Monday 17 September 2012


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Most of our images are available for sale as prints/fine art prints, mostly as limited editions.

Ever confident that life would return to normal or some sort of normality soon, we have continued to neglect our responsibilities to our Blog and Website.  Next week end, 22nd and 23d September, we are participating in an exhibition at Vals-les-Bains in the Ardeche.  Just for the two days.

The workshop and gallery extension to our new house is well under way and we are relying on the builders to have everything ready by the middle of next week so that we can install our equipment.  After that, we return to what passes for normality in our lives.

In the meantime, we have found a little time to experiment at last with abstract approaches to our work.  Here are two of our landscapes, available as prints.

Frozen Reed Bed, Marais de Bouligon

Young beech trees in winter


Monday 27 August 2012

Paradise Regained

Since our last posting in May, the vines have grown almost to full maturity and the grapes are filling out and ripening under a very hot August sun.  Unfortunately, the reason for our failure to post a new blog since May is not that we have been basking in the gorgeous summer weather but, on the contrary, we have been busy, much too busy.

We moved house for the third time in two years and we did it ourselves.  We are still in Chatillon-en-Diois, only a few hundred metres from our last, rented, house but now in our own, wonderfully situated house with magnificent views of Glandasse and Piemard and with quite a lot of land to look after.  We don't anticipate any more moves.  What we have now is better than we ever imagined we would find and in a future blog - when we have had time to make the best of them - we will celebrate the views.


A few months ago we experimented with printing onto canvas with the aim of producing archival prints without the need for glass and with the opportunity to use more flamboyant or fitting frames than we normally see used for photography.  We will continue to produce classically presented prints, framed and with a matte.  It has always seemed to us that, while this is often an ideal presentation for photographs in an exhibition setting, it is a lot less happy as a part of an inhabited interior which calls for something more imaginative.

It's difficult to find a framer, especially living where we do and, anyway, one of the greatest attractions to us of print production is to be able to take the process from the original shot through to the final presentation.  The only solution was to set up our own framing workshop and in the last couple of months we have done this and have begun to produce framed prints and to experiment with presentations and mouldings, some quite flamboyant.

So far, we have been very happy with the results and find that our canvas prints, laminated with an invisible protective coating, are easier to look at and to display than the traditional model. 

Sunday 13 May 2012


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Most of our images are available for sale as prints/fine art prints, mostly as limited editions.

To escape the madness of our lives that we think of as reality, we go out amongst the hills and the vines.  Horizons change.  Nature, beauty and art then become the only reality  -  the rest is that squalid theatre of life that mankind has created for his own torment.

Apparently the Pathans of the North West Frontier have a gloomy proverb:
"Strife eats up the hills, taxes eat up the plains"
Proverb quoted from Anatol Lieven's great book: Pakistan. A Hard Country

For months, we have been drowning in a sea of administration and often pointless chores that nowadays can't be avoided.  Or perhaps can only be avoided by extreme measures.  There doesn't seem to be time to be photographers, which is what we wish to be and need to be, or to be anything else but unrewarded servants of the system and the state.  In the evenings, for some respite, we've been reading biographies  -  Burne-Jones, Byron, Rennie Mackintosh, Darwin and many others.  Apart from the pleasure of delving into the lives of such talented and interesting people, there is the frustration of realising that, apart perhaps from Byron, they couldn't have done what they did today because their lives would have been eaten up, as ours are, and they wouldn't have been able to afford the help that they then had with the chores of their day, legal constraints and political correctness.

When we do get out our appreciation of the better things in life is sharpened by the coming of Spring, the fast-growing crops and trees and the vibrant colours of this superb landscapeSo we will sort out our lives and do what we enjoy the most.

Châtillon's vines are surging ahead in the seasonal showery and increasingly warm weather.

A brilliant carpet of wild flowers in a walnut orchard near Les Payats.

Cabanon amongst the vines at Les Beylieres.

