Monday, 9 August 2010

Yorkshire shoot itinerary

If you would like to join me on the lonely, winding road that is the travel photographer's lot, here is my itinerary. I can't promise I'll stick to it, but this is the starting point.

TUES 10th August
Conisbrough Castle
Yorkshire wildlife park

Wed 11th August
The Deep in Hull
Carved figures of musicians in St. Mary’s Church, Beverley
Beverley market
Beverley Minster

Thur 12th August
Bridlington harbour, funfair, donkeys and beaches
Bird watchers at Bempton Cliffs near Flamborough Head
Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough

Fri 13th August
Husky trekking
Heritage coast
Robin Hood’s Bay

Sat 14th August
Whitby Abbey

Sun 15th August
North York Moors

Mon 16th August
James Herriot’s house in Thirsk
Laurence Sterne’s house, church and gravestone in Coxwold
Gliding from the Yorkshire Gliding Club, Sutton Bank

Tues 17th August
Castle Howard

Wed 18th August
National Railway Museum, York
Walking the city walls in York
Jorvik Centre
York Minster
The Shambles

Thur 19th August
Betty’s Tea Rooms in Harrogate
Ripon Cathedral
Fountains Abbey & Studley Water Garden

Fri 20th August
Brewery Visitor Centre, Masham
Via Ferrata at Stean
Richmond Castle

Sat 21st August–Sun 22nd August
Aysgarth Falls
Forbidden Corner, Middleton
Wensleydale cheese
Hardraw Force
Malham Cove rock climbing
White Scar Cave

Mon 23rd August
Salt’s Mill, Saltaire, Bradford
Haworth Parsonage
Sylvia Plath’s grave, Mytholmroyd churchyard, Hebden Bridge
Hebden Bridgee

Tues 24th August
Mountain boarding
Bradford Curry House (eg Mumtaz)

Wed 25th August
Leeds: Arcades, city shops showing atmosphere
Leeds Corn Exchange – Piazza by Anthony

Thur 25th August
Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield
National Coal Mining Museum, Wakefield

Fri 26th August
Peace Gardens, Sheffield
Magna in Rotherham

Bank Holiday weekend
Avoid holiday making hoards, traffic jams and head back to The Smoke

Friday, 6 August 2010

Fourty-eight hours till I head off on shoot so I figure it's about time I resurrected the on-the-road blog.

This summer I'm off to the land of my birth; Yorkshire, and very excited I am too.

Although I grew up elsewhere, I moved back to Yorkshire to do the university thing and I have many happy memories from my time there; daytrips to the dales, weekends in the North York Moors and jaunts to the region's most captivating museums.

My favourite haunts were Otley Chevin Country Park, the National Museum of Film and TV (now the National Media Museum) in Bradford, Whitby Abbey plus I still have a rather vivid memory of a moonlit sky over the craggy wavecut platform rocks at Robin Hood's Bay after the biggest mixed grill any pub has ever provided.

Sadly, none of those places are on my list. One question I get asked a lot is whether it's up to me to decide what to photograph or if it's prescribed. Oh yes, it's very much not up to me and a lot of people have input into the list. First of all, the author comes up with a suggested shot list. The text editor then revises it a little and passes it on to the picture editor whose job it is to turn the picture list into a shot list based on what other sources we have available and what might've been shot before. My picture editor went to great lengths to ensure the list was diverse and useful and I think, despite her Australian roots, she has learned a great deal about Yorkshire in the last few weeks! The list then goes back to the editor who might check a few more things with the author and eventually the list makes its way, via the picture editor to me.

My list consists of sixty shots, most of which are in different locations.I have three weeks so that is roughly three shots a day. That means quite a lot of driving! As anyone who knows me is already more than aware, the current love of my life is my 22-year-old Ford Transit campervan Betsy who will be my rock (and wheels) during this trip. I've already managed to put 2000 miles on her clock since April so I do hope she's got enough in her for another 1500+ in the next few weeks!

Shots I am most looking forward to are Sylvia Plath's grave at Mytholmroyd (if only a good excuse to investigate wallowing in some Plath poetry for a day or so), the Yorkshire Sculpture Park following my new-found appreciation for Henry Moore post-Tate Britain exhibition, a Bradford curry house (especially if I can persuade them to make me some free food!) and Rievaulx abbey (because the foot and mouth crisis of 2001 thwarted my attempts to visit and the gothic anticipation is still with me). There are no shots I am not looking forward to – and I am very glad my picture editor decided to opt for a stock shot of snooker at The Crucible in Sheffield – but I am certainly less keen on the prospect of spending Sunday emailing and/or calling every single place to persuade them to let me in for free and that I am not stealing their souls/livelihoods/children's innocence (as perhaps the Daily Mail might have you believe anyone with a large camera might be up to).

Wish me luck! (But I AM taking you with me......)

Monday, 22 February 2010

Secret London

You've all witnessed the recent phenomena that is 'secret London', right? In fact, you were probably part of it; every day the week before last "...[another handful of my friends] have joined the group 'secret london'" was the the update Facebook posted to my news feed. I was intrigued because, like everyone, I want to know all the secrets, so I took a look. I wasn't particularly moved by anything posted to the group and the recommendations were so hit and miss I felt certain it was conceived by young, naive and impressionable types, so, needless to say, I didn't join.

What did capture my imagination, however, was the huuuuge photo album that accompanied the group; a mammoth reel that ranges from badly composed phone camera shots of famous landmarks (ssssshhhhhhh, don't tell anyone about the red telephone boxes by the Houses of's a seeeecreeeet!) to abstract and colourful appetite whetters to a London I'm not (yet!) fully acquainted with.

So this got me thinking about what really is 'secret' about this much-written-about and over-photographed metropolis I live in; is there anything left that hasn't already been blogged, photographed, contextualised and uncovered? There's nothing more frustrating than 'discovering' a winding path, an intricately carved statue, a comically defaced street sign or a café with uncharacteristically friendly staff only to find that Time Out did a feature in issue 10538, there's a Wikipedia entry or a whole Flickr group dedicated to it. Is it the discovery of experiencing the place itself that attracts the populace in their droves or is it the discovery of the possibility of the place? Can places, experiences and events really maintain their anonymity and elusive aura in the digital age? Will these uncovered places be flattened in the stampede or will they merely be bandied about in endless similar conversations in pubs all over The Smoke as talking points, turned over for a brief moment only to be returned to whence they came a moment later and never actually 'experienced'.

I'm sure the people at Secret London are enjoying their moment in the spotlight and good luck to them, say I. It remains to be seen, however, whether including 'secret' in their name will entice new readers into their fold or whether in time it will become a misleading misnomer, easily replaced with 'helpful', 'expensive', 'student's' or any other possibilities.

Well, in the absence of any answers to those ponderances, I thought I'd share with you my own little fragments of secrets London has shown me. It's not so much the transience of a new fabulously cosy restaurant 5mins from your house, bespoke advice on African Drumming classes near Finsbury Park or tips on vintage dress purchasing around Shoreditch but rather it's the way the light illuminates familiar buildings on certain days, squinting at the Golden Jubilee Bridge to reveal shapes and patterns, seeing double decker buses over Waterloo Bridge against a grey sky pregnant with rain, watching tourists photograph their families in front of St. Paul's....that kinda thing....

One set here
And another set here
Plus my Black and White at Night set here

These are my favourite London discoveries and they're the secrets I want to share with you. Wink wink.