About

‘About’ in 5 ‘A’s

I’m an Autodidactgood word that, I learned it myself (although I stole the joke  from Alan Moore) – writer, photographer, artist and designer… who pays the bills by working in the basement of a furniture shop in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, where I live (in Doncaster that is, not the basement of a furniture shop) with my partner Louise and our children, Adam, India Kate, Harry and Arissa Hope.

I’m an Anglarchist… and Anglophile anarchist who’s philosophy and politics is intimately tied to a sense of place; not in some abstract, jingoistic, bullshit nationalist way, but as somebody who realises that anything of real value emerges from – and comes back to – our relationship to the land on which we live and the beings* which we share it with. As an Englishman that connection is felt deepest in the Northern half of the South East section of the Isle of Albion, and I am most heavily influenced by a clutch of wonderful English Williams… Godwin, Blake, Wordsworth, Cobbett, Barnes & Morris.

*I am an Animist… you will often find me talking openly to other living things (especially pigeons – whom my dearly departed friend Mozaz used to describe as ‘the proletariat of the animal world’ – and snails – I’m pleased to say that my younger son, Harry, is also something of a snail whisperer), but those who look closely will also observe that I tend to stroke a lot of inanimate objects… because talking to them would be silly, wouldn’t it?

I’m an Author (actually I’m really just an opinionated scribbler, but that didn’t begin with an ‘A’) who writes for alternative – but beautifully produced 😉 – publications like The Idler and the Dark Mountain journal, where I’ve had the honour of being bound together with writers and artists who I admire and who have helped further my ongoing education.

And finally I’m an Artist, but being a bit of a rubbish draughtsman I tend to try and capture form with photography. Although I’m really a film lover the vast majority of the images on my blog were captured using a borrowed Olympus XZ-1 digital compact… thank God for GIMP is say!

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12 thoughts on “About

  1. Just read your chapter on Luddism in Dark Mountain 2………………..Brilliant. Actually totally inspiring and cause (I think) for hope. I think that, paradoxically, as the ‘global thieving machine’ (the ever expanding, commercially created money supply and associated asset and commodity price inflation) rips through the world (moving ever more wealth from the majority poor to the minority rich) it is actually completely removing many people from the ‘money economy’ (look at Detroit for example and the many thousands of people left to effectively fend for themselves). This is the opposite of the ‘trickle down’ theory (which to my mind can’t work simply because of the mathematics of commercially issued money supply – debt). When this happens we may see the (re) creation of small, self reliant communities working together to provide for themselves. If you take Detroit again as an example, the asset values (land, property, etc) have been completely trashed. The previously inflated values are useful only to those that would profit from this inflation (banks, speculators, etc). Inflation of values (contrary to the myth of ever increasing house prices for example) do nothing for the population in general (they have to work harder and harder to get things they previously got far more easily (look at the well educated people who now cannot get on the property ladder). The deflation of these asset values in places like Detroit play straight into the hands of those people who stay and look to rebuild self-sufficient communities. Once you have (almost for free) assets such as land and shelter, the marginal cost of living (food, heat, etc) are relatively low. In places such as Detroit, we are probably seeing the reversing of the trends the Luddites fought against.

    Arguably it is those places that were first in to industrialisation (the rich West), that may the first out of it. If you look at what is happening in places such as Africa, with large tracts of land being bought by, for example, Chinese corporations and American Hedge Funds, I fear they may be heading for the same pain the Luddites experienced (to add to all of the other pain they have had to endure in the last forty years or so).

    Just a thought.

  2. Hi Andy,

    Glad you liked the article, the ideas regarding a return to human scale work/lifestyles are further expanded upon in a sister piece called ‘The Work Aesthetic’ published in this year’s Idler magazine…

    http://idler.co.uk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=175

    In de-industrial South Yorkshire we are seeing echoes of Detroit (though on a much less dramatic scale), and more and more people are beginning to realise the fantastic opportunities which the numerous abandoned buildings and wastelands present (so long as the Tories don’t get away with completely criminalising what remains of squatters rights in the UK). There is, of course, a major issue in the UK whereby 60% of the land is ‘owned’ by a tiny (but highly influential…) minority, but our historic record shows that this is an issue which can – and should… – be overcome.

    On an individual level the return to a small scale, self-sufficient, ‘cottage industry’ production methods offers a much healthier (both mentally and physically), more rewarding, more autonomous and infinitely more creative way of life than the monotonous drudgery offered by the Alan Sugars of this world. I’ve been looking at people and communities who are already living ‘off grid’ (some for nearly 100 years!) for a potential article which will combine history with practical lessons – and I have to say I find it more and more difficult to return to ‘normal’ life with every visit I make. 😉

  3. Hi again Warren, I was just wondering if it was ok to ask you a few questions in order to help with my written piece to the write up of my photographs?

