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My B U T T E R F L I E S journal has mysteriously vanished.
On the 24th December, 2013 it was where it's been - front page, right. I return from being away for Christmas and wow! It's gone by the 28th.
It has made me f------ mad..

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------LATEST>>>> Posted: Friday 28th August, 2015



What an utter shambles. Whose daft idea was this? Managed by idiots and money-grabbing oiks. 


If arbitrary censoring is occurring on deviantart then I for one will probably cease to post images and turn to another site. By the New Year I'll get my own sites in order and where my new photography will appear. As for deviantart... most images will be removed slowly until a handfull remain. I'll probably not renew premium membership next year, and expect my presence here to evaporate.
Sad old DA only fit for the knacker's yard.
8-) :flaguk:


Nude and Fashion View HERE 


Photography - 'lingua universalis'. 

Now A 21st Century Misnomer A Third Eye Gone Mad? 

Or Is The Madness The Viewer?

The way I attempt photography is quite an isolated affair. I say attempt because as with all things total competence is never guaranteed, although many folk believe that their contribution is always excellent. I disagree. For me not to discover something new each week is unusual, and I'm able to admit to getting things wrong and allowing others to take credit at my expense. And no, I'm not a bloody saint. 

Few conversations with others over content or subject except for specific client requirements forbid any departure from their wishes. But when artistic temperament is allowed to be let loose, then I indulge to the full. For six years I have delighted in bringing my photography to the Net. Deviants back then seemed tolerant and had very well informed views to artistic outpourings especially mine. In return I would return compliments accepting other's experience, competence and kind generosity as normal. Rarely deviants did not have some form of artistic leaning and gallery or library. The site seemed to attract the artistic, and the pleasure resulted from connecting with like-minded people.

Today things are different. Deviantart contains some very talented artists, yet many new deviants seem unrelenting in collecting images mainly nude, erotic and fetish. Nothing untoward with that although many are attracted to only soft porn photography and art of genitalia. A cheap site for titillation. A year or two ago I consciously made a decision not to respond with polite thanks for favouring my work to any deviant who didn't post any art of any kind themselves. I still do, but my evidence is that the band of voyeuristic collectors is increasing.

Times they are a changing, good old Bob Dillon sang years ago. And they will. I suspect many artists will decline to stay with DA preferring other sites. I for one will go the same way, tired of woebegone, wretched wan collectors and capricious censorship. The thought police are active on DA. The only thing the site is good for is image storage, and that's how I'll use it.

8-) :flaguk:

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I'm getting the feeling that 2014 may be a good year. Just beginning to upload photographs to Saatchi Online and already sold. Now that's what I call good fortune. It's amazing what transpires after some calamitous episode. Loosing my rag over DA's scrubbing of my journal has now developed new opportunities. Stuck in a rut with DA, and now the world's my oyster.

A link to the wonders of Saatchi:…

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My whole belief and enjoyment of photography has for a couple of months been frozen, a hiatus of my making, forced in a way by this site. Part of the dilemma has certainly been DevianArt's general ever-increasing NEW membership, a new type of individual hell-bent on collecting soft porn and images of genitalia when most fresh folk don't produce any artwork at all. It should, in my opinion be obligatory for people to upload their artwork in the first place - no artwork, no membership. An end perhaps for mere voyeurs. That's stuff of another world I fear. My feelings remain distant for DA, only occasionally posting up new photographs; a whimsical out-pouring of mine when I feel like it. Other more rewarding sites have my allegiance and loyalty, and my 'knock back' is resigned to the garbage can where it rests comfortably. Life can continue as before, but DA is NOT MY FIRST PORT OF CALL. Life is sweet again!


12th June, 2014

Now here's an interesting thing. I received an irritating offensive comment from a Deviant some weeks ago. His tone was threatening and insulting. The use of swearing simply implied his vocabulary was suspect, even limited, I made allowances too for disability, impairment and impotency yet always came back to the feeling that he must surely be a sufferer of mental torment. Also, his photography, good in some way, mediocre in others was possibly the cause, a troubled childhood leading to lack of confidence in adulthood. A frustration that clearly erupted into vulgar language to wear down victims. A lack of self esteem, an inability of composure foster a sour mind and ugly attitude - a denial, long-forgotten moments from childhood sitting on the naughty step perhaps. A mercurial temperament is a curse. If you ever wish to be disrespected and abused, written to with venomous language that would make a clergyman blush, commence a discussion with Pimple-brain  You have been warned. 

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The beauty of women has evoked conversations around the world for centuries. Today's photographic results often endorse the fact that for women many cannot consider stepping out of their front doors without make up. An acceptance that cosmetics are important, and that women are in fact not perceived to be properly dressed unless make up has been applied is the given rule.

Well the following video spotted today is an interesting piece of information for everyone.…

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48,000 pageviews! Thank you... 
Thank you to all Deviants who have visited my gallery and profile, and especially all who 'watch'. I have had certain issues with DA over the years that have not really been dealt with purposefully yet feel the membership is helpful and loyal to artistic work. My thanks.
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50,000 pageviews! Thank you...

Thank you Deviants. My eclectic portfolio is simply the reflection of the many different opportunities to make photographs. I prefer a changing canvas, its format, and the outcomes I guess it's because I get bored easily. A challenge is always a shoot that others confer is impossible. I'm a Sagittarius - no more to be said.
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Did you know I have a portfolio of photographs on PhotoVogue?…



I strive constantly to inject an experimental quality in my photographs, tending to shoot with naivety and diversity. I western gunslinger terms: 'shooting from the hip', whether it's journalism, fashion, nude or portraiture my intuitive course is to provide coherent, considered, constructive photography.


  • Listening to: Wounded Rhymes - Lykke Li
  • Reading: 2010 Man Brooker Prize-Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • Watching: The clock! Celebrating later...
  • Drinking: Mineral water

Welcoming Winter

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 8:37 AM
Welcoming Winter and Redeeming My Objection To Bleak Seasonal Light
– Great Britain, 4th October, 2012 -

As the summer here in Great Britain is closing, the evenings are beginning to be a bit chilly and darkness is touching us by 18:00, I look forward to later this month when the clocks alter to welcome winter.

