Monday, 15 December 2014

Silver - a winter experience - at Smallhythe Studio

It has been a real privilege to take part in this exhibition, and there are still five days left to see it.

Images by Jane Beecham inspired by snow and ice.

Art works enhanced by words on a winter theme

The curation by Rowena McWilliams skillfully uses subtle colour change around the room.

Monochrome moves gradually to colour.

Kate Schuricht's wall vases complement wood framed images.

I recommend a visit. The nice thing about this gallery is that so much else goes on in the space.

The highlight of last week was a poetry tea.

Clare Winchester read her poem from her limited edition book 'Dusk to Dark' . The book contains wonderful intaglio prints on the theme of a moonlit walk, all created from memory as soon as she returned to her studio after a late evening walk.

I recommend a look.

You can see what else they get up to at Smallhythe  here

And you can see my nature inspired poems 'Hawkwood' and 'The secret Garden'  here.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Streaming on the intergalactic superhighway

 Dungneness sunset

OH ( other half)  has decided that we need a broadband upgrade.

Doctor Who keeps stalling during intergalactic transfers

And  footballs keeps getting stuck between the player's boot and the goal………

Daughter in Canada freezes mid sentence on Skype. Not always a pretty sight; strange contortions held until the cogs get whirring again.

It is time to embrace the super highway he says.

I have to admit to having shown little enthusiasm for this change, despite being the 'early adopter' of technology in our relationship.

Status quo versus internet black hole as everything goes pear shaped and we are left with nothing but a land-line is my preferred option.

I am quite happy with what we have now. The thought of losing contact with my friends in The Arcanum or not being able to back up or upload  my photos are my main concerns . OH is not a technical prodigy; his expertise lies elsewhere, in the land of real people.

So when the new internet box arrived through the post, my heart sank and I decided to head south, to Camber Sands, in order to be absent throughout the period of teeth gnashing and mild to moderate swearing.

Down there there is no internet ( at least where we stay), so I have to read books and work on my images of rocks on the beach .

So this morning, I got up early to be down on the beach at low tide, to see how the rocks are doing. Men in high vis clothing and cranes were in action early. They looked picturesque on the bank. Photogenic even.

I switched on my camera. 'low battery'

This is becoming a habit, and is one of the perils of trying to escape suburbia. I always leave something behind. 

I framed my first photo, and the camera died. So I am going to have to share some old images of the works, taken when the workmen had all gone home.

 After a short walk in the early morning soft and gentle sunlight I headed off to my studio to prepare for the 'Feast of Delights'.

My 'delights' are boxed sets of cards and small framed images that might do for Aunty Mabel's or Uncle Bernie's christmas presents. I am an expert on making white boxes, and find it very therapeutic after the travails of worrying about my internet connection and a very unwell family member.

Camber Collection © Caroline Fraser

Light on Water cards © Caroline Fraser

As I sat making boxes OH rang me. He was busy setting up super fast broadband.

'I need your password to BT ' quothe he.

'It is in my book of passwords' I replied, and advised him where to find it.

He duly found my notebook of passwords and read what he could of my incredibly tidy handwriting.

I realised what was written and told him what the encrypted note said.

'that's a really stupid word' was his response.

'well it works fine for me'……..( and anyway, it was meant to be a secret , thought I)

'And how was I supposed to know that from what was written?'

'you weren't…………passwords are meant to be secret……..a book of passwords that anyone could read would not really be a very good idea……….' 

(Even I know that………)

Anyway reader, the really good news is that we now have new wifi that works, which is  huge relief.

Later that day I asked OH if it is faster and fulfilling his wildest dreams.

' I guess it does…..' he replied.

 I quote verbatim here.

Not really the response I was expecting. 

'I'll only really know when I try streaming…..'

What could I say?


But I was so relieved that we remain connected that I went into Rye to buy cakes and took them over to Dungeness for a cup of tea and watched the sun go down with gentle folk who are lucky enough to work and live in the land of big skies.

tea and smoked garlic at the Dungeness Smokehouse

Roll on the next episode of Dr Who. Then we ( OH)  will really be riding the intergalactic superhighway.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Feast of delights - Christmas shopping in Rye

One week to go.

