Category Archives: Photography

Something new and exciting, dynamic and daring and I liked it.

Royal Liverpool Hospital Boiler House Chimney

I have always found this functional chimney impressive. A part of the Royal Liverpool Hospital and built around 1963 (Holford Associates) the boiler house upturned ‘hammer’ like chimney belongs I suspect to the 1960s brutalist style. Although, I have never found it brutal – in fact I find it inspiring and thrilling both in style and scale. It measures 67.06m in height and I was around when it was being built. I grew up close to the construction site and would have been about 9 years old when the building was finished. I have a fondness for the boiler house in particular. It’s brutalist style looked very modern to my young eyes, surrounded as I was by Victorian terraced houses. This was something new and exciting, dynamic and daring and I liked it.

I wanted to make a photograph that would capture those feelings that I had for this building and with the billowing steam at atop the chimney and the dramatic sky above, I think I have done it some justice.

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Filed under Architecture, Caught my eye, Photography

If only we knew…

Kodak No.2 Foldinga Autographic BrownieRecently while visiting friends in Wales we took a trip to a 50s museum (http://www.50smuseum.uk/). The wonderful thing about the place was the fact fact that almost no exhibits were in a case and many things were very accessible. It’s all a little disorderly, but for me it added to the undoubted charm of the place.

As I walked around my eyes were caught by the camera collection. Although many of the cameras were far earlier in date than the fifties their engineering beauty shines out from across the decades.

The Kodak No.2 Folding Autographic Brownie in particular, made between 1915 and 1926, stood out for me and I wanted to make a photograph of it surrounded by other cameras. Who knows what pictures this wonderful camera may have taken over the years. If only we knew…

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What makes a memory?

A door in the wall

I made this photograph of a simple wooden door in a red brick wall. But the reason I made it is locked in my past and to one of my earliest memories.

I remember I was walking back from a shopping trip with my mother on a hot summers day in 1958. I would have been 4 years old. I recall the heat and my mother’s bright floral dress. We had stopped by this very same wall because my mother had met a neighbour and they were chatting. It was very hot.

But what fixes this so strongly in my memory and in my mind, was the sweet scent from a flowering privet hedge growing on the other side of the wall in what I assume was the rear garden of the house. Privet flowers in late summer, producing a sickly sweet aroma and that places my memory in a specific time of the the time of year. Every time I smell that fragrance my mind is catapulted back to that day back in the late summer of 1958.

I was in the same area recently and wanted to check if the wall was still there and was it how I remembered it. As it turned out, it was! The wall is now in a heritage area and part of a grade II listed building, so was well preserved. The door must be a newer addition, but the wall was exactly the same as I remembered it 60 years ago. I just wonder if behind that wall the privet hedge is still there. I’ll have to return in late summer and see if I can pick up the scent. Now that would be wonderful!

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Filed under Looking back, Photography, Uncategorized

Kotor, Montenegro using a Fuji X100F

Kotor, Montenegro

Kotor is a fortified town on Montenegro’s Adriatic coast, in a bay near the limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovćen.

This photograph was made using a Fuji X100F on the approach to Kotor harbour, looking back to the entrance to the Bay of Kotor where the fjords meet the Mediterranean.

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Still Waters using a Fuji X20

Still Waters copy

One from the archive… Windermere from Borrans Park close to the Waterhead Hotel. Taken with my old Fuji x20. The water was still and the breeze light. The lighting conditions were unusual and the distant hills blended to nothing. Only the sounds of the mooring ropes and rigging occasionally disturbed the quiet.

For my Flickr” https://www.flickr.com/photos/g-simons/41717440092/in/dateposted/

and my Photoblog: https://gerrysimonsphoto.blogspot.co.uk

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Speke Hall using Fuji X100F

Speke Hall

For more on this image and others visit my Photoblog: https://gerrysimonsphoto.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/speke-hall-liverpool.html

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Filed under Architecture, Art, Caught my eye, Liverpool, Photography

Photography with an 86 year old!

