Your last time in a darkroom.

I was driving over Dartmoor on Wednesday. This programme was on the radio. A fine example of serendipity. The artist featured in this broadcast is based on Dartmoor. I had never heard of Garry Fabian-Miller. Something I need to remedy, but for now his subject matter was what interested me.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000d70k

Garry Fabian- Miller creates images with a dark room but not cameras.

His days in the darkroom are numbered as the production of photographic developing chemistry is coming to an end.

He speaks movingly about leaving his darkroom.

Darkrooms are one of the casualties of the digital photography/imaging revolution.

I don’t remember the moment when I left a darkroom for the last time.

It’s madness that such a significant part of my professional life slipped away unnoticed and without a fitting farewell.

Medical darkrooms could be massive spaces serving many x-ray rooms with automatic processors or tiny cupboards with smelly tanks of developer and fixer for hand processing. Darkrooms have a strange life of 24 hours of darkness illuminated only with red lights. The similarity to nightclubs doesn’t stop there. Darkrooms are not unused to illicit liasons, or it has to be said, cockroaches. Either way it was always wise to clatter about a bit before entering a dark room, particularly at night or weekends. I rather wish I had taken the time to say goodbye.
Half an hours listening to the programme in the link is worthwhile even if darkroom nostalgia or art are not your thing. This is a gentle conversation about more than those two subjects.

Vivid

Vivid is my word of choice on a dull, wet January day. Vivid brightens the world. Vivid people enrich the world. Vivid is never dull. I searched my files for a picture or two to illustrate vivid. My vivid file is rather full and I’m unable to just pick one so join me on a vivid journey for January. The route will be erratic.

Vivid Hugo in January 7 years ago. An 8 week old puppy. As I write this he still loves a vivid backdrop. Today he is sleeping on a Chartreuse coloured pillow.

One last Hugo centric image comes from Brighton Pavillion Winter Ice skating rink possibly 6 years ago. I love the accidental or serendipitous heart shape of the illuminated portion of the image.

Taking my next link as architecture Brighton Pavillion we to Neal’s Yard just North of Covent Garden Tube Station.

I’m completely lost as to where these beach huts are. Pink and orange takes us to the seaside, either Suffolk or Sussex.

This wall is in Marrakech, dropping the orange we go pink. A pink wall in Majorelle Gardens famed for their blue. There is a tiny triangle of the eponymous blue if you look hard enough.

Pink Marrakech walls guide me gently towards the next new direction, which will be sartorial with a nod to a traditionally dressed market porter. What is intangible from this picture is the vivid smell eminating from the tannery area. A rare example of vivid not being a good thing.

Sartorially vivid takes us to South Korea. A chance photograph of a proper dapper chap.

Another chance photograph. Not so dapper but definately a chap taken at Whitstable Carnival.

Body habitas gives me the next cue for a change of direction. Statues by Mauro Perruchetti. Jelly Baby Family at Marble Arch.

Jelly baby sculptures neatly swerve me to foodstuffs. Next up Dolly Mixtures at a baptismal party.

The glitter and twinkly confetti party table takes us effortlessly to a live Christmas Karaoke party in Peckham.

Then on to yet more twinkle. This time for Chinese New Year in Hong Kong.

Peckham to Hong Kong, quite a journey but as we’ve arrived there is more Hong Kong to reveal.

Close up of a lantern , quickly followed by a photographic error but vivid and thus valuable to this blog.

As luck would have it I have a Chinese New Year textile link.

My packing for Chinese New Year.

That was a lucky turn as textiles are awkward to weave into a story. The craft tent at The Royal Cornwall Show tempted Psychedelic crochet out of the closet.

Port Eliot Festival, also in Cornwall ties up trees as gifts.

Which brings me gratefully to Vivid Nature.

February tulips in Saltash

Artichokes in June.

Which briefly return us to Hong Kong for spiky plants.

