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Photography : the importance of staying open-minded

‘If at first you don’t succeed – failure may be your thing.’ Attributed to George Burns (1896-1996) As a comedian, George Burns often had his tongue firmly in his cheek – never more so than here. Fortunately, I ignored his advice when a friend challenged me to take a photograph of ‘wetness’.

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Pigs might fly

‘There is more to life than increasing its speed’ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

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‘The English’ by Ian Berry

I made sure that my copy of ‘The English’ came with me to Zambia, where it has pride of place on the bookshelf. The book was made possible by the award of an Arts Council Bursary and most of the images were taken during 1975. In the foreword, Berry explains that the

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Mr and Mrs Mop

We recently bought a new mop – the old one looked worn out. I didn’t take much notice at first. But then I saw Mary, our niece, soaking the new mop and putting it on the balcony to dry. Apparently new cotton mops have to be ‘broken-in’, by soaking them in clean

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Window Shopping : ‘The Gossips’

When I’m in London, window shopping is one of my pleasures. The big stores have huffed and puffed, but they still haven’t blown all the small shops away. If you want to be surprised, put on comfortable shoes, get off the beaten track and explore. Whenever possible, I take a camera on

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Staying creative as a photographer

I haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions for 2018. It feels like an overrated pastime that relies on willpower. I’m more interested in finding ways of staying creative. Paradoxically, 2017 ended on a creative high for me because I was forced to shoot close to home. Being restricted, I had a blunt

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‘No Bad Dogs’

‘I can train any dog in five minutes. It’s training the owner that takes longer.’ Barbara Woodhouse (1910-88) Born in Ireland, Barbara Woodhouse was a dog trainer, author and television personality. Her 1980 TV series ‘Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way’ made her a household name in the UK. Her book ‘No Bad

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Watching the world go by

The fine autumn weather had tempted me out – I needed fresh air and exercise. And I soon realized that I needed a camera. Strolling through East Ham I found this relaxed, alert Doberman in a shop doorway. I cursed myself, having broken the first rule of photography : always carry a

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Helen Levitt : Queen of street photography

‘When you see an unbelievable confluence of chance in a photograph, remember that the photographer was there, booted and spurred.’ Walker Evans (1969) When Walker Evans made this comment, he was thinking of Helen Levitt. He had agreed to write a brief introduction to the wonderful photobook Helen Levitt. And he described

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Man with a tin bath

My friend Ann lives in Woodlands, on the outskirts of Lusaka. From the middle of town, it’s a good hour’s walk along Independence Avenue. Laid out by the colonial government, with two lanes for traffic each way, the road was originally called Ridgeway. Its best feature is the wide central reservation. Mature