Tuesday, November 28, 2006


WHAT'S THE POINT - An exercise in Colour - REC

You know the way you read something, and think “Someone’s pulling my leg here” - Well, that happened today.

My reader will by now be aware of my fascination for Things Photographic, so I very recently trawled one of the many excellent websites which support and explain for us mortals the technical background to digital imaging. I came across a rather erudite (that means I didn’t fully understand it) article on some of the issues involved in keeping consistency in colour matching through the chain of Digital Camera, Viewing screen and the final Printer output ie making sure that what you think you photographed actually comes out as you expected in the final print. Yes, I know it’s sad, but if it wasn’t for people like me, the anorak industry would implode and disappear.

Anyway, the author was explaining how uncontrolled the printing industry is in this area – you’d think they would be totally clued up here, with process controls and standards coming out of their ears. But no – they seem to operate on the basis of “Make the colours look nice, and the customer will be happy”. Let’s hope none of the managers in this bit of the printing industry fancy a change of career direction and try their hands at building aeroplanes.

This loophole is apparently now being closed, and a range of new standards has been developed to allow the Industry to move forward on a common, standardised basis, and put a tgeeny bit of control into their processes. For reasons I haven’t the slightest interest in trying to understand, three new complementary standards have now been developed, and they are all in the process of introduction.

Their names are – Specifications for Newsprint Advertising Production (for Newspapers), General Requirements for Applications in Commercial Off-set Lithography (for Commercial Printers), and Specification for Web Off-set Publications (for more specialised Printing) – or in acronymic terms, SNAP, GRACOL and SWOP.

I kid you not – look it up on Google.

Who said the Americans didn’t have a sense of (sic) humor?

Sunday, November 26, 2006


You trip over the answers to the problems of the Universe in odd places – last week, it was a food programme on the Radio. The presenter was in France, where a few really keen Englishmen were holding a Cheese Festival – Coals to Newcastle, or what?

But of course, it’s not like that at all. The French Cheese industry is apparrently undergoing a bit of a recession at present (I was going to write that “It’s going off”, but that’s not very funny, is it?), with an increasing number of the artisan producers over there ceasing production. The reason the guy came up with was the strength of the local French Cheese Cooperatives. Their products, he claimed, were now so good that the gap between them and the real specialists was not that large, and the French public, who are in the middle of a burgeoning love affair with les supermarchés at present, are turning away from the small producers. I can’t believe that myself, but it was on Radio 4, so it must be right.

Anyway, as reliably as night follows day in spoken Cheeseland, General De Gaulle appeared, and the slightly over quoted comment he made duly arrived – “How can you be expected to govern a country that has 246 kinds of cheese?” When you look into the quote, you find of course that over the years, de Gaulle milked it a bit, and used it on many occasions, with the result that the number of cheeses France produced varied as time went on. One year, it was “over 200”, another year it was 256, or 265, or even “one for each day of the year”.

Whatever the number, it’s a lot, and the point of the comment is that was his way of saying governing France was a bit like herding cats – Impossible.

So, having said so memorably how difficult it all was, he didn’t need to bother anymore, so he didn’t. Job done.

But now of course, you come to this country, and a bit of lateral thinking makes you realise why Our Glorious Leader in Number 10 is having such a problem in his job, and why so much isn’t working the way he said it would in 1997. It’s all caused by the explosion in the number of English Cheesemakers, which has very accurately coincided with the dissipation of the UK’s governmental competence.

In an industry which came perilously close to extinction in the UK a couple of decades ago, there are apparently now well over 400 different cheesemakers in this country, producing a massive range and diversity of traditional and new cheeses. Good though that may be for our taste sensations, the political ramifications are clearly huge, with the future survival of UK plc at stake. If de Gaulle couldn’t hack it in France with their 246 fromages, then what chance does our Tone have when we have heading towards twice as many.
And “Stop Press” – a trawl around WWWland throws up, if that is le mot juste, that the USA has more than 500 - now that explains everything!

So, to get this country rolling again, we simply need a concentrated cheese-focussed pre-emptive strike to zap all the producers and go back to a position where there is only good old “Mousetrap” in this country. We can keep all that foreign smelly, runny stuff for the gannets among us, and Britain will be great again. It’s all very simple really isn’t it?

