Posted on December 17, 2013
Posted on August 1, 2013
Posted on July 31, 2013
I live on an island, the Isle of Man, perched in the middle of the Irish Sea. If there’s something we have a lot of here, it’s water; it falls from the sky, regularly, and we’re surrounded by it, I’m never more than a 20 minute drive away from the sea.
I’ve always loved water, I learned to swim when I was 18 months old and since than I’ve spent most of my life in it, underneath it and on it. I kayak, snorkel, swim and use the Isle of Man as a giant photographic studio, 365 days a year…
Posted on July 4, 2013
Sometimes I don’t want to write anything, I just want to post a few random photos that I’ve taken over the last few days. Today is one of those days. I take a camera everywhere – to the pub, to the corner cafe for a hangover breakfast and while walking my dog, Leica, along the coast. I photograph my feet…
Posted on March 9, 2013
I smashed my Holga beyond repair today, even duct tape couldn’t save it. I went to kneel down to take a photograph, as I did I dropped the camera and kneeled on it, my full seventeen and a half stone concentrated on the Holga with the road beneath. It stood no chance whatsoever, the lens pushed into the body, smashing it in to about ten pieces. I’d claim on the insurance, but hey, I can get a new one for £20…but I’m still a bit upset, I kind of liked that camera. All these images are from the last 3 rolls of film.
So, these will be the last Holga images I’ll be posting for a while, I ordered a new Holga GCFN to replace the dead one and while I was at it I bought a Holga 120 Panoramic too. They probably won’t arrive before I go to Canada, but that might be a good thing, it’ll give me chance to get some preparation done.
Posted on February 5, 2013
I can’t believe it’s February already, before we know it we’ll be wrapping Christmas presents again and drinking egg-nog…I’ve never actually tried egg-nog.
I haven’t really shot much this year, so far, I’m preparing for my second project visit to Yellowknife in April. Most of what I’ve shot has been for my own personal amusement and experimentation.
The shot above was the first photograph I took this year, it’s of my good friend, film producer and director, Richard Plumley. Richard is like an engine in a 24 hour factory – constant. Wherever he is, Richard will be on the go, stopping only to light a cigarette or open a beer, then he’s off again. This image, I think, sums him up.
Below is musician and my very close chum, Simon Campbell, I haven’t photographed him enough lately. I took this portrait as an experiment really, trying-out different flash techniques, ironically, this was the only frame on the roll that the flash didn’t fire. It’s the only image I liked. Simon wore a blanket around his neck, for some reason…?
I was in North Wales last week, working out of a crappy rental cottage on Anglesey, I took film, but didn’t return with much material. I’ve always been fascinated by crappy hotels, motels and bed & breakfast establishments though, I think there’s beauty in the ugly and banal.
I took the images below using direct flash, I think it suits the situation and gives them an almost ‘holiday snapshot’ feel.
I feel another project idea coming-on…
The shots above were made using a Mamiya 7II, 80mm lens and Kodak Ektar 100 film. The flash is a Vivitar 285HV, bare, no diffusion.
Posted on December 23, 2012
Posted on September 2, 2012
I took the first two photographs here of my son, Richard, almost exactly 14 years ago, when he was 3. It was these, and many other images that I took at the time that sparked an interest in portrait photography. The last two are at 14 and a few months ago, just before Ric’s 17th birthday.
I’m off to Canada on Wednesday to start a photo-essay with writer, and close friend, Trevor Gibbs. We arrive in Calgary on Thursday and are going to spend a few days exploring the Rockies before flying north to Yellowknife to start the project proper.
So, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing in the way of blogging over the next month…watch this space.
Posted on May 23, 2012
Posted on April 30, 2012
Words by Liz Corlett. Images by Phil Kneen
It’s easy to sentimentalize Morecambe’s past and poke fun at its shortcomings; more difficult to envisage a positive future for the town.
