The fusions and confusions of a curious mind

Learning from the heart outwards, by kempspace

Month: May, 2015

Photographing an Eco-refugi and surrounds in the foothills of the Pyrénées


Abella de la Conca

I had the joy of visiting Abella de la Conca in Northern Spain and photographing the community of climbers, walkers, photographers, yogis and nature lovers who visit Nic and Ella’s Eco-refugi and it’s beautiful surroundings. I know them originally through a close knit, warm and friendly climbing community.

My photos of Abella de la Conca

Abella Climb is a not-for profit organisation run by Ella and Nic, which aims to establish holistic, sustainable access to outdoor activities in the local area, including rock climbing, mountain biking, walking, canyoning and yoga. They want to raise the profile of the beauty of the local area and are dedicated to preserving its natural and historical patrimony. They will develop a sustainable, permaculture-based approach to local land management including tending their own olive groves and fruit orchards and raising an organic kitchen garden.

Ella and Nic have renovated the Eco-Refugi with their own hands and those of a community of volunteers, to be in keeping with local character and it’s history. They and their two lovely boys live there, at an altitude of 1000m, in the heart of Catalunya’s most spectacular village, Abella de la Conca. Their welcome is warm and their knowledge of the area unparalleled.

The Eco-Refugi is part of the Abella Climb association and staying in it offers a contribution to developing their project aims. I will be going back with my camera and climbing gear for sure.

Find out more information at: Abella Climb

Sneak Peak at Behind the Scenes Shots of Honey Ryder @ The Rock and Bowl Festival

Honey Ryder setting up at The Rock and Bowl Festival

I was invited for a day trip up to The Rock and Bowl Festival by Honey Ryder last weekend, to get some backstage-eye-view shots of them setting up and performing. I have a penchant for black and white reportage and this is one of them –  a sneak peak of my editing so far. I thought I’d save black and white for set up, then colour punch for the performance to equal the power packed by the band’s set that day.

I travelled up on the road trip with Lindsey O’Mahony who fronts Honey Ryder, watching Hertfordshire turn into the dulcet toned rolling countryside of Shropshire. We met Jason Huxley, Matt Bishop, Chris Cliff and Tom Bishop on location and the band was complete.

The Rock and Bowl Festival was set in the midst of a very green and pleasant land indeed, and hosted a warm and engaged crowd ready to shake it out hard to bands playing it out loud. For me, this celebrated the start of festival season, a hope for a great summer to come, and a wicked chance to get my eye in on a new subject for my photography.

Thanks Honey Ryder, you rocked my world, and just about everyone else’s.

Photography Project: Developments afoot

With street photography, I usually go out thinking “I’m definitely going black and white!”, sometimes I think “high contrast shots inspired by clean lines”, and sometimes “grainy greyscale, more detailed but complicated to compose” . Either way, I like to get some shutter play in to represent the movement in the moment out there.

Southbank presented me on one such “I’m definitely going black and white” day… with a riot of colour. Plans scuppered. These two photos turned out to be my favourites…



The Southbank Festival of Love 2015 is back from June to August this year and I’ll be down to shoot it.

This “definitely black and white” thing made me think. Do I let scenes speak for themselves in how they should be best represented? Or do I continue with the idea I set out with, despite what I see in situ? The latter would mean giving a particular treatment to a set of photographs based on an existing theme of interest I had, a technical setting perhaps or continuously bringing some particular aspect of a scene to light…hmmm

I’ve spent the last couple of years teaching myself how to use my camera and edit photos by just doing it. It’s been very organic but pretty piecemeal. I feel it’s probably time to throw a particular concept around some shots; something to stitch them together which isn’t dictated just by the location of the shot or type of subject.

I think of my experience in psychology research, which would see this as moving away from an ethnographic stance to actively applying an a priori frame and concept to the task. I’m definitely less comfortable here because in the arts, it takes confidence to stamp a style and show it.

Well f*** it, I’m 40 next year, and worry about the judgments of others seems to vibrate with decreasing intensity on the neurosis richter scale. Aging does do wonders!

Exploration of the shadow in photography, psychoanalysis and astronomy

I was completely blown away at a recent Photography Gallery talk inspired by ‪Viviane Sassen‬’s work and her exploration of her internal shadow world. Links were made about the ‘shadow’ between an astronomer (Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer, Royal Observatory Greenwich), a psychoanalyst (David Morgan, Psychotherapist and Psychoanalyst) and a master curator of photography (Simon Baker, Curator of Photography, Tate Modern). It was a fusion of three fields that fascinate me.

