David Runnacles

David Runnacles book made in 2020

Several posts over the past three or four years have shown or mentioned the work of David Runnacles, a street photographer based in Cambridge.  His work has now been featured in INSPIRED EYE | Street Photography Magazine + Insights Video – he was contacted after the editors saw his work on Flickr.  You can see the feature – photos and interview – at https://www.theinspiredeye.net/street-photography-magazine/, costs a one dollar trial subscription. 

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Fen Landscape – All Saints Cottenham

North Fen, Cottenham, August 2021

The low sun picks out the tower of All Saints, Cottenham, against an approaching stormy sky. Pevsner writes: ‘The one feature one remembers about Cottenham church is the tower with its odd stepped battlements and bulbous ogee pinnacles. It is of yellow and pale pink brick and dates, exept for the ashlar-faced lower part, from 1717-19. … It was in existence when Pepys visited relatives at Cottenham.’ The Buildings of England – Cambridgeshire, 1970

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Fen Landscape – Cottenham

North Fen, Cottenham, August 2021

Sun setting over North Fen, Cottenham, mid-August 2021.

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Ickworth House

Ickworth House, Suffolk, September 2021

Retirement in the safety zone.

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Rudbeckia on a very wet Tuesday.

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Ickworth Trees 2

The Capability Brown designed park at Ickworth provides a fine setting for the distinctive eccentricity of the rotunda-dominated house.  Within the park the woods are mystical, dark and mysterious.  The trees with gnarled and convoluted trunks look as if they might shake out their roots and lumber off to terrorise unwary visitors.  The twisted, fissured bark threatens to open and release forest spirits.  Buttresses split and break and the bark and the interior grain appear as tortured geological strata and weathered volcanic eruptions.  These are ancient trees, bleached skeletal remains reach into the sky, stag-headed.  They are age incarnate, witnesses to hundreds of years of change, metaphors for the decline of the seemingly timeless unequal social and economic structures that brought them there.

Brought there from where?  These are not just the native trees of Suffolk, yes there are familiar oaks and beeches, but also redwoods, towering pines, slender avenue-forming yew and monumental exotic members of the quercus family.  My reductive side wants to put a name to them; my reflective side is happy to be amazed and awed.  

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Ickworth Trees

This gallery contains 4 photos.

To Ickworth House (NT) today. Extraordinary trees with bones exposed by age in the park – sculptural forms and internal structures like eroded geological strata.

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Women Reading 2

Balzano’s, Cherry Hinton Road, Cambridge, 2017

Maybe I should try to introduce my own pictures of women reading into the course as well as bringing up Kertesz’s book (see yesterday’s post). There are around 20 examples of women reading in my book Take a Seat – Take a Moment (2020). They introduce an inevitable change in the nature of the subject: a majority are reading phones, tablets or laptops, rather than books or other printed material. How does this change the interpretation of such images?

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Women Reading

I’ve signed up for a six week U3A Cambridge course, Reading women: Questioning Image and Meaning(s), run by Britta Dwyer.  Britta describes the course as follows.

Why are women readers so over represented in the visual arts given the limited access they had historically to the ‘activity of reading’? Why were reading women considered dangerous? In this class I want to bring together a selection of works of women reading – from the Renaissance to present – to ask some loaded questions. Beginning with WHO is reading and WHAT is being read (bible, novel or newspaper) I want to explore HOW the images reflect upon social issues (women’s literacy, patriarchal taboos) and crucially, HOW the images function as metaphors for voyeurism and gendered viewing. So, join me on this challenging journey as we interpret images of ‘Reading women’. 

Long Island University, New York, 1963, Andre Kertesz, from On Reading

I don’t know which artists will be covered, but I will try to introduce On Reading by Andre Kertesz.  In the preface to the 2008 edition, Robert Gurbo writes of how Kertesz’s ‘images celebrate the power and pleasure of this solitary activity’.  Twenty-seven of the photographs feature women and girls, 32 men and boys.

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Fen Landscape – Cottenham

Cottenham, August 2021

Low evening sun illuminates trees in bold relief against an approaching leaden sky. Edge of Cottenham, August 2021.

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Fen Landacape – North Fen, Cottenham

North Fen, Cottenham, September 2021

It’s too easy to focus on the scale and drama of the skies in the Fens. It’s important to look to the land for the features that help to define this extraordinary landscape.

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Fen Landscape – Rampton

Rampton, September 2021

Late afternoon walk out along Cow Lane yesterday. A dozen young bullocks at a water trough. Pheasants running for cover. Ripening blackberries. An uncut field of a mysterious grass-like crop. Joggers and cyclists; and cars raising dust along the newly gritted road. Crunching footsteps. The sun trying to break through.

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Traces of Erewhon 2

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Traces of Erewhon – 1

This gallery contains 8 photos.

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Cotswold Eating Out

Dunkertons, Cheltenham, August 2021

Alternative eating out at the end of August.  1. Dunkertons, Dowdeswell Park, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham; makers of  premium organic cider for 40 years; Marque Bar opened in the heart of the Cotswolds 2020; smoky al fresco eating.  2. Beano in the Park; Airstream began with Wally Byam’s dream to build a travel trailer that would move like a stream of air in 1931;  in the Avenue of Cirencester Park, home of the Bathursts, originally wealthy through Royal Africa Company and the East India Company.

Beano in the Park, Cirencester, August 2021

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