Throughout spring and summer the rain seemed never to be far away. Photographically the climate appeared negative; to dampen all thoughts of dry days and sunny vistas and yet even rain never entirely stopped me getting about with camera, enthusiasm and a positive outlook. I remember a photoshoot on a wet cricket pitch outfield in August. A local club had permitted me to photograph a senior member for a charity portrait project (which is still an ongoing fun enterprise). Drizzle fell incessantly and I actually got some fine photographs. The sitter, not put off with the English rain, seemed to enjoy the moment. His dripping brim of his panama hat added to the sense of Britishness - defying the inclement weather, proving that an easy-going and relaxed attitude can overcome nature's troublesome disposition; the surrounding light possessed a magnificent saturation of luminosity, a photographer's dream.

Winter will most probably be dry, dull and extremely long. Spring when it comes will not change the weather's indulgence for gloom. Yet I will attempt through the short days and long nights to improve as well as increase my outside photography, something that I've been thinking about for years, but never accomplished. And what will be my objective? To photograph the magnificent seasonal light.

  • Listening to: Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways
  • Reading: Edwin Morgan - Collective Poems
  • Watching: The clock. Going out at 19:45
  • Drinking: Coffee

Commercial Photography - It's All In The Stars

Journal Entry: Mon May 7, 2012, 4:47 AM
Amongst the wealth of artistic photography that exists in the world I wonder what Deviants think about commercial/advertising photography.

Last year and to some extent this first quarter of 2012 I've photographed a lot of commercial images. A foray into this genre about twenty years ago brought a modicum of success; initially from clients wanting my naive approach rather than professional agencies. Very rapidly the fun waned, and the requests dried up and things returned to normal.

This recent excursion has been fun. No fixed objectives or commissioning hype and this has only provided an excellent stress free zone, the whole enterprise has benefitted. I've no real axe to grind only the awkward looks from art photographers who shudder at the thought. I have a deep respect for this business genre, and disdain just fires me to leap into advertising's waiting arms; Sagittarian links spur me on. Its controlled yet subtle exploitation of scenes requires at times a slight 'ganging up' on the models that maintain their ideal for photographic beauty and style ignoring characterisation. Perhaps using actors would be better?

As an admirer of cinematography's story-telling, the simple execution of photo shoots now becomes the making of an epic. Re-takes are the order of the day until the exact image is perfected, much to the irritation of the cast. Although I personally cannot commit to video unlike many people, I have become aware that shooting video may provide the answer and also offer a 21st century adjustable product. But nothing's new is it – it's all been done before at some time. My life remains wonderfully sweet and positive, but that's all down I guess to being a Sagittarian.

  • Listening to: Bob Dylan - Modern Times
  • Reading: Geoff Dyer - The Ongoing Moment
  • Watching: Sunshine and frost
  • Drinking: Apple juice


Mon Jan 16, 2012, 7:11 AM

Today has been fantastic. At this early stage of the year, past festivities well behind us the need to switch into normal mind games commences. Freelance photography is a balance of thoughts, mine and everybody elses. It's today I reaffirm that all art is subjective. That it is quite possible that no other living soul will appreciate or admire my attempts to photograph subjects, and to create original artwork for the entire year will be for my own benefit. So be it. When all's said and done does it make any difference? Well of course it doesn't, and no worrying or moithering about it will do any good. Facing facts is what a lot people cannot accomplish easily, but I'm quite philosophical about it - a thinker, a doer, a finisher, and a contented irreverent photographer.

Martha Sandweiss, photography curator at the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas, is quoted as saying, "The capacity of photographs to evoke rather than tell, to suggest rather than explain, makes them alluring material for the historian or anthropologist or art historian who would pluck a single picture from a large collection and use it to narrate his or her own stories. But such stories may or may not have anything to do with the original narrative context of the photograph, the intent of its creator, or the ways in which it was used by its original audience". Whether this is important is not a question on which I should start a debate, but it goes without saying that Sandweiss was on to something.

We all estimate and judge all images we spy. Why we do that is not clear although anthropical gurus would, I suspect have the answers. We're inundated with images today. Why they remain so important is the real debate. Perhaps it's the failure of language or the simple fact that people do not equip themselves with a wide vocabulary today. Or do they? One has only to recognise the insistence and use for text shortcutting to wonder quite where language is going. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, I guess that's true, yet folk have to want to look in the first place. A kind American lady once emailed me to tell me that my thumbnail images were the most dynamic she had ever seen. She was never able to pass any without opening them up to larger pictures. May be that's the truth for all images? Scanning stamp-like thumbnail images is a skill. From picture editors to individuals glancing through a magazine, all view colour, shape and form in differing ways. One needs to be attracted by the 'stamp' and by opening the photograph engage with it or not. I think it may be useful to aquire the skill of producing petite photographs that tempt further examination - a value-added process probably still undervalued and ripe to exploit. A programme of tuition, classes addressing this very paradox. Remember you read it first here.

For me picture-making is a way of communication; a glimpse of imagination and inspiration formed to deliver a spectacle with an underlying interpretation of what was exactly in my mind when shutter closed and a digital sensor captured the data. For spectators to decipher my intent is impossible unless I record my thoughts and actual details. With a lot of my work just acting as a voyeur is enough, but a new kind of theatrical Bohemianism emerging in my current photography that voyeurism isn't helpful. Avant-garde induces creativity freedom and I'm sure new and old spectators will discover the necessity to express their opinions with something like, 'gd innit 4a olden'. Hold that thought. It may well be, 'crp innit'.

P.S. The transformation of writing to a new virtual shorthand - text; sound bites to communicate rapidly, but I don't understand why, when a phone call is more efficient and productive, can promote ever-improving smart phones. Yet simpler digital DSLR cameras are not happening. New models sustain a level of complication equal only to the flight deck of the space shuttle. The news that a revolutionary new camera the Lytro light field camera is now available will become the best seller in 2012. Keep your eyes peeled for it, and subsequent model improvements month-on-month.……

  • Listening to: Bob Dylan - Modern Times
  • Reading: Geoff Dyer - The Ongoing Moment
  • Watching: Sunshine and frost
  • Drinking: Apple juice

Devious Journal Entry

Wed Apr 13, 2011, 9:42 AM

My recent visit to the National Gallery in London (December 13th 2011) to view Leonardo da Vinci's artistic work provided an opportunity to really look at close quarters at the most wonderful array of art by this genius, all brought together under one roof; a true magical moment. With misgivings about ease of viewing, crowds and time allocation evaporated as all was perfectly arranged to permit everyone to spend enough time with each masterpiece. For me the closeness needed to observe the fine quill and ink drawings seemed the same distance the man himself used to create them; a very intimate sense of connection spanned the centuries within the eight inches I and he must have occupied. Admiring the brush-strokes of paintings seen only via photographs in books, my appreciation and respect for Leonardo's skills and artistry expanded.

