Friday, 6 September 2013

The painting we found on the street

We had been out and about and by chance spotted the painting stuck to the back of a notice board. You could walk behind it but mostly people didn't, so I'm guessing that not many people saw it. But we did - and after that we would look at it every time we went past, to check it was still there. Eventually we decided that if it's still there next time we walked by then we would bring it home especially as there was rain forecast for Friday.
As we approached it an old man ambles along and then stops to read the notices on the other side. As he leaves we start to cross the road, two women unpacking a car beside us when suddenly a burly Lycra clad cyclist swerves past the two women narrowly missing us as he charges on through the road barriers. I suggest that there didn't need to be such a rush and that he might take it easy, but he doesn't care to hear this and curses colourfully. We ignore him and head for the noticeboard – the painting is still there, gently we ease it free and saunter off with it, underarm.
It has since found a new home next to the window, and seems comfortable both in the daytime, brightening up a dark corner and at night sitting cheerfully on the red wall.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Making marks on Harper Road

 I've been spending time at the weekend making photographs of Harper Road. It connects two much larger roads – the New Kent Road and Borough High Street, both branching off from the northern Elephant and Castle roundabout.

In its short length, probably half a mile, there's a mosque, three pubs - one derelict, a sisha and milkshake bar and a regular pub offering karaoke  zumba, disco, live football and no drugs allowed on these premises, three parks, a court, a large council estate, a row of Bengali shops, a school, new developments, a careers advice centre, an adventure playground and a lot of trees and more.

I made a handful of photographs looking out from a phone-booth and posted this one on flickr, and unusually for me it got a lot of people looking at it and it featured in flickr explore. When I post on flickr it hasn't been my aim to get photographs featured in flickr explore - few of the images that do end up there seem particularly enigmatic or intriguing, but still it seems some sort of gauge, especially as I'm not discussing my work much with people (enough!). Maybe I need to start a crit group with fellow students / photographers. Flickr brings a particular form of feedback but I need something more critical, more involved.

Here are all four images - I'm not yet sure where they might lead

Friday, 21 June 2013


Untitled by mdx

I'm not sure what this photograph is trying to communicate which is why it's titled Untitled. As I wandered into college the other day I spotted this structure on the far side of the field and couldn't resist investigating. What it was all for I have no idea except it did suggest that someone had been having FUN. Fun hasn't been a major ingredient of BA Photography course to date and so it seemed churlish not to allow myself a moment to absorb any remnants of fun floating around. And the black blanket? – a morass of anxiety arising from the burden of representation...

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The Shadow of the Shard

Thankfully we live due south of the Shard and so are not blighted by the shard's shadow, but for some, summer sunsets on the balcony are a thing of the past. I might just have to explore the shadow on the ground and map it's cold reach.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

a sketch

Looking back on the work I've made so far on my course, my favourite is the short film 'Love is Space & Time' (working title 'Appearance' - finished back in January)

The moving image and sound bring layers of possible routes to engagement which the photograph on its own can sometimes struggle with.

'Untitled' is a quick sketch of faux analogue film shot using the iPhone's 8mm app with music made in Garageband.


Tuesday, 28 May 2013


Here's my first try outs with infra red photography using an R72 infrared filter with the Fujifilm X10 (0.5s @ f4 ISO 320).


The original looks like this:

Using the basic BW conversion the image comes out with very low contrast:

The top image used Lightroom's Blue filter BW conversion preset with some tweaking afterwards which brings out the contrast. I'm not sure if or how I might use it, but it's an interesting effect. But like using HDR it's prone to the effect dominating the image itself. I took a good few in the woods and then in the open landscape.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

new flickr - like it, lump it or neither

Flickr has updated its TOS and changed its layout to a dreadful infinite scrolling collage of all recent photographs - no room to breath - a diabolical mish-mash of images thrown together on a black background. It seems like they've done it just because the technology's available. A similar option is available with Blogger but crucially there's also the option not to use it and that's where flickr falls over. They've just imposed this bland banal blanket over everyone's photo stream - like it or lump it. I'm not really up for either.

