Thursday, 24 December 2015

Invisible Images.

Hello everybody.

Today is Christmas Eve. So may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful, fulfilling New Year. I did say I would be back in the New year. As it happens, I've just completed a post for the Freshwater Environmental Ecology Trust, (FEET), which I am involved in. I thought it would sit very well on my own blog, so here it is.

Recently, Anne and I had a few days in York for the Christmas Early Music festival. Loosely speaking, you could think of "Early Music"  as mediaeval music. That's not quite correct, but most people will accept it as a working description.

Before we went, Colin, the director of FEET, suggested that I take a camera and record what was going on in York at the moment. He also said that I might like to try photographing objects from unusual angles. This is one of my favourite photographic techniques, so it fell in well with my ideas.

The following photos are a result of this.

To help put what you are going to see into perspective, I must mention that during my time at art school in the 60's,  I was introduced to a wide range of artistic styles and concepts, some of which will be seen here.  For those people not very much involved in art, the images may seem odd. I'll explain the ideas very briefly as they arise. For now, I must tell you that you may need to stop yourself from seeing the photos as they are, i.e. a building, and look at them outside of that situation. Take them as they are intended, an expression of modern art.

I really should explain the enigmatic title of this post, "Invisible Images".  Many of the photos below are every day objects such as buildings, but presented in unfamiliar ways. The viewer has to alter their perception of the subjects and see them in a different light.

Things like buildings covered in plastic while being renovated, are commonplace. If we see them, we see just that, a building being worked on. We promptly forget them and walk away, or we ignore them. Therefore, in one sense they become invisible. The trick is to look at things in a new way and to look at small details of them in the same manner.

I saw the building below as sculptures, or art installations. When in art school, we were taught that sculptures define the space around them. That is central to the images here. I have not named them, as I think they should speak for themselves.

On with the show:


Jeanne Claude and her husband Christo, covered buildings, coastlines and other large objects, in cloth. It seems a little arty-farty to many, even pointless and self indulgent. However, it does reveal surface textures and outlines, while (in part) hiding the real function of the object, thereby turning it into something else.

Their work is reflected in the photographs of the buildings in this blog post. They cease to be buildings, they are more or less unusable at the stage you see them here. The alternative is to see them as abstract shapes.

If the above link does not open for you, copy and paste it into the address bar of your web browser.

A bit of a tip when looking at the following image. Take a look at the links below first. They are about the late artist Lucio Fontana. He was commonly accepted as the founder of Spatialism, he had connections with Arte Povera also. A few years ago, one of his "Slashed Art" paintings sold for a record price of $3.9 million at Christies.

For examples of his work in this field, type "Lucio Fontana slashed art" (without the speech marks) into Google and click on Images at the top left of the screen.

As soon as I saw the slashed plastic on the building, I thought of his work. The photo below is presented in that spirit.

Light enhances surface textures. This next shot demonstrates the importance of the play of light on a surface.

It's always advisable to view sculptures from different angles and in different lighting. The play of light on surfaces is one of the key things in some modern art. I only had my mobile phone with me the night I took these, so the resolution isn't great. However, to me, it seems to add to the abstract feel of them.

Now for a small collection of other images taken in York at the time. The photo below is of water marks on a marble wall. I found it in the Pizza Express, near Lendal Bridge. Ladies, I'm sorry to say that you will never see the original. I have given this one a title, it sprang to mind as soon as I saw it.


York was flooded while we were there, the shot below was taken on Lendal Bridge. It is the path people use (under the bridge) when people want to go on the river boats. The river was so high that the boats could not pass under the bridge. It was almost possible to step from the bridge to the deck of a boat.

Cenotaph near the Roman walls of York. 

In a tree at the top of Coppergate at 6:00 pm, (it was dark by then) we heard a Blackbird singing his heart out. People were stopping to look and listen to it. It seemed an abstract or dreamlike experience, so I decided to give the photo a more dream like look.

 The bird was opposite the 
small church below.

 Cliffords Tower, of course.

 In Parliament Square, the news papers were talking about 750 wagtails that were roosting in the trees just then. They occupied three trees. I only had a compact camera at the time, it wasn't up to the job. All I can say about the photo is that it gives some idea of the occasion.
Wagtails roosting.

 As I've been writing about buildings as art, I thought I'd show a good example of it. This is a university building at the bottom of Gillygate.

Below is a photo of York Station, on the day we left for home. The concept of a sculpture is, I hope, well represented by it.

To finish, below is a scene you are met with as you arrive at Huddersfield railway station. This is where we get off coming back from York. If you have seen photos of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, this photo may remind you of it.

Scaffolding as sculpture.

That's it. However, in the New Year, I shall do a follow-up post on York, with a few night time photographs. These were take during our short stay.  This  next post is to enable me to fulfil the remit Colin gave me.

I wish you all a very Merry, peaceful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I'll see you in 2016, have a good time.


  1. Great work Gordon! What I like about your photography is your sense of composition and how you see things that most would ignore. "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy" Dialogue from a play written long before the camera was invented.

  2. PTABlues, sorry, I've only just looked at my blog on the 3rd Feb. I'm lookimng after a bed-bound wife, it's very time consuming.

    Thanks for the lovely comment. The artist in my has held the view that my job is to record think for people who would misss them otherwise. Not all artists think that way of course. The other aspect of it for me is that I look upon photography as a meditation exercise. I tried to pass that on to my PhD (phicsics) students when I was working at the university.