GEORGE BEST - 1946-2005

George Best and Mike England - White Hart Lane - 1973
Yesterday was the first anniversary of George Best's death. It's rather strange, because his final departure really set me off writing this collection of Bits and Pieces. As it says in the piece below, I am very much NOT a footy man, but for reasons I simply don't understand George Best had found a place in my heart. His death moved me to write down my thoughts, and the piece I wrote set me off on the Blog trail. I only showed it last year to a couple of friends at work, and then left it. But, given the date yesterday, I thought I'd put it down here, as a bit of a memorial to a genius.
The photograph was taken by a great Sports photographer - Chris Smith, late of The Times, and gives a really graphic view of Yer Man in action - terrific image!
George Best died yesterday.

I must be one of the most unlikely people you could find today, anywhere in Britain, to write about him. Yet strangely, I feel a real need to put my thoughts about him down on paper. I have had a life long non-interest in football – indeed I was probably the only man in the country who chose not to watch the 1966 World Cup Final, because there was something more important on that day which I had to do.

This rather abnormal view has prevailed for most of my life, apart, that is, from the few years when I was at University. The sole reason my flame of interest flickered for that brief time was George Best. I can remember, as if it was yesterday, sitting in the Imperial College Hall of Residence lounge, along with what seemed like thousands of others, watching on a very grainy, black and white television as George Best single-handedly destroyed Benfica playing away from home. Benfica were then regarded, I now realise, as the best team in Europe, and for all I know, the world. Even to my untutored eye, his skills were bordering on unbelievable, and he made the game seem to be more an art form than a sport.

Some years later, after being thrown out of Manchester United, watching his personal change from player to playboy was in some ways very sad, but almost inevitable. People go on about a "flawed genius". I think that is missing the point almost completely. He was a genius, but only when he was playing football – when that had finished he descended to being a mere mortal, like the rest of us. Most sportsmen, even the really greats (and there are far less of those than the media would have you think) must surely realise that the pinnacle of their sporting careers are going to occur when they are relatively young, and unless they have other major skills which can supplant them, the rest of their lives will inevitably be played out to a long drawn out tune of anticlimax. Those that find a meaningful alternative survive and prosper, those that do not, face the daunting prospects which Best clearly faced.

To football fans today, his memory will be distorted and restricted. The amount of TV footage of him is relatively limited, and very poorly shot. In video terms, he came from a previous era, but in reality he blazed an amazing trail. He hit the scene in the middle of the Sixties, with long hair, good looks, his shirt flowing loose outside his shorts, and an outrageous and amazing talent. It was the time when footballers finally broke free from the restrictions of the £20/week Maximum wage. In contrast however, he remained in an era where the Red and Yellow Card was still to be introduced, and the level of physical violence allowed on the field, particularly to someone as key as him in a team was quite unbelievable compared to today's standards. Footballing life then was very different from today, but in many ways he was the one individual who formed the link from old to new.

His skills were, to use a very much overused word, awesome. Although quite diminutive, he rose above and passed defenders, beating them in ways they did not believe possible. He scored impossible goals, and in spite of football supposedly being a game played by a team of eleven players, he won matches, and important matches at that, simply by the force of his own footballing brilliance.

For the last thirty years, we have seen his decline into chronic alcoholism cruelly documented in the press, and it would not be surprising for younger football fans today to think that all he was was a bit of a joke, a drunken bore who used to play football a bit. The stories of his Miss World Collection (he bedded four of them, and apparently the only reason the other three he met were not in this club was because he did not turn up to meet them on their date) are undoubtedly true, but are irrelevant compared to his glittering footballing legacy.

He was the butt of a lot of black humour jokes, some made by himself. To me, the blackest of them all is that he said towards the end that he actually carried an Organ Donor Card. You could be forgiven for wondering if this was a huge joke on his part, which none of us have yet twigged. We also laugh at Caroline Aherne's fluffy little grenade of a comment as Mrs Merton - "If you hadn't run around so much, maybe you wouldn't have been so thirsty." And a very recent comment from one pundit that "having destroyed his own liver, he has recently set about destroying someone else's" (a brutal reference to his life saving liver transplant 3 years ago) – all these serve to reinforce this emphasis on the last thirty years of his life. These quips, whilst very funny at the time, now sit very uncomfortably on the page, as I type them with the hint of a tear in my eye.

