Bit more on my previous post…

Okay, so it’s reached my attention that at least one person has suggested that the couple referred to in my previous post are simply seeking to make use of the church to publicise their business. I am assured, by someone in the know, and in whom I have complete trust, that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, both the church and the couple have specifically told the local newspaper that they don’t want any publicity or follow-up to last week’s article. 

That is all. 

UPDATE 21 Aug 2014: Here’s the letter from that has appeared in this morning’s edition of the Comet. 

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 08.34.37

Why I was smiling so much in Church this morning.

Half way through church this morning, I tweeted this:

and a few people have been wondering why.

In the middle of last week, I’d read an article on our local newspaper’s website. There’s a couple locally who had been planning an engagement celebration at their church. They’re both Elvis fanatics (more than that, they’re both Elvis impersonators) and were planning to feature some Elvis music as part of the celebration. Okay so far? Well, here’s the thing: according to the article, their church, where they’d been going for over a year, had suddenly told them that they couldn’t go through with their plans, and that (to quote the article) ‘the event has been cancelled as Elvis’s music “isn’t in keeping with the message of God”. 

This is, of course, only a very brief summary of the article, but after reading it my immediate reaction was that I should show it to our minister saying “Have you seen this? Do you think we should offer to host something for them?”. Typically, however, I never got round to doing such a thing, and promptly forgot all about it.

But then this morning, what should our minister hold up but a copy of the local newspaper, which had run the story on its front page. You know what he’d done? He’d contacted the journalist, and asked him to forward an email to the couple – offering to do just that. Within an hour, they’d got in touch, met with him, and next Sunday they’ll be having a short time of our morning worship to celebrate their engagement. He then mentioned that they were there at the back of church this morning, and they got a great welcome.

And that’s why I had such a big smile on my face for the rest of the service. It just felt like we’d done the right thing. (Oh, and case it sounds like it’s just our minister I should be proud of, I gather he emailed all the elders to get there support before making the offer, and it seemed to me that the whole church this morning were very happy with what he’d done.)

Now, as an aside, I’m not in any way making any comment about what happened between the happy couple and the other church. The article, reading it again today, does seem pretty one-sided and sheds the church in a very bad light. In fact, I know one of the Elders there (having worked with him for many years) and have been to the church once to celebrate the dedication of the some friend’s children. I’m pretty certain that somewhere behind this article there must be a misunderstanding or misrepresentation; it is, after all, journalism and can’t possibly be expected to tell the whole story.

But regardless of what went before, what’s happened since is fab.

Interstingly, the local paper seem to have removed the article from their website, but here’s a link to Google’s cached version for anyone who really wants to read the whole thing:

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 23.08.53

UPDATE: it’s reached my attention that at least one person has suggested that the couple referred to in this post are simply seeking to make use of the church to publicise their business. I am assured, by someone in the know, and in whom I have complete trust, that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, both the church and the couple have specifically told the local newspaper that they don’t want any publicity or follow-up to last week’s article. 

Photo-a-day, first month complete.

Having re-started Fat Mum Slim’s photo-a-day thing (as mentioned previously) I’ve now completed the first month. Some of you may have seen my photographs each day, but for the sake of completeness, here they all are.

July 1st: “Red and White”

Posted before I’d decided to feature lego in some form or another in every photograph. 

July 2: “Something beginning with K”

July 3: “Match”

July 4: “Stars”

Shot and posted while away – and didn’t have a minifigure with me.

July 5: “On the table”

July 6: “View”

July 7: “First”

July 8: “I’ve never…”

July 9: “Alive”

July 10: “Sharp”

July 11: “Gold”

July 12: “Interior”

July 13: “Look up”

July 14: “Old School”

I don’t plan to use old photos for this thing, but how could I resist these guys for “Old School”

July 15: “Torn”

Not sure what these two were up too, but it doesn’t look to have gone well.

July 16: “Listening to…”

July 17: “Sunshine”

July 18: “Admire”

July 19: “Curly”

July 20: “Moment”

July 21: “Basic”

As basic as they come. (Though actually had to make this guy up from three separate minifigures and a spare head.)

July 22: “I wore this”

Clark reaches the summit of my favourite shirt on the laundry pile.

July 23: “Macro”

July 24: “Water”

July 25: “Home”

This box is ‘home’ to many of our minifigures. (More live elsewhere.)