It's always refreshing to stroll into Châtillon-en-Diois especially as it is a village that takes its flowers seriously and has a well-signposted and well-patronised Circuit Botanic.  Probably the local interest is nourished by the astonishing profusion of wild flowers in this area, particularly in the higher valleys.  Even just down the road there are blue gentians flowering on the banks, so blue that they appear to be more a hole than an object  -  a blue void or perhaps a light bulb.  

As we walk into the village we pass a bank of iris that more or less look after themselves from year to year.


A while ago, we spent a little time working on some more of our Venice Carnival pictures and produced some comps which we think are interesting and will make those the subject of another blog.  More relevantly, the opening picture of our preceding blog has been simplified into a form that is perhaps more interesting for long-term display.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Eternal regeneration

When April with his showers hath pierced the drought
Of March with sweetness to the very root,
And flooded every vein with liquid power
That of its strength engendereth the flower;
When Zephyr also with his fragrant breath
Hath urged to life in every holt and heath
New tender shoots of green, and the young Sun
His full half course within the Ram hath run,
And little birds are making melody
That sleep the whole night through with open eye,
For in their hearts doth Nature stir them so,  .  .  .  .  .
Chaucer.  Canterbury Tales
Modernish English Version 

Almost everything is changing almost all the time.  Modern life is as exhausting as it often seems superficial.  But in Châtillon-en-Diois, Spring has arrived again on schedule.  After some bitterly cold weather in February, March warmed up scoring almost unprecedented temperatures. And with April, as in Chaucer's time, Spring has arrived just as it did in Canterbury in the 14th Century.

Amongst the vines in the Valley of the Bez, the routine, both for man and nature, is also remarkably similar to Chaucer's time.  The vines have been pruned back, laboriously almost to the ground, with one or two shoots left to bear the new vintage.  The cherry trees, which are traditionally planted in the vineyards, are flowering spectacularly and the bees, like the vineyard workers, toil long hours, seven days a week.
Châtillon is the best of places   -   a medieval village dating back to well before Chaucer's time, as is the tradition of vine-growing on the fertile valley soils.  With the surrounding mountains we have a cornucopia of natural riches,  protected and partially isolated in a sub-Alpine valley.

The stone-built cabanons used to provide both storage and a roof for the night when families walked from Châtillon to tend their vines.  Not that it was a long walk back to the village but the alternative of a pleasant and well-watered evening under the stars, away from the cramped village streets, appealed then much as it does today.  And evenings in the vineyards still keep the villagers up into the early hours around the cabanons.

'Les Cerisiers', aptly named, has some splendid old white blossoming cherry trees and some pink and red ones recently planted.

The bumblebees were working so hard on our last visit that we could only find workers with their heads buried deep in the flowers.

Thursday 15 March 2012


Please visit our website at to see more of our work. 
Most of our images are available for sale as prints/fine art prints, mostly as limited editions.
If you love history, art and architecture, you'll love Venice.  If you have a predisposition to nostalgia or melancholia or a susceptibility to romance, you'll love Venice.
Our February trip was only our second visit to Venice and, despite the crowds and the commercialism, the cold winds and the relative expense, we still love Venice.
A magnificent and relevant costume seen at the Carnival, with the Bridge of Sighs in the background.  The reference to ships and ship building and one of the world's greatest maritime traditions adds greatly to an intriguing costume.

Somehow, Venice lends itself to melancholia.  
A pair of clowns and the Rialto Bridge. 

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Carnival in Venice

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Most of our images are available for sale as prints/fine art prints, mostly as limited editions.
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts"
Shakespeare. As You Like It

It seemed a good idea to go to Venice again after our fruitful trip last year.  So why not go for the Carnival?  There are several reasons why we would think seriously about doing it again but that is not an expression of regret.  There are lots of people and, for photographers, it is a competetive environment.  We're not competetive photographers and don't shoot sport or news, so it's a long time since we worked on a project like this.  The weather isn't at its best in February but we were lucky again and apart from very cold days the light was generally good and interesting.

The costumes are spectacular.  The imagination, skill, work and sheer artistry that go into these outfits shame a lot of professional theatrical productions.  The best of the characters added dramatic skills to their costumes turning the area around St. Mark's Square into a huge stage where anything could happen  -  and it did.