Photograph of St James Park, Liverpool

St James Park, Liverpool

Sorting out the loft (still not sorted by the way), I came across my dad’s old May Fair Camera. A simple box camera made in 1931.

After cleaning the May Fair inside and out, I ventured out armed with a new roll of 120mm Ilford HP4 – still available from Boots the Chemist – and made a few photographs at St James Park by Liverpool Cathedral. What you see above is scanned from the original print and has not been enhanced or altered. The weather was overcast but the light reasonable.

After using digital cameras for many years now it takes some getting used to the idea that you only have 8 negatives! It really focusses the mind on the job in hand.

The viewfinder is very small and despite my best efforts at cleaning remains a somewhat scratched. Composition was difficult and the photographer has to rely on sufficient light reaching the mirror that reflects the image up onto the tiny viewfinder.

My dad's vintage May Fair Camera

My dad’s vintage May Fair Camera

I think for an 86 year old camera this image is impressive and I will be going out again to see what else I can capture with this vintage gem.

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A New Direction

My first camera

My first camera

Back in May 2014 I posted this:

Over the past couple of years photography has increasingly become a more important part of my life. I use it as a part of my job as a graphic designer but I’m also using it more and more outside of the professional sphere to take images that give me pleasure or capture a moment in time. Drawing and painting are truly pleasurable activities too but there’s something about photographs & photography in general that is really beginning to dominate my free time.

I intend to post a some of my photographs to this blog, along with observations on photography, cameras equipment etc and I hope you enjoy the new direction this blog will now take. I will, as before, continue to make comment or write about other subjects or events that interest me or come to my attention.

To read my May 2104 post follow the link below:
https://taylorsimons.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/between-one-second-and-the-next/

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1950s: New York by Saul Leiter

“Saul Leiter (born 1923) is an American photographer and painter whose early work in the 1940s and 1950s was an important contribution to what came to be recognized as The New York School”

A true master of observation and creation of something sublime out of the ordinary.

http://bit.ly/1gng1c1

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A new photo blog

I’ve started a photoblog at: http://gerrysimonsphoto.wordpress.com – so if you have a moment please take a look. Thanks.

Statue Barcelona Pavillion

I’ll continue blogging here too from time to time so keep dropping back.

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Iconic Photographs Recreated with Legos

If you like Lego and famous photographs this one is for you. Brilliant!

lego pic

 

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A box of old cameras No.4: Olympus Trip 35

Olympus Trip 35

Olympus Trip 35

The Trip 35 is a 35mm compact camera, manufactured by Olympus and was introduced in 1967 and discontinued, after a lengthy production run, in 1984. The Trip name was a reference to its intended market — people who wanted a compact, functional camera for holidays. During the 1970s it was the subject of an advertising campaign that featured popular British photographer David Bailey. Over ten million units were sold.

An elegant and simple design

An elegant and simple design

I can’t remember when I bought my Trip 35, most likely back in the 70s. This model has the black shutter release button and not the snazzy and somewhat less common chrome version that came with the earlier models.

I had recently landed my first design job with the graphics department of a local authority. With a regular income coming in (at last) felt that I could splash out on a new camera. I wanted a compact, but something better than an ‘instamatic‘ and the Olympus Trip fitted the bill.

Rear view

Rear view

Lighter and smaller than my Praktica the trip offered me the ideal mix of a quality 35mm with a decent lens and some manual control. My old Praktica was brilliant and I had taken it to Paris when I was a student, but this was a bulky and heavy camera to lug about all day. The trip turned out to be the perfect solution on a trip to Amsterdam, back in the days when that was a cheap destination.

I suppose from the on it became my favourite camera right up until the digital era.

For those who want to see what this little camera can do try this Flickr group.

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A box of old cameras No.3: Praktica Nova 1

Praktica Nova 1 camera

Praktica Nova 1 still looking good

Presented at the 1967 Leipzig Spring Fair, the Praktica nova 1 brought much needed updates to the nova series. Following the lead of the Prakticamat, the nova 1 replaced the two-range shutter speed dial with a modern non-rotating one, with regularly-spaced speeds. In addition, it introduced the PL system for secure and rapid loading.