But this latter phase of his life masks his real genius. I am not skilled in the ways of football, so to get as objective a view as possible, I have just read several of the Country's leading Sports Writer's articles about him. For once, to a man, they all agree. Simon Barnes (Senior Sports Writer in The Times, and a brilliant journalist) – "George Best was the greatest footballer that ever lived. Let us be perfectly clear about that, no matter what other judgements we make about his life …………… Best was the best I have seen, and the best anybody has seen." The rest say broadly the same, but do not use the simple, eloquent words Simon Barnes has chosen. One of the newspapers today also reprinted their verbatim report of the actual Benfica match I saw in University, and it chronicles a systematic and deadly 90 minute destruction of a brilliant team, by one man – "Had I not seen it, I would not have believed it." is Geoffrey Green's (the journalist who wrote the article in 1967) simple summing up.

And now he's gone – one less genius in the world, and there are few enough of those. There will be the standard, well meant One Minute Silences around the football grounds this weekend. One Scottish club however has, I think, got it absolutely spot on – they are having not a One Minute Silence, but a One Minute Applause – how absolutely brilliant is that?

We do however need to ask ourselves - Why do we not cherish these people whilst they are still with us, and why do we have this uncontrollable urge to discredit them? Yes, they all have feet of clay – they are human, for God's sake. But admire them for what they can do, and what no one else can match. People like Pete Sampras, Lance Armstrong, Jim Clark, Tiger Woods, Shane Warne, Jack Nicklaus and Carl Lewis (by definition, the list will be short) are jewels in human sporting terms. Their like comes along all too infrequently, and rather than complain about how boring it is to see the same person winning or dominating everything, we should recognise just how good these few guys are. Let's luxuriate in their genius – it's there for all too short a time, and no-one knows when or if it will return. Look again at Simon Barnes's words summarising his judgement about him – no "one of the best ……" - Barnes's words are absolute – "the best" – no caveats, no ifs, no buts, no maybes.

Perhaps George Best's name should be on the list as well.


26 November 2005

Saturday, November 18, 2006


I have been just looking for something to give my mind an intellectual workout this evening, and settled on reading about the goings on in the Mother of Parliaments. The members of this august band of people are the 646 privileged colossi to whom we all entrust the future direction of this country. And as we all know, it is in Westminster that we see the focus, the pinnacle of debate, the cut and thrust of razor sharp minds, honed on the debating stump, resolving for all our benefits the huge problems we all face today.

So, pootling around with my intellectual pin, where did it hit and what did I find? The first worrying thing was it related to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, John Leslie Prescott.

In spite of the TV based perception of the Chamber, the real machinery of Parliament is actually the backroom activities, the Select Committees, and the Parliamentary Questions and written Questions and Replies which give Back Benchers the opportunity to probe the actions of the High and Mighty – the Prime Minister and the members of his Cabinet.

For reasons which I can’t understand, JP has always come in for some stick over the way he operates his department. So one innocuous little question I came across was clearly aimed at probing how the Good Man controls and manages the administration and cost base of his rather sprawling Ministry. Rather than even comment on the point being addressed, just read this – it’s straight from the Horse’s Mouth – the Commons’ Written Answers on 25th October.

Caroline Spelman (Meriden, Conservative) Hansard source

Question - To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 4 September 2006, Official Report, column 1646W, on ballpoint pens, what use is being made of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister-branded pens; how much was spent between 2002 and the abolition of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister on ODPM branded products and promotional gifts; and what types of goods were purchased.

Angela Smith (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government) Hansard source

Answer - The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) branded pens are being used to write with, and will continue to be used as standard stationery items until stocks are exhausted.

Between May 2002 and May 2006 a total of £5,095 was spent on ODPM branded pens, carrier bags, and note pads.

These items were used at exhibitions and events to help promote the office's schemes and policies.

Just to be clear, the Bold, Italics and large type is mine.

Why have the Media missed this revelation? Talk about “The Public has a Right to know” – I’m not sure they can stand the tension.

If these two were your own kids, you’d send them to their bedroom with no tea. You just hope they were doing it for a bet, but I have a horrible suspicion, they were deadly serious.


Friday, November 17, 2006


Richard Griffiths - An Acting Masterclass

I’ve just seen the film “The History Boys”, and it’s the best film I’ve seen in years.

