That’s the Spirit

It’s been five years since I posted here. Five whole years. And what a journey I’ve been on in the meantime, quite literally.

Since last tapping some words on this blog (which I started over 8 years ago), I’ve visited 150 RNLI stations on The Lifeboat Station Project.

Once the restrictions are lifted — whenever that may be — I can’t wait to complete the remaining 88 lifeboat stations with renewed vigour.

A SPLENDID TORCH

After such an intense few years, and as we career into Lockdown 2.0, I’ve enjoyed the headspace to lift the dust sheets from these pages and breathe life back into them.

There are still a few tweaks to be made but things are mostly shipshape again.

Then came a timely tweet by Michael Warburton yesterday featuring a clip of Jeff Goldblum impressively reciting a quote by playwright and Nobel Prize winner, George Bernard Shaw:

Here’s the quote in full:


This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

Magnificent, isn’t it?

The words really tap into a simple sentiment that I consider to be vital more than ever in times like these — the sentiment of community spirit.

To my mind, community provides hope and, with hope, we can function.

A READYMADE SYMPHONY

Like Michael’s tweet, George Bernard Shaw’s quote seems particularly timely as we settle into our next lockdown.

It had me thinking back to the last one and the weekly clap for carers ritual. It gave me goosebumps every time, making me think I really must record this.

So, on the fifth Thursday at 8pm, I set up my microphones in the garden in readiness.

As it transpired, I couldn’t have chosen a better occasion. The moment was perfect from start to finish, a readymade symphony:

The recording begins with a chirruping bird, then the beat of a distant pan. A lone clapper soon becomes hundreds, dogs bark, car horns sound, tambourines clatter, tubas parp, all emblazoned with fireworks in the middle distance. Glorious!

And, as I listened to so many humans uniting in our extended neighbourhood, I thought…

that’s the spirit.

Wet Plate: A Potted History

On Mark Tucker‘s blog, I’ve just stumbled across a potted history of the wet plate collodion process by George Eastman House.

The original work of the 1850s is often so beautiful. Some of it is shown in their short video, not least a stunning glass negative of an American steam locomotive.

During the commentary, the narrator mentions one of the aspects that I love about wet plate — that each one has a narrative derived from the very hand of the photographer. Every part of a wet plate tells a story in some way, whether it’s to do with the content or the process.

Lovely to see the famous image of Roger Fenton’s Photographic Van featured too.

Anyway, enjoy a few moments with this…

Animated Chopin

I love a bit of piano, in particular at the moment Debussy and Chopin.

As if the score isn’t beautiful enough, here is Chopin’s Nocturne in E-flat Major, Opus 9, No.2 performed and animated by Stephen Malinowski.

Make sure you see it right towards the end as the music simplifies with glorious delicate flourishes…

Silver and Light Revisited

Back in December, I saw out the year with a short film showing the extraordinary working methods of Ian Ruhter.

I’ve enjoyed watching it again recently as it has a new relevance for me.

Whether or not you’ve seen it already, I really recommend making the time. It’s a cracker and a gentle reminder of what photography really is…

“There is a point in every person’s life when they must choose to follow their dreams or be stuck in the life they fear.” — Ian Ruhter

If, like me, you’re a fan of Tumblr, Ian Ruhter’s feed is a good’un too…

Mercedes: Poultry in Motion…?

A little treat for the weekend…

This video for Mercedes has been doing the rounds recently.

In essence, it highlights how cars will never be as good as nature’s finest chickens…