A productive week in Nottingham.

Posted on 8th January, 2015

I spent a week in Nottingham recently, whilst my wife was in the Queen's Medical Centre for a major operation. Very conveniently, there is a so-called patient hotel at the City Hospital, which is the other major medical facility there. Patients who don't need to be hogging a hospital bed, and, close relatives of patients, can stay at the hotel for as long as treatment continues. It's a really comfortable place, as good as any commercial hotel, but much cheaper when it's just the one person occupying the room.

 

Anyway, staying in Nottingham, rather that making a time-wasting and stressful journey to / from Northampton every day, meant I had time to myself. Photographically, I made good use of that time I think, in 3 ways:

1. I re-visited the wonderful New Art Exchange (NAE), in the district of Hyson Green. I'd been there just once before, in 2011 when it staged a great exhibition by Indian master photographer Raghu Rai. I don't know how long NAE had been open at that time, but I had a nasty feeling that if I re-visited in a year or two, I'd find that it had suffered from local authority cuts, and had died an early death. However, I found the place to be in great condition, as least as popular as before, and here to stay I hope. One improvement I particularly appreciated was the tasty snack of jacket potato with saag paneer, so the place is obviously being innovative both arts-wise and cullinary wise! Good for them, and long may the place thrive.

2. A friend had lent me a DVD to watch during my 'idle' hours. This was of an Australian photographer called Robyn Beeche, who spent time as a fashion photographer in London in the 1980's. Far more interesting to me though, was the fact that she has since spent many years in the Vrindavan area of India, producing memorable images that capture the spirituality and intense atmosphere of that country. Just by watching the DVD, it was easy to become immersed in, and moved by, the emotions that are experienced by a physical visit to that country: you just cannot go to India without having your mind blown. It's only a 52-minute DVD, but well worth looking at if you have any interest in India and the sensations its people both feel, and, impart.

3. Finally, I did a bit of reading, something which doesn't come easily to me. I can't think of much else that's as inefficient at imparting information as a book of words (as opposed to one of pictures), but I decided to give 'Living on my Camera', by J Allan Cash a try anyway. And glad I was too, finding it absorbing, informative, and inspirational, if rather out-of-date in places. It tells of his activities as a freelance and armed-forces photographer in the 1920's, 30's and 40's, and the thing that really came over to me was his bravery (or is that foolishness?). I'll give him the benefit of the doubt however, as his 'enterprise' obviously paid off in terms of how successful he was in getting his work published. Now, if only I'd have had his guts .......

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