Pipe Dreams

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A trip out to an abandoned industrial site in Derbyshire to take a look at an ever-growing collection of works by Sheffield’s coloquix (along with some notable others).

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Coloquix bringing elegance to the industrial blight.

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A piece by Brayk

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First piece I’ve seen by Jim McElvaney ~ a subtle portrait adorning the side of a cement tank.

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Some colour in the muted surroundings

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A rather creepy piece by Brayk

Really good to find a site where new work is springing up and by some provocative artists.

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The Fire Station

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Had the chance to take a look around the fire station on Clifford Street in York. It’s been empty for a while and is awaiting redevelopment into (yes you guessed) apartments. Much of this former chapel will be demolished completely with only a facade remaining.

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The access to the firefighter’s pole.

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The drop.

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A premium is sure to be paid for front apartments overlooking Clifford’s Tower.

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What was once the mess hall. There is virtually nothing left in the building now.

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The main forecourt area where the engines lived.

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A local arts initiative ‘Blank Canvas’ will be taking the place over for a few weeks before demolition begins providing a pop up exhibition space and area for arts workshops.

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I particularly enjoyed the sense of calm and stillness here ~ a place witness to such frenetic activity and on constant alert now utterly at rest.

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One of the few remaining artefacts ~ locker keys on a window ledge.

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Sleeping quarters.

Details of Blank Canvas: https://www.facebook.com/blankcanvasyork

Powerful stuff

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Drax in North Yorkshire contributes nearly a tenth of the UK’s energy needs by the firing of coal and biomass and is the country’s largest power station.

I was fortunate enough to be given a special tour of the vast site (driven about in a very nifty electric car). The journey is a fascinating step by step guide in how it is possible to charge our smartphones, watch t.v and make a cup of coffee with barely a thought as to where the electricity comes from.

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The rapid reduction in dependency on coal and the rise of biomass is shrinking the area required to house stocks of coal. Much of the current story of the station is the rise in biomass and the decline of coal.ld-1-18

The 4 huge domes where the biomass material is kept (by-product of sustainably managed North American timber burns best apparently) were even more impressive when I learnt that the containers, each able to accommodate the Albert Hall only take around an hour to inflate.

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The site has its own branch line to receive deliveries of raw materials and sources its water from the neighbouring River Ouse ~ my guide enthusiastically pointed out that the water is returned to its origin cleaner than when it arrives.

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There are statistics and facts to boggle the mind (each of the 12 cooling towers is large enough to house St Paul’s Cathedral, 99% of ash is removed from the burning of coal and the resulting gypsum is sold to the construction industry, each generator provides enough electricity to power a million homes…) but also to make you think about the scale, complexity and symbiosis involved in an essentially simple step process.ld-1-19

Ear protectors are required for the turbine hall (do I need to say that it’s very big ?) and in a particularly sultry July day the atmosphere was stifling. It’s the business end of the place where all the energy produced from the burning of the raw materials gets put to use and turns the massive turbines to create the precious electricity. A portion of said electricity is simply fed back into the site as it needs rather a lot to function…the rest is fed to the National Grid and powers Leeds and Sheffield and Manchester and…well you get the point.

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Getting touching distance from one of the 12 cooling towers that dominate the distant skyline of North Yorkshire was a treat. I’d always imagined these as inanimate giants simply conduits for steam but seeing them up close you realise that they are working creatures as torrents of water cascade around the bases.

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Drax has had education visits for a while now but has recently opened this opportunity up for all of us in the shape of weekend tours and I thoroughly recommend you give it a go. The subject of where our energy comes from is as big and complex as the production processes themselves but one thing that is without question is that our need for power is showing no signs of diminishing and a greater understanding of how we acquire our energy should be of interest to all of us.

http://www.drax.com

 

 

City Of Colours

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Was in Birmingham last month for the City Of Colours festival. Some wonderful street artists from all over the world came to add their unique vibrancy to the city.

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Phlegm’s new piece a highlight of the festival.

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Nice to have the chance to watch the artists at work and see the pieces evolve.

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Jimmy C at work on a typically colourful piece.

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Splendid three-piece wall by Broken Fingaz, all the way from Israel.

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Zabou’s wall was impressive ~ can’t beat a bit of eye contact to keep you looking.

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Julia yubaba kindly took a moment out from creating her ‘Pink Rabbits’ wall to pose for a portrait. The muted colours of her piece really worked.

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Golden Boy working on his signature image of (I discovered as I took this photo) Jeffrey Dahmer as a child…

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The finished wall in glorious technicolor.

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The festival was well attended and superbly organised. An overriding sense was one of community. Lots of artists more than happy to stop and chat and great to see so many different approaches & techniques on show.

One of the things I’ve noticed having been to a few similar events is the amazing range of people so positively enthused and inspired by street art, from the very young to the very old. By the necessity of their location the events also generate a whole new atmosphere in parts of cities that have been all too often allowed to fall into dereliction and decline.

Hoping that we can do it all over again in 2017.

http://www.cityofcolours.co.uk

Cities Of Hope

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A day in the Mancunian drizzle capturing some of the work going on for ‘Cities Of Hope’ a week long festival of street art organised by Vestige ~ a charity concerned with using the arts to raise awareness of social justice issues.

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Some world renowned names took part ~ including Faith 47 from South Africa whose stunning grand scale piece adorns Great Ancoats Street. All work is concentrated in the city’s Northern Quarter and makes for a splendid explore with surprises around every corner.

Clockwise from top left: Dale Grimshaw at work,  Phlegm,  C215, Nomad Clan, Pichiavo, and 2 further C215 pieces.

Details here: http://citiesofhope.global

Forsaken Bride

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Have been looking to shoot a fashion test in an abandoned location for a while and was finally able to start putting everything together with the help of York Conservation Trust who allowed me to use the former saddle makers of Robson & Cooper.

These shoots are such a team effort and once the logistics are sorted it’s down to the talents of everyone listed below

The wedding gowns were supplied by Glory Days (http://glorydaysyork.co.uk/)

Hair & Makeup by Victoria Farr (http://www.victoriafarr.co.uk/)

Floral arrangements by Firenza Flowers (http://www.firenzafloraldesign.co.uk/)

Model Zara  (https://www.facebook.com/Zara-Syrett-Model-867160516693244/?hc_location=ufi)

Street Poetry

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Was in Reykjavik over the New Year and aside from enjoying the city’s celebrations (they go to town for New Year and the Christmas lights are still glorious) I sought out some of the fabulous street art.

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‘Ulfur’ by ELLE

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by DFace

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From the ‘No Exit’ series by Guido Van Helten

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From the ‘No Exit’ series by Guido Van Helten

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From the ‘No Exit’ series by Guido Van Helten

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by Deih

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Quickly decided that I’d have to work with the conditions I had and was happy to be shooting in the dark, relying on the street lighting and reflections from the snow. Only having a few hours of daylight wasn’t going to present a barrier only a challenge.

The light has an ethereal glowing quality during it’s brief appearance and I would have loved to been able to shoot some portraits.

Such a fascinating and enchanting place to visit I’m already plotting my return…

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Time Passes

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Been a criminal lapse in my blogging routine, an occurrence that seems attached to the summertime.

A first trip out in ages to explore somewhere abandoned seems as good as subject as any to resume with.

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An early morning jaunt over the Pennines to the premises of a family business that abruptly ceased trading a few years back having been a valuable part of the community for the previous 80 years.

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Lots to explore and a grand sense of the passing of time as the business had been in the same place for its duration overseeing the countless changes in the ways in which business gets done.

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