July 26: “Fun”

July 27: “Ten”

The new Prime Minister meets the press at Number Ten.

July 28: “Cool”

“Cool”. In this weather, Chuck will try anything to cool off.

July 29: “Repeat”

Somehow we ended up with three if these guys. Still, I guess they usually climb as a team. 

July 30: “Lost”

July 31: “Rise”

Barry checks the next batch of bread rolls before baking.

You can follow along by following me on Instagram here. Or anywhere else. Not sure if I’ll do a summary post like this each month; this has taken way longer than I expected it to.

Don’t know what to call this post.

London. It’s a magical place for me. I love to spend time there, generally just observing what’s going on, soaking up the atmosphere. It helps if it’s sunny, which it sure was yesterday.

I was in town on a photography trip. One of a few I’ve done recently, aiming to (a) shoot some interesting photographs and (b) visit galleries for inspiration. But it was a struggle. It didn’t help that I’d only decided to go that morning so hadn’t properly researched where to go. I visited the National Theatre, who I thought were hosting ‘The Press Photographer’s Year’, an exhibition I’d really enjoyed last year. No sign of it. Turns out the webpage I’d looked at was an archived one, still talking about last year’s show. Oops.

Thankfully, there was, by chance, still a photography exhibition on, which I did enjoy: “Silent Exchange: the landscape photography of Charlie Waite“. Now, typically, I’d never heard of Charlie Waite, but whoever he is he takes a dark fine photograph. You can see loads of his work if you click on the link above. It wasn’t what I’d hoped to see, but it was beautiful and, for want of a better word, ‘inspirational’. (More on that later.)

The other abortive trip wasn’t really my fault; when I looked in the morning The Photographer’s Gallery’s website was still showing a couple of exhibitions. When I arrived later there were signs up saying all exhibitions closed, only cafe and bookshop open. I was told that the exhibition I’d fancied, “Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed“, had closed on Sunday. Yes, the day before. Shame they hadn’t updated the website. (Yes, I know I should have checked the actual dates, but it – and another – were still listed as ‘current exhibitions’ when I checked.)

(Side note: if you were curating an exhibition space with three separate floors of galleries, would you aim to stagger the changes to avoid any times when there was no shows on? I know I would, but then I’m not a curator.)

I did manage to get to two shows. The Michael Hoppen gallery, just off the Kings Road (no, I’d never heard of it either) was featuring an exhibition of work by Harold Edgerton. Who? I hear you say? He was the pioneer of ‘strobe flash’ photography, capturing multiple exposure photographs showing movement in action, or freezing movements.

Gussie Moran, 1949 © Dr. Harold Edgerton

Diver, 1955 © Dr. Harold Edgerton

.30 Bullet Piercing Apple, 1964  © Dr. Harold Edgerton

I enjoyed it greatly, and found it, erm, ‘inspirational’. And as a bonus they had another exhibition of work by William Klein – who I’d also not heard of – and that was even better. Another set of old photographs – which is interesting because I’d say I’m more interested in contemporary stuff – and they fascinated me. In some cases, as often, questioning just what it was that made them stand out. It was (wait for it) inspirational.

2699Big face, big buttons, New York 1955  © Michael Klein

2700Moves + Pepsi, Harlem, New York 1955 © Michael Klein

Anne St Marie + cruiser, New York 1962 (Vogue) © Michael Klein

And then down the road I wandered, when I happened to stumble across the Saatchi Gallery, which I’d never been to before. So glad I popped in – it’s a beautiful place. Okay, so some of the artworks on display were pretentious crap, but others were clever and interesting and beautiful, and more importantly they were all displayed to carefully and given masses of space to ‘breathe’ and be enjoyed without distraction. Lovely.

And they also had one gallery showing a photography exhibition, was of course suits me down to the ground. This was “In our paradise“, showing work by five photographers from Ukraine, and it was great. There was some other photography in the Saatchi, too, which I liked but didn’t make a note of the artist so can’t really tell you about.

Well, visiting exhibitions was one element of my trip. The other was taking photographs. And, you know, despite all this alleged ‘inspiration’, I wasn’t feeling ‘inspired’. Okay, so I shot some okay-ish scenery, and a few okay-ish people, but really nothing to get excited about. And all the way home and since I’ve been thinking what do I do with all this ‘inspiration’? How do I translate some inkling of this creativity that I seek out and enjoy into my own work?

