Portrait of a man

Portrait of a man

I saw this man, wearing a suit, trilby hat and open-necked shirt. He had a laid-back style which reminded me of Leonard Cohen. It’s not easy to ask to take a picture of a complete stranger but sometimes you just have to, so I did. He was happy to oblige but when I asked him his name I realised he could not understand English. He could, however, understand art. My thanks to him, whoever he is.

Community Payback


Community Payback

'Community Payback' team (2)

'Community Payback' team (3)

The small and pleasant market town of Yarm lies next to the River Tees. For many years, when the river rose, it would frequently flood and cause substantial damage. Flood-gates have now been erected to prevent the problem. On a walk along the river bank I was a little disappointed to see that the flood-gates had been scrawled upon, making them look unsightly. As I walked further, I came across a team of young men engaged in re-painting the gates as part of the ‘Community Payback’ scheme. I stopped to talk with them and get their views on the value of what they were doing. It was good to see something positive being done. I took several photographs of the team and with their permission, decided to post some of them on my blog. They were keen to check out the blog and that’s what they’re doing in the B&W image.

Everyone needs a break at some time and I hope things work out for them.

More olives ……

More olives ......

Ehsan and Salan (L-R) are Iranian market traders who sell Olives, Turkish Delight and other tempting tidbits. I enjoyed meeting them at their stall in Newcastle and chatting about their home country.  They kindly gave me a sample of honeyed almonds (very nice).

Greek Olives

Greek Olives


Greek Olive Tree (3)



Greek Olive Tree (2)



Greek Olive Tree (4)


My regular blog readers will know that I love markets. I also love Olives; green black, stuffed …. any kind really. On a visit to Hexham Market in Northumberland I met Rihanna and Oliver who run the Greek Olive Tree stall. Had a nice chat with them and sampled their olives ….. great food, great banter, lovely people.

St. George’s Day pride

St. George's Day pride

St. George’s day (23rd. April) is the day the English celebrate their patron saint. I got speaking to some veteran army Fusiliers who were wearing their former military insignia and medals. This image, as simple as it is, sums up the pride they felt in being Englishmen who had served their country. The badge bears the motto ‘Quo Fata Vocant’ (Whither the Fates call) which belonged to the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, a regiment which is now part of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The red and white roses represent the colours of Saint George.

In Praise of Gods

In Praise of Gods

As a fan of Classical history and architecture, I thought I would upload this photograph ‘In Praise of the Gods’. The influence of Greek and Roman architecture is evident in the most unlikely places. This was captured close to Middlehaven, an industrial area of Middlesbrough, England.  I was particularly struck by the impressive pediment and spectacular statuary.

© Victor W. Adams – all rights reserved

Easby Abbey

Easby Abbey

Easby Abbey, N. Yorks.

The ruins of Easby Abbey lie on the banks of the River Swale near Richmond, North Yorkshire. Its many architectural features, including elliptical arches and groyne vaults, reveal how grand these structures were in their day. Easby Abbey was among the many suppressed by Henry VIII’s reformation.

In a Flap…….Jack.

Many people and certainly almost everyone in Britain and Australia, will be aware of the well-used idiom [to get your] ‘knickers in a twist’.

Today, when photographing a local market, I came to the conclusion that another expression was required.

I usually make a point to avoid taking photographs which might embarrass, humiliate or offend the subject.  However, street photographers sometimes encounter hostility and this often results from you taking pictures of ‘them’.  Sometimes people just don’t ‘get’ street photography.  I’ve certainly encountered the occasional problem – but more of that in a future blog !

However, today must rank as one of the oddest objections I’ve come across.  Passing a colourful cake stall, I took a picture of some of the produce (I also like ‘food’ photography).  I then looked up to see the stallholder glaring at me, with a sullen, morose and most definitely unfriendly look that could have melted ice.  Being me, I said (in a cheery voice) ‘they look very nice’ (meaning the flapjacks), to which she replied, in clever conjunction with an angry scowl, ‘you could have asked permission !’.   I replied: ‘If you don’t want your flapjacks photographed, don’t leave them out in public’.

If life is too short to stuff a mushroom, it most certainly is to worry about your flapjacks being photographed.  Some people ‘get into a real Flapjack’ over the most trivial things.



ps. btw ….. can you copyright a flapjack ?

Perils of photography (2)

I thought it timely to update my first post on the Perils of Photography (dated 9 Apr 2013).

I’m supposing here but most people probably regard photographers as namby-pamby, creative/arty/wimpy types. That is, of course, unless you happen to be a photo-journalist specialising in war-zones.  Well I thought I should inject a different perspective and use my new ‘friend’ Max to illustrate.

