The following poem has no relation to this image. I wrote it in 2010 for a creative writing class and took the picture in 2015 at my friend’s house in the Philippines… but regardless of the dates, both of them represent my view of life.
“Such a thought provoking image,
So tranquil and yet, so troubled.
But unsure of what.
Deep in thought,
I took these pictures near Ham Wall nature reserve in 2007 and 2008. The rangers estimated that there were roughly 7 million starlings roosting there each night at that time.
On one occasion I managed to position myself right under them because I wanted to film the noise of all those flapping wings. It was incredible but what I hadn’t anticipated was that quite of few of them would be relieving themselves as they flew overhead. It sounded just like a hail storm and I had quite a few white ‘blobs’ to clean off my clothes when I arrived home.
I’ve been back to Ham Wall this year and the number of starlings has dropped dramatically. The rangers said there were no more than 1 million now. If this is how fast things are changing in the natural world we should all be very concerned.
This is a bit of a repost, because it was never really done properly in the first place. The pics were taken in Sete, in 2010. They’re an amazing band with an even more incredible story. Self taught on self made instruments in refugee camps, they were eventually trained to kill by Gaddafi but in the end, decided they’d rather promote peace with their music. Standing just a few feet from them throughout the gig, I felt the overwhelming presence of the Sahara and the Tuareg spirit pouring out of them.
Quan Yin is the goddess of loving compassion. She hears the cries of all beings in the world and comes to their aid. She eliminates suffering and creates peace and harmony, which in turn, leads her devotees to becoming more compassionate and loving themselves. A deep sense of service to all fellow beings naturally follows the devotion to this Goddess.
A bodhisattva who is both ‘god’ and ‘goddess’ is not uncommon in Buddhist doctrine.
The scriptures explain that a bodhisattva can embody in either male or female form, depending on who they are seeking to save.
Quan Yin originated in India as a male god named Avolo Kitesvara but over time became known as a goddess in China. Literary evidence from the fifth century points to a sexual transformation of Quan Yin. 500 years later her statues had become increasingly feminine, and by the Ming Dynasty, her transformation was complete.
Quan Yin is most often depicted as female nowadays, although some people believe that she is androgynous or even without gender. According to the Mahayana sutras, it is irrelevant though because ultimately, reality is emptiness.
And what a road… Rice terraces, mountain folk, the hill in Baguio, spectacular views or spending hours above the clouds on the highest road in the Philippines, trying to grab a bite to eat, take a pee and smoke a couple of cigarettes during the 15 minute stops on the bus or the six hour wedgies on the way back down ..it’s all good
(All these shots were taken from the window of a very bouncy bus)
More from the archives. I spotted Myleene Klass filming something or other in London in 2009 and fired off a few shots.
She wasn’t very happy about it. Gave me a right filthy look in fact.
It made me realise just how much the world had changed though. I get the feeling, if you saw the same scene today there’d be about 50 people standing around her, staring into their smartphones, instead of actually experiencing the event first hand. Anyway, whatever….
All these pictures were taken in and around Angkor Watt and Angkor Thom recently. I didn’t take the tours, didn’t pay a guide to be blabbing in my ear all day and didn’t get up at 4am to take the same picture, recommended by all the travel books, which hundreds of thousands of people must have taken already (seriously, why bother?). I just rented a bicycle for 2 dollars and cycled around in the jungle for 5 hours. It was a fantastic morning.
All shots were taken on a ‘piece of shit,’ Nikon Coolpix.
….on visiting the great pyramids of Giza.
Well, we got hounded and hassled and threatened by the people working there and all I really wanted to do was just spend a few hours experiencing the energy of the pyramids for myself. Apparently relaxing in sacred spaces is not as easy as it would seem.
A brief audience with Peter Perrett.
One of my favourite musicians ever, probably best known for writing and singing
Another girl, another planet with The Only Ones.
I’ve been a fan of their music for over 30 years so I was very happy when Peter
kindly invited me into his home to take some informal portraits.
I’ve got to say, it was an honour and a pleasure to meet Peter and chat with him.
He even played me a few of his, as yet unreleased tracks. Sounding as good as ever.
It’s just a shame that I was in such a rush and had to leave so soon.
These guys were amazing. I spent all day with them and have rarely
encountered such generosity in my life.
They have no right to be on their land but they’ve been there 25 years anyway
I wish them all the best and hope they get to stay there for many years to come,
although I’m sure their living conditions could improve if they felt more secure.
I’ve been scanning and editing old pictures again.
Here’s a few from my first trip to Thailand, starting with some destroyed
Buddhas in the ancient capital, Ayutthaya.
Somewhere between Thong Sala and Haad Rin in Koh Phangan.
A brief visit to the hill tribes in the north
Taken from sunset beach on Koh Phangan
And a little more strangeness in Ayutthaya
I just started messing around with this programme yesterday.
I don’t really know how it works yet but I did a few pictures I like.
My good friend Andree died this year, aged 104. She not only survived two concentration camps but came out of that experience with a sense of humour and a positivity that you rarely find in anyone. She spent her whole life selflessly helping others. She was 101 when we did these two impromptu photo shoots and she really enjoyed posing for the camera. She told me that the picture, top left one was the best photo anyone had ever taken of her. The rest were from the second shoot we did together. After a while she started looking around for props. First she picked up a book, then she grabbed the photo of her late husband John but as she started thinking about him, she started to cry. I just put the camera away.
Rewriting this in 2019, I still miss Andree. She made me laugh so much. She even flirted with me at times. And her stories were fascinating. She was a huge inspiration to me. Bless you Andree.
All the work on this site is my own and copyrighted.
I’ve been practising and studying photography since the ’70’s
This blog showcases some of my favourite shots. Having learned photography on analog cameras, I always try to get the picture I’m aiming for but these days I edit most of my pictures because the quality of digital photography leaves a lot to be desired.
All the pictures on this site
are available to buy as
limited edition, high quality prints or for commercial use.