Am I not an artist?


“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works: if from the head, almost nothing.” Marc Chagall


Can a Designer be an artist and as such, be allowed the licence of said profession?

I ask because the other day I noticed a social media comment about a Packaging Design that I had created. The commenter reckoned the design was a rip-off of another company’s Packaging Design.

Now then, at this point I should add two things. Firstly, there were elements that were similar, a flourish here and a flourish there, but it certainly wasn’t a ‘rip-off’ and secondly, the Design that I was supposed to have copied was also a Packaging Design that I had created for a different client.

Okay, so I posted to let the commenter know that I was the designer of both packs, that I liked to think I had a style that was unique to me, and that his recognising the two was actually a compliment.

He didn’t entirely see it this way but it got me thinking. If you saw a painting with a friend in one gallery and then another painting elsewhere in a different gallery and commented to your friend how similar the two paintings were in style, if the friend pointed out they were both by the same artist you would undoubtedly go, “ah, that explains it then’, and not consider this painting a rip-off of the other.

So, does the gallery visitor recognise and allow for an artist’s personal style and flourish whereas the consumer does not?

I appreciate that a Pack design is personal to the company whose product is contained within rather than to the creator of the pack without and is created specifically to stand out in an ocean of competing packs. So perhaps this alone separates it from a painting on a gallery wall. Still, was the artist truly painting for himself? Or was his art motivated by the demands of a gallery, the need to be commercial, the current vogues etc and does he not need his paintings to stand out, not just against the competition, but against his own work. So is an artist really that different from a designer?

We are not talking about copies here, we are talking about a style, a similarity in brushstroke, something recognisable, perhaps in a use of colour, or a single small element. Perhaps almost intangible, and on occasion, such as the consumer whose comment started this post off in the first place, something that you notice and it seems so strong you are drawn to comment. (I should also add that nobody else has ever made this connection, or at least if they did it didn’t drive them to comment.)

I fully appreciate that this post might seem pretentious, particularly to those that see packaging as little more than an inconvenient container, but this is not just my profession, it is my passion and as such it means a great deal to me. After all, without the artist’s own individualism what do we have but a random set of images with no interconnectivity and no heart.

How is the consumer supposed to relate to heartless packaging, I beseech you? 🙂

So I will continue to create Packaging that is both tailored to the individual client and with a style that is my own because I believe this is the right was to work and if people continue to point out similarities I will thank them for their compliment and praise them for their perceptive eye.


“You can have an art experience in front of a Rembrandt… or in front of a piece of graphic design.” Stefan Sagmeister

He wouldn’t harm a fly

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    I am perfectly willing to share the room with a fly, as long as he is patrolling that portion of the room I don’t occupy. But if he starts that smart-ass fly shit, buzzing my head and repeatedly landing on my arm, he is engaging in high-risk behavior. – George Carlin


    The person who said ‘He wouldn’t harm a fly’

    Probably didn’t witness ‘him’

    Engaged in a two hour battle

    To try and stop a fly from landing on his head

    Whilst trying to sleep

    On a hot day

    The fly pictured

    Is dead

    I finally killed it

    At 3am

    I consider myself a peaceful person

    But if you push me too far


    I refer you to the above photograph


    God in His wisdom made the fly. And then forgot to tell us why. – Ogden Nash


A place of tranquility

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    “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”


    The Buddha was lost

    In a second hand store

    Until found

    And placed in our garden

    And once there

    It seemed that he had never

    Lived anywhere else

    Until his journey continues



    “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Horizontal in the Fourth Dimension



“Literature and butterflies are the two sweetest passions known to man.” – Vladimir Nabokov


Whilst discussing life

with Jennifer

She pointed out that my passions

usually came in twos

That a single passion leaves me unsatisfied

but in unison, magical

I have new projects in mind

Which, like the loading of Noah’s ark

will arrive in twos

But what do I mean?

One example

Of many

I wrote a novel

available from Amazon in the UK Europe and the US naturally

But it wasn’t enough

So I made a film to accompany the novel

This helped

I want to explore

not one dimensionally

Ah, but perhaps Jennifer didn’t go far enough

Perhaps Noah lacked vision

Because my film was claymation

I made models to go with the film that went with my novel

So perhaps I need my passions in threes

or fours.

Don’t stop when the project seems done.