Rambutans at Tuen Mun market in the New Territories. Fruit directs me to some of my paintings. Starting with Fig, Blackberry and Cob but.

Then on to an invented abstract fruit.

Which bears a little resemblance to a real flower,

at the Chelsea Flower Show, which of course returns us to London.

This is a very expensive monitor in a hospital in Marylebone. This intriguing pattern was caused by an unexpectedly vigorous movement of an x-ray machine, known as a C-arm it orbits around the patient. Swinging us neatly to the actual Orbit at The Olympic Park. Sculpture by Anish Kapoor.

Red neon effect and East London track me back to The City.

A favourite bar and coffee shop opposite Smithfield Market and close to St Bartholomew’s Hospital . Ask For Janice is a refuge from the realities of work. It is also the location for celebrations and socializing with work friends. Often before more physical challenges , which bowls us along nicely.

Posh bowling in Bloomsbury with the boys.

Buoys on the Norfolk coast.

And finally some vivid music and more spheres.

Congratulations on completing a vivid journey. Have a chocolate.

Greyscale

Diagnostic imaging was my trade for many years. The majority of modalities in imaging produce pictures in black and white or more correctly in Grey scale. As an artist grey scale has always been my guide when judging my coloured work. A black and white photograph always lets me know if a painting has the balance I am hoping to achieve.

Cookworthy Knapp © theoldmortuary

In photography I often search out a monotone image in the real world.

Petersham Nurseries
https://petershamnurseries.com/

Hugo and Lola have been known to pose in locations that lend themselves to Black and White.

In this case at Dungeness, Britain’s only desert on the Kent coast.

The unusual environment lends itself to greyscale.

All round the coast of Britain, black and white somehow brings peace and silence to an image that could, with colour be garish or over ripe.

Wells-next-the-sea

Gigs at Saltash, Cornwall

Another monotone shot in real life colour.

Retaining walls at Samphire Hoe Country Park. An artificial land mass built from the extracted materials created by the tunneling for the Chanel Tunnel. A Nature Preserve.
http://www.samphirehoe.com/uk/visit-us/

And finally back to Radiography.

A cardiac angiogram of the left coronary artery, the basis of the pattern that heads this blog.

Left coronary artery

Moon, barge and sunrise.

An early morning drop off at Exeter Airport gave us the chance to go for an early morning walk at Topsham, the weather was all things bright and beautiful. The moon was still up when we started. Our only previous visits to Topsham were related to delivering or collecting students doing the Topsham 10. No mention ever, from them, of the amazing architecture.
https://topshamten.com/

Topsham is beautiful. The architecture is stunning. We accidentally walked the Topsham Goatwalk. At 7:30 we pretty much had it to ourselves.

A bit of googling on our return home and we discovered that in the 17 th century Topsham was the second busiest British port after London. Which explains the architecture.
https://lovetopsham.co.uk/history/

Topsham took precedence over Exeter as a port because an assertive woman, Isabella de Fortibus built a partial weir in 1290, on the River Exe to run her mills and cut off Exeter as a navigable port direct from the sea. In 1300 a local landowner Hugh De Courtney added to the effect of the weir by felling trees and chaining them together to further block the navigable river to Exeter.
http://www.exetermemories.co.uk/em/topsham.php

We were pretty surprised to see a Thames Barge resting up on a slipway. Even more surprised to discover that the barge, Vigilant had spent some time in the same relatively unknown area of North East Essex where half of theoldmortuary grew up.


https://thamesbarge.org.uk/boats/vigilant/

The sun was rising as we approached the actual Goat walk, a raised path alongside the water. Loads of benches there for future memorial bench blogs.

We carried on walking into the sunrise and then followed footpaths and lanes back into the centre of town for a brew at Route 2 cafe.
https://route2topsham.co.uk/

Topsham is so worth a visit. If you can’t get there visit the links on this page.

Libraries

Plymouth blue sky today, no filters.

Plymouth library, museum and art gallery all closed some time ago.

