Category Archives: Urban Ephemera

Urban: of a city or town. Ephemera: short-live duration or interest. Urban ephemera: the transient juxtaposition of things is our daily lives. The perfect subject for the voracious camera? It negates ephemera by rendering it permanent. Photographing ephemera is oxymoronic.

Security Cameras

When I went to the Out Patients of our local hospital a while back I was greeted by a disembodied voice saying, ‘For your safety and security this entrance is monitored by 24hour CCTV’.  I hadn’t felt the least bit … Continue reading

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Totem

A totem pole is carved and painted log, mounted vertically, constructed by the native people of the north-western coast of the US and Canada. They come in seven main kinds: memorial poles; grave markers; house posts; portal poles; welcoming poles; … Continue reading

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Einstein in Sheringham

Seeing this mural in Sheringham induces a double take: is it really Albert Einstein or some old crab fisher with an uncanny likeness to the great scientist?  And if it is him, what’s he doing here?  It is indeed Einstein, … Continue reading

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Vandalism or Art?

Is this graffito vandalism or public art?  If vandalism, it’s done with great skill and design flare.  If public, art it’s not very public, out along a path frequented only by occasional walkers, riders and farm tractors.  Such an urban … Continue reading

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Bra Stories

What’s the story behind this bra tied neatly in the hedgerow along the path to Quy Fen.    A retro feminist protest?  A bragging misogynist’s trophy?  A numbed and forgetful snow bather? Photo: Quy Fen, March 2018.

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Craquelure

I came across a new word recently, ‘craquelure’.  It is the fine pattern of dense reticulated cracking formed on the surface of materials, especially paintings, either as part of the process of ageing or of their original production.  Where it’s … Continue reading

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Boundaries

I once spent an afternoon walking along Victorian terraced streets in Cambridge photographing windows.  I was intrigued by the way something a fragile as a pane of glass could so definitively and effectively separate public and private spaces.  It reflects … Continue reading

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Deckchair

I sat in the sun I moved my chair into sun I sat in the sun the way hunger is moved when called fasting. Jane Hirshfield Photo: Green Park, London, 2011

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Transformations

A door is a door.  A photograph of a door is a faithful representation of it.  But not always.  Move in closer and the door becomes an abstract impression of light and shade, textures and tones, forms and planes.  Look … Continue reading

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Grave Humour

Fritz Spiegl trawled Britain’s graveyards and collected a mass of comic and curious memorial inscriptions.  They were collated into A Small Book of Grave Humour, first published in 1971.   Among the entries was: ‘Here lays John Tyrwitt, / A learned … Continue reading

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Flags

This house in Berlin, Maryland, displays three American icons: a stoop, a Bald Eagle and the Stars and Stripes.  I can’t claim to know the United States very well – just three visits as a tourist – but I get … Continue reading

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Brighton Wrap

My photo book A Piece of Ephemera included 15 photographs of urban wrappings, from bridges to mannequins and statues to whales.  This one didn’t get through the editing, probably a mistake, if only because the contents of these curious parcels … Continue reading

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Letterbox

Avignon, defensive letter box. Above: the Fort Saint Andre at Villeneuve-lès-Avignon built by Philippe le Bel in the first half of the 14th Century.  Below: ‘No ads* in my letterbox thank you  *Yes to the local newspaper’. Photo: Letterbox, Avignon, … Continue reading

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Sundial & Shadows

The earliest sundials known from archaeological records are shadow clocks used in ancient Egypt and Babylon around 1500 BC. In about 700 BC, the Old Testament describes a sundial, the ‘dial of Ahaz’, in Isaiah 38:8 and 2 Kings 20:11. … Continue reading

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Avignon Trompe l’oeil in 2011

‘Legendary characters stealthily occupy the city of the Popes. During your stroll in the historic city, raise your eyes: following a street, behind a window you’ll catch sight of the Prince of Homburg, Scapin, Macbeth, Marianne, Lorenzaccio, Harpagon, Antigone, Hamlet, … Continue reading

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