‘Le Chateau’, Caunas

architecture, black and white photography, recent work
Caunas, Hérault, France, March 2019

Caunas, Hérault, France, March 2019

Caunas used to be a mining village. It’s name may refer to a perfectly conical, lone slag heap that stands just beyond the village’s outskirts. Despite being a former mining village its setting is quite idyllic – the river Orb flows not too far away, and between it and the village are abandoned orchards and paddocks.

The building in these photographs is locally known as ‘Le Chateau’. It was once the home of the local landowner but now appears abandoned. In the photographs one can see a tower that was designed to be a dovecote. It still functions as such, but its inhabitants are now wild pigeons.

Caunas, Hérault, France, March 2019

Caunas, Hérault, France, March 2019

A Touch of Atget

landscape
Valquières, Hérault, France, September 2018

Valquières, Hérault, France, September 2018

I’d long assumed that I’d already explored and photographed the tiny village of Valquières – after all Valquières no more than a couple of hours’ walk away, and I have lived here for almost ten years now, and in the decades previous to moving here had systematically explored the region (or so I thought).

So when I came to Valquières for what I thought was a return visit, I was surprised to find the place completely unfamiliar to me.

I like to pore over maps and pick new places to explore and photograph, but like the man in the gorilla suit who walks across the back of the set whom no-one notices there are places that manage to escape my attention, even when I’m looking for exactly that kind of place to explore.

The spot was as idyllic and tranquil as the photograph suggests.

It was outside the village. Behind me were lavoirs – public wash-basins supplied by an abundant spring. As we came closer the grassy cobbles around the lavoirs exploded with the slap and splash of frogs making good their escape. In the green depths of the basins newts hid, frozen in the billows of filamentous water weed.

The above photograph reminds me of some of Atget’s late work in Sceaux Park. I thought about including an example of this work, but I fear my work would too much suffer by being viewed alongside his.

Celles, Hérault

black and white photography, landscape, recent work, Uncategorized

“Un seul être vous manque, et tout est dépeuplé.” (One person’s absence and the whole world’s empty)
Alphonse de Lamartine

Celles is a small village not far from where I live.
It sits on the bank of Lac du Salagou – an artificial lake created for tourism. When the barrage that created the lake was built in 1964–68, the intention was to raise the water level in two stages—first to 139m, and then to 150m. The second stage would have submerged the village, and accordingly the village and its vineyards were evacuated and abandoned. The first stage of water level left the water lapping at the foot of the village without encroaching on any structures. But the second stage was never implemented.
The authorities are allowing the village to decay and all buildings except the town hall and the church are in ruins.

 

 

A Last Glance at Lacoste, Hérault

black and white photography, landscape
Lacoste, Hérault, France, June 2016

Lacoste, Hérault, France, June 2016

Those familiar with the little Village of Lacoste will struggle to recognise this place as the image is left-right flipped. This was the last image I took the last time I was there, as I was climbing into my car, pleasantly exhausted from a couple of hours of photographing. From my car seat I saw this scene and something about it prompted me to capture it.

Revisiting this photo a couple of years later I find that it still engages me. I’m still not sure why but it reminds me that Photography is at its most interesting when it is at its most elusive, allusive and mysterious.

Recent Photos – January – February 2018

landscape, road photographs

This is a bit of a hotch-potch of photos, all taken since my last ‘recent work’ post.

I feel a bit frustrated with my most recent work.  I think I’ve struggled a bit because I’ve been chopping and changing film. My favourite film/developer combination is Fomapan 100 in 1+49 Rodinal – but the 100 iso is just a pain when photographing in Winter, especially as I find it hard to work with a tripod. So I tried Agfa APX 400 and Ilford HP5+. But neither work well with Rodinal.

I don’t make a fetish of the ‘perfect negative’  – I prefer a subtle image imperfectly

Shop-Windows at Valras – n°3

landscape, self-portrait, urban landscape
Valras-plage, Hérault, France, November 2015

Valras-plage, Hérault, France, November 2015

This is the third in a series of shop-window photographs taken at Valras, all on the same day: Thursday the 19th of November 2015.

I took these using Fomapan 100 developed in Rodinal at 1+49. This is probably my favourite film/developer combination, though I like Ilford Delta 400 in Rodinal too. But Delta 400 is twice the price of Fomapan 100, and is very hard to get hold of in France.

I can’t work out why the buildings reflected in the top-right corner appear to

Shop-Windows at Valras – n°2

self-portrait, urban landscape
Valras-plage, Hérault, France, November 2015

Valras-plage, Hérault, France, November 2015

This is the second in a series of shop-window photographs taken at Valras, all on the same day: Thursday the 19th of November 2015.

In this one you get a self-portrait, my Canon EOS 50e, and the Mediterranean (over there between the land and the sky…)

In the first of this series I shared a regret that I had not visited Valras in almost two years, and promised myself to return there soon.

Well, as it happens