Outside after an eye-popping time enthralled with the brilliance of the man, the reality of the moment could not be ignored. The Christmas tree a Norwegian spruce an annual gift rose elegantly bedecked with white lights, tall and majectic standing ahead of the gallery's ballistrade commanding the whole square, Horatio for one time each year overshadowed. Only a scattering of people wandered round the fountains and a peaceful thrum of voices, not traffic, planes or sirrens sounded giving me extra space for Leonardo. Perhaps the economy of the country, debt-ridden banks and the like all conspiring to dull our hearts, the four hundred year old art remained in my mind, murmuring voices surrounded us and the ample quietness all seemed to say more about humanity than all the usual noisy hullaboo metered out by computerised Britain does every minute. Whatever politics demands, how we all cope with tightening our belts, one fact remains. More benevolence, kind-heartedness and generosity seems to happen at times of financial hardship than at any other. We Brits will survive and prosper. Europe will remain the global mass we akin with, and givng will top the charts each year.  

As a Londoner living now in the beautiful Cotswolds a visit to London to see these artworks and see old friends becomes a pilgrimage requiring at least two nights accommodation. The cost, the time, the anticipation makes the excursion a special event. Nothing stops our enthusiasm. Of course we also enjoy gathering with friends, sharing news and plans, dining in modest restaurants and on my birthday dining at the Ritz, never enough time, never counting the cost consumed with ensuring all waking moments are filled with joy.  And on that note...

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone. However, if religion is not your thing. Or for those of you who may even be offended by it. I care little. You'll no doubt make the best of it.

Looking back over the past year a busy photographic time has been had. The ups and the downs maintained their presence as always, yet the highs always overtake the lows - just why this happens I do not know. The words of my wise old grandfather, a humourous GP all his life resound in my head, "We all have the ability to make our own luck, you just need to be aware where it may lie and go there and retrieve it. Once lost, it seems to remain lost but can suddenly appear like magic if you demonstrate integrity, truth and compassion". He's been dead now for some twenty five years, departing aged one hundred and four, a man who knew how to live. I threaten my own adult children with remaining amongst them for an equal length of time. They smile yet appreciate that it could well come true...

My thanks to everyone that has worked with me this year. The clients who've fed me with inspiration, commissions and choices, the photographic printers who've laboured to provide the prints to the exacting standards demanded by moi, the models who've tollerated my specific foibles and who have responded with exhilarating performances, all but one a heartbreaking individual, if anyone deserves a happy Christmas she does. The equipment purveyors, one in particular who pulled out all the stops to get me a new telephoto lens in short notice. And of course the many Deviants who have been generous with compliments, kind in approach, and generally all-round good eggs, as my grandfather would have said.

For 2012 my mantra shall be, 'Bring a little happiness into every day, try to leave some beauty of any kind behind me each evening, and to smile before speaking'.   


Martin's Journal - April 2011

A STRING OF PEARLS  -  Ramblings of a recalcitrant photographer

'The jape-wrenched thought rushed headlong through my anxious mind
While slumber forged ideals and passions into numbness,
My brain exercised nimbly yet with eyes open I thwart logical thinking.
I dream'.  
© Martin Billings April 2011

A year or so ago I dreamt the complete synopsis of a novel. This in itself is remarkable. And not placed with writing prowess neatly resting upon my shoulders I nonetheless, in the bright new morning sun the next day, commenced to plot the sequence of dreamt thoughts, but although expecting to remember little of the detail the shock of discovering that not only could every minor detail be recovered quite effortlessly, I could also enhance the sections scant with description and meaning into compliant prose. The shock was overwhelming.

Speed I considered was paramount in order that at any moment the open door of my brain may snap shut. I needn't have worried as within the day I had formed the correct and most satisfactory set of words upon the pages fluttering out of the printer like pretty freshwater pearls. To my mind they were pearls, stringing together forming a continuous collection of meaningful circumstances. I sent my work (it formed a screenplay more than it did a story) to a film post-director. He was generous to provide me with a full and detailed assessment. He liked it and demanded to see further sections when I had written them.

The other night my subconscious was kind enough to provide, in full colour, a novel idea for a photographic shoot. Yes you pre-empt my next sentence. All detail laid bare, even the style of furniture was clearly defined, but unfortunately the location was not. On this occasion, unlike the screenplay not everything was delivered. I indeed felt let down, but not downhearted. In truth as in finding pearls a search tempered with luck is the name of the game. Nothing worth doing should really be easy, and I realised that I would have to graft a bit to reach a conclusion, if I wanted it. The pearls did exist only exposing them took a day or two. In some way this shoot is unique, the idea was, you might say, given to me, project managing the logistics and subsidiary stuff comes easier each time: completion is but a step away - images practically in my hands.

What do these events say to me? Well perhaps I should eat oysters more often, and avoid watching TV before sleep, but ensure I experience the good company of friends where inspiring conversation takes place and wholesome food consumed. A recipe for happiness and creativity is almost guaranteed. When seeking the arms of Morpheus each night, a balanced and healthy diet, fresh air and exercise is some way to encourage dreams and avoid nightmares. What can be accomplished after waking is all a bit of a lottery.

  • Listening to: Mark knopfler - Get Lucky
  • Reading: Edwin Morgan's Collected Poems
  • Watching: Sunset
  • Drinking: Coffee


Thu Mar 3, 2011, 9:22 AM
Martin's Journal - March 2011


As digital images become created to form a huge folder amongst other folders in My Pictures on my faithful Vaio the ability to view each file and ensure that onscreen images match the resolution, colour and quality of photographic prints requires some pretty selective computer screen calibration. Armed with information and advice from my photographic printer, a friendly and amicable couple of guys with pedigrees and knowledge far beyond my own experience, I progressed the task with, I may say, some trepidation.