And, equally pressing in my thoughts, how am I ever going to actually make any money out of this photography stuff?

I’ve told quite a few people recently (well, they ask, you see) that I’m not under any illusions that I’m going to graduate next year and immediately start earning a full-time wage as a photographer. That’s not how it works. Heck, am I even going to scrape a part time wage? I’d like to think so. But how I get from here to there is just too daunting at the moment.

TaxiTaxi Driver © Trevor Coultart 2014

South Bank Undercroft
Artist at Work  © Trevor Coultart 2014


The beach on the south bank seemed busyCity Beach © Trevor Coultart 2014

You can see the rest, if you must, here.

(And, yes, I think that is Richard Curtis, but I didn’t notice until I looked at the photograph at home.)

Another photographic wandering

Popped over to Hitchin with my camera this morning. I’d planned to set myself up somewhere and shoot for another one of my composites (see these I did last year) but couldn’t really find a great place to be, so ended up wandering. As usual when I first get somewhere, it took a while to build the confidence to start photographing people, but the market was on which helped a (little) bit.

HitchinBoring view of Hitchin High Street

GroundworksI ate here recently, and it was very lovely.

Skull and CrossbonesSkull and Crossbones headstone at St Mary’s Church

Serving upServing up (it all looked and smelled delicious)

I call this one "wishful thinking"And I call this one “Wishful Thinking”.

A few more here, but overall disappointed with what I came back with.


Photo-a-day. A new chapter.

Those “photograph a day” things. I try them, sporadically, but always drift away after a while and then miss them. There are loads of ‘Daily Photograph’ challenges around, but the one I’ve usually used is one published by Australian blogger Fat Mum Slim. (Actually she’s called Chantelle, but heck this is the internet so I guess anything goes.)

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Chantelle’s been publishing her monthly list of suggested ‘prompt’ words since January 2012 and has amassed a huge number of participants. Since being introduced to it by a friend a while back I’ve dipped in and out. My last attempt to keep it up started in May last year and looks to have lasted for 75 photos – and that’s with long gaps in. (You can see them over here on Flickr.)

Well, I’m about to start again. Another short-lived involvement? Who knows. But this time I’m doing it a bit differently. Oh. Yes. I . Am. For one thing, Chantelle’s Photo-a-day has been so popular she’s taken it to another lever herself and has just launched a dedicated iPhone app, “Little Moments“.  You don’t need the app to take part, but it looks to be a great way of keeping up to date with each day’s prompt. You can shoot and edit your photographs right there in the app, and it links straight through to Instagram or Facebook to publish your pictures with all the relevant hashtags ready loaded. Anything to simplify things is welcome with me. Using the app will mean I’ll be limiting my photo-a-day submissions to iPhone photographs rather than those taken with other kit. Oh,  and the other change is that for the first time I’ll be putting photographs online somewhere other than Flickr. I’ve resurrected a dormant, empty Instagram account that I opened but never used, and it will be the new home for my Photo-a-Day photographs when I jump back in on 1st July. Which is Tuesday.

I’m trevorcoultart over on instagram (as I am pretty much everywhere else) so feel free to follow along, though if you’re already following on Twitter or Facebook I’m sure I’ll be pumping out links each day. You know, just to totally bore you all.

July’s list of prompts

(As well as making it easy to participate, the app also has a range of filters and cheesy text overlay options that I don’t expect I’ll make much use of. But you never know.) 

Rural wanderings

Been spending far too much time in front of a computer lately, so made a point of getting out behind a camera this morning. I was on foot, so only wandered a short distance from home, but I’m right on the edge of town so headed west for a bit on the public footpath network. Here are a few of the things I spotted.

Low-level livingThis oddly-placed bird box.

Lines of cropsParallel Lines

Field of wheatLots and lots of wheat

Hi-flyersThese guys reaching for the sky

Wheat Macro
Here’s a closer look.

Stevenage Water Tower

And here’s a surprise. I’ve always known that the Water Tower is built at the highest point in Stevenage, but it’s never occurred to me that you’d be able to see it standing out above the rest of town like this. Here’s a map to indicate roughly where this is taken from. Amazing how much of Stevenage is hidden from view from here.

water tower map