Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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Between one second and the next

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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.

Only a camera can capture that instant in time, that vital moment between one second and the next and record it forever. There’s something thrilling about that and I find it increasingly addictive.

Maybe as I’m getting older I notice how time appears to slide by at an alarming rate of knots these days. Possibly this is my futile attempt to freeze time, slow it down to a moment and hold it there for good.

The more images I take, the more I realise I have so much more to learn. I’m currently looking at the work of Saul Leiter and Cartier-Bresson, two masters of the art. I recommend their work if you like me have an interest in photography.

If you want to take a look at a few of my images then they can found on my Flickr site. I would be delighted if you paid them a visit and added a comment here and there.

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Tony Ben RIP 14 March 2014

Tony Ben RIP 14 March 2014

Tony Ben
http://bit.ly/1oSZYUn

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March 14, 2014 · 10:22 am

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A farewell to Waterstones, Bold Street, Liverpool

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I’m seldom moved by the closure of something so mundane as a shop, after all they do come and go on the high street, these days with ever increasing frequency. But this is different, this is personal.

I discovered the sad news via Twitter that my favourite bookshop and coffee bar is to close in February 2014. I suppose the writing was on the wall. The academic section on the top floor has been empty for a while and Waterstones had opened a ‘flagship’ store in Liverpool One. This new bookstore is large and well-stocked but it just doesn’t have, for want of a better word, ‘soul’ like the Bold Street bookshop. It’s too clinical and corporate – too spacious even. For me the old Bold Street Waterstones had everything a good bookshop should have. Multiple floors, well-stocked shelves, a good choice and an excellent children’s section. The staff were always helpful and the place had a small and ‘family’ feel about it.

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Over the years I have always spent time there every week, often to buy books for myself, my wife Gina or close friends. I made a point of purchasing my Christmas gifts there in the last few years as I wanted to give the place a fighting chance. Not that my small endeavours would ever amount to a rescue package – but I did make the attempt. I would even see a book I wanted on line, make a copy of the ISBN no etc and order it from the book counter at Waterstones Bold Street. They would even send me a text once it had arrived. Sure, it was a slower way of getting my books, but so what – the shop was far more important.

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But all this has been to no avail and the fine old place is to close after all. I’m devastated and looking at the torrent of tweets I’m not alone.

I can only hope that the staff in the bookshop and in the Costas coffee bar all manage to find work elsewhere.

Bold Street has lost a jewel and will never be the same again. So farewell Waterstones you will be sadly missed but never forgotten.

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Ernst Haeckel’s Christmas Cards

Ernst Haeckel’s Christmas Cards

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

The image is from Ernst Haeckel’s Christmas Cards via Retronaut

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December 19, 2013 · 10:44 am

Glass half…

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” 

She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

Remember to put the glass down.

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