I've been posting to Flickr since 2004 and have had all manner of intriguing photographic involvements with fellow photographers that has formed much of my current engagement with photography - 365 projects, guess where projects, critique one post one projects and so on, in fact here's the list of flickr groups I'm a member of:

I mostly post to them sporadically but there's still a quiet joy in being one of the 38 photographers who have posted one image to the Bollocks to James Elkins group whose only criteria is "‘Do you consider yourself, in any fashion, to be attempting works of photographic art?’ If so, post an example here and join us in saying, collectively, ‘Bollocks to James Elkins!’. A finger back to Elkin's snooty condemnation of the artlessness of flickr photographers.

Back in the early days there was a sense that flickr, the organisation, might actually listen to you and that we were somehow 'part of it'. Whereas now it's just the howling demands of corporatisation gorging on what once felt like all sorts of community.

I posted my last Flickr picture, a petulant doomed cry against the advancing wall of wealth creation, to the group 'New Flickr Layout Sucks
I'm not sure what happens next and where to put my photographs online, but this blog post by photographer Andrew Newson looks at some ways forward. 

Saturday, 27 April 2013

The Estate

The Estate by mdx

The word 'estate' suffers bad press. In the urban environment there's a whole bunch of assumptions that folks who don't live on estates carry around. Folks who do live on estates carry a few too - but there's nothing like living in a place to get a clearer view. In the country the word 'estate' brings another set of notions - beauty, nature, harmony and National Trust Gift Shops.
Both uses carry the sense of estate as relating to an area, a territory in which 'this is how things are'. When I'm cycling home and I get to the river I always feel a sense of relief as I pedal into South London. And I get the same feeling when I arrive on The Estate.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

As If From Behind A Tree

Stop and account order. Seen taking photographs in Spring Gardens as if from behind a tree. by mdx

After picking up a secondhand walkabout zoom lens in town I stop off in the park behind Vauxhall Cross to try it out, snapping trees while standing on top of a hillock. As I cycle away two plain clothes coppers stop me and want to know why I'm taking photographs of trees. They think that taking photographs of trees is suspicious behaviour and want to see my photographs. I show them my photographs of trees. They take my details and leave me with a stop/search record stating their reason for suspicion being "Seen taking photographs in Spring Gardens as if from behind a tree".
Re-assuring to know the Metropolitan Police Service is keeping tabs on the artistic development of my photographic practice.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

A Twisted Type of Silver

Got to show my work as part of a group show at 5th Base Gallery off Brick Lane.
It's hard to be objective about it but I think I would have enjoyed seeing it as a punter, but as it was I got to combine two earlier prints alongside a short film. The other work in the show was all quite intriguing and thoughtful. The text from the show is below.
Big thanks to Jack and Owen who worked super hard putting it all together.

Martin Dixon – Love is Space & Time (i,ii,iii)

Jack Hirons – 3kg of Hay

Jack Hirons – On the Window

Ewa Malgoratza Lachowicz – Collection of Portraits

Owen Lewis – She Never Lost The Things She'd Forgotten

Helena Oliveira – Part of What a Picture is

Frida Petersson – There's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in

Poppy Roy – The Album Title Was Left Blank

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A week of mildly melancholic photographs

First up "The anxiety of waiting outside the ICA as the Freedom of Photography talk is just about to begin".

  Waiting outside the ICA by mdx
Untitled by mdx

There was clearly someone of importance about to get on the Metropolitan Line train at Baker Street.

Untitled by mdx

Somedays you wait on news and know that once you hear it – either way – life will be different.

Untitled by mdx

The surface of the photograph - one way or another, that's where I seem to be heading for.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Four iPhone Photographs

Untitled by mdx
Driving back to London on the M4 – I'm not sure the eye ever actually sees speed blur like this but maybe it's just hard to tell - you would need to close and then rapidly open and close your eyes again to snatch the split second. I still like the composition of barrier - foreground and background with trees – like the A303 series.

Untitled by mdx
On the Metropolitan line coming back from college using the Hipstamatics' new tintype preset on the iPhone. It doesn't really work that well but I like the sihouette of me taking it – transformed into a billboard advert.

Untitled by mdx
The kids were jumping around on it before – but now the rain had come and it was left alone to its incongrous blueness.

Untitled by mdx
Tintype app on the iPhone Hipstamatic app.
It's a bit like that optical illusion if you cover the left half of the face you get a new face looking right.