Don’t we all, deep down, truly despise conformity. Who’s spine does not quiver at the sound of 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 ‘A hard rain’s a-gonna fall’ in the summer of ’62 at the impossibly young age of just 21, he opened the window for creative liberation within everyone, taking people out of their domestic entrapment and into a wider utopia. And to put this song into contemporary context for younger readers, we were just weeks away from what many feared would be nuclear war between Russia and USA. Dylan, so the myth goes, wrote each line as if it were the title of a song, fearing he would never have time to write more:
Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner’s face is always well-hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
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
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall
By Roland Blunk, well just the blog. Dylan wrote the lyrics plus another five verses, although I would be happy to claim them!
Tim Ellis learnt his Thatching skills more than thirty years ago under the stewardship of Peter Buckley, from the Cambridgeshire village of Elsworth. Peter lived in Elsworth most of his life, working with his Father Sidney Buckley. Peter had a ‘disagreement’ early in his life with his father and was bundled off to Norfolk on a five year apprenticeship. This was at Farnhams Thatching Company with a history going back centuries and a client list that included the Royal family. Sid died around 1970, literally whilst thatching, whilst his son Peter died in 1992. Tim has now been working entirely on his own for more than than twenty-six years.
Tim told me that everything he does and the tools he uses, have not changed for over four hundred years. The one change is that he has a Mercedes truck, to replace horse power.
It’s unlikely that anyone will have a need for ‘Circus photography’, but if I can deliver this from one fixed point, I could so much more with a broader brief. If you have an event that you would like to treasure, please just contact me.
I have just returned from wintering in Central Southern Italy, where the Apennine range of mountains runs down the spine of Italy. The visual subtlety of winter mountain landscapes in low cloud conditions, can have a silent almost ethereal quality to it. The beauty here is evasive and almost impossible to fully capture on Nikon. And a complete ‘whiteout’ absolutely impossible, beyond displaying a white page. Even those that do not ski, can non-the-less, still fall in love with ‘white’. This journey has been invaluable research, for my next ‘Mountain Photography course’
These photos were shot nearby the beautiful mountain town of Pescocostanzo, where I am occasionally hosting my ‘Mountain Photography Courses’. Set in the Abruzzo region of central southern Italy, this ‘undiscovered’ gem sits at an altitude of 1,400 metres. With paved and cobbled streets, old houses and a history of lace making, the town provides a perfect photographic backdrop. ‘Pesco’ is very much a loved ‘secret’ of Romans and local Italians alike. The area boasts four Michelin restaurants, with little more than 1,200 residents in the town itself. And so I am including lunch each day at one of these excellent mountain restaurants, with my Italian photography holiday course. Please enquire if you are curious./>
The Hotel I have selected is a classic ‘Castello’ style hotel, although not quite a ‘castle’ as we might imagine. However it is both a beautiful and classical Italian building, untainted by modern embellishments and full of original details. This hotel on it’s own is full of photographic treats, and enough to keep you busy from arrival to departure! Do contact me if there is not a future date currently visible, as it may be in the planning./>
by Roland Blunk
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.
by Roland Blunk
The medium perfectly suits portraiture, as colour somehow becomes an unnecessary distraction, intruding on the character of the subject. You can see and read more of my portrait work and how to book me here.
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
I was invited by the ‘Friends of Beccles’ to give a talk two weeks ago on my Suffolk photography and graphic design career. I discussed some of my current photographic work on this site, as well as past design assignments. These included work for the BBC, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the V&A Museum as well as local businesses.
Above: A design id proposal for a Suffolk Health Club.
Above: A cover design for the ‘Radio Times’ from the BBC’s programming magazine heyday, with a circulation of 3 million+.
Below: Three Royal Shakespeare Company promos.
I was very pleased to received rather splendid feedback from a ‘full house’. I have since been invited to present another Suffolk photography and graphic design lecture next year. What the audience 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
“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
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)