Stand back



look at other ways of seeing it

find the fourth dimension


“Let us give ourselves indiscriminately to everything our passions suggest, and we will always be happy…Conscience is not the voice of Nature but only the voice of prejudice.” – Marquis de Sade


A selfie to celebrate



Work got the better of me

So much photography

That is good, right?

That is why we are here

Not metaphysically perhaps

But from a company standpoint

So I am happy

Thank you lovely clients

A selfie to celebrate

Do I not look celebratory?

This is me

Under a deluge of lovely work

I am happy

Or just exhausted

But happy


“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” – Michelangelo Buonarroti


In the mood for grrr



I might look calm

It is my way

But beneath

A scream

My mood

Black as night



Angry at the world

At you

At me


But this will pass

Because day follows night

And I know blue skies


“You go into the office and take a book or two from the shelves. You read a few lines, like your life depended on reading ’em right. But you know your life doesn’t depend on anything that makes sense, and you wonder where in the hell you got the idea it did; and you begin to get sore.” – Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me


Good morning




They are funny things

Take mornings

Please do

You can have them

I have never been a morning person

But recently

I have grown to like them

Love even

But still

I look like this

Because this is me

In love

And not yet



“I avoid that bleak first hour of the working day during which my still sluggish senses and body make every chore a penance. I find that in arriving later, the work which I do perform is of a much higher quality.” – John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces





It is in our mood

In our bruises

In our passion

In our thoughts

When we’re sad

When we’re happy



We define ourselves by colour

Or the absence thereof

What colour are you feeling?

It shows

All around you

Think you’re hiding it?

You are not

So what colour do you want to show?


“The best colour in the whole world is one that looks best on you” – Coco Chanel

Enjoy the moment

  • seeds


    I have a passion for moments

    Because what is photography

    If not the briefest of moments

    250th of a second


    Is enough

    To capture something

    A tiny glass creature hides

    Made of light and dew

    Which was not there a moment ago

    And is gone with the wind

    A phase

    Captured here


    Do you see her?


    Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. – Buddha


The truth is stranger than fiction



    “But please remember: this is only a work of fiction. The truth, as always, will be far stranger.” – Arthur C. Clarke


    I have a passion for the unusual

    The ridiculous

    The strange

    And the downright absurd


    Because it is all around us

    Everywhere we look

    In our barn

    I found a porthole

    Left by the previous owner

    That’s odd


    Where did it come from?

    Why was it there?

    Who cares

    What is important

    Is that it was there

    To be found by me

    For a photograph

    Of my face

    Strangely enough


    “I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird.” – Frank Zappa


All by Myself…

  • …Just wanna be (to drastically paraphrase)

    All by Myself.




    A passion for solitude


    With the sounds of the ocean

    A smile in the mind

    Because Hell

    Is other people

    And sand between the toes

    Is feeling enough

    I admire those

    Comfortable with their thoughts

    So take a step back

    Away from my solitude

    I will call you

    When I crave the company

    Of Wolves.


    “After all this kind of fanfare, and even more, I came to a point where I needed solitude and to just stop the machine of ‘thinking’ and ‘enjoying’ what they call ‘living,’ I just wanted to lie in the grass and look at the clouds…” – Jack Kerouac, Lonesome Traveler


A Passion Play

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    “Life is more fun if you play games.” 
    ― Roald Dahl, My Uncle Oswald


    I love to play

    You could call it a passion

    Because no matter what age you are

    Finding time to play keeps life worth living

    Take this plasticine model

    Of me

    Made specially for this post about play

    The post encouraged me to play

    And my passion for play encouraged this post

    Sculpting is play

    Photography is play

    A photograph of a sculpture of me taking a photograph is play

    In an extremely meta kind of a way

    That too is play

    As is this post

    Words, ideas, creativity, it’s all play

    And if it isn’t

    Then you’re doing it wrong

    So find time

    A break from work

    And play


    “Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.” – Tom Robbins


A Passion for… Play



    “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – Proverb


    We live in a stressful world

    Where everything is demanded now

    No time to stop

    The phone rings

    Email dings

    Messages buzz

    Texts nag

    Stop the noises!

    We have a passion for play

    And it is gnawing at us


    “And the turtles, of course…all the turtles are free, as turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.” – Dr. Seuss, Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories


    Yesterday the passion gnawed right through the ropes

    And freed us.

