Archive for July, 2009

Mustn’t Grumble…

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I was in Oxford last week interviewing the rather wonderful Janine Benyus for an article on Biomimicry. Fascinating woman and terribly helpful. I was a little early for my return train and wandered into a book shop and noticed this:

“Terrible typeface, but the picture’s sort of… hang on… it’s one of mine”. It’s an image that I took on assignment for the Telegraph travel section years ago at a fete in deepest, darkest Dorset and has been languishing, digitised and unloved in a library for years. Never appeared on a sales report or a statement. This kind of thing happens rarely but is very annoying when it does. So I’ve had to waste a bit of time this week chasing it. Funnily enough, yesterday I discovered yet another use of one of my images on a commercial blog. One swift phone call to a sheepish webmaster and it’s been removed. Now, one of the most frustrating things about the internet is that sometimes people don’t understand or care what copyright or licensing means. It seems a whole generation of people seem to think that intellectual property should be free. Well, that’s great until you are trying to make a living out of it. I frequently search for my images online just to check. It’s amazing what turns up. There are commercial programs out there that allow you to search more thoroughly and I might try some. I know that Tineye is used by a few people and I might just have a look myself.

Anyway, I just love the delicious irony that a book called ‘Mustn’t grumble’ has my picture on the cover. It’s so unlike me to moan…

The green, green grass of… Delhi

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

I’ve been associated with Delhi in one way and another almost fourteen years. I’m sometimes based there for months on end and, although it is perhaps one of the most frustrating and brutal cities I can think of, I find endless fascination with it. Like London, Delhi is a palimpsest of perhaps nine, perhaps more cities built, destroyed and rebuilt. It’s usually recorded, with some notable exceptions (and again) as unknowable and unloveable. Choked with people and displaying more violence than India would like to admit, journalists tend to concentrate on its chaos poverty and pollution. I’ve done those pieces myself, most recently a film for More4 News about Water in the city that you can see here. But Delhi is certainly more than that. During that film I was working in Kusumpur Pahari, a thirty year old slum or jhuggi cluster. The slum is entirely illegal but is home to thousands of people. Some have rather nice houses and of course some have tried to beautify them as best they can. Many have little flat roofs where they have gardens made of pot plants. It struck me that this didn’t really fit with the poverty stricken Dickensian idea that we in the West have of helpless slum-dwellers and I started to photograph them. That led me onto an as yet unfinished body of work about imaging Delhi in a different way. I wanted to look at Delhi’s relationship with Gardens and space and so for the last couple of years have been trying to photograph not only the acres and acres of green space in the city but crucially in such a crowded conservative place, people’s relationship to it. A couple of weeks ago I was approached by Fabiano Busdraghi who publishes online the small but beautifully formed Camera Obscura magazine/blog. He asked me if I’d write something and I immediately thought of this project. You can see the piece, The Gardens of Delhi – Public Spaces, Private Lives, here. I hope that you enjoy it.

The text on the Camera Obscura site is pretty explanatory about the project so I won’t bang on about it here. Instead, here are some more images that I like from it.

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India - New Delhi - Boys play cricket in the park at India Gate.

India - New Delhi - An early morning yoga class in Lodi Gardens in front of the Bara Gumbad Tomb

India - New Delhi - An early morning yoga class in Lodi Gardens in front of the Bara Gumbad Tomb

India - New Delhi - A 'phool wallah' (or flower seller) delivering flowers on tricycle, Mehrauli

India - New Delhi - A 'phool wallah' (or flower seller) delivering flowers on tricycle, Mehrauli

India - New Delhi - A guard in a judging tent at a particularly Raj style event, The Delhi Flower show

India - New Delhi - A guard in a judging tent at a particularly Raj style event, The Delhi Flower show

India - New Delhi - The roots of a tree in the grounds of Humayan's Tomb in New Delhi, India. The tomb itself built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal.

India - New Delhi - The roots of a tree in the grounds of Humayan's Tomb in New Delhi, India. The tomb itself built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal.

India - New Delhi - A tear in the plastic of a greenhouse in the Rose Garden that is behind Safdardjung's Tomb

India - New Delhi - A tear in the plastic of a greenhouse in the Rose Garden that is behind Safdardjung's Tomb