Steer for the deep waters only

Robert Day's thoughts on his photography, his writing and his business

As one door closes, another door…?

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Well, when I was thinking about this blog, I initially thought “…closes”. My IT testing contract with the Law Society finished last week, and whilst there are some hints about more work that might materialise in the New Year, my agency admitted that they weren’t looking at a bulging list of clients crying out for software testers at this very minute.  At the same time, I developed a pain in my right foot, which began to swell in a worrying way. Eventually, I took myself to the doctor, and was told that I might have gout. Cathy immediately began to visualise me in a periwig, frock coat, knee breeches and stockings, with a bandaged foot up on a footstool.

The reality is a little less Hogarthian – blood tests, NSAIDs and a dramatic limp which actually got me some sympathy at the Birmingham Science Fiction Group last week – first time for everything, seeing as I’ve had to take up a stick in the past following trapped sciatic nerves and various soft tissue injuries. But at least it seems to be on the mend. Nonetheless, my darker side insisted on thinking of my state of health as some sort of metaphor for my employment prospects and the state of the economy in general.

Then I looked at today’s e-mails, and my thoughts on the title changed, to “…opens”.

My work has been accepted for exhibition at the FORMAT 13 photography festival in Derby next year.

I submitted a selection of work from the 1970s, showing some of the railway workshops of Derby and some views in Denby Pottery, and contrasted those with some more contemporary pictures showing what has become of factories today – dereliction, obsolescence, a role in the heritage industries or conversion to new uses. Obviously, the 1970s pictures were taken when I were nobbut a lad, as we used to say; but whether by design or accident they manage to capture some of the people of the times.

And this will be one of the few times an avowed “railway photographer” gets a chance to show work in a venue more usually devoted to “fine art” photography. Many railway photographers wouldn’t have a chance of being accepted in such circles, or might even actively shun them. My view is that with an ever more limited number of opportunities and different subjects for the genre photographer, we have to find new ways of looking at our favourite subjects, or all our pictures will turn out the same. Earlier today, the latest issue of the Railway Magazine dropped though my letterbox, and I had a couple of instances of looking at double-page spreads of pictures and mentally crying out “They’re all the same!” and “It’s another picture of a train!”

So: some serious thinking to be done, as well as finding the resources to have some large prints made, mounted and hung. Definitely another door opening.


The factory – now: derelict machines at the Black Country Museum



The factory – then: hot forge work at Derby Loco Works, 1977 – and a distinct lack of health and safety!


Written by robertday154

November 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Posted in Derby, exhibition, Factory, Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

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