March 2004

Just a wander around the Egde at Black Rocks, nr Wirksworth

Photos at:

and a map of the area ……,354500&st=4&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf&dn=779

“He who seeks to know himself in the universe is as one who gazes at his own reflection in the warm waters of the oasis, after the camels have been”

On Friday March 19th Yorkshire CND held a mass non-violent blockade at the key US military base Menwith Hill, near Harrogate, Yorkshire, UK. They blocked 3 gates completely causing tailbacks for hours and massively disturbing the shift change-over. Menwith Hill felt compelled to issue a statement which is amazing since they never, ever speak to anyone.

“BLOCK THE BASE” started in freezing driving rain by 5am in the morning with protesters who had stayed in Leeds overnight blockading the base. Many protesters were met by police waiting for them. Yet they managed to block all four gates, many locking into place. Throughout the morning the protest was joined by more people.

The shift change, between 5.30 and 7.30, was a traffic jam. Police had moved pretty fast to try and clear two gates. Reports were they were pretty brutal with dangerous use of cutting equipment. Yorkshire CND said that despite liason some of the police behaved disgracefully and there were definite cases of extreme excessive force and violence. They want as much information and pictures as possible from anyone that was there to collect evidence. [more in article].

By 7am most of the protesters at gate one had been removed and were waiting wet and cold to be arrested. In all 30 people were arrested. Others gates were still blocked. Protesters were still arriving and demonstrating all around the base.

Artist says ease of manipulation has made photography a dying art

Jonathan Jones and Gerard Seenan

Thursday March 4, 2004

The Guardian,3604,1161535,00.html

David Hockney, the celebrated pop artist who has worked extensively in photography, has fallen out of love with the medium because of its digital manipulation and now believes it is a dying art form.

In an interview with the Guardian, Hockney says he believes modern photography is now so extensively and easily altered that it can no longer be seen to be true or factual. He also describes art photography as “dull”.

Even war photography, once seen as objectively “true”, has now been cast in doubt by the ubiquitous use of digital cameras which produce images that can be easily enhanced or twisted.

Hockney points to the case during the Iraq war when the Los Angeles Times sacked a photographer for having superimposed two images to make them more powerful.

“A reader spotted it; they then printed the two photographs with the story and fired him. Why? Because he was not using photography as ‘I was there and this happened in front of me’. A newspaper has to have that, or thinks it does,” he said.

The result, Hockney believes, is that photography has been pushed closer to drawing and painting. The veracity of what he calls the “chemical period” of images produced faithfully in the darkroom has been lost.

“We can’t go back: Kodak got rid of 22,000 people when it ended its chemical developing. You’ve no need to believe a photograph made after a certain date because it won’t be made the way Cartier-Bresson made his. We know he didn’t crop them – he was the master of truthful photography. But you can’t have a photographer like that again because we know photographs can be made in different ways.”

Hockney also points to the degrading of truth in celebrity photography. He cites a portrait of Elton John taken by a well-known photographer from California. The difference between the final touched-up image and the original was “hilarious”, the artist told the Guardian.

The impact of computerised images was most strongly brought to his attention much closer to home: “My sister, who is just a bit older than me, she’s a retired district nurse, she’s just gone mad with the digital camera and computer – move anything about. She doesn’t worry about whether it’s authentic; she’s just making pictures.”

As more and more people emulate his sister and realise that the camera can be made to lie, Hockney hopes there will be a positive side-effect for painting, which will gain in standing in reverse proportion.

The photography world, however, was unwilling last night to see the medium dismissed.

Russell Roberts, head of photography at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, said Hockney’s argument was “simplistic”.

Mr Roberts said manipulation of images was as old as photography. He could cite numerous examples from the 1840s, the first decade of photography, of images which claimed to be accurate depictions of events but were in fact highly stage managed.

“It would be great if David could cite examples of photographers he felt worked in an era where manipulation was not widespread, before this collective conscious of how manipulative photography is developed,” he added.

Eamonn McCabe, a former picture editor of the Guardian, said it had become increasingly difficult for picture editors to tell whether a picture had been manipulated and a growing number of digitally manipulated pictures were being published.

“I think there was perhaps a point where there was a general perception that photography was truth, but we have lost that,” he said.

But McCabe said this did not detract from the value of good photography. “To say that photography is dead is faintly ludicrous. It would be better to say that you should be wary of everything.”

Hockney, who worked in photography during his photo-collages of the 1980s, now says that photography is inherently inferior to painting as an art form.

He says no photograph or video could ever capture the tenderness of a Rembrandt drawing showing a young family teaching a child to walk.

“For a work of art you need the hand, the eye and the heart. Many people would video that moment, but again, the video would turn it into a performance. Fellini says everything in front of the camera’s a performance.”

Disposable cameras We can’t trust photographs. In fact, we never could. In an exclusive interview, David Hockney tells Jonathan Jones why painting creates a more reliable record of the truth,11710,1161451,00.html

and on the BBC at: “Hockney hits out at photography”

* * * * * *

Here is an example of manipulation that made me fizz. Although the ‘meaning’, descibed within the photograph, wasn’t changed much, this mans actions calls out honisty into question.

US war photographer sacked for altering image of British soldier

This is awful! it is lying. I know the photos, described here, were only taken a few seconds apart. BUT, I and any other serious photographer, likes to be believed, when you are trying to tell a tale. To accurately describe how it is! Integrity is so important with these matters, we are not just talking about ‘art’ were anything goes to produce ‘interesting work’. Documentary Photography and News are supposed to function to different / higher rules.

This made me fizz so much, more details, and the pictures in question on my blog at:

Piccys on my cam-phone blog at:

Nottingham Playhouse had commissioned a major new piece of public art by acclaimed artist Anish Kapoor.

Entitled Sky Mirror, this stunning sculpture is situated outside the theatre, providing the centrepiece for the re-development of the forecourt area.

1 . on the request for disclosure of attorney general, Lord Goldsmith advice in several cases / defence of necessity etc, previously discussed in:

Trial of Fairford Five will put pressure on Goldsmith

Clare Dyer, legal correspondent. Saturday February 28, 2004. The Guardian,12956,1158257,00.html

The attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, will come under new pressure to disclose his full advice on the legality of the Iraq war in the run-up to a five-day hearing by a high court judge in April.

Five peace activists charged with criminal damage at RAF Fairford are pleading – like Katharine Gun, the former GCHQ translator whose prosecution under the Official Secrets Act for leaking a memo was thrown out last week – that they acted to prevent an illegal war.

Previously on my blog at:


2. Do we need tougher public order laws to deal with aggressive animal rights campaigners? a very expert opinion.

Do check it all out in this show

Law in Action Page:

Law in Action ‘Listen Again’

Thor’s Cave is the most spectacular sight of the Manifold valley, dominating the central section of the valley. The rock in which it is set rears up out of the hillside like a giant fang with the cave entrance forming a hole in it ten metres in diameter, a sight which is clearly visible for several miles.

Excavations have shown that the cave was occupied as long as 10,000 years ago and this occupation probably continued until Roman or Saxon times, making it one of the oldest sites of human activity in the Peak. Stone tools and the remains of a range now extinct animals were found within the cave.

Check out a map of my walk at:,354900&st=4&ar=Y&dn=818


Manifold Valley, Peak District

A wander around the Manifold Valley, and up and down Wetton Hill,356500&st=4&ar=N&dn=818

Quite a pleasent couple of days out really.

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