photography

Teenage Werewolves: What landscape photographers do of an evening by Jacqui Booth

Taking photos of gigs isn't something I do every time I'm out. It's fun but there's always a photographer more confidently doing their stuff. These creatures take many forms (hello Ollie, it's always nice to see you in your ear defenders) but this time it was a giant of a man stood slap bang in front of me, so the first few shots are worked around him until he moved to one side for a while. Yeah, I should have moved forward alongside him, but it takes some guts to do that and I felt a bit quiet at first. Besides, I was there to see the gig primarily.

So, this is a tribute band. Yeah, that’s unavoidably just a little bit cheesy at best. Yeah, it felt daft getting dressed up to go to the spit and sawdust Musician pub on a Tuesday evening, but this was Teenage Werewolves, the prime Cramps covers band, and it would be fun.

Mark arrived in black Laura Ashley and helped with tea whilst I dug out PVC leggings, a shimmery sequinned top last worn to the circus, and my customary shedload of black eyeliner. My oddly polite teenagers chose to reveal their previously restrained horror at my outfit on my return...it must have been bad!

It was one hell of a show. A generously packed set with no support. In the absence of Lux Interior, Jack Atlantis performed the ass off performing. Attempting to catch Atlantis still enough to photograph in low light was as hard as trying to photography a hen without blur. He must have covered a couple of miles and even some altitude on the tiny Musician stage. It's not a feat that will be matched any time soon.

We danced, we sang, things got covered in beer, I got a damn hard wallop in the back from a particularly inebriated bloke but that's the price of being small and at the front of a gig (it really shouldn’t be this way but I won't get scared away - it's my space too). Loads of Cramps gems were covered, plus covers of Teenage Kicks, Teen Spirit and a Clash cover which was even good by my Clash hating standards!

Afterwards, I chatted with the hard working go go dancers afterwards who were self assured and polite to the dispersing punters and waited for me to drag Mark along to take part in a thigh bearing competition. It was a close contest!

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As we wandered to the Skylink for an uncharacteristically early night, we agreed that, yes, it had been fun.

They call it progress by Jacqui Booth


 “When we destroy something created by man, we call it vandalism. When we destroy something created by nature, we call it progress.” -Ed Begley Jr.

Nope, I've no idea who Ed Begley Jr. is.  An American actor, says Wikipedia, but I liked the words in relation to these photographs of the local railway sheds.  Clearly, the scene has been 'created by man' (I've never seen a woman working in the sheds - they seem to be assigned to period dress and tea duty only in this microcosm), though I'd argue that it was nature enough.  Every time I visit the Great Central Railway, it's not the trains that fascinate me, it's this area of ramshackle storage containers full of useful odds and ends that eventually become restored engines.  Every time I'm allowed to wander through the sheds, smell the oil and peep at the work in progress, the tools and the workbenches I appreciate the access...and the people working there wonder why I'm taking photos.  "We had some students in here once taking photos..." they'll say, totally unaware of how special this unpretentious environment is.

I took these photos a nearly two years ago and since then I've had little time to devote to such things.  I haven't now.  I want to be studying but I'm cleaning the house ahead of Christmas, which is long overdue and hindered by a back that needs to be a little stronger for such things. Still, I'm making progress in my microcosm, though it's influenced by what I think a house should appear to be, criticisms from family and ideas about home style (mostly ignored) rather than simply providing a safe, warm environment for my family and friends. Tools and guitars will be moved, offcuts of wire and piles of sawdust eradicated, albeit temporarily. My own clutter will be tamed. Still, until tarpaulin chic is fashionable, it's probably for the best.

There we were by Jacqui Booth

Well, there's a thing.

I never added the photos from my trip to Cornwall to my website.

It all seems so long ago.

The photo of the astounding view from the master bedroom came up on Facebook memories on Saturday morning...and I wonder how it could have been just a year ago, and writing now...well, it could be a decade.

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It was one hell of a trip.  Come to Cornwall, Tim said.  I was newly qualified to drive, and more than ready to take advantage of the situation. I booked a motorway driving lesson and secured the use of my then partner's car...packed a bag, made a flask of coffee and set off.

I vividly remember arriving. Tim emerged out of the night and plonked himself into the passenger seat. He was so out of breath and nearly soaked to the skin. I felt terrible that he'd had to come out and was obviously worried for his health. The weather was horrendous. It was pitch black. He guided me to our digs, a way-too-beautiful-for-the-likes-of-me house, encouraging me to take it slowly. It was only later that I learned that I was basically driving along a dirt track on a cliff edge.  I dumped my bags and we got soaked on the way to the pub for 'supper'.  Then he blooming well woke me up with tea at sunrise! To be fair, watching the light dappling the ocean was wonderful.