During our visit, we encounter no shortage of people who agree that the town needs ‘something’ but rather fewer able to identify what that might be. Local authority initiatives are given short shrift, and there’s a recurring sentiment that Morecambe has been left out in the rain by its guardians. This feeling has been simmering since 1974, when a reorganisation of local government handed Morecambe to Lancaster City Council, an awkward move which, as Evelyn Archer puts it, saw “a historic city saddled with a seaside town” and made a poor relation of the latter.
This said, there’s a buoyancy in the air quite at odds with the popular perception of Morecambe as the doyen of moribund coastal resorts. And I suspect that the ingredients the town needs for revival are already within its range: Morecambe has pride, and it has friends. Perhaps I’m suffering from chronic romanticism but I feel that the British weakness for the underdog, for a comeback against the odds, could be as much Morecambe’s trump card as its heritage.
The momentum began with The Midland Hotel, the Modernist beauty rescued from dereliction and reopened in 2008. Upon the hotel’s original launch in 1933, Lord Clonmore wrote in the Architectural Review, “it rises from the sea like a great white ship, gracefully curved…as comfortable as if it were on the Continent” and its most renowned guests – Coco Chanel, Dusty Springfield, Laurence Olivier – vied with their surroundings for style and glamour.
The combination of social history and aesthetic finesse – not to mention the extraordinary sea-light which floods the interior – make for a powerfully affecting cocktail, especially if you allow the spectre of wasteground or executive apartments to haunt you for a moment. Now gaze up through the floating staircase at Eric Gill’s Triton medallion while the pianist plays ‘As Time Goes By’ (no, really) and you’ll see that The Midland is a temple not just to nostalgia but to optimism. Its rarified air might seem at odds with the frowsy town but The Midland is how Morecambe dares to dream of itself, and it works.
In the resurrection of The Midland is a powerful message: not all decline is terminal. While goodwill halts its progress, perseverance and love can turn it around, and just a short walk from The Midland, that’s the story unfolding at another landmark. The Winter Gardens began life as the Victoria Pavilion in 1897, changing to the King’s Pavilion in 1909. Behind its bold grandeur were Mangnall & Littlewood, who also designed Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom. Its stage was once a galaxy: The Rolling Stones, Laurel & Hardy, Shirley Bassey, Elgar, Tony Hancock, Morecambe & Wise. In 1977, the doors closed – but the curtain which came down on the life of the theatre is now rising again, thanks to a singularly tenacious group of people.
The Friends of the Winter Gardens – of whom Evelyn Archer is a founder member – formed in 1986; in the demolition of the ballroom adjacent to the Pavilion, they saw the writing on the wall. Twenty years later, a Preservation Trust was also founded and together, the groups work to protect the building and raise funds, so that the Winter Gardens might have a future as a multi-purpose venue for the whole town. The scale of the theatre and its state of neglect are such that it would take £12.5 million to restore it completely. In the meantime, the undaunted Friends press on with gradual repairs and, through a variety of events, usher in life, although the paranormal investigators with whom the Winter Gardens is popular (the Most Haunted show has filmed here twice) might say that life never went away.
Our tour guide, David Chandler, believes he has “found his calling” in the Winter Gardens: “If I’m not in the building, then I’m thinking about it 99% of the time. I still get a feeling of wonder every time I walk into the auditorium”. You soon realise why. Only metres away from the pound shops and the tired arcades, we’re in a profane cathedral of stained glass, dark wood, carved marble and tiling that still gleams. Layers of dust and old nicotine, fire damage and faded colours can’t diminish the impact of the main auditorium: it’s like stepping into the thoracic cavity of a colossal beast, one thought to be extinct or even mythical. Hold your own breath, and you can hear it breathing. And waiting.
“It’s a space designed for people to enjoy themselves and for extraordinary things to happen”, says David. “It’s been done in the past and it can be done again, we just need to put the right mix of committed people and fresh ideas together. I want the building to once again become somewhere where people will be entertained, awestruck, moved, thrilled, fall in love – I strongly believe that if we keep the integrity of the building, then people will come and great things will happen.”
This was the final part of the Morecambe project, thanks for reading! Words and images copyright Liz Corlett and Phil Kneen, respectively.