One of those moments when was walking along a busy main road about 9 at night and saw this image through a hotel bar window. It’s one of those scenes that I have no idea why I like it or why I have this mad feeling of having to capture it before someone walks in to the room and sits at a table ruining the loneliness. Still, the feeling was there and so I took the shot, mumbling to self about low light, dodging passersby and trying not to get a self portrait in the reflection but happily it all seemed to work. Maybe not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ but I really do like it and it’s looking like yellow leatherette could be a contender for favorite greasy spoon decor. “Red leather Yellow Leather Red Leather Yellow…..
Have to be honest and admit that up until these last few months I was never a huge fan of Bruce Gilden. I always found his method of using flash up close and personal, shooting the unsuspecting public on the street, a little too intrusive and rude. But have to admit that having tried it myself this last winter, it is harder than it looks and takes courage and a lot audacious impertinence.
When I heard about the ‘Strange & Familiar’ exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery I knew that this was an opportunity to see just what Gilden was really saying with his brusque manner.
And I was really blown away…a great day spent wandering through the rooms with images beautifully displayed, thinking to myself one visit wasn’t ever going to be enough to absorb the details, locations and characters in all the images. Then I saw them…
..displayed across one wall, these huge violently grotesque color portraits, four faces staring back at me complete with every type of blemish, pimples, spots, cuts and bruises, nostril hairs, caked makeup, toothless gums and furrowed brows. What a spectacle these faces are and what a privilege to see them, love each one, spots and all! Will be going back again and will be venturing out with my off camera flash just to see if I can ever muster up the courage to capture a stranger close enough to see the downy hair on their cheeks or the veins on a bulbous nose.
Above images were taken at the exhibition and am quite pleased with the result but also realize that if not for Gilden these would be bland everyday images of people just milling about. Would love him to come to Blackpool and see what he could capture on the streets of the best coastal town in UK.
On the bus today going to meet a friend but as the bus passed a small local village I saw this derelict cottage and the bear on the chair
Thought to self friend could wait and got off the bus at the next convenient stop, I ran back to find the building , thinking to self “why am I running? …the bear isn’t going to move and doubt that the cottage will be demolished in the next five minutes”…but run I did..
and was paid for my efforts when I finally got there. Catching my breath and rubbing the stitch in my side I investigated the situation.
The gates were locked, nettles and brambles prevented me climbing over the broken wooded fence but the more I saw the more I was sure I would not have liked going any further onto the abandoned property. The body of the teddy was firmly lodged into a child’s plastic chair, dressed in a string vest, which strangely seemed to fit it very well and a small woolen hat pulled onto it’s head it was heavy and squelchy with rain water.
Corrugated sheeting was rusting and peeling and the dripping paint of the number 4 gave everything an eerie sinister feeling. Might go back again and see if I can see someone there..but as soon as someone starts to play a banjo I’m leaving!
Took grandson to Ramp City in Blackpool this afternoon so he could let off steam and frighten me to death while he ‘dropped in’ telling me he was going to ‘boost’ the bowl!
But I soon lost interest in his death defying feats when I noticed this fabulous mustard yellow color on walls and woodwork
My search for something to photograph got even more interesting when I found this Americana retro style area with two tables and 4 rows of diner style seats secured firmly to the floor.The only kid in there left when he saw me with my camera and so I was free to crouch down in front of the window and get my shot of the day..
Love the color, style of the seats, random bits of rubbish, rust and the wooden floor.
So there you have it again…another hidden treasure in Blackpool, inspired by William Eggleston , Ramp City, not just for the skateboarding, scooters & bikes but also for the fabulous mustard walls and faded red leatherette seats.
On my way to the launch of the Preston Pride of Place Project yesterday I was once again distracted by a window and once again the window was made up of glass-blocks.. now have no idea why these windows appeal to me so much but I really do like them and the older the better…this one was tucked away down a ginnel but was especially pleasing with it’s warm welcoming light ..
and on closer inspection the glass blocks reminded me of abstract art.. am wondering if I could remove one of the walls at the back of the house and rebuild it with just glass blocks.
Might be a tad cold and me thinks the lack of privacy would be a problem but it sure would look good and as the back of my house is south facing the light in the early morning would be fabulous..wonder if I can convince husband….?? Watch this space !
The Queens Park flats in Layton have been part of the Blackpool skyline since the 60s, their Brutalist architecture was loved by few and disliked by many and
I always thought they were pretty ugly, they were also notorious for all sorts of bad things and I was continuously warned as a young girl growing up in Blackpool to stay away from them.
Must admit though, now that they are being slowly taken apart piece by piece to make way for new housing I think I will miss their ‘beton-brut’ modernism competing with the tower on the skyline because sometimes… depending on the time of day, where you stand and the light..
the ugliest buildings can be beautiful.
Have passed these arches above the Star Attraction Amusement Arcade so many times that I sometimes forget they are there but last week once again out wandering and wondering I went down Bonny St to get some images of the closed market and noticed an old iron staircase leading to the roofs over the amusement arcades. Couldn’t get on to the roof but could get to the top of the stairs and the view over the coast was fabulous and so were the arches. These plain white arches, all numbered and standing sentinel like over the promenade really appealed to my obsession of all things quirky, lined up and numbered…and the fact that they light up with neon strips at night just adds to their ‘fabulousness’!