    It was a beautiful day

    Perfect for some play

    An adventure

    A walk through the local woods

    The Great Eastern Pingo Trail




    Ancient ice age holes filled with water

    And mud

    Mud is good for play

    Perhaps you will reveal your true identity

    Down in the swamp

    Away from work

    So go on

    Laugh, giggle, titter, lol, rofl (actually that could get you very muddy)

    Whatever you call play

    Have at it




    Then return home


    And ready to tackle the stress

    Head on




    “How well I know with what burning intensity you live. You have experienced many lives already, including several you have shared with me- full rich lives from birth to death, and you just have to have these rest periods in between.” – Anaïs Nin

Order! Order!



    I have a passion for order

    It is in my nature

    As a Virgo

    I demand it

    To feel safe in a world

    Charged with disorderly conduct

    Surround myself with right angles

    Everything in its place

    As my mind

    Spins out of control

    And the future

    Like my brain

    Is a tangled mess of random angles.


    “For nothing matters except life; and, of course, order.” – Virginia Woolf


The detail is in the devil



    I decided to build a scale model of the Targa Florio road race.

    One that worked.

    So you could race the cars.

    In 1/32nd scale.

    Naturally I wanted authenticity.

    The track is large.

    This is a small section.

    Set in Sicily in the early seventies.

    I wanted the cars to be accurate.

    The buildings to be authentic.

    The landscape to be typically Sicilian.

    The trees to be correct.

    The posters, road signs, telegraph poles to be right.

    And the people lining the street to be from the right period.

    Most of it is scratch built.

    Because detail is important.


    Detail is everything.

    It is my passion.

    It can make life devilishly hard.

    For everyone.

    But it also makes life compelling.


    “To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.” – Giorgio Armani


A passion for balance

  • TreeFeller


    “Darkness always had its part to play. Without it, how would we know when we walked in the light? It’s only when its ambitions become too grandiose that it must be opposed, disciplined, sometimes—if necessary—brought down for a time. Then it will rise again, as it must.” – Clive Barker


    I have a passion for Darkness

    I embrace it

    But one cannot appreciate darkness

    Without light

    For what is Darkness?

    If not the absence of light

    And a passion for darkness

    Requires a passion for light.


    Like a man dancing up the tree

    Or unbalanced

    Like the tree itself

    Leaningclose to the house


    Blocking out the light

    Now gone

    To release the sun

    And provide wood

    For the fire

    That brings warmth

    and light.

    Shadows that dance

    Bringing the darkness to life






    “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” – Anne Frank


    NB. I swear the face in the fire is un-photoshopped. Perhaps a wood sprite giving us his blessing. Or a dark spirit born from the wood’s sacrifice.

The Harmonious Confluence

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    What is passion?

    If not an urge

    That if not sated

    Will lead to death

    Literal or figurative

    This Passion is for food

    A harmonious confluence

    This photograph could not have been taken

    Had I not eaten

    And the butterfly would not be on the flower if it did not feel

    The urge to eat

    Because passion is art

    And art is fed by food


    “I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”
    ― John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces



The art of rubbish

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    I found these paintings in the garden.

    Under a tree.

    Someone bought them because they were art.

    Someone threw them away because they weren’t.

    So when does art become rubbish?

    And who painted these?

    Did they do so for passion?

    Or money?

    Perhaps both.

    Then I took a photograph.

    Which sat on my memory card for a few days.


    And to paraphrase Schrodinger.

    For that brief period it was both art and not art.

    Both states existed.

    Until I opened the box.


    The task is to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees. – Erwin Schrodinger


What time is it?

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    “What time issssss it?”, asked the snake.

    “You have a watch.”, I replied

    “I know but I can’t ssssssee it, on account of it being on my head.”

    “Well this is awkward. Perhaps if you turned a little towards me I might be able to see the dial.”

    “Like thissssss?”

    “A little bit further.”


    “A tiny bit more.”

    “Are you sssssure you can’t see the time from here?”

    “Just a tiny bit more. Please. I have a connection to make.”

    “A connection?”

    “Just, yes, that’s it! Hold it there. Don’t move.”

    “Ssssso, what time is it?”

    “I don’t care. Just let me drag the ball across your head.”

    “Hey!!! Are you playing The Witnessssss?”

    “Might be. Oy! Don’t bite me. At least not until I’ve completed the shape.”


    I think I might have been playing The Witness too much.

