Shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer I read a poem by W. H. Auden called Miss Gee in which a doctor tells his wife that “cancer’s a funny thing” and

“Childless women get it. And men when they retire;

It’s as if there had to be some outlet, For their foiled creative fire.’

I’ve always seen myself as a creative person, but by the time I was dealing with cancer I felt as if I had lost my creative fire.  The last time I had taken any photographs (as opposed to holiday snaps) was back in 1977.  I have long believed in the role of creativity in the healing process and so I bought a digital camera and started again.

I set out with a very simple aim; I would not try to become the next Ansel Adams but would simply make photographs that pleased me – and might please other people.   A notch up from a snapshot.  But here’s the rub – what appeals to one person won’t necessarily appeal to another.

I also learnt from singing in a band that it’s very easy to become self-indulgent.  Songs I might want to sing would bore others to tears.  It’s the same with photographs – we’ve all sat through endless holiday snaps full of images that mean something to the taker but absolutely nothing to the viewer.   Not that there’s anything wrong with holiday snaps – my point is that digital photography has made it possible to shoot lots of images for very little cost.  We just have to selective.

I’m not a photographer – I don’t carry my camera everyday or everywhere always on the look out for a good subject.  I just like to make pictures from time to time.   The creative process is even more important now that I’m not singing.  One of the most frustrating things is that I can see images in my mind but they never look as good when I actually take them.  I guess I’m not alone in that.

Photography appeals because it’s a perfect blend of art and science.  I understand a lot of the science.  It’s the art that’s the hard bit – it’s what turns a photograph into something special.

Here’s a selection from 1977 and 2009-2011.  You can enlarge an image by clicking on it. I have an on-line gallery at if you wish to see more.  There’s a link in the Blogroll opposite.

Faroe Islands 1977

Faroe Islands 1977

Iceland 1977

Tim, bass player, Borderline Crossing and Fat Freddy's Cat 2009

Monty, Borderline Crossing 2009

Rosa Francis E. Lester 2009

looking out from Jura 2009

Annie, Solway-on-Firth 2009

the Angel of the North 2009

Newcastle-Gateshead 2009

The Sage, Newcastle-Gateshead 2009

Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, 2010

Aldeburgh, Suffolk 2010

Aldeburgh, Suffolk 2010

Aldeburgh, Suffolk 2010

Annie 2010

Annie's retirement party 2010

Embleton Beach, Northumberland 2011

Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland 2011


1 Response to photography

  1. Nice pics – thanks for the link – will be checking in regularly. xxj

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