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Tate Britain, Millbank London

London art gallery
I spent a couple of days in London earlier this week, which included a visit to the excellent ‘Impressionists in London’ exhibition, at the Tate Britain, Millbank.

I’ve seen and photographed their glorious spiral staircase before, but I couldn’t help but click again in more detail.

London Tate Britain Gallery

Art galleries London


Modern art in london

by Roland Blunk

Black & white beauty

B&W beauty
The beauty of black and white is in its skewing of reality. The escape from colour offers an opportunity to create almost within another dimension…

The medium perfectly suits portraiture, as colour somehow becomes an unnecessary distraction, intruding on the subject of the photo. More on this here


B&W portraiture suffolk


Black and white photography


B&W musicians


Photography portrait

by Roland Blunk

A hard rain

Nature photography
Don’t we all, deep down, truly despise conformity. Who’s spine does not quiver at the sound from Mozart’s ‘Figaro’ being blasted over the prison tannoy in ‘Shawshank’, or Schoolboys being coaxed into standing on their desks in ‘Dead Poets’.

Without art, we are not human. The ability to imagine and to take that imagination and turn it into reality, is one of the things that is really unique about humanity.

When Dylan wrote ‘Hard rain’ in the summer of ’62 at the impossibly young age of just 21, he represented the potential for creative liberation within everyone, taking people out of their entrapment and into a wider utopia.

“And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it”

By Roland Blunk, well just the blog. Dylan wrote the lyrics, although I would be happy to claim them!

New sales ideas

Super-dry logo Norwich Photography
I am planning to ‘time travel’ back a complete century to 1917. And after informing ‘post Edwardians’ of the good news that the war is nearly over, I will hit them with my great new business plan.

I am going to inform them that placing fashion branding on the outside, rather than tucking it behind the collar, is the way forward. If this goes down well, I am going to suggest that since there is more visible surface area on the outside, the logo should be at least ten times that of their concealed predecessors. And finally if they buy into this idea, I am going to suggest that they should price their garments at least double that of their ignorant competitors. Oh and of course there will be a small fee for this advice, as well as time-travel expenses.

by Roland Blunk

Design & photography lecture

Radio Times cover designI was invited by the ‘Friends of Beccles’ to give a talk two weeks ago on my graphic design and photography career. I discussed some of the images on this site as well as my past design assignments for the BBC, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the V&A Museum, and local businesses Saxon and Coriander.

Norwich PhotographyI received rather splendid feedback from a ‘full house’ and have since been invited to present another lecture focusing more on my design work, later in the year. What they said:

“Thoroughly enjoyed last night. He was brilliant”

“I would like to say what a delight and huge pleasure it was to hear Roland Blunk speak of his work and his passion in photography. Thoroughly entertaining evening”

“May I take this opportunity to express my thanks to Roland Blunk for the fascinating talk he gave…to his photographic and design work..I found myself totally absorbed in the variety and expertise of his work”

by Roland Blunk

‘Hunters in the snow’

The secretary of the ‘Chelsea Arts Club’, my home in London, made a great observation in support of reproduction art:

“Neil McGregor, the then Director of the National Gallery, was a passionate supporter of reproductions. He believed firmly that, just as it can take a few listens before a new piece of music really takes hold of us, so, often, we need to spend time with great art before we feel its power. It was heartening to those of us in the publishing company to think that someone who was sent one of our postcards might feel just a little of the power of the original – and that in fact their encounter with the real thing might be enhanced by spending time with a copy.

Because nothing compares, does it, with that moment when you see for the first time an original work you have only ever known before in reproduction. I’ve never forgotten the stunned joy I felt when in Vienna I unexpectedly came across Bruegel’s ‘Hunters in the snow’, a print of which had hung on the wall throughout my childhood. The sheer thrill of the work’s palpable presence, its numen, was overwhelming. What’s more it was thrilling to know where the painting actually lived, what wall in which room of what building it called home – and it was thrilling, too, to understand the scale of it for the first time.”

by Roland Blunk picture by err Bruegel

‘Behind the scenes’ in Naples

Italian street photography
I took this ‘behind the scenes, pants down’ late afternoon iPhone shot of a Naples back street in mid June ’16 and wished at the time, I had taken my camera with me.