    It is an unbelievable game. One of the most beautiful, intelligent and compulsive games I have ever played.

    It makes my eyes smile and my brain hurt.

    Thankfully I have a fellow traveller.

    What? No, not the snake. Jennifer. If anyone’s the snake it’s me.

    Well, I was born in the year of the Snake.


    WITNESS screengrab

    The Witness, a game by Jonathan Blow.


    And that brings us to the end of our Objectivity Challenge. We hope you enjoyed our images and perhaps played along yourself.

    We’ll be starting a new challenge next week based around ‘Passion’.

    Look out for more details and join in.

    We would love to see your images.

Let me take your dirt…

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    “Hungry licked her spoon and then pointed it at me. ‘Aren’t you forgetting the dishes?’ she asked.
    ‘Absolutely not,’ I said. ‘I’ll remember the dishes as long as I live. See you later.” – Lemony Snicket


    Let me take your dirt

    Your pain

    And absorb it in to me

    Because that is my job

    The Yin to your Yang

    Design should be simple

    Communicate your message

    In the most straightforward way

    How best to describe a washing up brush?

    It cleans

    It is simply a matter of time


Dreaming of the small things

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    I love wine

    And skull rings

    So why not have a skull ring to open wine

    In my dreams


    Photography allows dreams to become a reality

    Big dreams

    Or small ones

    In dreams we have ideas

    Then awake and dismiss it as a dream


    Make it real

    In a form you find desirable

    Because then it is not a dream

    It is something unique




    uncorking detail


    “Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde



This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven

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    “the creature in the sky
    got sucked in a hole
    now there’s a hole in the sky
    and the ground’s not cold
    and if the ground’s not cold
    everything is gonna burn
    we’ll all take turns
    i’ll get mine, too
    this monkey’s gone to haven”

    Pixies – Monkey Gone to Heaven


    M is for monkey.


    Or being taught a lesson.

    Don’t steal my nuts.

    I’m bigger than you.

    Where will you go if I hold you under for too long?


    Or hell.

    Where you can speak, see, and hear as much evil as you want.

    Perhaps I will let you go.

    Have a nut.

    I’m not a monster.





  • .



    Roll up, roll up.

    Come see the freak.

    Or just different.


    Freakishly watching me.

    So yeah.

    Spin those tables baby.



    “The color of one’s creed, neckties, eyes, thoughts, manners, speech, is sure to meet somewhere in time of space with a fatal objection from a mob that hates that particular tone. And the more brilliant, the more unusual the man, the nearer he is to the stake. Stranger always rhymes with danger. The meek prophet, the enchanter in his cave, the indignant artist, the nonconforming little schoolboy, all share in the same sacred danger. And this being so, let us bless them, let us bless the freak; for in the natural evolution of things, the ape would perhaps never have become man had not a freak appeared in the family.” 
    ― Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Literature

Here’s to you, Lemmy

1 Comment


    “You know I’m born to lose, and gambling’s for fools,
    But that’s the way I like it baby,
    I don’t wanna live for ever….” – Motörhead, Ace of Spades


    I was around 15 years old and going to my first ever City away game on the coach. Rubik’s cubes were all the rage and I spent the journey playing with my cube, headphones in listening to the brand new album from Motorhead, Ace of Spades.

    These were momentous times. Never to be forgotten. Everything was exciting, everything was palpable. Everything was possible.

    Today, 35 years later, we mourn the man who left an indelible mark on my life because music so defines our memories.

    You hear a song and you are immediately transported back to the time when it first made an impression on you.

    Sounds, smells, the sights all around you return in sharp focus.

    It is as though you are back there.

    It was a day I will never forget.

    Thanks Lemmy you magnificent bastard, now go and rest in peace. You’ve earned it.


    “… and don’t forget the Joker.” – Motörhead, Ace of Spades



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    “I had no idea what I was going to do with the toy car, other than drive it around with my fingers, making vroom vroom sounds…” – Jennifer Day

    I had a very clear idea what I was going to do with the toy car.

    I was going to drive it around.

    Making vroom vroom sounds.

    But I couldn’t make those sounds.

    Because this is a photo challenge.

    And besides.

    I had a car in my mouth.


    The pen is mightier than the sword.

    And a picture is worth a thousand words.

    So behold.

    A mighty thousand word story.

    In a single photograph.

    Beat that!