All is fine. Results are hard to see immediately, but not all together a failure. It remains to be seen if future prints behave in the correct manner considering the minor changes that were processed. I remain optimistic yet resolutely positive. The whole undertaking now has me questioning the matter of colour blindness. I know I'm a fool to myself forever creating doubts and challenges the whole while, but have you considered the issue of colour. Do we all see the same hues. I feel sure we don't.

As for photographs, well those too are subjective. How any photographic competition judges acknowledge a winner is anybody's guess. With criteria met, technical prowess proven, the remaining artistic interpretation/merit is so subjective it's an almost impossible task. I will however continue submitting prints to competitions and await winning notification with hope and fortitude. It's gratifying to know that my Vaio is operating imminently better, I now just need to improve composition, choice of subject and develop a winning style. Oh how I wish Adobe had a software calibration package to correct and improve artistic creativity, but I guess everyone else would also have it...

  • Listening to: Mark knopfler - Get Lucky
  • Reading: Edwin Morgan's Collected Poems
  • Watching: Sunset
  • Drinking: Coffee
:new:  for 2011       

    I always look forward to January each year. The new for old message and the actual physical change of date is enough to bring fresh challenges and opportunities. Considering what may be possible, what could be achieved, and the billions of ways I can indulge my love of photography is exciting, as is the sustaining my marriage with my glorious wife, seeking happiness with all things, and never sweating the small stuff. Always the optimist. I never think that doing nothing is a reasonable option. Why settle for nonsensical and worrying outcomes life is too short, much better to be positive and show a calm and honest face to the world . If you don't believe in miracles they will never happen.
  • Listening to: Bruch
  • Reading: Intelligent Life
  • Watching: For approaching rain
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Somerset Cider
- - - - :new: For Christmas - - - -   - :blahblah:

I often wander into a state of day-dreaming that removes me from the day-to-day activites. My loving and patient wife allows this behaviour not to lessen her admiration for my diligence to photography, how I adore her for that! At times I can become obsessed with an idea while she remains actively engaged in the chores of life, I adore her for that! There's many occasions when I can be solitary and absorbed in photographic creativity that overwhelms me; lifting my consciousness for her needs completely. Her resilience to my photographic passion is evident when she responds to my latest prints with enthusiasm and total support, suggesting new horizons for me to conquer. There is no doubt that her individual support and encouragement is the principal reason I remain enlivened.

At this time, the slow approach to Christmas I think of all she has contributed to my stamina. No, it's not all photography. Yes, we do indulge in some very enjoyable holidays, days spent with friends, weeks exploring foreign shores forever thankful we are healthy and able to do so. And yes I can discard photography for better social moments never regretting doing so. I guess the spiritual meaning of Christmas is a renewing of faith, hope and love - the stronger being love. At moments of frustration (especially with me) she has one redeeming feature and one that I wish I could mimic, she taps me with her finger. She has unique and lasting qualities that I adore. What little recognition I may induce with my images nothing is greater than my love for her. Vive la difference.

May I wish all Deviants of whichever faith or spiritual leaning you may, or may not have, a happy Christmas and a wonderful new year. This is posted this day in November as we'll be travelling overseas very soon and out of reach of computers, phones and any other modern devices; no more fretfull than life was like up to about 1985 - its all gone slightly mad since then...

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  • Listening to: Rain
  • Reading: Edwin Morgan - Collected Poems
  • Watching: Watching wet crows
  • Eating: Blueberrys
  • Drinking: Sparkling water
** :new: **     :handshake:

Chapter One

The other day while driving to a photoshoot I could not disconnect my thoughts about a scene racing through the centre of my brain. How it originated isn't certain and try as I might the picture remained in focus with details as sharp and penetrating as an arrow's flight to the bull of a target. Mechanical responses to driving permitted further considerations to the mental image emerging from the dimness of my psyche. Not being able to multitask I was forced to pull over, stop the car and attest the picture in my head; clear and altogether a composed film-clip in high definition, full colour and stereo surround sound.

Unlike a camera my mind is not reliable for recording every nuance, remembering bizarre thoughts and re-creating them later is impossible. To help later recall I quickly wrote the idea down. A gnarled ballpoint pen from the door pocket and the back inside cover of a tatty 2002 AA road atlas of Great Britain and Ireland served to record my tableau; here is what I wrote:

A woman leans in the doorway
looks at a man eating an apple
a fruit green as green as fresh cut grass,
she hums Subterranean Homesick Blues
hums I Want You and he turns to see her
see her smile and leave her place
snatch the apple bite and eat to the core
Bob Dylan is in her mind.
© Martin Billings – 26th October,2010

I've since titled it, Bob, Eve and Adam for what it's worth. I'll probably use it as an initial sequence/storyboard at a photoshoot in November when Di and Dan (names changed to protect the innocent) will model for me: it promises to be a wonderfully impassioned creative session.


Chapter Two

Another quite unrelated episode some weeks ago involved dreaming an entire story. Strangely on this occasion I was able to recall everything and conveyed it all to print. My patient and urbane wife was kind enough to read it and remarked that it was surprisingly good. "What are you going to do about it", she asked. "I'll re-write it as a screenplay", I answered. And I did just that. The result lay slightly abandoned on my desk for a day or two. Determined to seek some advantage from what must have been about a day's outpourings I gleaned from the net a list of line producers, picked one with a pin and emailed it.

The reply was wonderful. Full of praise and suggestions to its content and potential film construction. My covering email suggested a, 'more please' or 'trash it now' response, and true to this spirited approach a request for more please was splendid. Without hesitating I set-to and fully completed the work having speculated upon its final yarn for hours, with re-writes into the night. It lies somewhere I suspect in warm sunlight, or covered blindly with 'stuff' in a dark corner awaiting acclaim or disapproval - who knows. The important thing is that its conception was unsignalled and its carefully crafted creation could have remained unknown; sharing without flinching from remarks and opinions has been a bewitching experience much like the making of a photograph as of the pre-digital age. A full uncomplaining journey from shutter release to wet print hanging in a darkroom had to be made before the results could be viewed. Today the process is easier and quicker, yet the expectation and hope still remains. As with most things in life, art and creativity the journey of construction is often the real reward. But to choose never to make that journey is insanity.