A couple of months later, I went back to the exact same location, time and day of the week etc., with the idea of reshooting it with my Nikon. No sooner had I raised my lens, than I found myself encircled by a group of dubious ‘compadres’, wanting to know why I was photographing ‘their’ street, rather than as they suggested, Capri. They just couldn’t see what I could see!

by Roland Blunk (iPhone pic)

A ‘Felliniesque’ moment

Photography Italy
We are enjoying a few months at Carmela’s house in the Campania region of Southern Italy. Situated in the foothills of the Apennines that run down the spine of Italy, it’s well positioned for exploring so much of what’s great about Italy. Rome, Naples, Pompeii, the Amalfi coast are all no more than a couple of hours drive and even Capri is within a morning’s drive and sail.

However on this visit, it was the lesser known areas that caught the eye. We had a splendid evening in Castello, a small mountain village that puts on a series of ‘Festas’ at this time of year.

But it was in the small Roman walled town of Alife, pronounced ‘A-leaf-a’, that caused my biggest surprise. Usually I have my camera ready for the unexpected, but what happened next as I wandered the tightly packed streets of the Tuesday morning market, was a moment of pure Felliniesque magic, that could have graced the great director’s ‘La Strada’.

I found myself strolling a few strides behind a woman who was perhaps thirty, slender and tall by local standards, wearing a flowing calf length white dress. Just behind her was a young lad, no older than 5 or 6, that I took to be her son. All of a sudden in one magically naughty moment, the son lifted the tail of his mother’s dress above her waist as if a bridal gown, for all to see she was wearing no underwear! And the lad collected a sharp slap on his cheek, for choreographing the entertainment.

Why can’t Suffolk markets be so titillating!

by Roland Blunk

Beauty defined

Annabel last week kindly showed the ‘Chelsea Art’s Club’, my ‘home’ in London, the memoir of Auguste Rodin, which was written by her great uncle, Anthony Ludovici, who was for some years the great man’s private secretary. I enjoyed this passage:

“Rodin was 66 years of age when I joined him, and yet his enthusiasm at the sight of beauty in any form was still as fresh and vigorous as that of a youth at his first initiation. Indeed, I was frequently bewildered by the intensity of his outbursts whenever he was confronted with anything that stirred his artist’s soul; and these exhibitions of childlike rapture continued to baffle me, until I realised that it was precisely this capacity to feel as acutely as he did, and to respond freshly and powerfully, in spite of advancing years, to the beauty and harmony of life and arts, which constitutes the truly artistic temperament.”

by Roland Blunk, photo by Anon

Driving Italian style

A while ago I posted a blog about driving in Italy. We have just returned once again from the region, but sadly nothing has improved, as this little tale will explain.

Three years ago we were spending a few languid weeks away from Suffolk, in Carmela’s home in Southern Italy. Situated 30 miles due north of Naples in the foot hills of the Matese Mountains, it’s a region that’s poor by our decadent standards, but far richer in the simpler things of life. I suppose the climate makes the obvious difference, with an extended ‘al fresco’ season stretching from April through to October, compared to our nine months of winter, followed by three months of bad weather. Although the locals are very house proud, nobody seems to bother with aspirational status hogging cars. Being a nation of crazy drivers sees to that. A few days ago whilst walking along a street full of parked cars in Naples, I realised that not one of the fifty or so we had just passed, was undamaged.

Just three weeks ago, Carmela and I were cruising at 95 in the mid-lane of the Rome-Naples auto strada, when a white Mercedes overtook us from the ‘slow lane’, swung across us and other vehicles, before heading off into the distance in the fast lane. All at around 150mph!

There’s an Italian apocryphal story that reaffirms that this style of driving is entirely safe: An Englishman accepts a lift from Luigi and is surprised by the Italian jumping the red lights in the busy town centre. A few hundred metres down the road the Italian again drives straight through red lights at speed. Our English passenger by this time has become a little uncomfortable. However, further down the road the Italian screeches to a halt. The astonished Englishman enquires why, with the lights set to green, he has stopped. “It is just in case my brother, Marcello, is driving the other way across town”.

by Roland Blunk, photo by Anon