Sunday, 28 August 2016


One of my favourite days this summer was the one we spent at Old Car City in White, Georgia. We went last year - you can read about that visit here and here - so this time I was better prepared for the mosquitoes. I brought my pride and joy new lens and planned to take lots of really close details of the beautiful old cars.

It was very hot. I got three mosquito bites (not too bad at all). I wished I hadn't bothered bringing my tripod, and then J accidentally set it in the poison ivy. I looked like a dog's dinner in my sun-blocking, insect-blocking, hair-up-in-a-handkerchief outfit (clearly reflected in some of the shinier hubcaps). But I could have stayed for hours longer than the time we had available, and I made good use of the lens (it's an 100mm f2.8, if you like to know such details).

The overriding mood of the best photographs was one of mellow wistfulness, and I thought it would be cool to make a little slideshow, combining my favourites with a couple of jazz tracks composed and performed by my brother, bassist Paul Kimber.

So here is that video - just click here to see it on Vimeo...

Saturday, 13 August 2016


One of my photographic aims for the next year is to improve my skills at making portraits.

They're difficult. When you're shooting an old car or a piece of Victorian architecture you can stand right in front of it, rudely snapping away with no regard for its feelings or self-esteem. You don't have to chat to keep it interested - you can be as boring as you like and it will almost certainly continue to pose attractively. It has no investment in the outcome, flattering or interestingly ugly. 

None of those things are true for people, and I find the whole process a big challenge. So I started with some portraits of a dog, as a kind of in-between stage.

Vicky is a very beautiful dog, certainly, though not always elegant in her behaviour, as evidenced a few weeks after this shoot when she engaged too closely with a skunk. We all paid the price for  that.

She did appear to enjoy having her picture taken, posing happily - but with an appealingly tragic cast of countenance - for ages on J's knee as he held up a black bathroom towel for the background. The set-up probably looked quite odd if anyone passing by had happened to look in the window, but I'm pleased with the results.

One time I read an article in Oprah magazine about how much people would be willing to pay to save the life of their pet. For many, the answer ran into the hundreds of thousands. I asked J how much he'd be prepared to stump up for Vicky's life, and he said he couldn't tell me, as I would not think that well of him once I heard the figure. Maybe he needs to revise that sum upwards now that she's turned out to be such an international-class model.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Communion in Clarkesville

I'm in church in Clarkesville, North Georgia, slightly uncomfortable in a pew which was built at a time when people were more upright. I should be listening to the sermon, but instead my attention wanders to the right, to the old window at my elbow, uneven glass refracting the sunlight, and the herbs planted beyond. I think about what has been seen through that window during the years this church has been standing. I hold my poem in my head until the priest is saying Amen...

Rosemary after a rain
Framed by a pane
That's stop-motion molten and scratched
By the claws of years

Peering past pews 
At joys and tears
Heart-searching soul-searing
Layers on layers on layers

Remembrance, redemption
Sheltered by psalms
Scented by faith and time and prayer