2016-03-16 An afternoon by the sea with Ladyboys

Beach beer and paddling in the Philippines. I wonder what the collective noun would be here? A delight of ladyboys?

Kirsten at The PlashMill in Scotland

I photographed Kirsten as a part of the Gaia series, taken in 2009

rod fleming photographing KirstenThe location was The PlashMill, in Friockheim, Scotland, where I then lived. It was August, and quite warm. I ended up standing in the lade — the stream you can see — in order to get better pictures.  This seemed to amuse everyone greatly. Kirsten brought a chaperone — something I encourage strongly — who photographed me at work.

If you’re photographing the nude, there are two things you should do. The first is to obtain a signed Model Release form. This is not a legal requirement in the UK but it is the the US and you will have no end of problems trying to sell work to that territory without one.

The second is the chaperone. You will be working with a young woman who will be in a vulnerable position since, after all, nude photography usually takes place in private. The presence of the chaperone will set the model at ease, especially if she is not a professional model (Kirsten was a student.)

The chaperone performs another, crucial role, however. She protects the photographer against accusation of improper behaviour — accusations which in the current climate could have very serious consequences.  Also useful for making cups of tea and photographing the photographer!

These images were made using an MPP MK IV 5×4 technical camera with 150mm Schneider and a Bronica ETRS. Film stock was Ilford and Kodak.

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Philippines 2016: Markets and Mountains

The Philippines has become very important to me over the last four years. It’s now the focus of much of my life and I want to spend more time there. The winters in France are just too cold for me now.

When you visit a country for longer periods, months at a time, as I do, you can’t do quite what the holiday  tourist does. It’s partly to do with budgets but also with burnout. You have to learn to chill and take it easy.

Flying out to the Philippines

Before the start  is always the bit that has me in a fankle. I get travel stress a week before The Flight. No matter how long I give myself for preparation the last few days are a nightmare — and I always forget something. (This time it was the sandwiches for the train — but I had time to go back.)

Because I live in rural France, just getting to the airport is a journey. I take the train from Chagny to Charles de Gaulle airport. You can either go direct to Paris Gare de Lyon and then get the RER across to Roissy, or take a direct train. I do the latter. And after nearly missing the flight on a previous trip to the Philippines — because of a train delay — I always leave a lot of time now.

When I find myself on the platform at Chagny, it’s OK. The pressure goes away. I’m in the pipe now, and at the other end of it is the Philippines. All I have to do is get on the right trains and planes and I’ll get there.

Continue reading “Philippines 2016: Markets and Mountains”

Maryhill, Glasgow, May 1974

Maryhill, the poor part of Glasgow’s West End, in 1974, was a different world. Looking back on these pictures, 45 years later, I am still moved. When I came to the Philippines first, a kind but unaware French friend told me that I would see poverty such as I had never seen before. I had not the heart to tell him; I had seen worse.

Yet on the other hand I have so many memories of Maryhill and most of them are good. I was never robbed, beaten up or threatened there. Nobody ever asked if I was a Catholic or a Protestant — a question I would get used to later. People were poor, yes, many had no shoes; but they had community and mutual respect. I see that today in the Philippines. We lost a great deal when we lost that.