This East German camera is different from the two earlier posts on this subject (the Kodak Deluxe and the Kodak Instamatic 50) in that this beauty was all mine and represents a turning point for me in so many ways. Back in the 70s I was offered a place on the pre-diploma design course at Warrington College of Art & Design but a 35mm SLR camera was a prerequisite of the course. As my grant back then (yes, we did receive state aid), only amounted to £16 (not a lot of state aid), I had to ask my parents for some help. Despite his serious reservations about the art and design course and the fact we were far from wealthy, my dad purchased the camera after seeing this model on offer in a local shop. You can imagine my delight in owning such a great piece of equipment and I did appreciate the trust placed in my career choice.

Nova One front view

Nova 1 front view showing the Domiplan lens

This was my first camera and photography (along with design) has been a part of my life ever since. I went on to master darkroom techniques including developing and printing in both black and white and colour. I moved on to shooting reversal film using mainly Kodak and Agfa products and now have a large number of old slides that I must digitize one of these days, once I find the best method, (any suggestions would be appreciated by the way).

Nova one back

Nova one back view showing part of the PL loading system

Now all the studio kit is digital, mainly Canon and Pentax, but I will always have a soft spot for my old Praktica Nova 1.

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A box of old cameras No.2: Kodak Instamatic 50

Kodak Intamatic 50

Kodak Intamatic 50

The Kodak Instamatic 50

In last post of this series I featured the Kodak ‘Hawkeye’ Ace Delux and as I’m attempting to display these camera in chronological order, the next camera out of the box is another Kodak.

The ‘Intamatic’ 50 was the first Instamatic camera released by Kodak and appeared in the UK in February 1963 (about a month before the 100).

Kodak Instamatic Ad

Kodak Instamatic Ad

This model had a fixed shutter speed, aperture and focus and designed so that anyone could use it.

The Instamatic was a huge success with more than 50 million cameras produced between 1963 and 1970.

I’m not sure of the year this one was produced. It belonged to my father-in-law. George lived for most of his life near the sea front in Cleveleys, near Blackpool and the camera has sand engrained into the bodywork and shutter mechanism.

For examples of shots from this 126 film camera visit Lomography, describing itself as a shop and a community dedicated to analogue photography. It’s well worth a visit.

Kodak 50

Kodak 50, plus engrained sand

For more technical details go to Kodak Classics by Mischa Koning.

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A box of old cameras No.1: ‘Hawkeye’ Ace De Luxe

A box of old cameras

A box of old cameras

Recently looking through some old stuff (and I’ve got lots of old stuff and that’s another story), I came across a box of old cameras that I’d stashed away. A little while ago I wrote about my old Sony Mavica digital camera and that prompted me to jot  few thoughts down about these older image capturing devices.

The 'Hawkeye' box camera

The 'Hawkeye' box camera

This old box camera belonged to my dad and dates back to the 1930s. I remember him using it to take a photo of a friend and I back in the late 50s or early 60s when I was little. Funny but I still remember it clearly. People, at least those where I grew up back then, didn’t take pictures or even own cameras, so it was a rare and special thing to have your photo taken.

A little background information: the Ace De Luxe was made only in Kodak’s UK factory at Harrow on the northern outskirts of London. In his book, Kodak Cameras, The First Hundred Years, Brian Coe lists them as being made only in 1938. They were made to give away with children’s comics, one being Mickey Mouse Comic.

There aren’t any reflecting viewfinders, just a wire frame that pulls up at the front, and no backsight.

Wire frame viewfinder

Wire frame viewfinder

I don’t know how my dad ended up with the ‘Hawkeye’ but after his death I just hung on to it. It has a memory associated with it and I still have the old negatives of the 127 film it used. maybe I will get around to scanning the old negatives one day.

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