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Hoardings: a visual antidote to ranting

The last post had me stirred up and I needed to balance the blog up a bit, so…

I have a bit of a thing about photographing hoardings. When you get the photos home and fiddle a bit you can uncover layers that you couldn’t see with the naked eye. I think the coloured squares must be painted onto the wood to hide the graffiti, otherwise why would so many hoardings have these squares on them. Why would anyone care anyway, except me. Basically I’m uncovering what’s hidden under the paint, on here. Unhiding things, yes, that’s a bit of me I suppose. The graffiti isn’t worthy or interesting, it’s not even tagging really, but I can relax when I’m working with the images. On this occasion the image with the blue line on the edge was the one that got me the most. No matter what, the blue line, some sort of oil-based paint I think, always gives the appearance of hovering over the wood, not being painted on it. You don’t get the sense of this at all in situ. I might go back and take some more of that.

Perhaps I need a new blog devoted to photos of hoardings. Now, that’s an antidote to nearly everything…





This reminded me of something

But I couldn’t remember what it was. Then I thought of the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, ‘Every wall is a door.’

This isn’t a wall, but it seems to me that every painted gate is a work of art.


Old paint, wonky shelves

It’s a constant battle: trying to hold the camera in a way that evens up the general wonk of the world.

It’s life-affirming when the subject defies my best efforts.

A sentiment that can be applied beyond photography.

Light & Shade

This is the kind of thing I’d like to paint one day. This was a photo I took of a metal ship’s container (painted camouflage-style) that was being used to store things in the woods near the Secret Nuclear Bunker in Kelvedon Hatch, Essex. I find it really hard to pass weathered painted metal without wanting to take a picture; I like the peeling layers of paint mixed with rust.

There are some really accomplished photographers who sometimes drop by here and ‘like’ a post. This makes me feel happy and also that I should make more effort! I don’t really know what to do on the technical side with a camera, I just make it up as I go along, and often all I have is a rubbish mobile phone on me to work with. However, I have noticed that some photographers edit their shots to various, and presumably better effect. Many computers ago I had Photoshop, now I have nothing so fancy, but looking at other people’s work has made me occasionally try to use my own limited resources sometimes to tweak a shot. Here, I had a bit of fun drawing out the russet and golden hues, stopping a bit short of a gleaming gold leaf, which still contrasts with an almost, but perhaps not quite, Yves Klein blue.

I am drawn to Gerhard Richter’s abstract work, I found a corrugated iron fence last year that I loved and took a snap of here. I think my ships’s container shot above was a sort of homage to this kind of piece by him. Like yesterday’s all these links are subconscious until I get home and start looking at the images and seeing what words arise. Like Isaac Asimov wrote, I am ‘thinking with my fingers’. It’s a good way to spend another grey, cold and cloudy summer’s evening.

Gerhard Richter – Abstract Painting 780-1 1992

Azure Sky?

I’ve more-or-less forgotten what a blue sky looks like, so I picked this up to remind me when I saw it dropped on the street last week. I was hoping it was some kind of sign, but after the weekend’s deluges I think it’s just the Gods having a good laugh, whilst they play dice with mortals’ lives.

Peeling Paint

Loving layered paint on rusting metal
Discolourations, bobbles and runs
Battered and weathered
Serving no apparent purpose
Liking things that draw the eye because they just are accidental and incidental
(thank you Paul Simon)
Those blues and greens
(that should never be seen)
And, although I like bricks and walls
with hidden doors
A spiky fence won’t keep me out
Or is it them in?
Always finding life lurking in the boundaries

A Bad Friday (I wanted blue)

The Guv’nor had a bad day at the office last Friday, it was very stressful he said. Now this is more information that is usually forthcoming in a month, so I was compelled to inquire further.

Woodberry Down was once a really depressing estate on the Seven Sisters Road near Manor House on the Piccadilly line (that’s the dark blue line). It has had loads of money spent on it, so it may be improved, but being on that busy thoroughfare you can only facelift so much I’m guessing. This is where Friday’s decorating job was; for a lovely Turkish family. Due to water damage they only needed one wall matching and painting. The Guv’nor’s guv’nor had done the matching, so the main man turned up with an apprentice and a tin of paint.

As it turned out, the paint was blue as required by the wall to be painted, but the wrong shade of blue. No matter, the Guv’nor says, I know what that is, that’s Doll’s House blue. So off they go in the van to Hackney Wick to get a bit of Doll’s House. The trip to Hackney Wick is not that far, a few miles at most, but it also requires getting through Clapton or Stoke Newington and can take some time…

Back at the flat, one trip to the Wick under their belts, they give the wall one coat of Doll’s House. It’s the wrong blue. So far so bad, but maybe a little bit understandable, Doll’s House is close but not close enough. The next bit is where my mouth started hanging open. So now the apprentice says, and remember this is in a house full of people who actually live in it and pay rent and so forth, I know what colour that is – it’s Pompadour. Doh says the Guv’nor of course it is. Why didn’t you say that when I was going down the Doll’s House blind alley?

So off they go to Hackney Wick for the second time and bring back the apprentice’s best effort.

And, I asked? Yes, you guessed it – what do apprentices know. That’s why they have their own horse races to ride in. So the Guv’nor having played his best hand and having wasted enough time to have painted the whole room in the first pot of paint that was the wrong colour was forced to resort to getting the colour chart from the van – which he was gracious enough to admit he should have done in the first place.

Why I asked, majoring in annoying questions, did you not get the chart out in the first place?

Because the Guv’nor said I am a man and men do not look at maps even when they are lost.

Good answer. Perfectly understandable. I have never liked Woodberry Down.

Just needs a lick of Pompadour


I will take matt over eggshell and that silk stuff over gloss on woodwork any day. Sadly children’s fingers have tested my devotion to chalky light refracting pigments and I have lost the battle in the hall re the matt finish. I will however have to be carried out feet first before I will have high gloss skirting boards…

Next: the battle of the bathroom floor.

Glass Samphire