District Six lies at the heart of Cape Town, along the flank of Table Mountain, and just south of the city centre. It was so-called because it was the sixth municipal district in Cape Town. In it lived freed slaves and immigrants, labourers and artisans. It was a rundown area, overcrowded, many houses without running water or sewage. But District Six was also Cape Town’s cosmopolitan heart. In a nation defined by ‘aparthood’ it was an area in which blacks […]
I dislike photography that seeks self-consciously to be ‘painterly’; still less paintings that aspire to photorealism. A photographer is not a painter, and a painter is not a photographer, and to pretend otherwise is to diminish that which gives each form its meaning. But sometimes you take a photo that captures the spirit of a particular artist. You discover something in a scene, or evoke something within it, that brings to mind the way that he or she may also […]
Beth Moon is an American photographer whose work is infused with wonder, awe and mystery and which straddles the border between fantasy and reality. She has spent years photographing ancient trees from around the world. Through her eyes, trees become something quite different to the everyday objects we walk past all our lives. There is a sense of strangeness and otherness that make her compositions quite bewitching, as if they had been plucked from a fairy tale. They are fabulous […]
Oxford may be a city of spires. London is a city of cranes. There is almost no vista unsullied by those markers of urban development. Cranes are the epitome of the industrial, the brutal, the ugly. They are also a symbol of urban change and renewal. And, for all their brutal ugliness, cranes can be surprisingly visually striking, even photogenic. So here is my elegy to the crane. Two of the photos, incidentally, are not of London. I will leave […]
There seem to be as many cranes in Oslo as in London – every corner you turn leads to a building site. And as in London many of the new buildings are abominations – the kind of anonymous yet narcissistic postmodern architecture that now squats in many of the world’s major cities. The Opera House is different. Designed by Norwegian architects Snøhetta, responsible also for the stunning Bibliotheca Alexandrina, it is a magnificent building, subtle but spellbinding, with its angled […]
I picked up my cello again recently after a couple of years in which I have been too busy to practice. So it seemed a good time to post again some of my cello photos. There are few musical instruments that are as beguiling to the ear. There are also few that are as bewitching to the eye. And, as I have observed before, these photos may be a better tribute to the cello than my playing ever will be.
Yener Torun is an Istanbul-based architect with a wonderful eye for the colours and forms of a city. His Instagram photos are stunning, revealing not simply what a city can look like, but also what we often do not see. Yener generously allowed me to republish some of his photos on Pandemonium. So here, through the eye (and lens) of Yener Torun, is Istanbul as few will have have seen it, not the Istanbul of ancient buildings, grand mosques and tradition, but […]
The slideshow above is of photos from Light Infusion, my photography site. All the photos there are available as prints (very handy for Christmas…). And below are some of my favourite photos from 2014, some of which I have already published on Pandaemonium. My images of New York I published over three posts, Darkness falls on Manhattan, On the High Line, day and night and The Big Apple in black and white. The photos of London at sunset were taken from […]
‘The modern city’, Alexander Rodchenko wrote, ‘has changed the psychology of the traditional perception to a great extent. It seems as if only a camera is able to illustrate modern life.’ There are few artists who have had a greater impact on modern photography than Rodchenko. Yet these days, at least in public consciousness, his name barely elicits a flicker of recognition. Born in St Petersburg in1891, Rodchenko was one of the founders of Constructivism and a key figure of […]
There are few cities that give themselves more to black and white photography than New York. So, in this third and final selection of New York photos – the previous sets were of New York at night and the view from the High Line – here is the Big Apple in black and white. There are more photos on my photographic website Light Infusion (from where you can also buy prints), and on Flickr and 500px.
The High Line is New York’s newest public park, built on a reclaimed elevated freight rail line above the streets of west Manhattan. It has become both a battleground for green politics and a magnet for real estate developers who are now throwing up luxury condos all along the line. It is also quirky, surreal and often quite magical, especially at night, a space that wonderfully reworks the idea of an urban park. It is difficult to convey the experience […]
Yes, I know, it’s a photographic cliché. But as a photographic subject, New York at night is quite enthralling. So here is Manhattan as darkness descends, seen from five different perspectives – towards the Satue of Liberty, from Brooklyn Bridge, from beneath the bridges that span the East River, from the East River itself and the Hudson, from the High Line, New York’s new elevated park reclaimed from an old train line (I will publish a proper portrait of the […]
I recently visited Lindisfarne Priory. Set on Holy Island off the Northumberland coast (it was the Romans who first called it Insula Sacra), there is something quite otherworldly about the ruins. Part of what makes Lindisfarne so ethereal is that Holy Island is not quite an island. As Sir Walter Scott put it in his poem Marmion, For, with the flow and ebb its stile Varies from continent to isle At high tide, Holy Island is an island. But at […]
When I was first in Orford, it was forbidden to approach ‘the island’, but now there was no longer any obstacle to going there, since, some years before, the Ministry of Defence had abandoned secret research at that site. One of the men sitting idly on the harbour wall offered to take me over for a few pounds and fetch me later after I had had a look around. As we crossed the river in his blue-painted boat, he […]
It may be blasphemous for a Lancastrian to say so, but I love the landscape of Yorkshire, of bleak fells and pastoral valleys, of limestone and millstone grit, of viaducts and ruined abbeys. So, on the weekend that the Tour de France winds its way up hill and down Yorkshire dale, a portrait of the Yorkshire fells. The landscapes are mainly around Littondale and Malham, the sheep shearing is near Kettlewell, the viaduct is Ribbleshead, on a sunny day and a […]