Monday 28 March 2011

Photographs in Papua New Guinea 1970 - 1973

Visit our website at:  to see a comprehensive selection of our work and a large range of photographs for sale as limited edition prints.
As we've mentioned before, the exhibition in Monaco of some of our Papua New Guinea photographs has just finished.  Most of the images were seriously worked on and restored for the first time for the exhibition and are, therefore, new work from our point of view.  Following a link on our favourite forum, Pro-Imaging, we saw one of Irving Penn's iconic portraits also taken in the same region of the New Guinea Highlands and in 1970, the year that we arrived there and we didn't know that we'd missed the opportunity to watch the great photographer at work.  

Considerable nostalgia and perhaps a desire for reflected glory prompted us to post some of our favourite black & white PNG images that we are now offering as Limited Edition Fine Art prints.  

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Friday 25 March 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

In 1972 a Papua New Guinea Highlander paid a tribute to Elizabeth Taylor by choosing this magazine page to decorate his headdress. 

Col de Caux

Visit our website at:  to see a comprehensive selection of our work and a large range of photographs for sale as limited edition prints.
Wednesday is market day in Die.  The market expands as the weather warms up and we always try not to miss it.  The rest of the day reminded us that whenever we are working in the office most of the time is spent on what seems like pointless administration, working for them, not us. 

This morning, another gorgeous day so we packed our cameras in the backpacks, along with a light lunch and drove about 12 Km back to Chatillon to walk a well known circuit:  Chatillon to the Pie de Boeuf, then to the Col de Caux and back to Chatillon via the Vallee de Bain, a 14 Km round trip and a 600m climb.  We're getting fitter after our winter's computer work but that was far enough for today.

This is truly magnificent countryside.  The trees and the shrubs, the rocks and the flowers are all superb and the backdrop of Glandasse, with a few patches of snow still clinging to the slopes, is breathtaking.  The paths weave up and down the mountain side and at each bend there is a new and different vista.  Look back and it all changes again.  The Pinus Sylvestris (Scots Pines) are the most striking of their family with reddening trunks and branches as they age and an endless variety of shape and form.  

All this perfection seen by the eye and registered by the brain is very hard to capture with a camera.  We've often wondered whether it's the limits of photography or the photographer, but very often we can take our cameras and lenses, tripod etc. on a long and rewarding walk and return with very few pictures.  Perhaps the photographer's problem has a lot to do with atmosphere and we will have to satisfy ourselves with cameos.  Then perhaps the walk is a progression and, like a jig-saw puzzle, the whole can be very satisfying but it would be a waste of time to photograph the pieces.  Some locations work better than others especially graphic landscapes and simple vegetation, or landscape under snow which can be the most rewarding of all.

The walk to the Col de Caux was under glorious sunshine all the way with clear blue skies.  Great for walking but our most successful fine art images were shot in wild, atmospheric or even gloomy conditions.  Idyllic brightness makes better calendars than long-term art to enhance a room.  Threatening skies, impending doom and shafts of dramatic light work best for us.

On top of the Pie de Boeuf looking out over the Diois

On the path leading to the Col de Caux with the Roc d'Ambane, part of Glandasse, dominating the view


Wednesday 23 March 2011


 Visit our website at:  to see a comprehensive selection of our work and a large range of photographs for sale as limited edition prints.

Yesterday, we walked from St. Roman to Chatillon-en-Diois through the vineyards at the foot of Glandasse, the superb south-facing escarpment of the Vercors Plateau.  The vineyard workers are busy now tying the recently pruned vines to their supports.  Signs of Spring are everywhere.  We unloaded our backpacks habitually full of camera gear at the cosy Cafe de la Mairie for a pot of tea and two irresistible apple tarts, warmed, with a scoop of bio vanilla ice cream on top, and flambed Grand Marnier.  All this virtuous walking promotes a destructive appetite.

Chatillon is still very much a traditional village in a region at the edge of the Alps.  Built for hot summers and cold winters it has not changed a great deal and is now a classified village and preserves its charm.  Just across from the cafe the light was just right down a stepped street towards the main road for the view below.

Just over a year ago, when we were looking for somewhere to live, we walked the same route in bitter winter conditions and took this shot of walnut trees and a little stone cabanon, just outside Chatillon.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Living and working in Die

Visit our website at:  to see a comprehensive selection of our work and a large range of photographs for sale as limited edition prints.
We came to the town of Die nearly a year ago.  Apart from the unfortunate undertones of its spelling in English, Die is a very comfortable place to live.  Undemanding and a touch bohemian and, strangely, unknown, it sits in a glorious valley at the foot of the Vercors Massif.  For us one of the principal attractions was to find a corner of the real France, relatively undiluted by 'progress'.  Not that Die is backward despite its diminutive size, about 5000 souls, most of the necessities of life and a lot of the luxuries are available here.  And in terms of good wholesome food and an astonishing market twice a week it is way ahead of anywhere else we know.  

Yesterday, we walked out of our front door with our backpacks to spend a glorious warm and sunny day on the Montagne de Bret just north east of Die.  The first Spring flowers are colonising the shady spots in the forests with carpets of Primroses and pockets of Hepaticas paramount.  Crocus here and there on the higher and most exposed slopes and ridges.  The birds are in good voice and there are plenty of signs of sanglier turning the leaves along the tracks and digging for bulbs and grubs.  Perhaps it's the place or perhaps the result of our winter spent uncharacteristically indoors, but this year's signs of Spring are more stimulating than they seemed in the past.  It's probably this marvellous place.  

A lunchtime snack near the Pas de Bret was disturbed by ravens scouting for left-overs and a pair of disappointed Griffon Vultures (Gyps Fulvus). 

Anemone Hepatica

Primrose  -  Primula Vulgaris

Glandasse and the Vercors Plateau from Bret

Saturday 19 March 2011

The end of our exhibition in Monaco

After five weeks - has it really been that long - our exhibition in Monaco finishes on 20th March.  The exhibition was a turning point for us as our Papua New Guinea photographs had been neglected for nearly 40 years.  The opportunity to exhibit them on the Esplanade at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco and the advances in digital technology made it possible for us to produce files from the old negatives and transparencies which, according to some of the critics, were little different from their modern counterparts. The solutions available for restoration are neither simple nor cheap, especially given the cost of 'the best drumscans you can buy'.  It was hard work and we spent most of the winter in front of computers restoring that old work.  But it was worth it and the results were amazing.
The Grimaldi Forum are the most open and imaginative of sponsors and pulled out all the stops to make the exhibition a success.  It will be difficult to find another venue as sympathetic and, in its way, as spectacular.
Since the launch of the exhibition we've been getting our breath back and thinking about new projects as well as walking off some of the results of a sedentary winter, working away inside our small, temporary apartment. 

Please visit our website at: to see more of our images most of which are available as Limited Edition prints.