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Waiting for a Bus?

By |2023-09-13T16:40:12+01:00September 13th, 2023|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , |

I rather like this photograph. It came along quite by chance as I was having some food. I especially liked the juxtaposition of the people within the frame. It was taken at Lochranza on the north coast of the Isle of Arran. The ferry terminal to get back to the mainland is just a short distance away.

The couple in the bus shelter did not appear to be waiting for a bus. I think they had just decided to shelter from the squally showers and have a rest using the chairs in the bus shelter. It’s quite common to find a chair or two in the shelters on the Scottish Islands.

I managed to get this image with my phone and some others on the DSLR without them noticing.

Thinking outside of the Phone box

By |2023-07-21T15:05:10+01:00July 21st, 2023|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , |

The mobile phone has got a lot to answer for. The benefits of having a smart communication device in the pocket are very evident. Indeed a couple of the images above were shot using a mobile phone, but there is at least a small cost to our mobile world. For the ordinary phone box in recent years, there has been a gradual but dramatic change of roles.

Red Icon

Recently I started to go through the images stored on my computer. I usually have a few editing sweeps over images stored on the machine as good images can often be missed, especially if the numbers of photographs are high. Amongst all the Scottish landscapes and other images were several good shots of a British institution. An icon of Britishness that is gradually fading away. The classic red telephone box.

Peak Rate

At their peak, there were 92,000 telephone boxes located around the UK. That number is now around 21,000 and with the telephone system switching over to digital by 2025, that number is likely to drop even further over the next few years. With mobile phone ownership at high levels (96% of adults have a mobile according to the telecoms regulator Ofcom) phone calls from these bright red boxes have dropped considerably.

The Right Change

The phone box featured in the images taken in September 2021 was located on a remote road near Pitlochry in the Highlands. The local community had changed the box to become a very small, but perfectly functional, library complete with a noticeboard. A few bags of books were also on the floor. Over 6000 phone boxes have been changed over to a different use according to OFCOM with communities able to ‘buy’ their phonebox for as low as £1.00. As well as libraries some community phone boxes have been utilized to house life-saving public defibrillators.

Future Calling

It will be interesting to see how the old red phone box fares over the next few years. Ofcom has said that a number of phone boxes will remain in service where mobile signal reception is not good. The active phone boxes will have to earn their keep though. Usage targets of at least 52 times over a 12-month period for it to stay in service will be applied. A call box in an accident or suicide hotspot can’t be removed.

RedBubble Prints

Three Scottish phone box library images have been added to RedBubble and are available to buy as prints etc HERE, HERE and HERE

The Horses of The Helix

By |2023-03-30T15:32:48+01:00March 30th, 2023|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , |

The Kelpies

If you drive along the Mp heading towards Stirling then there is a good chance that you will see the magnificent sculptures that are the Kelpies. For many years the 30-metre-high sculptures were a visual treat as the car headed up to the Highlands. It was a location that you always wanted to visit but somehow never managed to set as a destination. That was until last year when an opportunity to visit finally meant I could visit those two magnificent horses.

The Kelpies are horse-head sculptures depicting kelpies, located between Falkirk and Grangemouth in a 350-hectare eco park known as the Helix, standing next to a new extension to the Forth and Clyde Canal. The Kelpies pay homage to the working horses of Scotland which used to pull barges along Scotland’s canals and worked in the fields in the area where they now stand. if that isn’t impressive enough then the Kelpies are also the world’s largest pair of equine sculptures.

Industrial heritage

Beyond celebrating the working horses of the canals the Kelpies also provide an excellent monument to Scotland’s industrial past. Unlike many other historically important sites and events, industrial heritage tends to be a poor relation in comparison. Former industrial sites are usually celebrated in a far less creative way or more often than not, not celebrated at all. We need more sculptures like The Kelpies to help celebrate the industrial past so that it isn’t forgotten.

The industrial landscape has rarely been a thing of beauty, though there are occasional exceptions. As a child, I would always love the home journey after visiting my grandparents as I’d get to see the mass illumination of lights across the chemical plants of Seal Sands on Teesside. It was no wonder that director Ridley Scott, who lived near Teesside as a child, used that landscape as an influence for his 1982 film Bladerunner.

Photography Prints

If you would like to purchase a print, the Richard Flint Photography RedBubble store has a wide range of images available.

Framed prints, canvas prints, artboards, metal prints, acrylic blocks plus lots more can be found on the RedBubble store HERE.

Love Lock Locations

By |2023-01-27T15:33:02+00:00January 27th, 2023|Categories: Blog, The Test Strip Photoblog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Lovelocks left on the bridge at Bakewell, Derbyshire, UK

With the start of the new year, it was time to appraise my work from 2022 and generally, I was pleased with the work produced. All except my personal work which seemed to ebb away during the second half of the year. 2022 turned out to be quite slow creatively speaking for my own self-initiated photography, but there were a few glimmers of creative light. The first six months did produce some interesting images and at least one idea to expand on in the future.

A potential project is about love locks locations. Love locks appear to have a history dating back to the start of the 20th century, though it is only since around 2000 that the popularity of lock locks has picked up quite considerably.

Love lock Locations

Derbyshire and Scotland were visited in the early part of the year. Both places had very different landscapes but I came across something in both locations that I find fascinating. Love locks. In Derbyshire, I found a mass of lovelocks on a bridge in Bakewell. Almost the entire length of the footbridge was covered on both sides by lovelocks attached to the railings of the bridge. The sheer weight of all these padlocks on the bridge must be significant, indeed, in the past, many local authorities have had to remove locks placed on bridges to remove extra stress placed on the structure. The bridge in Bakewell was apparently cleared in 2018 but four years later the structure is covered with padlocks.

The second location was up at Dundee Law, a huge hill in the heart of the Scottish city with magnificent views over the River Tay and the surrounding landscape. Although the number of lovelocks was much lower than at Bakewell, the numbers appeared to be growing. All of the locks were placed with a good view from the Law. I visited on a very rainy day so the visibility was not great but the Tay bridge could still be seen crossing the vast expanse of water that is the Tay river. It seemed the perfect place to put a memorial.

So This is Permanence

Do we have much permanence in the modern world? I’d argue we don’t. Even memorials for loved ones who have died seem to be on the decline with the headstone being replaced by a silent and private location where ashes are scattered. Most of us get cremated and the use of burial plots has dropped as a result. Most of us won’t get a headstone.

The lovelocks have gained in popularity over the last two decades or so. While it may be people just following a trend, lovelocks do appear to be important for a lot of people looking for a permanent reminder of a person, relationship, family, or event. In an increasingly digital world with virtual memorials on Facebook, the lovelocks could be seen as a response to that increasing lack of physical remembrance in our lives.

Will lovelocks locations keep appearing? I think they will. Lovelocks appear to be fulfilling a need for many people. Local authorities do face the problem of increased stress on structures such as bridges etc due to the weight of a mass of lovelocks so regular clearance may be needed. However, some authorities have started adding special areas where people can add lovelocks for free or with a donation to charity.

Photography Prints

If you would like to purchase a print, the Richard Flint Photography RedBubble store has a wide range of images available.

Framed prints, canvas prints, artboards, metal prints, acrylic blocks plus lots more can be found on the RedBubble store HERE.



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