8-)   :flaguk:

  • Listening to: Rain
  • Reading: Edwin Morgan - Collected Poems
  • Watching: Watching wet crows
  • Eating: Blueberrys
  • Drinking: Sparkling water

Reading a piece in the current edition of Intelligent Life magazine I was surprised, and saddened by the facts announced within its pages. Stephen Bailey, cultural commentator and author of 'A-Z of design' charts his recent experiences. In a meeting with Grayson Perry, one of Britain's best-known artists he was faced with Perry's return from the Basle art fair where he had been struck with the fact that everything [art] was happening all at once.

"There is no longer a ruling style or taste", he repeated. "No common agreement on what is avant-garde and what is retrograde". In his judgement, today the all purveying thing is that the happening thing is just what is happening. He closes with the very essence of this all-embracing fact, "We have reached the end of isms".

Minimalism was the last, and the most curious. A comparison with architecture, art, food, and design. When estate agents are touting properties as 'minimalist-style', you somehow suspect that the vitality of the ism may have forelornly left the building long ago. Was minimalism the last absurd, exhausted spasm of neophilia, or will it remain, the ultimate refinement of sensibility: the last place for us to go when we've been everywhere? But for all that I adore minimalism.

I have adopted its disciplines and order when approaching special photography projects. It permits a certain cleansiness; an aesthetic order that allows creative sensibility. It has been with us since about the fifth century BC, when Socrates declared that a well-made dung bucket was better than a poorly made gold shield. I like the fuss-free restrictions. When I approach a challenge, a photographic dilemma I often think it through by a minimalistic initiation. It might be its fundemental clear-cut divisions, or the temporal posessions that induce a calm in my head, but come what may I repeatedly deduce the route I should take; never regretting the result. Space does furnish the mind.


  • Reading: new journal
  • Playing: Nina Simone
  • Eating: Grapes
  • Drinking: Sparkling water
Powerful words that invoke pictures. Well at least in my head...  8-)  :new:   :pc:

Oh don't. Don't get me going on my long standing gripe. Stand me on my old soapbox and I will constantly strive to connect with modernists, textists and twitterists all to no avail. The myth that none of the shortened, clipped and mixed alphanumerical codex makes any difference to how we talk and write today is totally bizarre. It does when we need the reader or listener to understand our message. Imagine scripts, screenplay, advertisements, posters, credit accounts and wills being mobile phone texts. Am I the only one that creates a mindful of images when reading?

Evidence of bad syntax, sloppy punctuation, misplaced apostrophes and misspellings is all around us. Schools and business are the main offenders: should we be alarmed? Many educators have favoured self-expression at the cost of sentence structure, with errors frequently left uncorrected.

Yet, give or take a few blind spots, most people have a far surer command of the complexities of the English language than perhaps they realise. From the moment we are able to talk we begin to absorb thousands of rules governing the language, but so effortlessly that we are hardly aware of the process. The same can also be said of modern texting and the use of soundbites. Every day communications are endlessly tossed about through the ether with many messages resent 'cos im rely pisdof wif andi cos his not getn de mesig. 4evon s8k!' Can you blame Andy?

Keith Waterhouse, God bless him was a doyen of correct English. His journalistic prowess, love-laboured novels, scripts for film, television and theatre were masterpieces enjoyed by many people, yet he also admired the street language. The graffitti squawled walls, quick-wrote shopping lists, notes in the sand et cetera were all linked art as well as writings worthy of mention. However, he never lost sight of tradition and remained loyal to perfect English.

Punctuation is my particular bugbear. Too much, or none at all. It's all the same to me. "While punctuation's first function is to clarify what otherwise could be obscure or downright misleading, it also has the important task of controlling the flow of words, acting here as a dam, there as a conduit", writes Keith Waterhouse in his memorable book, English our English (and how to sing it), Viking Publishing (Penguin Books Ltd) ISBN 0-670-83269.3. It comes highly recommended.

I'll leave you with this: a beautiful crafted slice from Ian McEwan's, Atonement. This is just one passage amongst a whole lot more that comprise the novel. The movie did its best to evoke the story's writing, but in my opinion came up short. I rarely do not make mental pictures when I read. Every set of words scanned seem to engender clear images quite effortlessly. May be I should be a cinematographer. This passage, Briony's search for the twins, chapter thirteen: 'The dry night air slipped between the fabric of her dress and her skin, and she felt smooth and agile in the dark.' Instantly I had an image in my head as the 'd' of dark fused in my brain. Twenty three words yet this short sentence conjured up a photograph. Its indelible nature will, over time, force me to create it digitally. I have no way of avoiding this outcome. A humble slave to my thoughts and visions. Isn't photography a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination.

:library:   :reading:

  • Reading: new journal
  • Playing: Nina Simone
  • Eating: Grapes
  • Drinking: Sparkling water
I'm often amused by photographs of everyday events on the streets of almost any place you'd like to mention. You know the kind of thing; figures in vehicles, skirmishes on street corners, adolescents acting disgracefully, women flashing panties, or having none at all; the persistently everlasting palpable antics of human beings.

In all honesty although my own feeble attempts to mirror these quite bizarre pictures fail miserably, I am drawn to the ability of some fabulous photographers who simply make a handsome living from discovering the sources for candid 'snaps'. I am referring of course to the paparazzi.

Now before you berate me for approving of their trade in filched pictorial privacy let me nudge your sense of fair play to suggest that the use of camera phones has laid bare all reasonable considerations that privacy is the right of everyone. I guess more digital video and photographic material is recorded and disseminated round the world each day, than all similar celluloid filmed matter produced in six months fifty years ago.

Indeed, I daresay a great deal is immediately deleted by recipients. The remainder is published, or may reside on endless web site servers, or lie on personal hard drives, flash sticks, mobile phone memories, CD's et cetera, et cetera. Is this a bad thing? I don't think so. Endless spectators have the ability to search, view and download pictures ad infinitum. Movie or still, colour or monochrome, manipulated, distorted, and even tinged any single colour you wish. All contemporary computerised equipment, hard or soft will enable individuals to capture and store the 'art' they desire.

