I'm lucky enough to travel a lot but I also aim to understand a place in some depth. So I like to find out about the local history, sociology, wildlife and local arts. I prepare for a trip by looking up photos of the famous sights, they're usually a good guide both about the local visual interest and also a warning of what has already been done or over-done.
I try to use the tools of modern photojournalism and photography to communicate how I feel about a place. You’ll see that I have used Portrait, Street, Interior, Historical, Abstract, Landscape, Historical, Wildlife, Phone-camera and Selfie genres at different times for specific effects.
Acorn Bank gardens is a little haven situated in the fertile Eden Valley, between the Pennines and the Lake District. The famous oak trees border the river and the garden is protected from the storms by a high brick wall, which retains the warmth of the Cumbrian sunshine for the benefit of the horticulture and helps protect from the worst of the storms.
Acorn Bank’s orchard has a fine collection of specialist and heritage apple and pear trees, pollinated by bees from hives maintained by the Penrith Beekeepers Association. This orchard was inspirational when I first visited it more than ten years ago, both the beauty of the ancient trees and the possibility of apple trees bearing fruit this far north. Acorn Bank’s herb garden is particularly extensive and the plants are labelled clearly; the salad selections were informative. There’s also a working watermill which is restored and operated on summer weekends by Acorn Bank Watermill Trust. The warmth of the inner courtyard is a fine place to enjoy coffee and cakes baked locally, unfortunately it wasn’t clear whether these used some of the flour ground at the watermill.
Sunset at a restaurant at the waterside of the Lac d’Annecy with my friend Arno, the destination of my journey from Provence to Savoie. I would have liked to see more glaciers but tragically, it’s getting more and more difficult. Now there are so many more screes of grey gravel, the debris remaining where there was shining glacier until so recently.
Finally I get to enjoy the Provence sunshine and blue sky in Marseille again. It’s been a long time, many cancellations, due to the travel and health regulations on both sides of the Channel. That’s been more than a year since I was last here. My flight was from London Heathrow to Marseille Provence, then the airport bus in to Marseille St. Charles railway stationAnd I still very much like Marseille. I’ve always used the word “alluring” to describe the city’s charms and that’s still apt. There’s the colour, the energy and the tolerance so long as you are “one of us”, which I feel includes me. The blue sky and the sunshine have obvious attraction but you have to understand the French, specifically the Marseillais, to be included in the rest.
Main Street featuring the marble statue (1875) in Roman style portraying Cockermouth’s notable resident, Richard Southwell Bourke, sixth earl of Mayo, M.P. for Cockermouth 1857-68. The statue was erected after Mayo was assassinated in 1872, whilst visiting the Andaman Islands as Viceroy and Governor-General of India. The statue was discombobulated by a lorry in 1964. Ben Stiokes, the cricketer, is also a famous resident but so far no statue. Also from Cockermouth: Fletcher Christian, Master’s Mate on HMS Bounty and leader of the mutiny (1789).
Cockermouth’s fine buildings remind of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries when the town was one of the earliest of West Cumbria’s boom-towns developing its water power to process then export coal and minerals from the West Cumbria mines. Cockermouth seems to have been rowdy with plenty of inns and a court-house. Sea-going sailing ships were loading at the quay first used by the Romans; there were blast furnaces roaring, a tweed mill, brewery and financial buildings. Even earlier, the Normans built Cockermouth Castle as part of a line of castles including Brougham, and Egremont defending the border with Scotland.
Cockermouth gets its name as the confluence of the rivers Derwent and Cocker, a situation that has frequently brought flooding in the town.
Late Spring Bank Holiday Week in the Lake District, England’s first holiday weekend since the third lockdown. Traditional landscape photography avoids people but I’ve deliberately featured holidaymakers in this set. After many long weeks of lockdown and deserted streets: it’s been heartening to see people enjoying themselves with a responsible degree of bustle and busyness. And there are precedents on including people in “landscapes”: you need look no further than John Constable’s “The Hay Wain” (1821), one of the most popular paintings in London’s National Gallery.