New Platinum Print: Paddington Station

If you’re a photographer, you might empathise with this — occasionally (or regularly) making a photograph that you know you like but you’re not quite sure how or what will be the right way to finish it off, to properly close the loop…

I must say, it doesn’t normally take as long as fourteen years to come to a decision.

However, back in 1999, I captured the layered platform rooves of Paddington Station, a mainline railway station in West London.

Although I loved the graphic simplicity of the scene, it was an image that went on the back-burner.

Finding the photograph a couple of weeks ago put me straight into the mindset of a vintage Paddington Station.

Some of the buildings are clearly more modern but nevertheless it reminds me of a time gone by.

I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the weightiness or the puff of white rising from one of the platforms; maybe it’s simply the fact that it was shot on nostalgic ol’ black and white film with my Nikon.

Whatever the reasons, I knew instantly that it would make a fine Platinum/Palladium print.

I set to work making the Digital Negative and sent it off to Richard (take a look at the process here).

When Prints No.1 and No.2 arrived back, I was over the moon — just what I’d hoped for:

Paddington Station, West London, UK, 1999, photographed by Jack Lowe

In hindsight, I think I was a little ahead of myself when I released the shutter on this scene.

Rather than the photographic tastes I had then, it was as if I was seeing ahead to the tastes I would have now with an older head on my shoulders.

Perhaps that’s why it’s taken so long for me to close this particular loop.

Anyway, I managed to find a clip of The Last Journey, a story about Bob Holt’s last journey as a railway engine driver before his retirement.

The clip depicts Paddington in the 1930s, a time when Platinum printing had already become scarce due to the war effort, and a good example of the station back in the day:

If you would like to buy one of these beautiful signed, numbered and embossed prints, you can find it nestled among others here in my Platinum Collection.

Paddington Station, West London, UK, 1999, photographed by Jack Lowe

Bridge Gazing

Wandering in the lower reaches of the Ouseburn Valley here in Newcastle, it’s impossible to miss one of my favourite locations — a spot where a collection of fine bridges has spanned the valley in some way shape or form since the 18th Century.

To stroll among these marvels of civil engineering is breathtaking, a sensation akin to gazing at an art gallery laden with Old Master paintings.

Byker Bridges, Photography by Jack Lowe

Byker Bridges, 2003

My favourites are the 280 metre 1839 railway viaduct and the 800 metre long 1982 Metro light-rail bridge, both from very different times but both individually stunning.

I’ve really missed having access to this part of our local habitat…

Over the last couple of years, the railway viaduct has undergone a £10million refurbishment during which time the surroundings have become a no-go area; a scaffolding-clad 24/7 hive of bustling industry.

Metro Bridge, Photography by Jack Lowe

Metro Bridge, 2003

We’ll be able to wonder among this gallery again soon, however, as the scaffolding is finally coming down.

The rejuvenated viaduct looks truly resplendent in its new raven-black coat.

Ouseburn Viaduct, Newcastle upon Tyne

The scaffolding comes down, March 2013

The Ouseburn Valley, Newcastle upon Tyne, Google Earth

The Ouseburn Valley as seen by Google Earth (the railway viaduct is still covered here).

In a couple of years or so, when the scarred landscape has had time to recover, I’ll look forward to rephotographing this favourite spot…

— Signed Prints

I make prints of Byker Bridges and Metro Bridge that are numbered, signed and embossed — you can buy them directly from my Cornerstone Collection.

England, Scotland and Berwick

Almost as far North as you can possibly journey within the bounds of England lies Berwick upon Tweed, nestled just a couple of miles from the Scottish border.

On Saturday, I made the 65 mile rail journey north with a friend to see Paul Kenny’s latest show open at The Berwick Watchtower.

As we wandered the streets of this garrison town, the sensations we experienced were odd and uneasy, enough for us to discuss it regularly throughout the day…

The mouth of the River Tweed — Berwick on the left to the North East and Tweedmouth on the right to the South West...

The mouth of the River Tweed — Berwick on the left to the North East and Tweedmouth on the right to the South West…

On the face of it, Berwick is pretty. However, it doesn’t take too long to sense a melancholy and fatigue hanging over the town.

There are small pockets where this isn’t the case but, overall, Berwick certainly appears to be a very northern outpost burdened with a tangible raw edge, perhaps the bleeding edge of the ongoing economic crisis.

Buildings look tired with many high street shops closing or, indeed, closed down. Local estate agents, too, seem awash with property for sale.

There is, however, plenty to admire as some of the architecture is stunning, not least the beautifully named Royal Border Bridge — a vital artery carrying the East Coast Mainline, connecting this remote town at high speed with the rest of the country.

The Royal Tweed bridge over the River Tweed, joining Berwick upon Tweed with Tweedmouth

The Royal Tweed road bridge — an East Coast Mainline train heads to London over the Royal Border Bridge in the distance…

To my mind, Berwick’s outpost feel is largely due to its geography, eclectic history and confused identity where, in the modern era, one can still be left wondering, “Is Berwick Scottish or English?”

Embroiled in bitter, bloody border wars for so many years, it’s hard to know.

The Tweed boils beneath the Old Bridge at Berwick upon Tweed

The Tweed boils beneath the Old Bridge…

Technically, Berwick is English after the most recent capture in 1482 but that’s not always been the case.

In fact, it was even recently pondered whether or not Berwick was technically at war with Russia after it was ‘left out’ of the conclusion to the Crimean War in the 1856 Treaty of Paris!

Perhaps you can now begin to see why I describe an eclectic history?

Not helping matters, Berwick Rangers FC remains the only English football club in the land to compete in the Scottish Football League.

Railway Street, Berwick upon Tweed

My kinda street…

All-in-all, an unconventional day out and one to get the cogs turning.

Paul’s show, of course, look resplendent — his Seaworks so appropriately on display at the coast.

Ultimately, though, it was time to journey home and leave this very northern outpost behind, carrying plenty of feelings to digest and thoughts to ponder about this quirky nation of ours…

Berwick upon Tweed Railway Station

Home time — a train rushes through the pretty railway station at Berwick upon Tweed…

Sunday Touchline

A short tangent on a Sunday…

It may feel like a bit of a drag getting out of bed on a Sunday morning sometimes, especially knowing that I’ll be spending the first hour or two of the day standing on a cold touchline (albeit in support of one of my children).

However, as an added incentive, it’s worth me remembering that some of the football clubs are in pretty good locations.

I had a feeling that I should carry a camera with me today as we made the 40 mile journey north to Longhoughton — a small village in the wilds of Northumberland where the football ground nestles beside the East Coast Mainline…

East Coast Mainline Train Passing Longhoughton

An express train charges south towards Newcastle…

Longhoughton Winter Sun

Skinny winter sunshine over neighbouring farmland.

For those who like to know, these were shot on my much-loved Lumix LX3.

I inadvertently had the crop ratio set to 16:9, something I’m not used to but actually rather like on seeing these — very filmic, don’t you think?

Oh, my son’s team lost 4-0 by the way…