The point of the film is to contrast the effect on potential university students of two very different types of education in their school. The first is where the teaching is aimed simply at “improving and expanding the minds of the pupil”, but taking little cognisance of the future university, educational or indeed any specific needs of the boys – a pure “Pass the Parcel” style of learning where the simple expansion of the mind is seen as all important. The second, introduced into the school by a rather intense and zealous Headmaster is aimed at “tuning” the pupils for “Oxbridge” entrance. This style of teaching is aimed at maximising the University entrance rate, with pass rate being the be-all and end-all of the process. Written by Alan Bennett, and clearly extremely autobiographical, it started life in the theatre as a play, and most of the action, if that’s what you call it because there's not much of it, takes place in a school classroom.

It’s rather like a Yorkshire version of “Dead Poet’s Society”, set in a theatrical environment, with its exquisite dialogue reflecting Alan Bennett’s very personal attitudes to his upbringing. It's simply the best evocation of growing up, and the pains, pressures and joys of scholastic adolescent flowering I have seen.

The film uses the same cast which has been performing the play in the theatre for the last couple of years, and this shows brilliantly in the interplay between all the boys and the schoolteachers involved. They all seem to be so comfortable with each other, a state you get when the actors have been performing it together for a long time. You have to look beyond their real ages, which all seem older (because actually they are) than the “Upper Sixth” age setting of the film. But when you get past that, all the individual boys and teachers seem simply so “right” in themselves and with each other.

The star of the film is Richard Griffiths, as the “Pass The Parcel” ageing teacher - it's a real, subtle, jewel of a performance. His performance brings my own schooling back to mind vividly and immediately – the teachers at Bedford were often just like him. There is one exquisite sequence where he sits in a classroom explaining the meaning of a World War One poem to one of the boys - I suspect it was the boy in the group who Bennett wrote to represent himself. Richard Griffith’s acting here is subtlety brilliant – you see him in extreme close-up, and if ever you wanted to show someone a Masterclass in acting for film, showing how the slightest facial or vocal inflection can build the tension in a “take”, just watch that sequence. It’s simply perfect.

Whilst I had a real science “bent” at school, finding Physics, Chemistry and Maths a relatively comfortable combination, my efforts at the more “arty” subjects were, to say the least, much more of a struggle.

And yet, a couple of teachers, as a result of their force of personality, zest for learning and skill in teaching, wrought miracles on me, in the areas of Art and Music – Ted Amos and Ron Dalzell. I entered their classes being a perfect definition of a Musical and Artistic “philistine”, and as a result of their amazing ability in both subjects to “Pass the Parcel” onto an originally very unwilling me, they changed my life immeasurably. I have loved pictures and all sorts of music since their genius and magic was sprinkled over me, and I am eternally grateful for their efforts and the change they made in me. The sad thing is that neither of them would have even realised just what they had done.

Such is the profession of the teacher, and probably explains why “The History Boys” made such an impression on me. It’s not an “exciting” film, and there are no real action sequences, but as a film to savour, written by a master and vividly bringing back a large chunk of one’s personal history and putting it in context, it’s a real joy to watch.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Assistant Commissioner John Yates

Watch this face - you'll see it again!

There is an increasing sense of schadenfreude in watching the twists and turns of Our Glorious Leaders trying to pretend that the “Cash for Honours” issue simply doesn’t exist. The antics of Scotland Yard’s Assistant Commissioner John Yates (above) seem destined to ensure that he will finish his illustrious career with no “gong” after his name, given the way he seems to be moving inexorably across the political chessboard towards King Tony.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but his favourite film must be “All the President’s Men”, and, given his compact size, he must be fantasising playing the Dustin Hoffman character in that terrific film. Here we have a newspaper, this time the "Sunday Times", and not the "Washington Post", seeming to be hell-bent on pushing the issue of where the decision to change Party “donations” to Party “loans” was actually centred. The Sunday Times seems to have made its mind up that this is an issue where they can “get” Blair, and they seem to be doing all they can to aid and abet the Police in bringing the culprits, however high and mighty, to justice.

The net seems to be moving remorselessly closer to Number 10, as, one by one, the disaffected Donors/Lenders* (*Delete as applicable) seem to be saying that pressure was brought from on (very) high to make what they originally offered as gifts, appear in the Labour Party Finance books as loans. Blair is another one here who needs to reread LBJ’s dictum about "The Tent". You’re either inside, or you’re outside. These are influential men, and they do not like to be made to look foolish.

