cut”. And much as I am tempted to fulminate over that I regard as an annus terribilis in extremis, I think I’d be better served by not starting out on a rant.
As you might have noticed over the past year, most of my photographs come from the streets and parks of Tel Aviv and London. In fact, other than four days in Skye in the summer, I haven’t been anywhere else this year. Notwithstanding the impediments and limitations of my peripatetic perambulations, the streets and parks furnish me with enough material to keep me happy.
I’m not very keen on cats but I just admit that I am drawn to their eyes and their stares. And, unlike many other creatures that I choose to photograph, they are wonderful posers. They don’t move; they tend to stare you down thus giving you plenty of time to compose your picture and take several versions of it.
This was one of the first photographs I took when I began walking through the park and it adorns one wall of our living room. I was actually concentrating on the dripping tap. I wanted to create an image of dripping water and you can see this in the sharp focus of the drops emerging. I hadn’t noticed the bird at all — but it’s the out of focus bird with its tail at the same angle as the drops that makes it into a picture. Without the bird, it would simply have been another photograph.
Something similar is true of the plant in the picture below, which was photographed near the promontory of Sagres in southern Portugal , near the site which housed the navigational enterprises of Prince Henry the Navigator in the 15th century. The fields were full of these but it’s the cropping of the frame just as the plant is about to lose its bonnet which makes the picture.
The fish market in Catania in southeastern Sicily contains mostly fish of many species but the thing that really caught my eye was the porcine manicure parlour. Quite what it was doing in a fish market was beyond my ken but it made for a fascinating picture.
Another beguiling picture was provided by a wall along Constitution Hill in London, leading to Buckingham Palace. The wall and the barbed wire surround the palace grounds and without actually having a sign that reads “Keep Out”, the message is absolutely clear and couldn’t be clearer. Such subtlety is atypical of England!
Photographed at Dublin Zoo nearly half a century ago, this lad is a fair representation of myself these days. What with Brexit, Trump, Bibi and what is to follow, I fear, in 2017, there’s not much point in pretending to be happy !
I have a thing about the regimentation as portrayed by salt and pepper shakers and I often photograph them early in the mornings as the café and restaurant tables are being prepared for breakfast. The salt and pepper cellars are set out in groups before being distributed among the tables.
SuperJew was actually a poster that was doing the rounds immediately after the Six-Day War, which marks its golden anniversary in less than six months time. That is hard to believe in itself. The poster — unfortunately — might also be cynically regarded as a caricature of the perception of Israel’s government today on the part of its Prime Minister and members of his coalition.
Once again, when I had just started photographing and was younger and freer —I noticed this early one morning on Hampstead Heath in London and thought it made a pretty picture indeed.
… as does this image of a bicycle parked outside a shop near the Yarqon Park in Tel Aviv, one of the few instances where I’ve used Photoshop to enhance an image. And although it’s highly modified, I think I’ve managed to produce a pretty picture here.
Last winter or maybe it was the one before, I produced several pictures with a line of these rusted rings holding a rope outside one of the restaurants at Tel Aviv Port. This wasn’t the one I chose to print for another wall in the living room. Perhaps it should have been!
This woman who was standing on a street corner in St. Jean de Luz in southwestern France near the Spanish border was wearing a scarf with a coiffure to match. Totally unselfconscious about it all, she was quite happy to let me photograph her.
The Friday morning farmers’ market at Tel Aviv Port also presents me with a wealth of images. I could have selected artichokes or dates or olives but I decided that the cashew nuts and the corn cobs provide sufficiently striking pictures.
The two cup mugs by the Stephen Pearce pottery in Shanagarry in east County Cork provided the basis for this picture. Having taken the photograph of two mugs side by side and reflected on the kitchen worktop, I Photoshopped to give it the effect that you can see here. We were given two Shanagarry mugs (not these ones as this is a style that came along later) as an engagement gift nearly 51 years ago and these two mugs are still in use — joined by lots of other cups, mugs, saucers and plates.
The boats of the Yarqon stream are also things that cross the camera lenses on a fairly regular basis. There’s not much water in the “river” but the rowers and canoers and kayakers make good use of what there is all year round.
Finally, another photo from our living room wall, perhaps my favourite one of all.
I’d like to think that next year couldn’t be worse than our annus terribilis in extremis that is just coming to an end, but I wouldn’t or couldn’t be too sure about that!