First Post

25Jan07

Without an audience, this first post feels a little like standing on the street corner bellowing into a megaphone as commuters rush by, hoping I don’t ask them if they ‘have a minute.’

I live in the London borough of Lambeth, the ‘New Jerusalem’ of William Blake’s poem. ‘England’s Pleasant Pastures’ comes from that hymn which I sang at primary school, a long, long time ago. As a young lad also dragged off to the draughty Salvation Army hall every Sunday, I loved its lines which mercifully down-played many of the pious properties that others packed into their own solemn verse. I later decided that ‘Satanic Mills’ was an allegory for the industrial revolution or better still, the Church:

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of Desire;
Bring me my Spear; O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of Fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant Land.

Long gone is the notion that our island is still the green and pleasant land of Blake’s imagination, before factory chimneys and 4 x 4s blighted our English towns. In its place is a landscape of cultural insanity where we drive as far as we can go without soaking our boots. We sit in a steamed up car, our bonnet pointing towards France, dreaming of the Ice Age when our Neolithic neighbours were but a slippery day-trip away.

Whatever I display on this blog over the coming months will probably bear no relation to my plans of today. In photography, the process of indiscriminate encounters and chance discoveries is in itself an activity of huge uncertainties and hazards. Leaving the house, I don’t know what image will be traced upon my film or pixelated RAW within the memory card. It’s always a nervous period, the time just before you start a new project and over the years, it’s get no easier. Expect the unexpected, that’s always the beauty of photography.

Let no-one tell you that a creative animal can simply switch themselves on in the way the camera power switch is flipped over from 0 to 1. Photographers I maintain, are like actors or musicians who need a level of excitement or emotional pressure to fuel their adrenalin and thus generate engaging work.

Assuming you are one of those commuters who has paused long enough to engage with my pictures and ponder what writing I shall subsequently post, may your day be thoroughly random.

And lastly, a word about my pictures. All photographs on this blog are copyrighted and their downloading and reproduction is therefore discouraged. Just bloody ask.

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2 Responses to “First Post”

  1. Well, you have an audience. I like being “bellowed” at. Nice poem. I believe it’s one of those things that has been cruelly misappropriated and mis-interpreted by certain undiserable (read: fascist) elements of our society, but it’s quality still stands.

    Interesting blog

  2. Hello Peteerandthehare,

    Glad you like my megaphone efforts so far. Meanwhile, I shall go see what the Hare has to say ..


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