Thursday 31 October 2019

Exhibitions and Publications, Autumn 2019

A little round-up tonight of some of our recent exhibition entries and similar, starting with one for Amy above;  Falling Walls.  Themed around the anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down, Amy submitted a close-up shot of the above bits of smashed concrete, genuine bits of The Wall gathered when she was out there camping as a child.  This is a group show of postcard-sized images, amongst other work on the theme.

The exhibition breaks new ground for us, starting as it does Down South, in the John Street Gallery, Stroud Valley Artspace, Stroud, Glos. (moving on to the Nau Gallery in Cheltenham later).

Moving on to another Amy piece, a shot of a butterfly taken in Poppleton, York, during the summer becomes...

...a practise bit of experimentation with photoshop techniques, something she might spin-out for a future project.

Another project by Amy, for another open call; an older project from last year using the same techniques once used to make technical blueprints.  More details in a future post, if she gets selected.

Finally, one for me (Ben); one of my Inflate-Deflate (underwater) series pics, published in the Liverpool-based 'zine "Wotisart".  

There's some other stuff in the pipeline too, a couple of miniatures projects, and some railway pictures due to be published as well.

Monday 14 October 2019

End of Season on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway 2019

It's time for the traditional end-of-summer session on the Worth Valley Railway, where the last week of daily running in September produced some nice weather, and I (Ben) took the opportunity to nip out between other jobs and get some shots, as well as a day or two actually riding on the trains whilst The Childs were on inset days.

The equally traditional river shot, a bit tricky as I write this, as the recent rain means the river is up a good few feet...

Another shot I've been trying for a while; still need to sort exposure times to get this one right.

'House red' 41241 was doing the honours; probably one of my favourite locomotives in preservation, and a nice flagship for the line.

This week is also about the only chance to catch the greenery and flowers looking nice in reasonable weather, before everything gets grim and dies back...

Not strictly part of the last week services, but with imminent engineering work about to split the line, a lot of shuffling back and forth by engineering stock took place over the week.  "Vulcan" and the ex-Tay Bridge maintenance wagon are seen up near Damems...

Passing nice and slowly.

"Railways Illustrated" picked up the shot for the November issue.

Not strictly linked to the Worth Valley shots in the rest of this post, beyond geographical proximity, but I also got a surprising image in print this month, a shot from much earlier in the year; my first 'mainline' class 50 shot, out at Utley, in the Modern Traction Review for 2019-2020.  Had no idea this had been picked up for print, I just sent if off speculatively at the time.

Tuesday 8 October 2019

A Visit To... the Bekonscot Model Village

Seemed like an apt image to open the blog with; a bit behind with posting, as I (Ben) have had a couple of medical issues, the main one being abdominal pains which are hovering annoyingly on the edge of not-quite-being-Appendicitis.  All the inconvenience of said illness without the exploding internal organ, which is both good and bad I suppose, it just means pain and paranoia but nothing to chop out of me.  But I digress.

Back in the summer we finally ticked-off something from the bucket list, and a trip to the Bekonscot Model Village.

I have a slight obsession with model villages anyway, and spent a lot of time researching Bekonscot (widely regarded as the first Model Village in the country), and talked to them as research for a project I did.  I simply took the chocolate-box, rose-tinted, village green and flowerbeds tradition of the model village and created the Britannia Model Village, which appears elsewhere on the blog.

Britannia was a miniature police state, a kind of Orwellian Model Village which I went slightly mad and obsessive over making for a year.  But with Bekonscot as the forefather of them all, I'd always wanted a research visit but could never justify the long-distance run to see it in person at the time.  But by happy chance some close friends of ours moved Dahn Sahth from Yorkshire and live a couple of stops down the railway from Beaconsfield, where the model village is, so summer saw us finally paying a visit.

For starters, a direct link to my project; this is actually a building rescued from the Himley Model Village which was about 2 miles from where I grew up, and is a model of a local landmark.  My original plan for my own project back in 2006 was to photograph the derelict and long-abandoned Himley Model Village, to document a kind of post-apocalyptic village.  Having stood abandoned to the elements for about fifteen years it was typically cleared and bulldozed about a week after I came up with my idea.  Luckily the chaps at Bekonscot went in and saved a few things first.

First impressions?  The place fully lived up to my expectations.  There's an amazing amount crammed into a small site; not just the village, but play areas, cafĂ©, the obligatory Gift Shop, even a miniature railway which I managed to get some shots of for a railway mag.

I was impressed by the consistency of the model making, given the varying ages of the buildings and figures.

The Childs were in their element, spotting figures and details.

Not long before we went, there was a big feature in Garden Rail Magazine, so it was nice to see some of the bits they'd mentioned.  The funicular railway is a new addition, making use of modern technology which wasn't even dreamt of when Roland Callingham started this enterprise.  The carriage bodies are apparently 3D prints, but impressive was the fact this was a genuine funicular with working water tanks.

And the model railway... oh, the model railway.  For starters, I want one of these signal boxes just for the house, with the levers to work the lights, telly and so on.

Then there's the railway itself.  Right now I'm limited to making models to garden scales with no railway to run them on, as our garden is something you can walk across in about ten steps, so seeing a massive, sweeping operation with multiple trains whizzing around was quite the eye opener, and inspired a bit of jealousy...

The flagship of the miniature locomotive fleet was even carrying a special headboard to celebrate the anniversary of the village.

So all in all, we were very much impressed with the place, and came home entertained.  Amy did have to point out I shouldn't get any ideas for our own garden...

Having got my engine shed pictures into Model Rail, I mentioned to them I'd popped by for a visit, knowing they'd featured the model railway there before, and they were kind enough to feature some of my pics in an article on Bekonscot in the October issue, which was very nice.

Another pleasant surprise in the same mag, another of my Engine Shed pics...