    Vroom vroom!

Won’t someone please wind me up

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    There is a hole

    Just below my ear

    For a key

    Please someone wind me up

    Kickstart my brain

    Does this sound insane

    To you

    Well times of readjustment

    Require drastic measures

    You turn the key

    I transition

    Thank you

    I am ticking again.



Space, the final frontier.

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    We have moved to a new home.

    A home for us, and a home for the business.

    With space.

    So much space.

    A photographic studio that is perfect for our work.

    Up to 3 permanent table setups and a water tank.

    And a barn that is perfect for our play.

    Where we can throw around paint, water and anything else messy and see where that takes us.

    One for clean, precise, controlled photography.

    One for spontaneity.

    The Iconophile.

    Is about to get even more creative.


    “Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” 
    ― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


An ornate thing in an ornate place

  • .

    ORNATE effects


    We have moved in to a new house.

    With a fabulous photographic studio.

    And a barn.

    That is full of wonderful junk.

    We could tidy the barn.

    Except that it is the perfect backdrop for intriguing and ornate photography.

    Of ornate things.

    Like this two stringed musical Instrument.

    Brought back from a trip to Bali many years ago.

    A time when our desires were more ornate.

    And less simple.



  • .



    It’s not Halloween yet.

    Is it?

    No it isn’t.

    But there’s no reason to time stamp the post.

    So it’s Halloween?

    It will be when someone reads this.

    And not when others do.

    What does it matter?

    It doesn’t.

    There is a time in every day for chills.

    Terrify yourself once a day.

    To keep on your toes.

    With a pumpkin.

    Eating a pumpkin.

    What a hot-head.

    With a fiery temper.


    Just below the surface.

    You’d feel the same way.

    If someone scooped out your brains.

    And set fire to the void.

    If you could feel.

    Without a brain.


    Tommy Doyle: What about the jack-o-lantern? 

    Laurie: After the movie. 

    Tommy Doyle: What about my comics? 

    Laurie: After the jack-o-lantern. 

    Tommy Doyle: What about the boogey man? 

    Laurie: There’s no such thing.

    – Halloween (1978)


Bloody phone!

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    I need my mobile.

    To connect to our clients.

    When email simply won’t suffice.

    But when it will.

    I can remain silent.

    The ringing of the phone.



    Or answer.

    Bloody phone!


    “The phone rang. Softly, in actuality, yet it seemed loud and ominous, as phones do at night in dark hotel rooms.” – Jim Thompson, The Nothing Man


Self portrait of the true artist

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    No. I’m not that arrogant.

    Let the camera step in to the spotlight.

    The true artist revealed.

    I point.

    The camera captures.

    The lens sees.

    Things I do not see.

    Or can hope to understand.

    It is my joy.

    To review the pictures the camera has captured, with wonder.

    Seeing them for the first time.

    Thanks camera.

    For all your hard work.

    Now step back behind yourself.

    I want the spotlight again.

    The mirror is the object of our challenge.

    It reflects the truth.

    That the camera is the star.

    I am but a prop.


    “When do I see a photograph, when a reflection?” – Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly


Music fills the halls of SDDP towers

  • I spent my formative years listening to vinyl.

    At the age of eighteen, in 1983, I abandoned vinyl for CD and have spent the last 32 years of my life slowly lowering the quality of my audio experience, from CD’s to MP3’s.

    Until now that is.

    I have finally finished putting together my new vinyl set up and am back to lossless music, warm and wonderful as the artist intended it.

    I am in love with this new setup.

    Suddenly the music returns to life.

    It is rich, subtle, rounded.

    So I thought I’d share my new setup with all our lovely readers.

    To kick off I have the superb Rega RP1 turntable with the performance pack pre-fitted. (I went for the Union Jack limited edition of course.)




    I paired this with the wonderful Rega Brio R amplifier which is, according to What HiFi , an agile, rhythmic and detailed sound. I have to agree with that.




    These impressive Rega devices are pumping their sweet delicious audio out of a pair of Monitor Audio r652 speakers that I have owned for 35 years and still sound as wonderful as they did all those years ago.

    Of course, sometimes I want to listen to music in (relative) silence so for this I have a Little Dot 1+ headphone amplifier and a pair of Grado 325is headphones.

    The Grado headphones aren’t to everyone’s taste as they tend to be rather eccentric in their sound but the Little Dot is the perfect pairing as it is a tube/valve hybrid and it mellows the sound and balances the headphone’s quirks.