Lots of cards and small prints from me.

Lots of lovely food and arty gifts from everyone else.

Hope to see you at the School Creative Centre , Rye

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

On words, memory and the moon

homage to Paul Kenny © Caroline Fraser

Having a strange day today.

Clearing out a room for the purpose of redecorating I came across a diary from the millenium year that I had forgotten that I had written.

Back to memories again........

I also found my girl guide pencil and cat badges. What happened to all the others? I had an armful.

I wonder what I did to achieve these. We had no cat and we had no dog. OH has kindly searched the web for me and found that I had to care for an animal for 4 weeks.

girl guide animal lover badge

Perhaps it was a hamster.

I probably had to feed it just like I usually did........

girl guide artist badge

 And I was an artist as well.........

I wonder what sort?

All I do remember is that I learned how to change a car tyre. (- did I get a spanner badge for that?)

I became a Queen's guide.

Which then allowed me to leave.

I was not brave enough to say "I have had enough, thank you".

It has taken me about 50 years to be that brave.

Last weekend I spent two days in the company of one of my photographic heroes Paul Kenny

Paul kenny 'Seaworks' 

His recently published book is a thing of great beauty.

Currently he works with scanned objects, creating images with repeated motifs and laden with metaphor.

Circles represent the world, and squares represent man made objects.

Microscopic landscapes representing wider worlds.

He encouraged us to make images from the confines of a small square of the world that might represent other stories or landscapes.

framing the landscape

I got very stuck. An hour passed and I had not made any images.

Mr Kenny pointed me in the direction of a small round fungus and said 'that'll make a good picture'

No pressure then.

And I had been working so hard to try and avoid copying his motifs and style.

I did as I was bid, and added some grassy stalks.

I processed the image with the aim of making a moon or other planetary orb.

Homage to Paul Kenny © Caroline Fraser

And then today in my lost dairy I came across a poem that I wrote in 2000, and which had slipped my mind.


It feels as though they are meant to go together.

Along with some words from Robert Frost about writing poetry and his poem about the moon.

On poetry - by Robert Frost

Moons and words..........

Memories and images.

Forgotten and found.

I shall have to start cutting and sticking again; so much more pleasurable to read than a digital diary.


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

on memory and mundanity in photography

I am thinking about what I can't remember. I can't remember what I dreamt last night...........

I can't remember who these people were..........

I went hiking with them many years ago, and recently revisited a box of slides where they lay lurking. If I hadn't found the slide I would remember even less. or maybe nothing at all. What I remember, and what I have photographed do not tie up in my mind. Two different stories.

Which got me exploring how other photographers have tackled the subject.

I came across Paul Hockett's work; beautiful monochrome images and a book. Vague and ethereal.

Unexplained and dreamlike.

from the series 'negative memory' by Paul Hockett 2008

negative memory by paul hockett |

And childhood invoked memories from Deborah Parkin

Playtime by Deborah Parkin ( reproduced with kind permission of the author)

Deborah works with large format. 

More of her series on memory can be seen here

The interesting thing about her work, for me, is how it evokes very personal memories of childhood days and the emotions experienced when faced with the trials and tribulations of playground etiquette.

No rose tinted glasses in here.

Hide © Deborah Parkin

And then there are Jackson Patterson's "Recollected Memories".

Using photomontage he explores the narrative that emerges between subject, space and time. Source material includes his own and his family's albums.

he says of his series ........

"Each blended piece possesses its own original story, in addition to the one the viewer takes away"

All of the above I find moving and thought provoking.

from Jackson Patterson's "Recollected memories"

Looking at my own albums, I am lost for a way to express them. 

The more I think about it, the less certain I am that this is a valuable way to spend my time. 

But what does fascinate me is the little things that I see in old photographs, that I had forgotten about and that interest me. An old red thermos flask on a beach in Wales in 1974. My beach towel with fishes on. Things that had long slipped into the recesses of my mind; rediscovered. Ordinary life.

A 'present' for the future. Captured long ago.

