Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Monday, May 29, 2023
Having been given an old family portrait of an unknown woman by a distant relative, I confidently told her that, armed with the very latest AI-driven facial recognition systems, I would be able to work out who it was. So far my research has brought up three possibilities, all of which are equally unlikely. The first (thank you Lightroom Facial Recognition) was that it was a girl I knew back in the swinging sixties called Sue Gibbon. The second (take a bow, Google image search) was that it was the former Mayoress of Portsmouth. The third (step forward again Google) was that it was the Honourable Mary Diane Eve Chetwynd. Back to the facial recognition drawing board.
Saturday, May 27, 2023
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Saturday, May 20, 2023
Friday, May 19, 2023
When she was 13 years old in March 1920, my fathers' cousin, Ivy Miriam Burnett, was given an autograph book. It is full of those little poems - some silly, some uplifting - that have populated such books over the years. It also contains a number of drawings; this one contributed by Mrs Hewison of Moss Side, Manchester.
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Sometimes it is the poor photos, the blurred photos, the crumpled and skew-whiff photos, that seem to capture the mood and feeling of a time better than the most pinprick sharp compositions. I took this in Halifax in 1965 - that's the Borough Market in the background - and it sings of its era. If you want a name for the tune, just call it Headscarves in Halifax.
Tuesday, May 16, 2023
I am not sure whether it was the headline about Halifax's super-charged bus, or the photograph of a collection of trilby wearing municipal leaders gathered around a Halifax Corporation double decker, which caught my attention - but whichever it was, my attention was caught. Having spent a fair amount of my youth waiting for such buses to appear from around the corner, as I nervously glanced at the Church clock and tried to calculate whether I could make it to school on time, I was always going to be easy prey for such stories: even if they were published a decade before I was born.
The article that accompanies the photograph is about a demonstration of a new super-charged bus engine that had been invented by Halifax's Passenger Transport manager, Mr G F Craven. It was been shown off to a gathering of the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Municipal Transport Association who were meeting in the town in May 1939, and, it must be said, enjoying a grand lunch at the Old Cock Hotel. After lunch, Mr Craven waxed lyrical about his diesel engine, saying that it had enough power to conquer the infamous hills of Halifax and it was capable of a remarkable 6 miles to the gallon of diesel oil. It could make a saving of £1.949 per year in fuel costs alone. The municipal grandees all cheered and then got on the bus for a trip up to Northowram.
I'm still in Halifax, and it's still 1965 (or perhaps 1966). The White Horse is anything but white, nor is it sand-stone clean as it is today. It has Halifax's industrial past seared into its surface, and the man by the lamp post is weighed down by too much work and not enough life.
Monday, May 15, 2023
Sunday, May 14, 2023
Saturday, May 13, 2023
I acquired this old print from somewhere or other. I don't know who took the original photo, when they did so, or where it was. At a guess I would say somewhere in Britain in the 1920s. It's such a wonderful composition - a scene that shouts out the classic British Seaside.
Friday, May 12, 2023
I received an invitation to give Adobe Firefly - their new Artificial Intelligence generated creative system - a try, and at the same time I was trying to work out what to do with a rather tired old photograph I took almost sixty years ago. The photograph was taken in Halifax and shows a bus at a bus stop, with a man walking down the street having just got off the bus.
For whatever reason, the sight of a man at a bus stop stimulated my attempts at creativity all those years ago (with, I must confess, debatable results), so I decided to issue a similar challenge to the very best in twenty-first century Artificial Intelligence. I therefore instructed Adobe Firefly to create an image of "a man at a bus stop in 1960s industrial landscape". Here is what it came up with -
Even accepting that my picture from 1965 was less than inspiring, I have to say that the AI creation leaves a fair amount to be desired. I can only imagine the reaction of his fellow passengers had this chap really stepped on to the No 23 to Copley. I decided to try a compromise solution, so I invited AI to mess around with some well established filters (Adobe Photoshop's Neural Filters) and apply them to my original 1960s image, The result is a compromise - and a not unpleasant compromise at that!
Thursday, May 11, 2023
Days at the seaside, Pac a Macs and ice cream, went sand between your toes, and the smell of chip fat on the breeze. That's my mother on the left, my Auntie Annie on the right, and, more than likely, me in the middle. I have no memory of a coat and cap as smart as that: no memory of the year: but I can still recall the small of salt-laced rain on a plastic macs.
This is a version of a photograph I took back in 1966. It wasn't a particularly good photograph from a technical perspective when I took it, and it hasn't improved with time. It is out of focus, indifferently composed, and of marginal interest as a subject. I can neither remember where exactly in Halifax it was taken or who the two men in the photograph were. When I flick through my negative archives, however, it always seems to jump out at me, demanding attention. It is, of course, that look; that unspoken question which is familiar to all photographers: "Why are you taking a photograph of me?"
The last of the "Sketches of Halifax" published in the Illustrated London News of the 5th August 1882 is, appropriately enough, a sketch of what is now the town's most celebrated building - the Piece Hall. When the ILN artist visited the Piece Hall back in 1882, he found a building that was in decline. The article that accompanies the sketches describes it as follows:-
"The old Cloth Hall, or Piece Hall, which was the exchange for the staple woollen manufacturing trade, but has of late years been comparatively deserted for that of Bradford, was built about the year 1780. It is of great size, but simply an open court, surrounded with double stone colonnades and stalls or small shops for the dealers to show their wares."
140 years after that less than glowing review of the Piece Hall, it is well worth noting that the "deserted and simple open court" has recently been voted the Yorkshire's most iconic building.
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
This is an old picture postcard of Halifax Town Hall from my collection. It is the detail that is fascinating: Salmon & Glucksters tob...
Whilst 198392cjh is the only person/machine/computer programme to have provided feedback to my Daily Photo Blog (see "Apple Campers Bui...
The Lad is back. He had been skiing in France and got stuck for a time when the ports of Calais and Dover were closed by the snow and cold....