Lei aveva i capelli rossi bello

A rare day today; clear blue skies and bright sunshine but also because I have a day of holiday. Not to go anywhere but to attend to a few personal objectives, one of which was to have lunch with my friend Shirley who I have not seen since she appeared on this blog last year. She is slimmer now, her hair is longer; she looks great, but it’s not her fate to appear here today.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. On my way into Newcastle I passed the Northern Design Centre, one of a number of new buildings that have sprung up as part of the redevelopment of Gateshead. This is no ordinary building; at least externally, for as befits its function, the epidermis of this structure is a piece of interesting design in itself, so with the lighting conditions it was a great opportunity to create some interesting imagery.

Then onto Newcastle.

Now since I finished my portrait project I have missed shooting people so I limbered up with a few “men at work” shots while en route to Shirley. As you can see the term must be applied loosely!

I was meeting Shirley in a little piece of Italy called Pani’s, a great cafe near the sweeping splendour of Grey Street. Arriving early I grabbed a table near the window so I could spot her when she appeared. As I did so a beautiful signorina engaged me in conversation about my camera. With her cascade of flaming curls she wasn’t what you might consider archetypally Italian, though I know red hair to be more common amongst Venetians for example.

Now between my ring rusty portraiture skills, a new pair of glasses and a camera that has been swimming in the North Sea of late, I didn’t get as sharp an image as I would have liked. Nevertheless her smile and those fabulous tresses rise above my limitations stupidly I didn’t get her name so I must caption her as Woman at Work!

Felt good to have some humanity on my memory card once again.

Donna al lavoro



Northern Man

If you google “Northern Man” you will find amongst the suggested images a fair selection of that favourite stereotype “Man in Flat Cap”.  Though it has provided a seam of comic gold for many; Andy Capp, Python’s Four Yorkshiremen, The Goodies’ Ecky Thump and Bill Tidy‘s Fosdyke Saga for example, it’s an image as irrelevant today as the Londoner with rolled umbrella and bowler had striding across Westminster Bridge.

As I was in Newcastle today for an abortive attempt to have my camera sensor cleaned, I spent 15 minutes at the foot of Grey’s Monument capturing some candids of passers-by and by and large they put the stereotype to bed.

There were plenty who wore nothing on their heads;

but those who did adopt headgear eschewed the flat cap, unless you count the hat worn by the other photographer present…

The one guy with a flat cap probably wasn’t typical L S Lowry material!

Of course for a portrait I wanted someone who was deliberately interacting with the camera.  David was wearing a Nike baseball cap, but underneath it I could see some great eyes despite his otherwise dishevelled appearance.  When I asked for his picture he said nothing, but simply opened his mouth to add his unique dental arrangement into the mix.  Thanks David, I love this picture.  I just hope it isn’t stereotypical!