Remembrance and remembering

Remembrance and remembering.

I was just reading a blog by MandyCollinsWriter.

Her words reflect something I’ve been thinking on the subject of for quite some time now. Funny isn’t it? How we go round with all these thoughts and unsaid warm recollections for so long, without ever putting them into written words and preserving that train of thought forever.

There are so many that come to mind, when I think about my childhood and my ongoing relationship with my parents, each of them now in their late 70s.  One of my earliest warm memories of my Dad, was when I must have been 3 or 4 years old and curled up on the back seat of our Morris Minor, where I’d made a birds nest out of the red fluffy lining of my Dad’s coat and I thought I was a chicken! I just remember having an intense sense of being protected back then.

 

Hello world! Let’s start with my connection with an old School Friend

I just saw The Worlds End. The new Simon Pegg movie and the final movie in the Cornetto Trilogy. The tragic character Simon plays made me wonder about the times I’ve tried to turn back the clock in my life. How many times have we all gone to a reunion or arranged a reunion of old childhood friends, only to realize that Albert Einstein was right about the factor of time being relative to space/ a place/ even a face…

Dukesthompson's Blog

Well I started Blogging to get my words and pictures out there. I’m not sure what you want to hear or see, so here goes.

This is a picture of me with one of my oldest friends, Scott. We went to school together. We formed secret agencies and gangs consisting of just the two of us, and occasionally one other kid that we could boss about. When we were 12, we’d already mapped out the entire school with all the secret passages and escape routes, so that we could avoid the bullies. We did this on graph paper, to scale… no wonder we were bullied.

Age 14, we started writing …well .. re- writing the comedy sketches performed on Not the Nine O’Clock News, so that we could use them to perform in front of the entire school. The impromptu rehearsals in the playground or in the shower rooms…

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How Photography has Changed

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There was a time when many self respecting photographers would upgrade to a larger camera format.

I first tried moving up to the Mamiya 645super, but without a prism to look through, I was forced to do nothing but landscape shots. Then I really went up in the world with my purchase of the Mamiya RZ67. Now that was a really decent piece of kit. The rear magazine would revolve to suit portrait or landscape format, so I didn’t need the prism viewer. I used it in studio where it really belonged, but when the comedy circuit beckoned, I took it out on location to various back stage dressing rooms. It was there I got to really show what I could do. The camera was a beast. It needed professional lighting equipment to be set up for every sitting. There was nothing paparazzi or fly on the wall about it. What’s more, it commanded respect from even the biggest egos. It said that I meant business!

As for the technical limitations, it only shot 10 pictures before the need to reload, so I made them count. I’d often check the frame after a shot to make sure that it was uncluttered. Sometimes, if I really needed things to be perfect, I’d use the polaroid instant film back and take some snaps to check the light balance.

This was not the sort of camera that you’d see snappers using in the streets, whilst houning a celebrity. The Mamiya 67 had a certain sense of decorum and style.

The colours in the pictures were so much deeper than in 35mm and the slides were a pleasure to view on the light table. Even the less knowledgeable clients appreciated that part.

Still, after a while, I found the jobs I was being sent to cover got more and more into the grab it in an instant form of paparazzi photography we now see all the time. Back then though, 35mm film was still the only medium they used, so snappers had to have at least some level of technical know how.

Nowadays, with digital cameras everywhere, any idiot can do it. Standards have reached an all time low, and a phone can capture a 5megapixel image through a tiny plastic lens covered in pocket fluff and they’ll still publish it.

Every idiot with a digital SLR thinks that they are a pro photographer. This has adversely affected the wedding and portrait business deeply. Yet I keep thinking of the times back in history when a brand new method or photographic gizmo went and stirred up the art world. Each new labor saving device made the old guard gasp in horror as they proclaimed echos of the words to the effect that “From today, Painting is dead” A quote from the artist Paul Delaroche, speaking in 1839 after the invention of the Daguerreotype.

My point is that with every generation, comes easier image making. With those changes comes the demise of old outdated practices and sometimes even businesses.   This also ushers in new possibilities and creative opportunities for those who can think outside the box.

Hello world! Let’s start with my connection with an old School Friend

Well I started Blogging to get my words and pictures out there. I’m not sure what you want to hear or see, so here goes.

Old Friends

We grew up together – but forgot to grow up.

This is a picture of me with one of my oldest friends, Scott. We went to school together. We formed secret agencies and gangs consisting of just the two of us, and occasionally one other kid that we could boss about. When we were 12, we’d already mapped out the entire school with all the secret passages and escape routes, so that we could avoid the bullies. We did this on graph paper, to scale… no wonder we were bullied.

Age 14, we started writing …well .. re- writing the comedy sketches performed on Not the Nine O’Clock News, so that we could use them to perform in front of the entire school. The impromptu rehearsals in the playground or in the shower rooms brought us gradual admiration, which spanned from initial mocking through general distracted amusement, right through to actual popularity. It also bought me the opportunity to cast my favourite girl, Tracy, as an extra in the variety show. She even allowed me to escort her to school for the occasion, which was for me at the time the best thing ever.  We even threw in daredevil stunts to our comedy skits, such as getting a kid to throw himself off the top of the lighting gantry onto a crash mat! This was thankfully not a disaster, but I’m sure if anyone attempted it today, there would be a few lawsuits flying round not to mention a media frenzy: “Child forced to enact suicide jump for comedy sketch” No no..that would never do. The early 80s was a time when if a child actor needed to lose a limb to get the part of Long John Silver then so be it!

It was the after parties that we enjoyed the most in our brief acting career. The moment where the girls in the cast would get all tearful and give free hugs to all who would take them. Well we thought this was hilarious. Not only was it a chance to get an accidental kiss, but better than that, we could go overboard and lay in the middle of the road (yes the real road) shouting like Brian Blessed that we had no more reason to live, now the play was over! (great wails of over-acted despair and …shit) Luckily the street was empty.

We took part in more shows as the years went on, There was Big Al, a musical about Al Capone which gave us the chance to play like Bugsy Malone characters. Then there was Dazzle, the sci-fi musical which gave Scott the chance to wrap a turban over his head and roller skate blindly towards the female starlet’s breasts – with his arms out stretched like the buffers of a train engine. He never got close! Fair play for trying though.

Years later we discovered video and just did a load of Monty Python inspired skits with our trousers round our ankles and our 80’s loud pattered boxer shorts on full view, whilst wearing Groucho Marx Noses and glasses.

We also got inspiration from Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield, but those videos are lost to time now, just as the sketches that we performed in front of hundreds of people at Wakeford School, way before the days when everyone started filming instead of seeing.