Russell Hunter (1925-2004) was one of Scotland’s most loved theatrical characters and a fine actor. I photographed him many times. but I think this was the most fun. Russell was a genuinely funny man, despite the fact that. in later life at least, he was somewhat typecast as a gloomy character actor on screen. On stage, he had a much broader portfolio. Although he was best known outside Scotland for his role as Lonely in the TV series Callan with Edward Woodward, there was nothing Russell could not do; he was a real actor’s actor.
We met and Edinburgh’s Chambers Street Museum and were together for about an hour — which was mainly spent cracking jokes and chatting about his new projects, with about 10 minutes actually taking pictures. Like all good Thespians, Russell knew exactly what a photographer needed. It was always a joy to work with him.
In 1979 I was living in Exeter, in Devon in England. I had just started Art School, at the old Earl Richards’ Road campus. It was a wild place. I already knew that photojournalism was my thing. The corrosion of Postmodernism had already begun to infect the school, even then and the painting school was collapsing. Even Sculpture was showing signs of infection. Only Photography and Printmaking seemed to be holding up, probably because without at least some craft skill, these areas are off-limits.
The Head of Photography, the late Oscar Mellor, was very kind and helped me. He brought me a book of some nude photographs taken in a ‘domestic setting’. I think it was called ‘ A model in the House’ or something like that. They were all silly, stunted-up, ersatz toss that had no value.
I though, ‘I can do better than that,’ and I did. Nothing posed or stunted, all straight photojournalism.
Bastille Day is a huge celebration in Molinot, the village where I live in France. While the festivities are less impressive than they used to be, it’s still an important day. But in the early years of the century it was a huge affair, and the children from the village school all took part and put on a mime show. As always, willing adults were drafted in to help.
In 2002 the theme was The Wild West — with a very French flavour.
You can read about these in my hilarious French Onion Soup! series of books. The second, Croutons and Cheese! will be launched in September 2017. Meantime why not score a copy of the first, to get all the background detail?
Weddings are a rarity in the village now, but this was nice. It was the last wedding we saw here.
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On the 25th of February, we went to Malolos, the capital of Bulacan, to see a ladyboy parade; but it never appeared. Ladyboy levels of disorganisation are, of course, legendary, in addition to which, they were probably working on Filipino time, which makes ‘manana’ sound urgent. Still, a couple of nice cold Red Horses and some good pictures.
All Pix: Rod Fleming
Street photography, long established as an art and a specialist form of photojournalism, requires very similar techniques to those needed to photograph field sports, notably football (soccer, not that American nonsense). You need sharp reactions, complete confidence in technique and total reliance on reflex. As soon as you see an image, it’s gone, so you just have to go with it.
Markets everywhere are wonderful for this sort of thing. They’re very colourful and people are concentrating on selling, not watching the photographer. I was using a DSLR for most of these, with no issues. As usual with digital, you have to watch the exposure. I find using the old tranny technique of underexposing by 2/3 of a stop is useful in holding highlight detail.
Gallery 1: Malolos
Gallery 2: Malolos Palenke
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This was my fifth visit to the Philippines and again, I arrived before Christmas, on the 8th of December. I had rented an apartment in Plaridel, Bulacan, which was to be my base for the next four months.
Plaridel is a market and manufacturing town about 30 miles north of Manila. In 2015 it had a population of 107,000. It has an airport.
I’ll let the pictures and captions speak for themselves in this photo diary of the trip. This section goes from my arrival up to New Year. I’ll do another section for the latter part.
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I am not ashamed to say that I love the Philippines. Nowhere else that I have ever visited manages to capture so much of humanity’s amazing variety. It’s an incredible place and I am so lucky to have found it. This is a selection of pictures from that trip. I’ll let them speak for themselves.
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Licensing for commercial projects, as well as larger images for print or other use, are available, Please contact me using the Contact Form Below.