I suspect that everyone thought this investigation would stall from the massive weight of political pressure being brought by Number 10 against it, but it would seem that Assistant Commissioner Yates is continuing to pick the Cabinet off one by one. He has already conducted around 90 interviews and he is reputed to have now formally written to all of the Cabinet, asking them all a range of questions. All that is, apart from one person who, apparently, has not yet received a letter - Mr Blair. This omission, according to those versed in the way of the Fuzz, means that He (did I really put a capital letter there?) is most likely their Prime Suspect.

One interesting person in all this is Gordon Brown. Everyone thinks that Tony Blair’s political career is drawing to a close, but Brown is still looking to make one more play in the current UK political poker game. And yet, one of the New Labour donors/lenders, Nigel Morris, came into the loans/gift arena apparently via high level sources at the Treasury. Given Gordon Brown’s propensity to not just micro-management but pico-management, you could be forgiven for thinking that either he must have known, which leads off in interesting directions, or alternatively he didn’t know, in which case he doesn't know what's going on about major, strategic issues in his Ministry. The hairs on the back of my neck are telling me this particular bit of the story has not yet finished. Watch this space.

At the moment, we do not know if Mr Blair will be interviewed or not, and if he is, we do not know if the report which the Assistant Commissioner is writing will result in the Crown Prosecution Service taking any further action, and if they do, we do not know if that will result in any action being taken against Mr Blair.

But, the really sad thing for politics in this country is that, in spite of all these Ifs, I suspect most people believe that, whatever happens, Tony Blair did play a major part in this issue, and therefore deserves to have his collar felt – and felt quite hard. If you want a preview of one possible outcome, head to Blockbusters and rent a copy of "All the President's Men". If you don't agree with the possible outcome, it's still a bloody good film.

It’s all about Trust, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Cartoon by "Matt"

There’s a real sense of enjoying the power of the electorate when you see the changes brought about by the American voters last week. Even though only 2 in 5 voted, there has been a significant rebellion against the antics of Dubya and his cronies, and the seeming “single issue” polarising effect that the Iraq war has had on electoral politics over there shows what can be done by disaffected voters. It remains to be seen whether this is a “One Off” protest vote, with next time showing a return to the “It’s the Economy, Stupid” Issue winning the next election for the Republicans.

Those of you who are aficionados of “The West Wing” will see all kinds of resonances in the goings on last week. Sometimes I think the best idea is to sit through the 156 episodes, and then watch reality copy the plots you saw first in Aaron Sorkin’s masterpiece. I swear the politicians are just following the scripts to make it easy for themselves.

The message is clear though, and the departure of that nice Mr Rumsfeld, seems to signal at least a belated start on the road to digging themselves out of the awful mess they have all created. One has to say that seeing the back of Rumsfeld gives one a bit of a rosy glow. Is there anyone out there who regrets his departure?

Even Richard Nixon, 35 years ago, thought him to be a bit of a hard man. Nixon’s comment in 1971 was - “…at least Rummy is tough enough, … He's a ruthless little bastard. You can be sure of that." For reasons none of us over here can begin to comprehend, he is both the Youngest (1975-1977 – age 43) and the Oldest (2001-2006 – age 74) occupant of the position of US Secretary of Defense (Sorry about the spelling, but America’s a very young country). You would have thought they’d have learnt, wouldn’t you?

I think we all agree that the man has a fair amount to answer for, but, in the end, it’s his poetry which we will concentrate on here. There’s a lovely web-site dedicated to the outpourings of Rumsfeld’s Inner Wit, set in some form of demonic Iambic Pentametric blank Verse, known only to a select band of US highflyers.

I am indebted to Hart Seely (http://www.slate.com/id/2081042/) for these heartfelt jewels, culled, if that’s the right word, verbatim from the great man’s lips. Winston Churchill, eat you heart out and turn in your grave – You choose the order.

The Unknown

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

I think what you'll find,
I think what you'll find is,
Whatever it is we do substantively,
There will be near-perfect clarity
As to what it is.
And it will be known,
And it will be known to the Congress,
And it will be known to you,
Probably before we decide it,
But it will be known.

A Confession
Once in a while,
I'm standing here, doing something.
And I think,
"What in the world am I doing here?"
It's a big surprise.

I was going to say, “Don’t give up the Day Job”, but he just has!