Photography as the art of ‘fixing the shadow’, the basic coordinates and building blocks of photography. Photographic art as a way to symbolise the deep and dark fears in an attempt to understand them and to recover from the mental ill health that can occur from the inability to speak of them (Moriyma’s return to the basic blocks of black and white photography during recovery from deep grief) NSFW:

The shadow (Jung) as the deep inner psychic space to which all unthinkable things in our experience, illiciting deep conflicting emotions, are split off and assigned to. The shadow as projected onto others, who carry these shadow distressing emotions for us until we can take them back and recover our real selves.

The shadow as the other side to the detection of light in the universe. The dark side of the moon, the dark energy and dark matter of outer space, that constitutes 75% of the universe and is unknown, or only ‘known’ because of its relationship to light – the absence of it. The disturbance that comes from staring deep into the hubble photo showing a chronotope tunnel of 9 billion years of the development of our universe – and only ‘seeing’ a fraction of what we are a part of. Not being able to know who or how we are without also knowing the shadows that we are a part of.

In all, our need to explore the shadows in our internal and external world, will only contribute to a deeper knowledge of ourselves and our place in the universe. This kind of cross fertilisation of ideas between disciplines is the bedrock of creating original thought, it’s exciting to see mirrors between fields.


when night cuts through the deepest stars,
and soldiers cannot brave the march,
the encore cry’s a silent voice,
the table’s laid with Hobson’s choice.

when paper’s out and ink’s run dry,
the last note ends the lullaby,
there’s nothing then to bargain for,
what’s left is empty handed, raw.

and all I feel,
at depths so keen,
is the break that burns
at the heart of me.

when cries ring out but echo cold,
‘gainst walls of stone, a story old,
there’s nothing there can bear the truth,
the shift moving inside of you.

and all I breathe,
and all I weep,
is the yearn to turn
a heart to me

and what I’m told and what I know,
is this journey’s mine to take alone,
the echoes cold that still deny
are preying here right by my stride.

so I’ll take the cries
and I’ll take the pain,
and I’ll weave them through
a core left slain.

and every step
I place a vow
to listen to
the child’s song now.

those echos sent
to distant parts,
I’ll take them back
and mend this heart.


with this ring

with this ring, I thee wed,
we’ll figure out the path we’ll tread,
together go, come hell, high water,
weave the threads this life has brought us.

to have, to hold, from this day forward,
to nurture life, our son and daughters,
ever loving, ever cautious,
that they hear the words life taught us.

to love and cherish, share our time,
hand in hand we’ve walked the line,
joy, celebration, fear and sorrow,
always there for the other’s tomorrow.

when all’s laid out before our eyes,
a look of wonder, a little pride,
our family, a world created,
none as ‘I’, we made it.

the heart, ruby, precious and warm,
beating for the life we’ve born,
since the altar, all with love,
today once more I plight thee my troth.

the river

I have no time
to sit and stare
Stone by the river
Washing my wares

Life it tests me
here and there
Heart by the river
Trading its cares

Seeing things through
Teasing things out
Sat by the river
Fathom what’s fair

Feeling little
But casting out
Follow the river
Truth will out

The river’s banks
Verdant, stout
Gaze at the river
That’ll last me out


hand wept
wrung out to dry
hung out to dry
sung out
written out
too wrung out to cry
tongue moves to try
words for a cry
to formulate bye
bye bye

a tie
that binds
truth sits spry
awaiting sight
the bind
was blind
the bind


pot of gold

reworked for my little sister who liked the original that was lost…

a pot of gold
once was told
feared as lost, a tale grown old

a silent light
hidden tight
waiting soundless lost in night

ever brave
ever true
the fairies marshalled strength anew

here they flit
there they sought
the precious gift for those distraught

into dreams
through the veil
they wound their hopeful gleaming trail

just as darkness
seemed to spawn
they came upon a girl forlorn

the tears she shed
made glimmered threads
of stories weaved with sad and dread

they caught each drop
pure crystalled crops
multi-hued from every sob

they showed her how
each wrench of brow
had made her brave as she is now

to share her shroud
to speak it loud
was nemesis to darkling cloud

for every tear
when held as dear
shed wisdom’s light on future years

that pot of gold
was found at last
forged from tears so deeply cast


a penny for your thoughts

a penny for your thoughts I said
but this I cannot do!
why not?
because I’m caught! She said
I haven’t seen them through!
It takes a while to capture them
until that comes I’m stuck
between a full and empty space
and what I need is luck!
not so, I said
for there’s the space
that needs to be explored,
that very gap
is where it’s at
not to be ignored!
ah so! said she
from what you say
it’s easier to see,
that in the middle of it all
is where my words find me


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