Malolos: Street photography and ladyboys

malolos

Originally posted 2017-08-10 23:36:59.

On the 25th of February 2017, my then girlfriend Sammi and I went to Malolos, the capital of Bulacan, to see a ladyboy parade; but it never appeared. Ladyboy levels of disorganisation are, of course, legendary, in addition to which, they were probably working on Filipino time, which makes ‘manana’ sound urgent. Still, a couple of nice cold Red Horses and some good pictures.

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Early Summer at John Muir Park, Dunbar, 1990

Originally posted 2013-04-22 16:27:29.

Early Summer at John Muir Country Park, Scotland
Early Summer at John Muir Country Park, Scotland

I began with this picture because it representated a departure for me, and a point when I began a long journey of investigation, which is ongoing. I had become fascinated by the effects of sunlight passing through foliage, and it gave me a completely new direction in terms of landscape photography. Instead of the broad, I began to focus on the intimate, and instead of the general, the particular.

I had walked past this scene many times and was waiting for the foliage to really wake up as it does in early summer, and before it becomes tired-looking. One day I realised that the moment had come and I went back to the car to get my gear. I used an MPP MkVIII folding 5×4 technical camera, which is a very similar beast to the German Linhof Teknica, but made by a company in London. These are really nice machines, and usually pretty cheap to acquire, much less than a Tek, anyway.


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Arbroath January 1972

Originally posted 2016-08-16 17:43:12.

Arbroath January 1972 . I was living in the house at 9 East Grimsby. My Dad had died the previous year and I was still struggling with it.  But I had a few things going for me: music, a camera and my books. It wasn’t a lot but it helped.

Russ Black, the art teacher at school encouraged me to use its darkroom. I had lost my own a couple of years before when we moved house. This is one of the earliest rolls I still have from then.

The camera was a Leica Model III fitted with a Ross Xtralux 50mm f2, an excellent lens. I used the name ‘Xtralux’ for a band some years later, in Exeter. Film was Ilford FP3.

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2001 Panoramas at Ethie Woods, Angus

Originally posted 2018-10-06 11:00:50.

I took most of these pictures at Ethie Woods near Arbroath in Angus Scotland in 2001. Some were taken in our home in Arbroath. The camera was a Russian ‘Horizont’. this was a panoramic camera that used a swinging 28mm lens on 35mm film. The images were interesting but not really sharp. This was partly because the 28mm lens was not that sharp anyway, but also because the film had to be held in a curve so that it registered with the focal plane of the rotating lens. This was somewhat beyond the Russian technology of the day and since the lens could not be stopped down to reduce the consequences of this, the images suffered.

I sold the camera after a short while, but looking back, the somewhat soft-focus effect was really attractive in its own right.

 

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Maryhill, Glasgow, May 1974

Originally posted 2018-09-18 07:57:20.

Maryhill, the poor part of Glasgow’s West End, in 1974, was a different world. Looking back on these pictures, forty-five years later, I am still moved.

When I came to the Philippines first, a kind but unaware French friend told me that I would see poverty such as I had never seen before. I had not the heart to tell him; I had seen worse — in Maryhill, Glasgow, for one.

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maryhill glasgow
Maryhill, Glasgow in 1974

Yet on the other hand I have so many memories of Maryhill, Glasgow and most of them are good. I was never robbed, beaten up or threatened there. Nobody ever asked if I was a Catholic or a Protestant — a question I would get used to later. People were poor, yes, many had no shoes; but they had community and mutual respect. I see that today in the Philippines. We lost a great deal when we lost that.

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Plaridel, Philippines December 2016

Originally posted 2017-08-02 18:05:28.

This was my fifth visit to the Philippines and again, I arrived before Christmas, on the 8th of December. I had rented an apartment in Plaridel, Bulacan, which was to be my base for the next four months.

Plaridel

Plaridel is a market and manufacturing town about 30 miles north of Manila. In 2015 it had a population of 107,000. It has an airport.

I’ll let the pictures and captions speak for themselves in this photo diary of the trip. This section goes from my arrival up to New Year. I’ll do another section for the latter part.

To view the gallery, please click the ‘Read More’ link below

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Philippines 2015-2016; a land of surprises

Originally posted 2017-07-27 20:56:35.

I am not ashamed to say that I love the Philippines. Nowhere else that I have ever visited manages to capture so much of humanity’s amazing variety. It’s an incredible place and I am so lucky to have found it. This is a selection of pictures from that trip. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

 

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River ferries, Pasig 2016

River ferries

Pasig River ferries from Maybunga to downtown Manila.

Not many people know about the Pasig River ferries — which are really like floating buses. They’re not very fast but given that Manila road traffic is gridlocked most of the day, the river ferries represent an efficient transport alternative. There are numerous jetties along the river where passengers can alight and the cost was minimal. This journey took just over an hour but I have known the same one take over three in a taxi!

 

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Poor Jelly was suffering. She was recovering from an accident and the seats on the ferries are basic, making her back injury hurt, But as always she just grinned and carried on. Smashing girl.  We had a lot of fun.

patreonThe Terminus is at Escolta, on the other side of the river from the famous Intramuros, the old walled city. The day was very hot and Jelly was clearly in pain so we took a calesa ride and made like tourists. She had never been to Intramuros before and despite her sore back, really enjoyed herself.

The last ferry back to Pasig was at 1630, because the service only operates in daylight – there are no navigation lights! It was a fine day out though.

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