Walking about, creating some arty-type images today, I came across Max and his mate (he didn’t leave his name).  Suddenly and without a lot of warning, Max decided to get -up close and personal’ and ran over to see me !!!

This is Max……….


Here boy !!!    I wouldn’t say my life flashed before my eyes but I did feel a bit ‘loose’ if you know what I mean.  Being an intrepid street-photographer, I stood my ground and I’m pleased to report I still have my legs (bit of luck there, eh).

For those interested in doggy dental hygiene, I have posted the image at fairly high res.

Oh, I almost forgot – I’m now thinking of taking up wildlife photography.

It would be interesting to hear real-life (horror) stories from other ‘street’ photographers, so if you have a tale to tell let me know.

’til next time.

It takes all sorts ….

Morris Man

Morris dancer: I saw this guy and his group of friends walking along the promenade – I think they were Morris Dancers ! (Teignmouth, Devon, April 2013).

Ready for the 'off'

Stag-do: Three hot, thirsty jockeys ready for the ‘off'(Teignmouth, Devon, April 2013).

After the rain

Much of the UK has been deluged by rain in the last couple of weeks. The severe weather has, undoubtedly, been bleak for the many affected by severe flooding.   For the street photographer, however, there is a certain elusive beauty to be found only ‘after the rain’.

After the rain

After the rain (1)

Columbia Road Market, London

I haven’t blogged for quite a while so I thought it about time to upload a few more street photos. New year, new effort I guess.  As my followers will know, markets are one of my favourite subjects – they are so colourful, vibrant and always fresh.  These were taken on a hot August day last year.   I love markets me !

ImageThe Happy Eaters

ImageIt’s a dog’s life

ImageMan with a bike

ImageSamosas for sale

Demolition progressing

A few more images from my demolition series. The demolition of the former brewery is steadily progressing. It’s good to know that most of the material resulting from the demolition will be recycled.

Dismantling of steel framework continues

Dismantling of steel framework continues. Each girder is cut by torch, top and bottom and then lowered gently to the ground by crane – an impressive operation to watch.

Former brewery building
Only the steel skeleton of the main brewery building remains

Overseeing demolition I spoke to Ian, who told me that the aim is to recycle 97% of the materials resulting from the Brewery demolition.

Overseeing demolition
I spoke to Ian, who told me that the aim is to recycle 97% of the materials resulting from the Brewery demolition.

Graffiti as art

Graffiti and Rust Sometimes I like the juxtaposition of other materials (derelict frames, decaying wood, rust etc.) which can often enhance, inentionally or otherwise, the impact of graffiti.  Here the rusting metal door provides an interesting context to the art-work.

Graffiti and Rust
Sometimes I like the juxtaposition of other materials (derelict frames, decaying wood, rust etc.) which can often enhance, intentionally or otherwise, the impact of graffiti. Here the rusting metal door provides an interesting context to the art-work.

It's grim up North This simple, naive graffiti was enhanced, I'm sure entirely accidentally, by the arrow.  As an image, I liked how the word 'grim' related to the derelict window-frame.

It’s grim up North
This simple, naive graffiti was enhanced, I’m sure entirely accidentally, by the arrow. As an image, I liked how the word ‘grim’ related to the derelict window-frame.

Graffiti as art

Graffiti grotto

Love it or hate it, graffiti can be, undeniably, eye-catching. Here the colours and text seemed to evoke a painterly quality to the overall scene. The derelict, moss-covered wall and vegetation seemed to complement the graffiti, rather than the other way round.

Alex & John

Alex & John

While taking some photographs for my current ‘demolition’ series I ran into Alex & John. Alex told me that much of her time is spent driving John around various demolition sites, for which he has a passion.

Please note:  If Alex wants a copy of this photograph (and others) without the © watermark, can she drop me an email to the address I gave her.   I’ll be happy to send copies to her.

Kindred spirit

Kindred spirit

Ken – Photographer
I bumped into Ken when we were both photographing a local demolition site. We shared a common interest, not just in photography but also the documenting of social change. As I also like to take portrait shots, I took the opportunity of photographing Ken. The image was converted to B&W in post-production.

Fine Art

The Artist's Palette Watercolours used by Alan.  The sketchbooks are his - they show preparatory studies for his 'after Rodin' watercolour.

The Artist’s Palette
Watercolours used by Alan. The sketchbooks are his – they show preparatory studies for his ‘after Rodin’ watercolour.

