BOP-ping Along

Wasn’t really sure this was going to happen, but there is going to be a BOP Photo Analogies #5. We are currently in the process of crowdfunding (oh, how very “now” of us!) at Ulule:

Several of the funding levels will yield a print of one of my photographs. The selection was randomly chosen – if there is another shot that would get you to fund the project, let me know and we’ll work something out!

Go BOP!

Hopper Times

It has been noted that Edward Hopper is the artist of the pandemic. This evening his “Office in a Small Town” floated past in the unending stream of images that make up the current ‘net experience.

https://artisticjunkie.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Office-in-a-Small-City-Painting-of-Edward-Hopper.jpg

It really does have a great sense of isolation / loneliness. For me there was some other flicker of recognition. A photograph that is oddly similar.

This was taken at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (都庁) building West Shinjuku in 2009. At that particular time the only Edward Hopper work that i would have known was “Nighthawk”.

Somehow many of the elements of “Office in a Small Town” have ended up repeated here. There must be something about the composition / proportions makes it “work”. However, it is strange for them to be so similar and yet so far apart in time, medium and feeling.

The photograph was originally “Untitled”, but now deserves a title… “Shiver and Shake”.

Spaceman

That is my (maternal) grandfather and his telescope. No idea why the picture was in the newspaper. If there was any associated text it appears that i forgot to scan it. My recollection is that he built it, but the details are somewhat lost to me. It could be that my uncle still has it… trying to find out.

At the end of the garden there was a concrete post with a steel pin mount. The telescope itself was roughly 2m in length, maybe 20cm in diameter, painted silver, and looked homemade. No entirely sure on that last point… is a actually possible to build a functioning large mirror telescope? Perhaps it was a kit?

My memories of that time are most olfactory – everything smelt of coal, coal itself, coal dust, coal smoke, but i’m sure that at some point i was allowed to look through the telescope. It definitely wasn’t something to play with, and getting to look at the stars felt like a privilege… even it was kind of disappointing!

Recently the sky in Hamburg has felt clearer, with more stars visible… which has got me thinking about buying a telescope and at least try to get a look at the planets. Saturn’s rings, Mars’ red spot… just the obvious stuff.

Bicycle Boy

After looking at the Pets and Animals post, it occurred to me that my father had probably told me something about that particular time.

While working in the garden my father had scratched his arm, perhaps removing brambles, and i’d asked him some scars running across his upper arms. He told me that as a a kid he’d ridden into a wire that had been strung across a road. If you look back at those donkey pictures you’ll see the, presumably resultant, bandages.

Memory is a very strange thing. The set of recollection i have from that time is really limited: water the garden with the bath water during a summer drought (1976?); trying to dig up the body of the family cat which my father had run over in the drive and buried in the garden; finishing a box of tissues blowing my nose when it wouldn’t stop running; being chased by a horse in a field at the end of the garden; and now this tale of wire across the road.

The Reluctant Soldier

Don’t know anything about guns, and will therefore assume that this is an Enfield Rifle. How could i possibly be wrong!

The above is probably my favourite photograph from this time – even though it’s poorly executed, the expression is really good. With slightly better framing it could have been wonderful.

Pets and Animals

The pets that you get as a kid in Sudan or Iraq, at least under empire, are a little different than the cats and dogs in england.

My father often talked about his pet “antelope” in Iraq, which had to be kept in a tall cage to stop it escaping… and then there was a Mynah Bird. Lord only knows what they were feeding him! Not the bird, my father.

The pictures with the donkey are presumably in Sudan. I don’t recall hearing anything about the donkey… or the help. What a strange arrangement.

It seems incredible to me that such an ordinary family (my Grandfather worked as a furniture salesman when they eventually returned to england) would be in a position to have servants. A generation before they were working as servants in a house in Chelsea – wouldn’t it have seemed odd to them as well?!

Edit: this probably deserves a better scan, but i really like it.

Planes

That’s just a good photograph! No idea who is doing the ‘Temple of Doom’ walk towards the propellers but it seems a bad way to go..

This one has a call sign, which means there is something to look up… which leads to another similar, but different, shot. My guess is that it was not taken by my grandfather but something he bought. However, the information on that site says that this was taken in Hatfield, England. Really? The background doesn’t look particularly England, and the shadow seems very strong… most odd.