    I am so happy with this setup.

    Of course, I am unable to stop tinkering and will no doubt upgrade the Rega at some point, probably resulting in the purchase of an RP6 in the distant future.

    But I can’t praise the RP1 enough. For an entry level deck it is a phenomenal turntable and the Rega Bias 2 cartridge does an admirable job.


    “Music is the strongest form of magic.” – Marilyn Manson


The art of Rage Quitting

  • .



    I love playing video games.

    Being transported to new worlds.

    Meeting new characters.

    And chopping off their heads with a massive sword.

    Who doesn’t?

    But I also love to be challenged by games.

    To take on games that seem to have been designed just for me.

    And designed to beat me.

    Take Bloodborne from the developer From Software.




    An amazing game.

    One of the best I have ever played.

    And it beat me, and beat me, then beat me again.

    And I rege quit.

    More times than I care to mention.

    But I returned every time.

    And eventually.

    I beat the game.


    And that was a very satisfying feeling.

    One of the best I have ever had.

    Whilst playing a game.

    That game had me twisting the controller until I thought I would twist it all the way around.

    Like in the photograph.

    That uses computer trickery.

    No controllers were damaged in the making of this post.


    Do not go gentle into that good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light. – Dylan Thomas


While my guitar gently weeps

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    I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
    While my guitar gently weeps
    I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
    Still my guitar gently weeps

    -The Beatles


    I took this photograph for our Objectivity challenge whilst I was frustrated.

    Frustrated with other people.

    Frustrated with life in general.

    Just frustrated.

    I didn’t know what I was looking to capture here.

    But I think I captured it.

    I’m good now.

    What you see here is transition.

    The moment of change.

    Photography will do that.

    Take the frustration and turn it in to creativity.


    “It’s frustration which makes creativity possible.” – Hanif Kureishi, The Last Word


Serenity now

  • .



    When we first chose the Torch as our next Objectivity challenge my mind went back to the games we used to play as kids.

    Shining a torch under our chins in the pitch black of night to scare our friends.

    Watching terrifying movies that we weren’t supposed to be watching.

    Classic old movies from the 50’s and 60’s and the new movies of the seventies.

    I thought to reproduce this terror for my entry in to the challenge but low and behold, the results weren’t horrifying, they were serene. Calm.

    I turned 50 at the weekend and perhaps I have finally found some inner peace, an experience that shows on my face, along with a few grey hairs for that distinguished look.

    I’m still capable of conjuring up horror, make no mistake about that, but when in repose, it appears that Serenity is in fact the order of the day.

    Well, who knew?


    “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” – Sophia Loren


Hammer Blow

  • Drum roll please…..

    For the latest in our Objectivity Challenge we are shooting a hammer.

    Well, that’s right in my wheelhouse thought I.

    This has ‘High Speed Photography’ written all over it.

    I have shot an egg before, crushed in my hand (see below), so imagine what a hammer could do.




    The answer to that question is, surprisingly little. It breaks the egg of course, but the result is less than dramatic. I tried fruit but it merely punctures and flattens it.

    I considered a glass, but, broken glass all over the studio was not a part of the plan even though I accept the glass would have been a more dramatic shot.

    But these Objectivity challenges are not always about the perfect shot, nor should they be.

    They are about trying new things, looking at photography in a different way and sometimes, about failing.

    So I give you an egg being shattered (undramatically) by a hammer.




    “All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett, Worstward Ho


Not quite Hammer Time

I know, I know, I nag myself but I’ve been busy the past few days and it is not quite Hammer Time yet. Plus, Jennifer’s images were so awesome that I have to raise my game.


Breaking the Ice


In the meantime, as way of an intermission, why not enjoy a little bit of Friday Silliness.

Ross Kemp folded.




If you don’t know who Ross Kemp is, he came to fame on the soap opera Eastenders, went on to do a fair bit of SAS style drama and presented a pretty well loved show on gangs from around the world.

He doesn’t take himself too seriously, and has become something of a cult-hero for his presentation style and fabulously wooden acting.

So what is Ross Kemp folded. It is literally the art of taking pictures of Ross Kemp and folding them in such a way as to create another, wholly different picture of Mr Kemp.

There is some great Graphic Design elements in these ‘folds’. Plus they’re funny as hell.