The site is being redeveloped to become The Box, a museum, gallery and cultural space . I’ve really missed being able to use the old facilities and have volunteered at the building site doing Hard Hat Tours as a way of being involved.
https://plymhearts.org/thebox/

Until today I hadn’t used the library in its new location. Primarily because I loved the old building and the new one, to be honest, is not charismatic. Plymouth deserves something glorious like Birmingham. In our dreams…

Libraries are not just about buildings and books.

theoldmortuary needed to find out the location of a deceased relations childhood address. We had tried all sorts of searches on-line line with no success. The library was our next choice and we arrived today with only scant information. The staff at the library were brilliant trying all sorts of searches. Eventually a pre war register of Plymouth inhabitants gave us the breakthrough we needed. Another member of staff delved into Cencus archives to double check the findings. After that we took a drive and found a cottage hidden from view up an alley and some steps. We would never have located it without the diligence of the library staff.
https://www.plymouth.gov.uk/libraries

Libraries are about friendly, knowledgable staff. Plymouth Central Library was very good to us.

Thankyou

Snowdrops

My first snowdrop of 2020. Known as the February Flower expected to appear at Candlemas on February 2nd. Always earlier in Southwest England. Stories stick to this little bulb which is the first to bloom in Cornwall as a sign of approaching Spring.

In the Creation story, it was gifted to Adam and Eve by an empathetic angel after they were cast out of Paradise following the apple incident. Gifted to give them hope of a future beyond banishment after their great transgression.

Neil Gaiman also gave the Snowdrop a positive spin in his novel Stardust giving it magical qualities.Character Tristan carries a small glass snowdrop to protect him from witches bad spells.

Not all myths and stories that are woven around the Snowdrop are positive . The Victorians blamed Snowdrops being brought indoors for causing the death of family members but the Victorians blamed lots of things for the death of family members. It can be known as the Death Flower.

One intriguing coincidence is that the snowdrop is believed to be the herb Moly mentioned in Homers Odyssey. Moly was given by the God Mercury to Ulysses to protect him from forgetfulness caused by poison. In the same poem it was also used to cure group amnesia . In the twentieth century it was discovered that the bulbs of snowdrops contain Galanthamine, an alkyloid used to manage Altzeimers Disease.

Beachcombing, bringing colour to the blog in January.

Winter time is beach time, storms bring odds and ends onto beaches. Even in Cuba, where we had hoped for sun, beach combing post storm became a holiday pleasure. Beachcombing brightens up a winter walk and takes your mind off the weather. Cornwall opens the majority of its beaches to dogs in the winter months, parking is often free so a lot of dog walks take us to the coast at this time of year.

Let’s start with the bright but bad stuff. Portwrinkle is one of the easiest beaches to get to from theoldmortuary but winter tides bring masses of plastics onto the beach. It is literally ” a drop in the Ocean” but every time we go there for a stroll we pick up a couple of carrier bags of plastic waste.

After yesterday’s monochrome blog I really wanted some colour. I knew I had these pictures in the archive. Bright but not beautiful, this is the result of just twenty minutes picking.

The next two pictures are genuine January photos.

Watergate bay in North Cornwall, where these pictures were taken, gets a different sort of man-made detritus. sea glass. I keep sea glass in jars. One for each coastline in the South West

Watergate Bay seems to get larger chunks of sea glass than other beaches I suspect it’s also not as old as some of the stuff that washes up nearer to Plymouth on the south coast.

January in Cuba, a couple of years ago, still landed us with stormy weather but thankfully the detritus was all natural. I used the sunset to provide lighting.

A colourful haul of flotsam and jetsam . Not exactly the correct definition but I’ve always loved those two words.

https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/flotsam-jetsam.html

Jetsam describes debris that was deliberately thrown overboard by a crew of a ship in distress, most often to lighten the ship’s load. The word flotsam derives from the French word floter, to float. Jetsam is a shortened word for jettison.