There is value in capturing the mundanities alongside the special occasions.

fire exit with portrait. hotel. 2014

Studies at Harvard University have shown that underestimating the pleasure of rediscovery lead to time inconsistent choices. Individuals forgo opportunities to document the present, but then prefer rediscovering these moments in the future to engaging in an alternative fun activity.

books and fox hotel lounge 2014

It is only by documenting the present that we will have the opportunity to rediscover mundane moments in the future.

So what I need to do is take lots and lots of pictures of very ordinary everyday things, and hide them for a number of years, until I have forgotten about all about them.  Then, at a time as yet unspecified,
I will rediscover them before I drop dead and will have so much fun.


'I remember.......'

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Subject Matter in London - a pop up show

I hope to see you there...........

'Hebrides' will be big and bold on acrylic..........

My work at Subject Matter

Monday, 27 October 2014

normal service will be resumed shortly

indoor puddle - puddle 1
OH ( my other half) will be glad that  he is down south.

I am up north. In Scotland.

For my annual fix of moors , mountains and glens.

OH likes sunny places with blue skies.

I like cold moody places.

Scotland this week is testing me. For 'moody' I will, in future, exclude 'rainy' when the  rain is in stair-rods and disallows any outdoor photography. When rivers are bursting their banks, and you need a boat to get to the 5th tee of the golf course at Dalmally.

I have been here for 72 hours and it has not stopped raining.

I have become a master of car-window photography, lining up my vehicle against the wind and seeing what I can capture in a few seconds before the entire interior gets wet. Wearing my waterproofs inside the car helps.

Landslips have closed roads. Tourists have been trapped.

The road through Glen Orchy is closed. Route barre……...

puddle 2

So after 2 days I gave in and took my tripod indoors; to St Conan's kirk, on Loch Awe.

This extraordinary place is a popular tourist destination built by Walter Campbell commencing in 1907, and completed some years after his death in 1914.

It is not a pretty building, and inside is dark and damp.

So damp that puddles are collecting on the floor, water dripping down through its leaky roof.

I found myself taking pictures of the windows reflected on the floor.

Light on water I realised later…….

A theme I return to time and time again. (see here)

Loch Awe from St Conan's Kirk

puddle 3

Tomorrow the weather promises to be better.

Glencoe awaits.

Rannoch moor, and Lochan na-h Achlaise.

Outdoors. Beautiful. Waiting.

I will be there.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

the cone man cometh.........

morning light on the English Channel

I was down on the beach at dawn this week.

Fortunately dawn is getting later, but I had to forgo my breakfast when I saw a pink tinge in the sky and knew that any proper photographer would already be on the beach, waiting for the light, rather than drinking tea under the duvet and trying to talk themselves out of bed.

I wanted to see how the rock men were getting on rebuilding the sea defences.

The tide was far too high up to allow me to walk unnoticed along the shore. I therefore decided to be a law abiding citizen, observing the action from a safe distance, well away from the dangerous rocks.

The light on the sea was soft and silvery. Low in the sky. Metallic. Calm.

morning light on the channel

The seagulls were entirely oblivious to the action around them.

The lorries and diggers studiously ignored.

Seagulls, rocks and lorries

I crept towards the action, but heard an engine approaching across the beach.

I was in trouble again..........

Cone man had arrived, probably to tell me to keep away from the rocks.

cone man 

I soon realised that he was not bothered by my presence. After all I was not crossing any invisible lines into a 'no-go' area.

He was merely here to put his cones out.


He had three to arrange on the beach.

Three cones

He did a fine job, even if one was a little on the small side.

They formed an orderly line.

Ready to keep people away from the dangerous rocks.

Optimism in life is a good quality to have.

Cone man then hopped back onto his quad bike and was gone; into the sunrise.

Cone man returns from whence he cometh

Men and dogs arrived for their daily exercise.

man, dog, cone

The seagulls studiously ignored them all.

man, dogs and gulls

 I felt very hungry and went off to find some food.

all day breakfast

Cone man will return at dusk to fetch his cones.

I will return at low tide to see what I can see.

And so it will go on.