Fine Art

Alan Reed – Artist
I met Alan while he was in the process of painting a watercolour rendition (pictured) of Rodin’s sculpture ‘The Kiss’. He is a talented, prize-winning artist and more of his work can be seen at: http://www.alanreed.com    I discussed Alan’s method of working and he showed me some of the impressive preliminary sketches he makes prior to producing the finished painting.

Man at work

Man at work

Another image from my recent Demolition series. I was amazed at how quickly the torch was cutting through solid girders. The flying sparks made this a ‘must get’ image.



From my recent demolition series. These powerful machines looked like two warring dinosaurs locking jaws. Their power is awesome – I watched the one on the right cut through massive steel girders.

Perils of Photography

You might snigger at this, laugh out loud perhaps, or even guffaw …… be my guest.  I just thought I would share with the blogging world something that happened to me today.  It was funny but only, I have to admit, in hindsight.

Over the last few days I’ve been documenting the demolition of a, not so old, brewery building.  I seem to be the only one doing so and it’s become important to me for that alone.  More often than not, getting shots of demolition works involves poking a camera lens through a gap in a fence, gate etc. (with ‘elf ‘n’ safety ‘n’ all ).  Access is usually difficult and so it was today.  I stood on tiptoes, leaned across prickly bushes, reached over a wall and got some shots.  They weren’t the best – the light was dull and ‘grey’.  Then I thought  – ‘I’ll take a shot through the gap in that metal gate over there’.  BIG Mistake !!!!  I positioned my camera so I could shoot through the gap and although it was a tight squeeze, all seemed fine.  Well, it wasn’t ……. as I pulled away, I was covered in thick black oil …. it was on my hands, my arm, jacket, shirt, jumper, trousers.  Yuck.  Luckily, although it had caught my camera strap, it had miraculously missed my camera.

It turned out that someone (bless them) had smeared the gate locking mechanism with oil to prevent thieves (they’re everywhere) from stealing scrap metal.  Bearing in mind it was black oil on a black gate (!!!) I wondered which numpty might have thought it had a deterrent value (except, perhaps, to sharper-eyed photographers than me).

Anyway, I felt as if I suffered for my art today and sometimes the results are worth it …………. as the saying goes:     ‘The oily bird catches the worm’. 

Toy bike

Toy bike

This photograph, which I took in Toronto some years ago, was a great example of ‘street art’ – a kind of ‘mobile’ art. To me, it represents one of those captured moments in time which, although long gone, is still vividly recalled. I particularly liked the small shoes which had fallen off and were strewn on the ground. I hope you like the Toy Bike as much as I did.



Those quiet times
It’s not all about megapixels. Often, more often than not, it’s about capturing the moment and the iPhone is great for that. This image, to me, summed up the simple pleasures in life.
(Converted to B&W in Post-production)

Fence contre-jour

Fence contre-jour

From time to time, I try to remind myself that even apparently inconsequential scenes can be transformed by the magic of photography. This fence, in an area of overgrown scrub, had lost its initial purpose but had, for me, gained an abstract appeal.

Venice – Street art (1)

Venice - Street art (1)

Venice – Street art (1)
Needless to say, the City of Venice provides enormous scope for the artist, writer and photographer. However, I sometimes prefer to avoid the usual picture-postcard images (although not entirely) and capture those moments of ‘real’ life. This example of ‘street art’ seemed so alien to its environment and yet, somehow and paradoxically, meant to be there.

Be Inspired

Digital Voice

I went to a great photographic exhibition at Newcastle upon Tyne City library today.  A few months ago my daughter enrolled on a digital photography course run by the Digital Voice project (funded by, among others, Newcastle City Council) for 11 to 18 year olds.  The course (which was, incidentally, free of charge !) culminated in each youngster producing a portfolio of work, elements of which form the basis of the exhibition.  The resulting images are excellent and demonstrate a range of acquired photographic, visual art and digital skills.  For the most part, I understand that the images were produced using the Apple iPad and Snapseed imaging software.  The exhibition can still be viewed, during next week, in the main entrance (2nd. floor) of the City library.  If you can’t make it in person, the images can be seen by clicking the above link to the on-line gallery.  It is also hoped that these and other images will form part of the NewcastleGateshead Juice festival (25 October – 3 November, 2013) [see http://www.newcastlegateshead.com/juice-home ] .

The young image-makers involved were clearly very proud of their achievements and rightly so – it’s nice to see that there is still support and encouragement of the arts, particularly for younger children and teenagers.  Well done and particular thanks to tutors Julie and Robin of Digital Voice and to the funding agencies.  Keep up the good work.