In 1960 those of us who dabbled in photography had no idea where technology would take us. What we have today is mind-blowingly awesome. Dan Dare himself, of Eagle comic fame could not have imagined a world dominated by digitally empowering stuff so enormously enjoyable and exciting.

And so to the paparazzi, what is their excuse for delivering an obsessively outrageous quantity of material. The same I would expect naturalists would deem excusable for chasing all manner of wildlife, conspiring to capture its form and activities to enhance humanities knowledge.

Freedom of choice is not just a prerequisite of the intellectual classes. The masses demand news on the celebrities, sportsmen and women, game show contestants, porn stars, criminals, and a whole lot more of other individuals. I believe the current trend for making photographs quite effortlessly is to be applauded. Some fine examples of wonderful creativity are a joy. And who is to say what is not exemplary beautiful? What is not technically perfect? What indeed is pornographic?  Not me! I would no more label a picture bad, or suggest a photograph was in bad taste, or confer the author to ridicule than fly in the sky. All art is subjective. I let others convey their bigotry, prudery and skulduggery.

A candid photograph is unequalled. Not the type of photography I choose to produce myself, but enthralling nonetheless. The type of picture the camera and photography was invented to make, instant success; immediacy personified. Fox Talbot himself would have adored the application. The long-focussed shot, a serendipitous intrusion of the famous is in some way the equal to a TV newsroom's time-filler "And finally..." widely diverting, gloriously entertaining and assiduously voyeuristic.

In today's culture – there's a place for everything.
  • Listening to: Motor mowers
  • Reading: The Week
  • Watching: Rain clouds
  • Eating: Avocado
  • Drinking: Sparkling water
"...photographs are not only points of reference, they're often triggers of ideas".  Francis Bacon, 1966

I've recently returned from visiting the superb Francis Bacon exhibition at Compton Verney, Warwickshire. Like all displays and exhibitions I trawl every gallery and take time to observe every nuance in the work. My ignorance of his life was enhanced somewhat by the excellent compilation of inspirational photographs he used extensively for creating his formidable paintings. He had little or no formal training as an artist and rarely drew the figure from life. Instead he adapted film and photographs, manipulated and distorted or damaged photographs, as well as mechanical reproductions from books or magazines; the Bacon 'image bank'.

His work is visceral and compellingly raw. They generate powerful emotional responses and which continue to fascinate and demand our attention. Photography is no slouch in possessing some impressive qualities. Many artists I learn have used them as a resource. As well as Bacon, they were utilised by Degas, Picasso, Duchamp, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol. In Bacon's use of Eadweard Muybridge's prints made through his zoopraxiscope (an early device for displaying motion pictures) were an important step towards the invention of cinematography.

The most endearing exhibit had me relaxed and sitting for two complete showings of a documentary film interview of Bacon by Melvyn Bragg for the South Bank Show. I left after quite a time perusing each remaining exhibit and reflecting on how I approached photography. Its immediacy remains its legacy to the world. Can one love the medium? I guess it is possible and now digital supremacy will permit me to indulge myself in the depths of its magic.

Bacon's predisposition never to praise contemporary artists rarely altered, but he was ruthlessly self-critical. Countless paintings with which he was not satisfied were destroyed. Most of these were lost, but one hundred 'slashed' paintings remained in his studio in 1992 after his death. He also prefered to paint on the raw unprimed side of the canvas, his reason being that as the paint was applied it was permanent, difficule to remove or paint over. The immediacy was forever vital for his work.

I commend the Francis Bacon exhibition to everyone.…


  • Listening to: Ultra Nate
  • Reading: The latest edition of Intelligent Life
  • Watching: People in the sunshine
  • Eating: Walnuts
  • Drinking: Apple juice


Fri Apr 9, 2010, 2:14 PM
Photographed Class Division - Is there any inequality?

I am grateful to the group nudeAlicious (no link - quite deliberate). Recent activities have brought me to my senses. Having been accepted and also had a photograph accepted I was absolutely delighted when 'they' removed me from their elite band. How anyone like me can be selected not only amused me, but I guess the instant dismissal is undertaken to shake a poor DA and undermine their confidence. Not me. I never had much to start with! Am I upset? No. The nudeAlicious master-meister is thoroughly masterful in reigning supreme. Bless.

DeviantArt is slowing becoming a glorified Facebook, a Twittering experience. It's 'art' is becoming questionable and most serious art creators are hard to find. Hence I believe the wonderfully entitled art elite set up endless groups to mystify and confuse folk. What the groups do is rather fuzzy. I rather like the thought that some hand-chosen few anxiously scour the daily offerings and pronounce most submissions as rubbish. So what! Long live the DA groups. Puts me in mind of what the wonderful Groucho Marcs once said, "I wouldn't be a member of any club that had me as a member". No bad feelings eh.

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  • Listening to: Coutney Pine - Modern Day Jazz Stories
  • Reading: The Economist
  • Watching: Grey cloudes rushing across the sky
  • Eating: BLT
  • Drinking: Mineral water
Photographed Class Division - Is there any inequality?

The quickness of a camera's shutter; a fraction of a second, has, since the invention of photography revolutionised the images people have viewed. A painter's canvas was laboured over for hours, even weeks before the personification became a scene to observe. In both the painting and the photograph the spectator could study the subject, its light, its interpretation and the composition could become memorable.

In growing numbers as photographers tampered with effects and subject matter and the speed of production permitted greater amount of everyday scenes, news and emotions to be displayed some pictures caught the public's mind and in some cases became 'iconic'. Their meaning understood to represent or suggest that society's problems and conflicts were desperate. Without knowing the power of the true image photographers were offering the public an instant reflection of life, or for some, the struggle to exist.

You could say that the negative becoming the positive as photography truly is has altered a lot that generations of human beings have witnessed; more impressive results would come with the moving image.