Well, that’s one down. Who’s next?
And to finish, a litlt snippet from last Thursday's newspaper. The voting machines in Illinois were playing up apparently, and one frustrated voter was moved to smash the screen with what was described as a cat shaped paperweight (Now why would anyone going to vote carry a .... - Oh forget it!). The officiating officer's typically PC response was "It's a Touch screen, but he overdid it!".
We should sell them some little brown pencils attached by string to the side of the booth. That would sort them out.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Today, Saturday 11th November is Armistice Day.

Six years ago, to this day, my wife and I were walking out of our front door to drive into town for a leisurely cup of coffee, listening to the village Church clock chime at 11 o’clock in the morning, when I (or more accurately my wife) realised that the indigestion from which I thought I was then suffering was not indigestion at all, but something a little more serious.

Instead of a gentle drive into Shrewsbury, she piled me into the car and rocketed me into the local Hospital, driving at slightly illegal speeds around the town’s Ring road, thereby undoubtedly saving my life.

It’s very strange how occasionally, you wake up in the morning and have absolutely no idea just how different you will feel at the end of that day. That was a morning which literally changed my life for ever. When I woke up, I was Finance Director of a thriving company, and as a result of what happened, I never went back to that job. I ended up having major heart surgery, and finally returned to work in the same company, but in a very different capacity, some 10 months later. The rather spooky juxtaposition of that attack with the Armistice Church Bells tolling, is always now a very personal reminder of something which one hopes continues to fade into the background of one’s life, but always seems to resurface on this one day of the year.

But, on a wider stage, each year we see a gradual change in the way this particular day is perceived by an increasing number of people in the country. There are literally only a very small handful of people left alive now who actually fought in the First World War, and you sense the hugely evocative “Fade to Sepia” ending in the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” starting to permeate areas of our national attitude to the day.

It is simply impossible today to imagine what it must have been like to have been in the trenches fighting then, and I can only be eternally grateful that I will never be in a position to have to find out. The sale last week of a letter from a Private David Martin, poorly typed in 1916, which was found recently in an attic in Hastings, brings the whole atmosphere frighteningly back to life. It evokes the last episode of Blackadder IV, but without the slightest shred of humour. Ben MacIntyre has written about it over the last couple of days in the Times and a very moving and sobering story it is.

Read it and ponder – Lest we forget.




This is the first entry of several devoted to photographers whose style I admire. Some are household names, and some you may well not be so familiar with. I expected to write first about the man who I think is the best photographer who has ever lived – Henri Cartier-Bresson. But he would have been a bit obvious, so I've chosen another great picture taker. I’ve just stumbled across an image which immediately brought this man, much less well known, back to the forefront of my attention, and he gets Slot Number 1 - Franco Fontana.

He’s an Italian who has been taking pictures for something over 40 years, and he has published around 40 books of images, covering most genres of the Art. But it’s his landscapes which have a special place in my heart. My own personal favourite form of photograph is the landscape, so there is an immediate resonance with other people who do it so much better than me. My own view on this type of picture is that generally “Less is More”. A good simple image pretty nearly always beats a good complicated one.

And this guy goes for “simple” in a big way. He reduces the world to minimalist shapes, structures, lines and colours - real colours! The world is reduced to blocks of colour and gradual gradation of chromatic tones, which seem to have a soothing and calming effect on the viewer. They are almost not landscapes at all, but abstract patterns of colour which happen to have their origins in the world we live in. They are not subtle pictures in terms of colour - the vibrancy of the image jumps out at you, but, believe me, their beautiful simplicity and originality allows them to stand the test of time. As an extreme example, just look at “Lagoon at Comachio” below – an utterly simple construction of, well, almost nothing.
But it makes you think, and if that isn’t what taking pictures is about, I’m missing the point of it all.

He is an utterly individual photographer, and ploughs a very lone furrow in his work. From the first minute you come across one of his landscapes, you are in no doubt as to who took the picture – the man has a totally individual style.

I’ve had three prints of his on my office wall for many years, and I have to say they stood the test of time – whenever I looked at them, they give me a jolt of pleasure, and on a wet, Monday morning in Birmingham, anything which can do that gets my vote.
I've gathered together a few of his images, shown below, to get his style and approach across. Do you know anyone else who takes images remotely like these? Feast your eyes on these!
If you want to read "World's Best Photographers - No. 2 - Elliott Erwitt", please navigate to the entry in this Blog for March 25th 2007.