Lost in the Weeds


It seems i’ve lost momentum. Back after the summer. Probably.


The Picture We Make


Taken May 27th 2009, Canon Powershot G9. Kanagawa, Japan.

It looks like electrical discharge patterns in something like wood, or a complex fulgurite. In reality it’s a piece of decaying concrete, which if i remember correctly was part of a set of steps near our house in Japan.

Don’t know why i find these pattens in “nature” so fascinating… do a lot of people find themselves photographing concrete, and staring at the results looking for imagined scenes? Maybe it’s just me.

The Contradictions Make Me


Taken November 2014, Canon 5D Mk2 + EF24mm ƒ1.4L. Hamburg, Germany.

Poetry is a way to take pictures of things you can’t take pictures of.

“Words are not pictures of things”, it seems we’ve reached an impasse!

It’s a closeup of a billboard, rasterised image, which i no longer remember. It was probably during one of my “must carry a camera and get out of this uncreative funk” periods. There have been many.

I didn’t really want this image in the book… but struggled to convince Iain and Michelle that it was terrible. It’s a crazy block of colour. Like turning the leaf and finding a Mondrian… except he wasn’t big on curves. I find it jarring, while they found it exciting.

Knowing what i know now, any attempt to find a replacement would have resulted in me re-using an image from another entry. Demurring was perhaps the safer option.

The Molten Core


Taken August 23rd 2010, Canon Powershot G9. IOP / Kaiyoukouen, Shizuoka, Japan.

One of the few diving shots that made it into the books. Which is a shame, they are some of my favourites. Usually a completely different style, bright colours, and crazy shapes.

This was taken at a dive spot call Izu Ocean Park. I’ve not dived too many different places, only Japan, New Zealand, and Australia, but this point is probably my favourite. I’d dive with a dive shop called Papalagi, where one specific dive master (Matsuzaki-san) would take me on “adventures”. If it was just the two of us we’d go on these long dives to places that take effort.

One of these adventures involved a surface swim for 15mins, and then diving down along a finger of volcanic rock, which drops off to 50 or 60m quite close to shore. The above Nudibranch (Sakuraeolis gerberina) was at around 35m. the white ribbon like structures you can see it curled around are egg casing. The sea fan, on which it lives and feeds, is a hydroid called Solanderia.

Here is another shot, with another Nudibranch (Protaeolidiella atra) and it’s pink egg cases.


At this kind of depth the drop off from the flash is enough to make it seem really dark down there. While its not exactly bright, the light goes a lot deeper… not that i’ve been down much deeper – 40m is the limit for recreational diving on standard air mixtures.

The pressure dissolves enough nitrogen in your blood that it’s only safe to stay for a few minutes at such depths, and the toxicity of the nitrogen at pressure makes it feel like slamming a couple of martinis. The route back to the surface is, out of necessity, slow, as you need to let the dissolved nitrogen come out of solution with your blood. Too fast and it forms bubbles… bad times.

Not being able to take month diving trips with Matsuzaki-san is one of the biggest things that i miss about being in Japan. When i’ve tried to get back in the water on return trips it just hasn’t been the same… maybe the routine made the extraordinary experience of madcap dives seem no big deal. Dragging my gear halfway around the world, and getting to Izu from the wrong side of Tokyo makes it all stressful and exhausting.

Will try to pull together a post of my favourite diving snaps, “Oh, Pretty colours!”

The AWOL Hearts


Taken January 2009, Hasselblad 503cw + Zeiss Planar T✻ 80mm. Enoshima, Japan.

Another case where the original shot didn’t feel right. The original was taken at a gallery show… i don’t recall the details. I’m not really sure why it didn’t feel right to put in this book, and i wouldn’t be surprised to find it in one of the earlier ones†. The wideness gives it a distortion of perspective that is quite interesting.

Not much to say about this shot. It’s a ‘classic’ shallow depth of field, nostalgia invoking piece of timeless japan. The sort of picture you take a lot when you first look into the magic Hasselblad view finder.

† just checked, the entry is in the first book, with this picture. After seeing that the entry ‘The List of Changes’ also the uses the picture for ‘The Crowded Life‘ i’m all at sea, and can’t trust myself to know what belongs with what!

The Best Way To Run Into Traffic


Taken February 2009, Hasselblad 503cw + Zeiss Planar T✻ 80mm. Shinjuku, Tokyo.

This was early in the period of experimentation with tilted shots. While it’s interesting, i wouldn’t go as far as to say it was a success. The lights and reflections are good, but somehow the ‘quadrant’ coming out of the bottom right of the shot isn’t strong enough… maybe it would look better if was leading the grey section to the left of the white line?

The mysterious set of reflections in the centre (going right to left, before the tarmac) are a central divider, that was presumably shiny enough to reflect the lights. It might be that was intentional – i’d also been experimenting with that technique for a while. With the camera on the central divider it would have been tricky to get the angles right…

Here’s an example of the experiments with using reflective (but in the case matte) surfaces:


which i still find wonderfully confusing!

The Sound At The Back Of Your Throat


Taken January 2009, Hasselblad 503cw + Zeiss Planar T✻ 80mm + Ilford SFX-200 + R72 Filter. Enoshima, Japan.

Lots of Enoshima this week… Enoshima is a strange little island. It seems somehow remote and disconnected from reality. An island that time forgot. There are abandoned mines, a derelict victorian era power plant, an eccentric english style botanical garden, all mixed up with buddhist temples and shinto shrines, and the usual dreck of a traditional Japanese resort / tourist town.

Off the main paths there are quieter places, and views out over the pacific. And if you turn up late, or wait long enough it gets remarkably quiet – which is, to say the least, unusually welcome in Japan.

The joke about the cat is that it was taken with infra-red film. At the time there was a lot of “excitement” in the press about perverts using infra-red filters to film kids playing in the sun, as apparently certain video cameras would make the kids look naked… i suspect it was never really the case, or at least required a vivid imagination. Anyway, the “joke” was whether the cat would appear to be without fur in this picture. Yes, i know, not very funny.

Here is a view from the seaward end of the island to make up for the lack of humour.