Many of the costumes were superb, many just good or amusing or interesting.  And of course a welcome smattering of the ridiculous.  Despite the crowds, the atmosphere was good natured, almost without exception.  It's rare to see so many people enjoying themselves in spite of frequent biting winds from the Adriatic.  
For us, this was something of an experiment and the pictures on this blog posting were taken with just two lenses which we were using almost for the first time:  a Canon 300mm f2.8, which we bought very recently, and a Canon 135mm f2 kindly loaned to us by Klaus Bothe at Isarfoto.  Neither lens had the convenience and ease of use of the zooms that almost everyone else was using but we have been delighted and, in cases, astonished by the technical quality and resolution and we probably benefited from the discipline of having to compose and frame and think more than usual.  The presence of so many other photographers with everything from phones to Hasselblads sharpened our reactions.  At least, given the cheerful atmosphere, there was hardly a need to sharpen our elbows.

As usual, we shot too much and shot with several other lenses.  We're still working on the majority and will post them later.  Some of the photos above should also lend themselves to different interpretations -  we just have to find the time.

Thursday 9 February 2012

The Heart in the Forest

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Most of our images are available for sale as prints/fine art prints, mostly as limited editions.

A slow day on the Dubai Stock Exchange

Please visit our website at to see more of our work. 
Most of our images are available for sale as prints/fine art prints, mostly as limited editions.

“When I was young, I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old, I know it is.”—Oscar Wilde

“Whoever said money can't buy happiness doesn't know where to shop.”  Bo Derek


Sunday 22 January 2012

Rivers and Streams

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Most of our images are available for sale as prints/fine art prints, mostly as limited editions.
We failed to find or imagine a fitting title for this little article but we did come across this magnificent, if less than entirely relevant, masterpiece:

The petty streams that pay a daily debt
To their salt sovereign, with their fresh falls' haste
Add to his flow, but alter not his taste.' 
 "The Rape of Lucretia"  William Shakespeare
We've been looking at a little local project to photograph the upper reaches of the River Drôme.  The Drôme is not a mighty river but it is endlessly attractive and despite its unimpressive size it has hugely influenced the landscape and the lives of the people who live in its valley.  It has also given its name to the Departement where we live in France.

By coincidence, we had climbed to the top of the Pic de Luc a few weeks ago and found a splendid view of one of the most striking features of the upper Drôme.  In 1442 a huge chunk of the Pic de Luc fell into the valley.  Enormous house-sized boulders, now known as Les Claps, peeled off the mountain and blocked the flow of the river forming natural dam which created, behind it, a lake five kilometres long.  In 1804 inevitably progress got its way, the dam was breached and the lake drained.  Now the Saut de la Drôme makes an impressive short waterfall and rapids, formidably difficult to photograph.  A helicopter would be ideal but perhaps we'll just wait for better times.
The lake bed, rich alluvial soil, with the deceptively discreet Drôme zig-zagging across the fields on the right, hidden by a line of trees.
Close-up of the lake bed and river.

Above Les Claps farming has largely taken over from the original marshlands.  But as the valley narrows, the Marais de Bouligon is now a modest nature reserve.  The local tendency to build dams has been revived by a family of beavers who have made the entry to the nature reserve a little more complicated by blocking the exit stream from the marsh and raising the water level. 
A stand of deciduous trees on the edge of the river, opposite the Marais de Bouligon.

The ice-bound Marais de Bouligon.
The source of the Drôme was a bit of a disappointment.  A municipal plaque, passed by a stream which rises quite a lot further up the slopes behind the hamlet of La Batie-des-Fonds, announces the river's source but we're inclined to walk up to the top one day and have a look for ourselves.