“If you offer me a job sitting in a Winnebago with make-up girls and free food, I’m probably going to take it.” – Ross Kemp


Smoke gets in my eyes.


They, said some day you’ll find
All who love are blind
When you heart’s on fire
You must realise
Smoke gets in your eyes




The matchstick.

I smoke to think

About creativity

And I get ideas

Of images to shoot

For this blog

Going round and around

Until it dissipates

Like smoke in the wind

But some gets in my eyes.

A Tasty Rose




I had a ‘nutty’ idea for our next ‘Objectivity’ challenge.

I would turn a jar of Nutella in to a living sculpture.

I love the rose motif.

You know that already.

I have used roses in a lot of my photography.

The rose also appears in our company logo.

So what else would you do with a jar of Nutella?*


“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.” – Katharine Hepburn


*Shhh, tell no one. It turns out that Nutella is nigh on impossible to craft in to a Rose. For me anyway. But plasticine, now that’s very possible. Cheaty me.

Don’t look back in anger….




…. It’s likely to give you a stiff neck.


Rachael: Do you like our owl? 

Deckard: It’s artificial? 

Rachael: Of course it is. 

Deckard: Must be expensive. 

Rachael: Very.

– Blade Runner (1982)


Of course I didn’t really twist my head around 180degrees, that would be crazy.

But ironically, because of the level of Photoshop work required to create this image, I was staring at my computer for too long and I gave myself a stiff neck.

Now that wasn’t very wise was it.

If I was a replicant I might be able to turn my head all the way around.

Without getting a stiff neck.

But I probably wouldn’t feel the need to.

Because wisdom isn’t doing the things you think you can, it’s about doing the things you think you can’t and then finding out that you can.

Or finding out that you can’t.

Either way you are now wiser than you were.

It’s a hoot eh?






When Jennifer suggested the Shoe for the latest in our Objectivity Challenge my mind went to romance, to drinking champagne out of a wedding slipper, to Cinderella.

But then I read the Creepy Pasta post and my mind went in a different direction.

That is the mind for you. So suggestive, so quick to spin. One minute, it’s all strawberries and cream, the next, the strawberry is blood and the cream curdled.

Personally I go for strawberries whenever possible, but it’s worth bearing in mind that I know the alternative and I choose not to go there. Often.


So silent and furtive were his movements, like those of a trained bloodhound picking out a scent, that I could not but think what a terrible criminal he would have made had he turned his energy and sagacity against the law instead of exerting them in its defence. – Observation of Dr. Watson


Watching the Detectives


MAGNIFY effect


First up in our object challenge is the magnifying glass and what are you going to do with a magnifying glass if not look through it.

At the camera lens.

Through the spy glass.

Watching you watching me.



Just like watching the detectives
Don’t get cute
Just like watching the detectives
I get so angry when the teardrops start
But he can’t be wounded ’cause he’s got no heart

Elvis Costello

He says: Z is for Zen


“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there –
buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day” – Deepak Chopra




What is Zen to me?

A state of being, of concentration, focus.

It is the place I go to think. To become inspired.

It can be a place in your mind or a physical space.

For me it is my photographic studio.

When I go in there and shut the door, I close the world out and my mind is focussed.

It is a place of inspiration.

So why illustrate Zen with this photograph?

Because it is a packshot I am proud of.

It shows the product but at the same time it has a soul.

You see the position of the hands and you can picture the face, the expression of contemplation.

Perhaps the subject itself is in a state of zen.

He has forgotten the bottle he holds. The glass in his hands. Deep in thought. He meditates. As the liquid gently moves across his palate.

I shot this in my studio. My place of Zen.


“Concentration is the secret of strength.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


He says: Y is for Youthful



When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. – 1 Corinthians 13:11


As a child I used to visit my father at his office and I was excited by the idea of growing up. Of his big important job in his big important office with his small but important secretary.

I was around 10 when I decided I needed to grow up quickly and become an adult. I counted the years till the day when I could leave education behind me and flick a switch. Instant adult. Leave my youthful ways behind and move in to the next phase of my life.

Of course there’s no switch. We move through the years and we evolve but we never leave the child behind. Why can’t the passions of youth become the passions of adulthood?