Try to categorise for instance the many images that show wealthy people, and the poor. How do the individuals appear? Does an immediate comparison of detail provide a solution? I've taken a long hard look again at Jimmy Sime's 70 year old photograph – 'Five Boys'. It captures two Harrow school boys, Peter Wagner and Thomas Dyson wearing their formal uniform of top hats, striped trousers, waistcoats and canes outside Lord's cricket ground in 1937, being observed by three local lads later identified as, George Salmon, Jack Catlin and George Young. What is not known is if the photographer, Jimmy Sime asked the taller, older Thomas to grip the top of a stone bollard and to look away from the camera and for the local boys to move in closer. I suspect he did. Was the scene just there waiting to be photographed, Thomas's majestic stance of indifference, and the pocketed hands of the 'scruffs', or was it staged for visual affect? Not much is recorded, but as they say, "Every picture tells a story".

This one photograph has been if anything overused on behalf of this everlasting issue, a chestnut if ever there was one, class  and arrogant privilege – the 'toff'. Is England still hopelessly divided by class? I guess today if I was to turn up at Lord's for the Harrow v Eton schools cricket match I'd be hard-pressed to re-create Sime's picture; five boys now dressed much the same, jeans and brand names. Giving a superficial impression of equality, the picture would be even more of a lie than before.

N.B.  The cost demanded by Getty Images for me to illustrate this journal with the famous photograph denies readers the opportunity to judge for themselves. Still, I think we might be all familiar with it anyway. If not…

:typerhappy:   :juggle:   :reading:    :community:

  • Listening to: Coutney Pine - Modern Day Jazz Stories
  • Reading: The Economist
  • Watching: Grey cloudes rushing across the sky
  • Eating: BLT
  • Drinking: Mineral water
Interesting subject and one that I approve of, being that many objects come close to the top spot. For me I like the choice of Max Hastings, historian and journalist who selects the Kalashnickov AK-47. It's a symbol of violence and, subject to opinion, evil. Itsinfluence and impact for the last 60 years has been devastating while carving out the extreme position of an instrument of revolutionary supremacy. It is responsible for inflicting more deaths than any other weapon in history. I guess this may be considered a great acheivement, but that conclusion could be construed as complacency. Where in that long period was diplomacy, common sense and compassion? Or am I a lone idealistic individual amongst the many psychopaths that have, and will continue to exist.

My hope this new year 2010 will provide many more solutions to world peace and that death, destruction and misery are eradicated. Some hope. We all are responsible in some small way, and can provide an individual reversal of all the evil that seems so easily to engulf thoughts, actions and deeds. It's not religious. It is not political. It is simply about caring.

What do you think?


  • Listening to: Max Bruch violin concerto no.1
  • Reading: Yesterday's Sunday Times
  • Watching: Darkness decending
  • Eating: Mini double choc muffins
  • Drinking: Tea - Earl Grey

   Without dwelling too much on British meteorology, dark afternoons, foggy days with tinges of coldness shovelled in for good measure I love the period we're entering right now, Advent. Unlike past years we're all suffering the effects of the bank's good-hearted labours with our money. The honourable financial fraternity beavered away at losing vast amounts of dosh, and our resourceful government seemed unable to resist borrowing money and handing it all over to the very same set of bankers who had lost the fortune in the first place. Now call me cynical, but honestly how ludicrous is that!

   Well as we, as a nation must tighten our belts. Spend less; and buckle down to at least three generations of debt: more than £5,500 per family is the current figure of national debt our Labour Government has negotiated and belies the fact that this same government does not have the guts to admit that public spending has to be massively cut. These lily-livered politicians just bleat that the Opposition is hell-bent in slashing public spending when Brown's cabinet can't fight their way out of a paper bag - the entire lot should be herded out of office: they'll get their marching order hopefully after the fast approaching election.

   This all impacts upon Christmas. In honest tones, I welcome the recession and the need to spend less. It may result in families realising expensive gifts bought on credit is not the true Christian message at Christmas. Giving and receiving is fundamental but no one insists that large amounts have to be spent, or anything at all to bring a smile to another's face. Children for instance sometimes delight more in the packaging than the gift. Kindness can, and is given free by many. Consideration is felt in the heart. The richest thing any of us can give is our time. Putting ourselves last after others is not easy in a society that places ego building before much else. Where greed festers in everything undertaken in the name of profit.

   Things change. People change. And for the better especially when a disaster occurs, and we're having one now. As Advent continues the Christmas spirit will heighten. The nation will face up to the challenge and be the winners. In homes across the country Christian families will celebrate the nativity and experience a peace which will envelope them. And for homeless souls, the ill and infirm, old and lonely, imprisoned and hapless a small vestige of the general goodwill will percolate through to enrich these folk too.

   I will continue foistering individual concerns upon everyone I come into contact with, yet hope sincerity enters the fray come democratic selection day. As Archbishop Tutu explains he is, I too feel like him, 'A prisoner of hope'. In the meantime I'll continue to peer through a camera's lens idly awaiting scenes that capture my heart and mind, and creating others that do. If subsequent spectators of the images become enthralled or not will not defer my life hopes or photographic ones - ever.  

   A happy Christmas to you all.
  • Listening to: Max Bruch violin concerto no.1
  • Reading: Yesterday's Sunday Times
  • Watching: Darkness decending
  • Eating: Mini double choc muffins
  • Drinking: Tea - Earl Grey
I look out of the window at sodden fields and wetness. Here in the UK we're pretty stolid about our British weather. Far be it for me to suggest that foreigners see us as a nation obsessed with nothing but the weather; they ought to stay longer on our shores to attest that we are more obsessed with fair play and justice than we are about bad weather. Because it is the very fact that bad weather is often seen as everything besides sunshine.

My early career in the 1960's living in London caused me to rub shoulders with the capital's visitors. No finer people in the world were the Americans traversing the ancient streets under umbrellars where once Shakespeare, Walter Raleigh and other infamous relics of history trod. The London underground railway - the Tube, and (before decimalisation) the British currency caused holidaymakers more angst than anything else. I've taken burly Bronx guys, hand-led from Holborn to Picadilly (blue, Picadilly Line) so that they did not get lost. And ensured that Texan's selected the correct coinage so that they didn't feel cheated. Heaven forbid!