Monday 9 January 2012

Memories of Good Times Past

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We've done quite a lot of travelling, sometimes we forget just how much.  Travel must be in our blood.  It's a condition hard to control.  We haven't been travelling as much lately and the frustration is palpable.  We have a feeling that the sedentary life doesn't suit us and pushes up our blood pressure and makes us cantankerous.  It's time to get going again.
One of the great assets of being photographers is that we have a lot of very vivid memories which we can recall every time we delve into our archives.  Travelling probably does broaden the mind and it is the best antidote to boredom.  We can be very nostalgic and, while never bored ourselves, probably bore other people for hours with our tales and experiences.  We've both been guilty of the sin of vainglorious boasting when we compare and relate our experiences.  Photography has not made us at all rich in terms of cash and property but our lives have been a wealth of experience.
We've been looking back over some of our earlier work as we're aware that we've been neglecting some good material and we need to freshen it up and recycle it.
Eilean Donan Castle. Scotland.

We lived in Scotland on and off for a dozen years or so and decided that the west coast of Scotland was the most glorious and atmospheric of landscapes.

Indian tribal women working as labourers on a power plant construction project at Rihand, India.
 We visited India many times, always separately, but often shot the same projects as they progressed.  In India we were always struck by the people's composure and self-respect and the elegance of the women, even in the worst

Garlic seller in the Cours Saleya Market. Nice. France

 We lived in the Var an hour's drive away from Nice for quite a few years before moving to the Drome.  Despite widely held beliefs to the contrary, we have always found the French people friendly and laid-back and very easy to photograph.

Well-testing during a desalination project in the Indus Valley. Sind. Pakistan.

Even 20 or so years ago working on a project in Sind and visiting Karachi, Pakistan was not an easy place.  The photographs were taken during Ramadan and the temperature near the Rann of Kutch was over 50C and drinks and food were not available until after 6 pm.

Pluckers in tea garden on the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, background.  Sabah. Borneo.

 A trip to Malaysia and Borneo took in Sabah and Sarawak where the subject was plantations and a project to grow rattan in the depleted forests of Sarawak.  The local people were amongst the most delightful one could hope to meet, quiet, reserved and intelligent.  I couldn't help feeling that their leaders had made a big mistake when they joined the more frenetic Malay Federation.

Aboriginal rock painting in the Kakadu National Park, NT, Australia.

 The job in Darwin was photographing a big gas turbine power station cut out of the mangrove swamps.  The opportunity to go to Kakadu was irresistible and it was a happy excursion as it is an absolutely marvellous place and one of those that we plan to go back to.

North Sea oil production platform and safety boat.

We both spent many days, weeks, months working in the North Sea during the construction and exploration boom in the late 70s and throughout the 80s.  It was exciting and stimulating and physically demanding but it was fun and we loved it.

Stooked oats drying on the coast of Ardnamurchan, Scotland. 

One of our early shots when we lived in Kirkcudbright in S.W. Scotland and before we went to Papua New Guinea in 1970.  Our passion for the west coast of Scotland never went away  -  it's a pity that we had to.

Monks travelling in a tuktuk.  Bangkok. Thailand.

Storm approaching over sugar cane plantation in the Ramu Valley, Papua New Guinea.

 It was good to be able to go back to Papua New Guinea a couple of times to shoot assignments and to have another look at the country that we had lived in for three years in the early 70s and where our daughter was born.

Huge clouds lit by the setting sun dwarf a relatively massive North Sea oil platform.

Racegoers at Royal Ascot Week.
We lived in Ascot through most of the 80s and found it a very pleasant place to be.

A family restaurant in Xi'an, China.
 We went to China usually separately many, many times in the 80s and 90s.  There was a lot of construction and development to shoot especially power plants, steel plants, textile and electronics factories.  A host of other subjects too.  We found China endlessly fascinating but very hard work.  We were always pleased to be there but always relieved when the time came to go back to Hong Kong.
Thai monks photographing each other in a Bangkok temple.
 This shot was taken during our first visit to Bangkok way back in 1972.  We were using up our leave from our contract in Papua New Guinea and carrying our daughter, then 9 months old, in a backpack.  We had three months travelling through S.E Asia on a shoestring.  In those days Bali, Java, Malaysia and Thailand were an almost unspoilt paradise for outsiders like us.

Oil exploration rig in dense Amazon jungle. Ecuador.

 Georgina provoked considerable jealousy with this assignment to Ecuador.  The image above was grabbed with difficulty between rainstorms, betting that the helicopter would turn up quickly enough to beat the next downpour.