It was pretty damn thrilling to be able to make my way to some of my favourite places under my own steam, and to take Tim with me as a bonus. He does astonishingly well to be dragged around the countryside by me. Lanyon Quoit is a favourite of mine and made a striking setting for Tim. I was able to vaguely revisit an idea I'd had for our first shoot. I wanted to catch a sort of childish innocence, though doing this whilst watching out for the arrival of new tourists kinda meant that taking time to perfect the shot, as well as having Tim laid on a cold rock in November detracted from this!  We also headed to Madron Well, a place I innocently stumbled upon perhaps fifteen years ago.  Sadly, I'd worn him out by the Men-au-tol which was a shame, but he graciously gave me the time to run from the car up the track and spend a few exhilarating minutes there.  My Men-au-tol moment, if you like.

Anyway, as Tim says in his more timely account of events, we had a damn good few days.  I still think about them with amazed fondness. We talked. We talked a lot about many things. He spent a very long time finding ways to help save my relationship with the father of my children. He really did try. The relationship lasted about three month months more then we split for good. That's not to say that Tim failed. His intelligent, endlessly kind and well considered words stay with me.

And so things have been necessarily forgotten, buried, neglected. Domesticity has overwhelmed me. But strange things happen. I've met a man who has insisted that today I leave what I'd identified as my new priorities behind and pick up where I inadvertently left off all those years ago...except it's twelve months. Twelve tiny months.



All my published Tim pics, both alone and with Al Brydon, can be gandered at here.

Slight return by Jacqui Booth

I've been gone this past year.  I've had things to do. Fortunately until recently the Inside the Outside Collective and Tim Andrews kept things ticking over with exhibitions of my photos in London and Brighton, but at home in Leicester I lost weight and stopped going out.  I found out some pretty bad things about my new spread-way-too-thin self and actually some good things too.  I now have sole care of two other human beings and so I cope.

This has meant that I've not been able to dwell on taking photos. I remember at the early stages one person saying that I would have to give up such 'frivolities'. I already had in effect, but I was angry.  This was something that meant so much to me. Why should I be a drudge, a cook, a mother*, a worker, a cleaner and nothing else?  In reality as I sit here listening to the washer, with food that needs to be put away in the kitchen and hair that needed dying a month ago it's really not viable, but there's not one day that has passed that I don't remember that there was something more.

So, time to step into the way back machine. Back when I still had an almost reckless sense of adventure that I'm hoping will still be there when I regain some freedom both physically and mentally. During my first solo holiday with kids, I had to be coaxed up Snowdon by my eldest child, but I'm getting stronger.

This is Denmark, from July 2016.  I've already posted some film shots of this trip, but this is what I found and chose to record digitally.  Thanks to John Blakemore and Joseph Wright for a hand with the sequencing, whilst on a Bookmaking course at the Photo Parlour in Nottingham, though admittedly the raw materials were seriously lacking.  I watched the other photographers sets coalesce into something meaningful, but mine just wouldn't.  So, let's get rid and move on at last!




* I could actually argue that being a mother is pretty fucking important, but it's still not really seen that way, is it?

Last summer by Jacqui Booth

 

So...where to begin?  It's perhaps best not to even think about it too much. So much has changed since the last time I blogged about any photos, mainly because so much has happened personally.  It's okay, I've still had a smile on my face sometimes, but hell, it's been stressful and will continue to be for the time being.

It's difficult to place how I feel about a lot of my photos that have remained stockpiled.  It's not only because I'm so tired at the moment that my elbows keep slipping off the desk.  They're just from another time.

This lot are already nearly a year old and I think they were taken to test the AGFA, which seemed very reluctant to give me a good photo on my trip to Denmark.  There's still something going on with it that I'll suss out another time. Since then I've taken almost sole responsibility on a day to day basis for my two teenage lads and (fortunately) for now I have the family home to look after.  The lads and I are grappling with shopping, cooking, cleaning, GCSE's and all the emotional stuff they feel when their parents royally fuck up the nuclear family thing and quite suddenly start seeing new people.

 
 

On this day the sun shone, my youngest protested strongly about getting out of the car at all and a most likely autistic lad laid in a ditch for a whilst his parents patiently waited for him to settle.  A regular day out but I knew when we came here as a four that it was for the last time we'd be such a unit at Sherwood Pines. It was almost bittersweet.  I drove, the kids eventually played happily together in a place full of happy memories and I took some photos...