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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Filed under Looking back, Photography, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Liverpool, Uncategorized

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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Wise Words on Wednesdays

Graphic design is one of the last free professions that is not forced into the corset of a career structure and thus inhibited by standards and guidelines. There is no career structure upon which the state could accompany designers with examinations and checks, and of course also with certificates and prizes, with awards and titles. A graphic designer is a graphic designer.

Otl Aicher
The world as design, 1994

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Off for a little R&R

The Lake District, Windermere after light rain.

Off for some well-deserved R&R, back in November. Thanks for visiting.

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Thought for Friday

“We have a home up there, and we’re destined to be up there and we’re destined to go beyond low-Earth orbit, perhaps set up a colony on the Moon and go on to Mars.”
Chris Ferguson, commander of STS-135, ‘Final Space Shuttle Crew Profiled,’ NASA TV, 24 June 20

Shuttle Atlantis

Shuttle Atlantis

From the BBC:
The 135th and final space shuttle mission has lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Space shuttle Atlantis was launched into history at 1129 local time (1529 GMT; 1629 BST) on Friday.
The 12-day mission will ferry 3.5 tonnes of supplies to the International Space Station.
Upon its return, the 30-year space shuttle programme will come to a close, with Atlantis and the other two shuttles retired to museums.

A few stats about the Shuttle missions:

135 missions (33 for Atlantis)
355 astronauts taken into space 1981
870000000km flown by the fleet
2.5 million moving parts on the shuttle and its boosters

The mission patch:

Atlantis mission patch

Atlantis mission patch

Whatever your views on the space programme, I hope you will join me in wishing the crew of the Atlantis well on their mission and above all else a safe return to earth.

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Thought for Friday

Image from the documentary

A scene from the documentary

 We dreamed the systems could stabilise themselves…

Another exceptional documentary by producer and film maker Adam Curtis aired on BBC2 this Monday. All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace explained how we arrived at our current financial situation in a wonderful and almost lyrical way. Going back to the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand and speaking of the over reliance and trust in computer models and networks that has grown exponentially over the years, Curtis weaves a tale of the cold and terrifying consequences.

Adam Curtis

Adam Curtis

Adam Curtis is a documentary film maker, whose work includes The Power of Nightmares, The Century of the Self, The Mayfair Set, Pandora’s Box, The Trap and The Living Dead.

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