Ian Holm

So sorry to hear of Ian Holms death today. A pretty good innings at 88 though.
 
I was fortunate enough to meet Ian Holm when he played Lech Wałęsa at Granada studios Manchester in 1981. I was there with Adam, a fellow photo student at Trent Polytechnic who was the son of the writer Boleslaw Sulik. He had written “Strike! the story of Solidarity”, the movement that eventually saw the collapse of Soviet control of Poland.
 
What I remember most was his good grace; he was kind to me, a young stranger who took photographs of him as he tried to relax and focus in the breaks between filming scenes. We  had a short chat about photography as it was also an interest of his wife.
 
I was struck that this humble man was completely grounded as he took center stage in depicting the story of the Polish freedom movement. A real pleasure to meet an extraordinary man.
 
In this photo Ian is talking to the writer Boleslaw.
Pentax K1000 camera, 50mm f2 lens, Ilford HP5 film rated at 400ASA.

Saint John

St.Johns station near Brockley on a foggy night. 1980s

One of the slam door trains moves past the platform at S.Johns and heads to the next stop: New Cross.

This was my local train stations and was used for trips to work. I traveled via 2 trains and the underground and the journey was from St.Johns in South London to St.Johns Wood in North London.

Flats

Burrows court Flats photographed from Colwick Woods, Nottingham Taken in approx 1981/2
(Many thanks for the people on the Facebook “Nottingham” group for their help in finding this location)

Mamiya 124G twin lens reflex camera 80mm lens, Ilford Pan F film at 50ASA.

Alice

My daughter Alice, taken in 2001. film processed in 2018.
Canon EOS 1 camera 100mm lens Ilford FP4 plus 35mm film

Caravan of secrets

A fortune teller at the Goose Fair in Nottingham, approx 1982. HP5 high speed film pushed 2 stops.

As part of my final year documentary project at Trent Polytechnic I had been photographing people in pubs and clubs using available light, a low shutter speed and a wide aperture to get enough light to the film. Hand held photography at night felt liberating, a technical challenge but also fun. Walking through the Goose fair and recording what I saw felt natural to me though pretty strange perhaps to others.

The curtains of the caravan were open for all to see but what was said stayed inside as the music, machines and crowds provided a protective wall.

A vague memory of taking this picture but i only noticed its thin and sparse negative 38 years later. Not one of my better images but like a blurry photo of a live dodo it has some merit (searching Google images for fortune teller caravan reveals no true documentary image of the subject – let me know if you find one).

 

Light reading

Syndicated through Getty Images  late 1990s.
35mm transparency scanned and textured in Barco Creator software. Model released shoot.

Still Point

Shot at the London Marathon in Greenwich. This image was syndicated through Getty Images in the 1990s. A straight scan of a 35mm transparency with no image manipulation.

Evening dance class

Dance class in the main hall of the YMCA Nottingham approx 1982. Taken as part of a documentary project in my second year at Trent Polytechnic studying photography. The dance tutors were very nice people and allowed me to wander around all their classes to take pictures. The younger classes were held during the day and the light pouring into the room really set off the chaos and fun of the children learning. The evenings were much less chaotic and much more formal.

Im not a dancer myself but documentary photography allowed me to explore other peoples interests and passions. One day I was walking into town and saw a dance class in progress, it seemed natural to go through the door and ask if I could take photographs. I was made welcome and in return I found a respect for their world.

Area

Unknown part of Nottingham. Night time shot done on a exploitative walk. Finding different vistas.

Taken approx 1982. 6×6 Colour negative, Yashica 124G camera 80mm lens.

CB Radio in the 1970s

Whilst still at school I worked on Saturday mornings at Fishwicks in Haydock. This was a camera store and I served customers at the counter. This chap also had a part time job there and we got on well as we were both into the analogue technology of the time.

After work I went round to see his Citizens Band radio setup and I took a few frames.  CB was the social network of the day, a chance to chat to friends in the area or talk to passing traffic, usually lorries (not usually in Convoy). In the days when British Telecom had a monopoly on telephones it must have been very liberating to talk as long as you wanted without per minute charges.

Like Facebook there was an etiquette to using the equipment, moving chat to different channels and not interrupting people etc. I never got into CB myself but liked the idea.

Rig confirmed to be a Colt 320 FM “Black Shadow SSB”, many thanks to the Facebook community for the details.

35mm Ilford HP5 film, 400ASA.

Quantum superposition

Optimist/Pessimist

A conceptual stock image produced for syndication through Getty images in the Mid 1990s.

Photographing a half full glass of wine conventionally would have made it look like I had just had a drink so came up with this idea to have a genuinely full and empty glass by dividing it vertically.

Read moreQuantum superposition

Californian wind

Old style wind towers. Taken on a road trip in an open topped car, Los Angeles to San Francisco, July 1991.

I was with two old school friends, Keith Hunt and Robert Williams. They could both drive so I was the backseat passenger who could enjoy the views. occasionally I would ask them to pull over so I could get out my Mamiya RB67 Medium format camera and photograph the sights.
These wind towers were beside the main highway in California, there seemed to be hundreds of them and we enjoyed driving the service roads to have a look. America really is a country of big contrasts, the congested freeways and the open wind farms were a lasting memory.

 

Lone Tree

This image is available for licensed use, please contact Stephen Johnson for details.

The Lake District, UK. Taken in 1995 and submitted to Getty Images where it began to sell in 1996.

Originally shot on 120 Fuji Velvia film this image was not manipulated other than changing contrast and reducing saturation (Velvia like Kodachrome before it tends to turn all images into a sunny day).

I have seen the image used in a few places, a front window display for Timberland stores and for the CD cover of “The best songs” by the 80s group China Crisis (https://bit.ly/2xTjhh8)

This is the original grade for the image from the period, done using Barco Creator software on a Silicon Graphics Indy machine.
I would probably do a softer grade if I were to work the image these days though that would of course take some of the drama out of it.

Mamiya 7 medium format range finder camera, 80mm lens, Fuji Velvia 120 film.