So it's comforting to realise that forty years on our North American buddies are still perplexed with all things British, including the weather and cannot fathom out much more than their earlier cousins. Does nothing change? Well not the weather! To me an Englishman, rain is a glorious pastime. Estimating when it will end, but not really bothered one way or another. The aspect of dampness, even torrential rain only strengthens my delight in observing our island decked in glorious green. Observing others dashing about, sheltering under objects raised over heads, blistering over the inconvenience. Shame. Is it not a fact that street mugging declines when it pours with rain. I guess the muggers even get pissed off with it enough to call a halt...

As a kindly US couple in 1969 said to me after I had walked them to the British Museum in fine drizzle, "Thank you, we would surely not have found it without you, we'd probably gotten lost. Incidentally, we were in Oxford yesterday and couldn't believe how wonderfully green the countryside is. You English are so polite, even with all this rain". Of course I obligingly took their photograph on their expensive Japanese Nikon camera, handing it back with envy. I thanked them, praising the USA for landing on the moon and the magnificent photographs taken with a Swedish Hassleblad and headed back to work. Incidentally, the British Museum is not difficult to find, a child could do it in a matter of minutes. What really delights me about Americans is that they love to tell people stuff, and if that's how great Britain is, that's fine by me.

A few weeks later I'd bought a secondhand Pentax SLR, and began my love affair with photography.
  • Listening to: Grass growing
  • Reading: 20th Century Photography
  • Watching: Storm clouds
  • Playing: Bach
  • Eating: Figs
  • Drinking: Graves
If you can raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too. Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 cna. I cdnulot blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg.

The phaonmeal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpelnig was ipmorentt!

Now flolonwig on wtih tihs slyte: I cna't say taht I'm ettasic aoubt the mnay prhaotgophic citrics who seem to be the msot epxret to ipnterret wrok of prhaotgophres. The why, in practiaulur may smeotiems be bsaed on the citric's own wsih; theess daremed up jsut to be deifrenft form the rset. Prhaotgophres of the eraly tentwieth cuentry, lnog daed seem to be the mian teargts for adcaemcic deisstration ad nauseum.  The innane hopobyle taht I hvae raed aobut scuh gerats as, Paul Strand, Lewis Hine, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Alfred Stieglitz for isntance, colud flil a meodrately seizd sikp. If by migac thsee wendorful prhaotgophres colud hvae been ivntewrieed by thsee yonug 'wolud be's', I dobut the smae drbible wolud hvae been espresxed.

Prhaotgophy can, and is, a silmpe dipsciline. It's fun,  and by any srettch of the iagminatoin it is not broing. Iamgine if you wlil a caomprison mdee beweten Walt Whitman's potery, and Walker Evan's list of puictre caitoegres - but, yuo've nitoced, not his atcual prhaotgophs. Why? Baecuse it canont be dnoe. No one but Evans wlil konw waht wnet on in his mnid socends beofre the shtuter clsoed. Siomtemes it's bset to sitck jsut to the pitcuers, jidgung tehm acicrdong to pesronal or soicety's sdandarts. If tehy're regadred as good, tehn say so. If seen as imomral, ukuind, rdue, parniogrophc, tehn say it. But alolw eevrbydoy the rgiht to epxrses thier own onpiions. Frodeem of sepech is olny the rihgt of a previilge few in gloabl temrs. Writetn lanuggaes liimt unedrsatndnig to anoyne not privilgeed to crohmpeend thsoe wrods - so ture hree!
  • Listening to: Crows and Jackdaws
  • Reading: A Long Finish by Michael Dibdin
  • Watching: Two horses and riders in the village
  • Playing: Not a darned thing
  • Eating: Spinach and walnut flan
  • Drinking: Dry cider
  • Listening to: Blackbirds
  • Reading: Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
  • Watching: The wind in the trees
  • Playing: Not a darned thing
  • Eating: Asparagus spears dipped in butter
  • Drinking: Elderflower wine
Have you noticed that you're experiencing a slow down with your computer? When the kids get back from school and start playing games the internet seems to  s - l - o  - w  d - o - w - n  dramatically. 'Brownouts' will freeze computers. Waves of disruption will begin to emerge next year, says Ted Ritter, analyst at Nemertes Research, a respected American think tank, has warned that the web has reached a critical point and that the recession has failed to stave off impending problems.

Cyberspace capacity is running out. From 2012, however, PC's and laptops are likely to operate at a much reduced speed, rendering the internet an "unreliable toy". Experts predict that consumer demand, already growing at 60% a year, will start to exceed supply from as early as next year because of more people working online and the soaring popularity of bandwidth-hungry websites such as YouTube and services such as the BBC's iPlayer.

In America, telecoms companies are spending £40 billion a year upgrading cables and supercomputers to increase capacity, while in Britain proposals to replace copper cabling across part of the network with fibreoptic wires would cost at least £5 billion. Cultural phenomena such as YouTube, the video-sharing website launched in 2005, which exploded in popularity, can throw the most ambitious plans into disarray. The amount of traffic generated each month by YouTube is now equivalent to the amount of traffic generated across the entire internet in all of 2000.

Analysts express such traffic in exabytes - a quintillion (or a million trillion) bytes or units of computer data. One exabyte is equivalent to 50,000 years' worth of DVD-quality data. Monthly traffic across the internet is running at about eight exabytes. A recent study by the University of Minnesota said traffic was growing although the 60% figure did not take into account plans for greater internet access in China and India. While the net itself will ultimately survive, waves of disruption would begin to emerge when computers will jitter and freeze.

Engineers are already preparing for the worst. While some are planning a lightening-fast parallel network called "the grid", others are building "caches", private computer stations where popular entertainments are stored on local PC's rather than sent through the global backbone.

Now with this in mind I'm rather perplexed that photography, and I am particularly enamoured with digital images, will suffer from this escalating problem. Indeed for those who derive income and business success to a web-economy will be provided with a collapsing infrastructure. Up to three years ago I managed an online business and because I was experiencing stuttering web access (my wife and I live in the sticks of Worcestershire, England) we concluded that future sales would diminish and sold the business. How that prophesy has been true. We're not strangers to "brownouts" you see.

All in all I hope the boffins sort the whole thing out, and my photography continues to provide amusement, enjoyment, and any other essential emotion known to man through my own website: &… via DeviantArt.

Let's have your comments - if you've some that can be shared...