Open day at Blackpool Winter Gardens was a huge success again this year, people everywhere photographing the beautiful architecture, sitting in the Opera House watching vintage films and parents armed with cameras capturing their kids as they danced and played on empty stages to music only they could hear. After being drawn as always to the East Side Gallery and photographing windows , seats and random coat hangers I set off in search of an object that would inspire me. Now this isn’t difficult in The Winter Gardens because every room and corridor is beautiful and I love every brick of it…..still I ventured up back stairways and through closed doors and found myself on the upper balcony, the view to the stage and seats below took my breath away but I wasn’t there for views from the gods so I carried on my wandering and there it was.
Mind working overtime with images and inspiration, Rothko, Eggleston even Stanley Kubrick and The Shining..all these thoughts and I knew this was my photo of the day, had to open a cupboard behind me, sit on the floor and hold doors open with feet but managed to fit it all in the frame. How happy I was..3 frames shot quickly rushing really to get back downstairs but then I saw the Gents toilet door….haha again me thinks…there’s no one about so will see if they’ve been modernised since the building was built..remember am up on the upper balcony and haven’t been up there since I was a kid. I opened the door to find an inner door and complete darkness…of course no one was upstairs and no one was using the toilets..I stepped inside , fumbled about for the light switch muttering under my breath again.. as is my wont, found the light and there I find myself in the gents loos and in front of a row of shining pristine porcelain urinals..oh joy! another 4 quick shots of the ‘offending’ items, turned the lights off, composed myself so I didn’t look like a crazed woman coming out of the gents and hurried down stairs feeling very happy.
The sun came out briefly today so grabbed camera and practically ran down to St Annes …well, I caught the bus but it only took 20 mins…anyway wandered about, lots of images on the prom, on the beach the pier etc lots of the same old thing and wasn’t feeling particularly inspired till I got to the Beach HutsOut of season so closed but they still look so inviting, there I was imagining being curled up on a comfy chair with a mug of tea, a plate of chocolate hobnobs and a good book..but the biting wind soon cleared my head and I walked on till I saw my shot of the day…ha! me thinks this is very similar to one I took last year so I got closerand closer still..and discovered an image waiting for me in the wooden frame…frame after frame tied together with rope swaying in the wind and at the very enda glimpse of sea and sky so blue I couldnt see where one ended and the other started. A simple thing this man made ‘box’ of wooden frames, rope and blue nature but it inspired me today.
a northern town, Blackpool, Blackpool Rock, Bolton St Blackpool, Bond St Blackpool, colour photography, Edge of Humanity, Lumix G2, northwest, nostalgia, Notarianni Ices, Panasonic lumix, postaday, seaside, street photography, The Daily Post
In recent years all our seaside towns have fallen on hard times and Blackpool seems to get more than it’s fair share of bad press from the media so this week I thought I’d wander down South Shore to see how bad the damage really is. In an area full of once thriving shops, arcades and cafes
I set off to walk from the far end of Bond St where a colorful Social club seemed to be doing alright with it’s welcoming signs and open door..on past ‘Blackpool’s n.1 Toy Shop’ hhmmm! though I was tempted to go in ’cause it had some really cool Daleks in the window
past ‘Taylor’s’ a locally famous jeans & boots shop where I used to buy my Levis in the late 7os , closed this time though.. do they still do Wednesday closing?..
then went to cross Waterloo Rd but couldn’t resist stopping at Notarianni Ices..the best ice cream on the coast and a favorite place for Knickerbockers Glories. Fuelled by nostalgia I left Bond St behind and walked down Bolton St past a brightly lit arcade with a cafe area, flashing lights and the buzzing & beeping of arcade games still not enough to draw the people in from the cold wet street, I walked past more empty boarded up shops till I came to..a relic from the past. Melody House was first on Lytham Rd near the old Lido swimming pool then moved to Bond St years ago then moved again to Bolton St…it has been closed for donkeys years but if you were lucky sometime ago and it was open you would find a guy sat in among boxes and boxes of vinyl..scattered, broken, stacked to the rafters..vinyl everywhere like a dream, I once asked if he had an album I’d been looking for, he assured me he had and if I had the time he’d find it for me, sadly I didn’t have the time but am sure if I’d stayed he would have found it..I left him looking very happy reading his NME, Mojo and Q magazines sat in the middle of a collector’s dream. Further on down Bolton St towards the Colosseum past houses and empty shops…more arcades and pubs, clanging and chattering sounds, music playing..all offering good times and all reminding me that some areas of Blackpool have been sadly neglected in recent years..and still reminding me that its my home town and I love it!Finally arriving at Foxhall Rd lined with more empty closed shops promising good times with items advertised..cold drinks for hot days, toys for tired children, magazines, newspapers, ice creams, rock and fancy goods..peeling paint and broken rusted signs causing me to stop and wonder..then further down towards the end of the road I saw this old fish and chip shop and the sign in the window made me laugh out loud… So till the end of February early March these shops and streets will remain empty and sad with their urban decay and tired weary aspect then the promise of a bucket & spade, salty chips, sandy ice creams and the cry of the seagulls will hopefully bring back the holiday makers and families and we can appreciate that we live on the best coast with the best light for photographers and get another Knickerbocker Glory from Notarianni’s.