Week Notes 016: W/E 23 July 2023

A fallen tree branch in front of the tree line on Parliament Hill, London
  • I had to turn around the edit for my Wimbledon pictures over the previous weekend, which was a pain at the time, but meant that I had three days free at the beginning of the week. Finally got stuck into what I hope are the final stages of setting up my new site. I looked at the new site yesterday and am really pleased at how my work has progressed. It’s easy to feel like nothing is changing when you are head down, but little by little, the cumulative impact of project after project builds up into a body of work.
  • I enjoyed two films by NYC street photographer, Chris Chu: a breakdown of his approach to a documentary project focussed on the iconic West 4th basketball court and a short interview film looking at the relationship between two fathers and their sons.
  • More NYC photography goodness: Walkie Talkie with Aaron Berger. A relaxed and interesting interview with an NYC street legend, returning after a bit of time away from photography.
  • Continuing on the YouTube tip, I find The Bioneer’s exercise advice from to be really helpful. Lots of pragmatic advice for building up functional fitness using a minimal approach. I think that the videos highlighting single exercises are great, and showed me movements that I practice most days like Hindu squats or hip bridges. His recent film about training for parents is great too. Yes, there’s lots of footage of him shirtless, running, squatting, and thrusting, but the information is high quality and backed by studies. (This might be a positive for you depending on your proclivities)
A row of tall plants with purple flowers run along a black fence in the foreground. Behind the fence there is a stand of pines trees on a small rise which are blocking the view of the sky.
  • Still reading Writing Tools, but slowed down a little as I switched to reading Built to Move by Kelly and Juliet Starrett. I need to refine my creaky writing skills, but first I need to address my creaky body… I like the format of the book: benchmark tests to find your limitations, followed by exercises to open up your range of motion. I’m burning through it as there is quite a lot of filler, but the core suggestions seem effective. I’m going to fit in a little batch of exercises every day and will see how I feel in a month. I like their idea, shared by The Bioneer, of adding movement practice into the gaps in the day. Press ups while processing files, resting in a deep squat while your tea is brewing or mobility work in front of the TV. Even if there’s no time for a full work out, there’s always ten minutes here or there to get the blood flowing. Little and often adds up
  • Shot on Friday out of London at a beautiful location. Lots of different set ups — documentary images, interiors, gardens, portraits, and still life. Fun to stretch my skills under time pressure. Nice to shoot in mostly nice daylight too. First time using the MOLUS X100 on a shoot. My assistant handheld it with a white umbrella to for some grab-and-go portraits. More than powerful enough for a dim interior, integrated into existing ambience and a lovely light quality. With the umbrella it was a bit of a handful, so I’m going to look into one of their mini parabolic soft boxes.
  • Back very late from the shoot, then edited all the following day until 0500 in the morning. Went to bed for three hours and then woke up to work through Saturday. Mid morning, my wife and I heard shouting outside the window and ran to check what was going on. Dark grey smoke was billowing a fire in a flat in our building. Luckily, the fire service arrived en masse shortly afterwards and managed to get the fire under control. No one was hurt, though the flat looked like it was gutted. It happened so quickly and was scary and chaotic — all the neighbours were out on the walkways trying to get people out of the flats nearest the fire. I saw one man stood on the balcony a couple of floors up from the blaze, enveloped in the thick smoke, taking drags on a cigarette while he watched the fire fighters working below. We went out for an hour as the flat smelled strongly of smoke and we needed to decompress. As soon as we got back to the flat I settled into The Cave and worked on the grade until 2100ish. It was a brutal few days — I spent such long stretches at my computer that my body ached. At least the slog bought me a few free days this week.
Four fire engines lined up the left hand side of Malden Road after an apartment fire. There is a man in blue trousers and green T-shirt walking his bike across the road, an ambulance on the right hand side, and various emergency personnel standing in the road surrounded by water hoses. There is a double decker bus waiting in the distance for the road to clear.
  • This thread about the King of Spain’s tailoring by Derek Guy (@dieworkwear) was great. It’s clear that the king’s suits look great, but it takes the expert eye to point out the details that are creating the effect.
  • We watched and loved Jury Duty. It’s ‘documentary’ following a jury on a trial in the US. There’s one catch: everyone is an actor except for one juror. It’s a joy to watch Ronald negotiate the bizarre characters and situations that he’s thrown into with warmth and grace.
  • doubled up on two interviews with Fred Again.., Tape Notes 105 & Tape Notes 75, that are a brilliant insight into the making of his last two albums. Fred drops a lot of wisdom that is applicable to creative practice beyond music-making. I’m a sucker for song breakdowns à la Song Exploder but it was the advice that I could lift for my own purposes that resonated. I want to see how I can apply his suggestions like laying down a drone to avoid ‘blank page’ syndrome or using time constraints in the early stages can be applied to my own creative process. I think that I’ll chuck together a short post with some of my notes in the next few days.
  • I’ve been working too much and haven’t been shooting enough personal pictures (apart from the tens of baby pics I’m snapping every day). I need to leave my Ricoh GR out and about in the flat so that it’s easy to grab and make time to head out into town for some street photography. I’m still looking for a new personal project, but maybe I should take Fred’s advice and run some mini-experiments to see what hits, rather than ruminating on the perfect concept?
  • I picked up my new Brompton last weekend. Even though I haven’t had much time to ride it, I’m in love. It’s a marvel of engineering and so damn nippy. It’s a pleasure to ride. I can’t wait to get out and about on it now that things are quieter for summer…
  • Baby T is growing and learning at full speed. Her hand to eye coordination is leaps better than even a week ago and I think that she’ll be reliably sitting up unaided within days.
Emerald green Brompton P-Line folding bike leaning against a brick wall