Friday, April 25, 2008


On April 16th I completed 40 years working in the broadcasting
industry. For the most part it's been an enjoyable experience. I took
fourteen years to get to the top of my chosen path, sat there for
about another eight years and have been sliding gently back down
ever since; that's why I'm now lighting poker tournaments instead
of prestige dramas. Production methods have changed and my skills
are no longer in demand. That doesn't worry me; I've proved to
myself that I can light anything that's thrown at me (except
sitcoms). I'm afraid that I'm guilty of losing interest in things once
I've mastered them to my satisfaction (which can be a fairly low
level of expertise!). That's why I no longer do su doku puzzles.

Too many people live in the past, lamenting what has been,
dredging up old slights and grudges. Cast them aside (easy to say, I
know). Baggage is not for carrying through life, it's for losing at
Heathrow Terminal 5. And issues? That's what magazines come in,
usually with a special at Christmas. Resistance to change is one of
life's greatest stumbling blocks. Don't lie in the road in front of the
bulldozer – learn to drive it. To counter the lack of challenges in my
television career, I developed sidelines that fitted in with a reducing
workload. For a few years I was an antiques dealer. Now I have a
another career as a photographer.

As usual I've reached the point where I've no idea where this
chuntering on is leading. So I'll change tack.

I took a few photographs in New York but not as many as I might
have. Aside from the fact that it's not fair on Pixie if I'm diving off
every few minutes to prostrate myself under a building or dangle
excitingly from a bridge parapet, I felt that NY was too familiar. I
didn't feel the urge to acquire images of something I'd seen so often
in films and books. How many pictures of the Flatiron Building or
the Empire State does the world need? Even if I could find a new
angle, why bother?

Still I didn't return empty handed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Grand Central

In terms of railway architecture there are few places more iconic than Grand Central Station in New York. Pixie and I popped into the concourse last week, at the beginning of our brief trip to the Big Apple (or is it a moderately-sized banana, an undernourished kumquat, a decidedly sparse kiwi fruit, who knows?). Following the clamp down in recent decades on both cigarettes and steam locomotives, it no longer has the shafts of sunlight-through-(or thru)smoke so beloved of the photographers of this building in the thirties and forties. However it is still an impressive space and cried out for a tripod, which I didn't have.

We both have an aversion to tourists and queueing, even when touring ourselves, so most of the time we spent making our own itinerary. Not for us standing in line at the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island; there are some things that become just too familiar through the medium of film and television. We did venture up the Empire State building, going early to avoid the crowds, but not doing so would have been an equally good option, and cheaper.

Overall we liked NY - wouldn't want to live there, however, unless we could disconnect every car horn and teach them how to brew tea (and coffee).