Perhaps that 10 year old knew it too. Some of the happiest evenings of my childhood were spent helping my dad with his stamp collection. Carefully cutting the mounts with a scalpel. So precise, perfect. Perhaps this is where my perfectionism comes from. My attention to detail, one of the most vital ingredients in my design and photography.

Why this walk down memory lane? Perhaps because in a few weeks time I will be 50. A half century. I should be holding my bat aloft and celebrating with the crowd.

But I don’t move with the crowd. So I shall celebrate with Jennifer and with our cat and I will be thankful that I have so much in my life and that those things I am supposed to have cast out in my search for adulthood are still very much a part of me.

My childish ways inspire my adult life.

So why not reason like a child? I find that children have far more reason than adults.


He says: W is for Wonderland



“Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?” “Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again. “No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?” “I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”

– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


I love Alice in Wonderland. I loved it as a child. That sense of adventure, of wide-eyed wonder.

And the Hatter. Was there ever a character as mad and at the same time, as sane?

And then I grew up and I heard ‘White Rabbit’ by Grace Slick and I fell in love with the story all over again, only this time with older eyes, I understood more.

Perhaps more than Lewis Carroll ever intended but isn’t that the wonder of fiction. It is not what the writer intends that is vital, it is what the reader sees.

And so, W is for Wonderland and my homage to the Hatter.

Why so serious, you might ask. Almost stern. Because that is how the original illustrations depicted him. Not the dumb smiling Disney character or the Johnny Depp goon but a deep thinker and everyone knows that deep thought leaves one most serious of expression.

Interesting fact. Lewis Carroll grew up just a few miles from me in Stockport, Greater Manchester and the Hatter was so named because hat making was the main industry of Stockport in those days.

So now you know why I am mad.

Thank you for partaking in my madness.


When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead

And the white knight is talking backwards

And the red queen’s off with her head

Remember what the dormouse said

Feed your head, feed your head

– Grace Slick


He says: V is for Vinyl


“People don’t appreciate music any more. They don’t adore it. They don’t buy vinyl and just love it. They love their laptops like their best friend, but they don’t love a record for its sound quality and its artwork.” – Laura Marling




There’s something about vinyl.

30 years ago I sold all my vinyl and my record player. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

I kind of regret it now.

But my musical tastes have evolved, and so I probably wouldn’t listen to them anyway.

Which doesn’t change the fact that there is something special about vinyl.

The tactile grooves. The large cover artwork with its own unique smell, lyric sheets you could actually read, the physical act of placing the stylus on the record, and of course not forgetting that rich, warm sound that only vinyl gives you.

CD were crisper sounding and for a while that made you forget how pure the record actually felt. The booklets were smaller but still there, and then there was the manual feeding of the disk that still gave some sense of substance, but it always felt like a poor substitute for the real thing.

Not forgetting the smell of a second hand vinyl shop. Like a used book store, it is a magical smell that you don’t get from a rack full of CD’s.

And now we have digital downloads. If you are lucky you get a digital booklet, the sound reminds you that you are swapping quality for convenience and there is nothing tactile about clicking the play button.

I have spent the last ten years looking for an excuse to get a new record player and this challenge was the perfect time. So yesterday I bought one. And photographed it. As is my want.

I am not sure how much I will use it, but I will certainly pick up a few of my favourite albums on vinyl and reminisce about the good old days.

Vinyl smelt, felt and sounded better. Bulky, inconvenient to store and expensive to produce but better.

I look forward to my first trip for 30 years to a vinyl exchange store and the idea of thumbing through those old records fills me with joy.


“That tactile feel of flipping through a stack of vinyl remains one of life’s simple pleasures.” – Billy Gibbons


He says: T is for Time…

…Which is ironic really because I have suddenly become very busy with new projects and time might be on Mick Jagger’s side but it is not on my side.


“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to.” – Lao Tzu


And I very much wanted to do an original image for today’s post rather than a rehash of something I’ve already shown you, so I found time because time, as you probably know, is kind of my business. As a professional photographer of watches time is precious to me, in more ways than one. So today, let me introduce you to, The Tower of Time.

. TIME .

T is for Time. It could have been T for Topple. Balancing watches one on top of the other is not easy. It takes time.


“The time would not pass. Somebody was playing with the clocks, and not only the electronic clocks but the wind-up kind too. The second hand on my watch would twitch once, and a year would pass, and then it would twitch again. There was nothing I could do about it. As an Earthling I had to believe whatever clocks said.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five