    1. What first prompted you to take photographs in general?
    2. Have some of your photographs been minupulated? If so how exactly?
    3. Where do you first begin when taking photographs?
    4. Where do you get inspiration from?
    5. Is your location local when you take your photographs?
    6. Who are your artistic references? (Main question)
    7. What is one artistic quote which you go by when searching for successful photography shots? For example, Andy Goldsworthy quoted that ‘Ideas must be put to the test. That’s why we make things, otherwise they would be no more than ideas. There is often a huge difference between an idea and its realisation. I’ve had what I thought were great ideas that just didn’t work’.
    8. Do you plan what you want your photographs to end up like?
    9. When I visited there was an exhibition taking place- what featured in this exhibition?
    10. If you don’t mind me asking how old are you?

    Thanks again.

    1. Hi Sophie, sorry for the delay. I hope the answers make sense ;-)…

      1. What first prompted you to take photographs in general?
      When I was young I saw a print of André Kertész’s ‘Chez Mondrian’ – http://diaphotography.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/72-529-d1.jpg – and was mesmerised. I desperately wanted to what was round the corner, where did the stairs lead, etc. It was like looking into a world I could never visit. It’s still one of my favourite images, but now for the quality of the light.

      2. Have some of your photographs been minupulated? If so how exactly?
      I don’t own a camera at the moment and have to borrow an Olympus ZX-1 compact from work. To create the image I desire – I prefer black and white as it strips the image down to form and light – I mainly use a combination of GIMP (www.gimp.org) Free Open Source Software and Olympus’s own RAW development app (and sometimes the Olympus Art Filters which are actually quite nice). Although I’m a massive film fan there’s more shadow and highlight detail in a RAW file from which to build up the image in layers, thus emphasising the different qualities of the light in each area of the photograph. Firstly I’ll copy the colour backround to a new layer, then I’ll desaturate using GIMP’s B&W film simulation filter. Often I’ll set the black and white layer to ‘saturation’ which tends to help with the tonal range… sometimes I’ll combine several layers to ensure the tonal vales are right across the image. Quite often I add a vignette layer to darken the edges. Once I’m happy with the overall image I flatten all layers and then work on levels and curves to finish.

      3. Where do you first begin when taking photographs?
      I’m always on the look out for interesting textures which emphasise the play of light on different surfaces. Where possible I’ll visit a place at different times of the day to get an idea how the light changes. Then I return with camera, tripod and sarnies.

      4. Where do you get inspiration from?
      For textures and interesting buildings I like to follow Urban Exploration blogs like 28 Days Later. I quite like sites like Pinterest as well.

      5. Is your location local when you take your photographs?
      Mostly, at the moment I have to borrow work’s camera so don’t usually have the opportunity to travel far for images. In some ways it is good to have these restrictions, it forces you to look closer at your immediate surroundings.

      6. Who are your artistic references? (Main question)
      Photography wise there’s the aforementioned André Kertész of course, and many other early-mid 20th Century photographers including Imogen Cunningham, Berenice Abbott, Eugene Atget, Willy Ronis and Robert Doisneau. But by far my favourite photographer has to be Fay Godwin. Outside of photography I’m also a huge fan of Georgia O’Keefe whose desire for people to see the wonder of the world they take for granted has been a huge influence on me. Which is why I’ve chosen her for the next question…

      7. What is one artistic quote which you go by when searching for successful photography shots? For example, Andy Goldsworthy quoted that ‘Ideas must be put to the test. That’s why we make things, otherwise they would be no more than ideas. There is often a huge difference between an idea and its realisation. I’ve had what I thought were great ideas that just didn’t work’.
      I like the way that Georgia O’Keefe wants people to look… really look!.. at the world they inhabit, so I’d like to think that a photograph is able to make people stop and think about a moment or place, even if they they thought they knew it already. So my Georgia O’Keefe quote would be: “When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”

      8. Do you plan what you want your photographs to end up like?
      I try to, but sometimes the best shots of the day come as a complete surprise. 🙂

      9. When I visited there was an exhibition taking place- what featured in this exhibition?
      This was an Open Arts Exhibition put together by the New Fringe Arts group in Doncaster. It was open to anyone, but the quality of work was exceptional… which just goes to show how mant talented people are hidden even in areas like Doncaster which has been described as a ‘cultural desert’… which usually means that the person doesn’t understand the culture which surrounds them.

      10. If you don’t mind me asking how old are you?
      In the words of the Rocket From The Crypt classic I was ‘Born In 69’.

  4. hello Warren
    Just wanted to say how impressed I was about “the Telling”, last night. You really pulled together a complimentary group of artists , that reminded me of how good performance/public art could be. It inspired my daughters to have a belief that something can happen in Doncaster, if only you get involved! it was lovely to talk to you and I hope to bring the family back in february.
    Best wishes and thank you again
    ann

    1. Hi Ann,

      Thank you very much 🙂

      I think the courtyard space itself was the catalyst for bringing the artists together, it’s a fantastic space and we’re lucky to have an open minded trust in charge of it who are open to experimentation. Rachel Horne and Abi Nielsen (sister of a Fox) really helped with the line-up, once we gave people the general idea it pretty much grew itself.

      And talking of getting involved the February event is going to be even bigger, so if there’s anything you or your daughters would like to try just let us know 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed the night.

      Warm regards,
      Warren

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