Cameraman: Through different lenses
2012 Update: My camera continues to be a key element of my toolkit--not the one in my BlackBerry (which I have almost never used), nor the one in my MacBook Air (though I sometimes use that for Skype sessions), but the second of the Leica D-Lux 4s I have owned, whose size and optics suit me very well. The results can be found in the blog/Journal section of this website. Among the (sad) highlights of 2011 for me was the use of a photograph I had taken many years ago of (Sir) Geoffrey Chandler, who sadly died during the year, in obituaries published in The Financial Times, The Guardian and The Times.
Older Content: I remember the architect Moshe Safdie saying decades ago that he threw his camera away because he ended up seeing everything in a frame—and wanted to see the world as it was. While I sympathise, it’s also the case that carrying a camera can encourage you to look at the world with much greater attention than you might otherwise, or at least that has been my experience.
Crazy Horse was here: A relatively rare shot of cameraman with camera (Nikon), in this case at the Little Big Horn.
Over more than 40 years of photography, I have owned an extraordinary evolutionary sequence of cameras, starting off with a Box Brownie and then running through a Braun Super Paxette (which I borrowed from my father when six of us set off for Greece in 1970—and managed to mash up with a bag-full of prickly pears), a Leica M3 (which I bought from a German friend, Frank Stop, in the early 1970s and which Elaine sold at auction for more than I paid for it some 20 years later), a Nikon (AF/F-801), a Sony (DSC-F717) and then a series of Canon IXUS cameras, including one I was given by a Canon Managing Director on a visit to the company in Japan. That gift sparked quite a debate back at the office about what gifts we should and should not accept. SustainAbility now has Guidelines.
Most of the images on this site were taken digitally, though some—like the one of Gaia on Gigha in this section—were shot from print originals in photograph albums. Most of the recent ones have been taken with IXUS cameras. The results may not be professional, but the small size of the camera means you can take in anywhere and everywhere, which now and then has got me into a certain amount of trouble.
In any event, whatever the camera of the moment may have been, one of my great pleasures over the years has involved compiling huge, complex albums of the results, collaging the images together in ways that probably have their roots in my childhood--when I loved poring through my father's many photograph albums and lined my room in collages cut from my father’s and his mother’s National Geographic magazines. In the end, that way of storing photographs became too much, so that I was constantly 2-3 years behind. And then came the blog—and an alternative way of sharing images and the stories that go with them.
With photographs scattered throughout this website and blog, I don’t need to say much more on just how pervasive this vice has been in my life, but what I hope to do in this section is to create a of gallery for some the photos that wouldn’t otherwise make it onto the site.
Colour: This seems to be my Orange Period—inside of boat near Montreux
Serendipity 1: Gaia on Gigha
Serendipity 2: A cloudscape when we were walking in Switzerland
Framing 1: Many of the images I like best were snapped while walking or cycling
Framing 2: An angel in a break from a SustainAbility retreat at The Orangery, Kew Gardens
Self-portrait in yet another mirror, this time in Barnes
Concatenation: The lizards and Moon caught my eye during a trip back to Cyprus back in 2005
Invisible eye: While in Atlanta to speak at a major coffee industry conference, I whiled away the time trying to photograph children as they ran through jets of water, which shot up unpredictably. After 30 minutes of this, a cycle cop hove in view to say there had been reports of someone taking a worrying interest in the children. As soon as he heard my accent,though, the cyclecop said, “Ah! No, that’s OK. No problem.” Not quite sure what that all meant …
Looking glasses: I love mirroring. The reflections tell me I was using the Sony during this visit to a VW museum in Germany
Context: Peter (Zollinger) talking to Jodie (Thorpe) at SustainAbility—though for me key parts of the image were the writing on the wall and the heart.
Symbolism: This image is full of complex symbols for me, from Canary Wharf (where I worked with ECGD) and the Millennium Dome (where I was on a Sustainability Panel during the Dome’s development) in the background to the Thames in the foreground, together with the Barrier, designed to hold back rising tides. It also reminds me of the wonderful trip we took by boat with members of the SustainAbility and IDEO teams, visiting the Barrier along the way—and raises questions about just how long the Barrier will continue to protect London? Someone we spoke to at the Barrier said it would probably work until around 2030.
Moment of clarity: Here a cloud lifted briefly while Jodie Thorpe and I were walking around El Christo above Rio. Immediately before and after the, cloud came down to his ankles
Shadowing: I like the accent provided by the shadow in this Dionysian moment at the Eden Project
Incongruity: An ice sculpture in Trafalgar Square against a backdrop of water in various states
Reportage: Carrying a camera much of the time means you can be inclined to keep shooting even when you’ve been knocked off your bike and have three broken ribs. This was 2006. The man in the middle was my Good Samaritan, a designer who called in the ambulance and police—and insisting that the Mongolian woman who had hit me in a cycle lane at 30 mph, while wrestling with her daughter in the back seat of her car, didn’t leave the scene.
Intimacy: The late Richard Sandbrook and Tim Smit during one of Tim’s breakfasts in Cornwall
Spookiness: Taken near City Hall, London, on a stormy day in 2007
Hope: A shaft of sunshine taken from a hotel on the north coast of Crete
Momentum: Snap of TV screen and big wave surfing, a high-risk sport I have long loved from a safe distance
No flash: Snapped in the dark of the Monterey Aquarium, I like the sub-text here of the growing need to care for Nature, however menacing it may sometimes be—or seem