Friday, 16 November 2012

Hull and hereabouts (Cont.)

What do you find to be the relationship between cynicism and romanticism? You seem to reach out for one, but only get a handful of the other?
I see you're starting with the easy questions first. They could easily be two sides of a coin, one a dark jaded (possibly misguided) view based on a perceived reality and the other a rosy, upbeat (possibly delusional) approach based on a different view. If my answer seems a bit vague it's because I don't feel qualified to go much further on a problem which baffles philosophers to this day. Regarding my blog I think it's really easy to be over cynical and slip into a kind of despair that nothing will improve ever. I try not to do that but on the other hand faced with the seemingly endless list of woes that beset this city it's difficult to have much optimism. So I try to tell a story and if a slight shade or hint of scepticism, shall we say, creeps in from time to time well what of it? I certainly hope I don't come across as a hopelessly cynical curmudgeon because I'm not, honest, I'm just an old romantic.

You are keen on neither Tories, nor tourists, but could possibly enjoy taverns and tankards. Is your grumpiness concocted?
Well I've never been asked that before! To be fair I'm equally unkeen on the other lot as well. Faked grumpiness ...hmmm. Might it not be that what you call grumpiness is just me simply refusing to join in with the crowd, I have my own view and I express it, hopefully in a way that amuses or informs (I’m beginning to sound like the BBC!). I may exaggerate a little now and again. I've really no animus towards tourists, I'm often a day-tripper myself to Beverley and Bridlington. You’re quite right about the taverns though if only I had the money.

You have an affinity for Philip Larkin who dribbles world weariness. Choose just one stanza from one of his works, illustrate it with a photograph, and tell me what on earth possessed you to link the two.
I love your description of Philip Larkin. I think affinity is too strong a word, it's more a fascination with the way he's been turned into a saleable commodity.

Larkin was the local bard and even though he was a miserly, misogynistic misanthrope (that covers the whole board, I don't think he liked anybody much) 25 years after his death he has been taken on as a feature, an attraction, a reason to visit Hull.

And so we had the Toads, the statue in the railway station and now the Larkin Trail where seemingly every teeny detail of the chap's life is signposted.

I was tempted to select the famous verse that starts:
"They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do....."
but then you wanted a photo to go with ... erm, so let's try this one from the end of 'Toads Revisited':
When the lights come on at four
At the end of another year?
Give me your arm, old toad;
Help me down Cemetery Road
The photo is of Spring Bank West opposite the cemetery that Larkin tried, and only partially succeeded, in saving from a complete clean up by the Council, I suppose in one sense this is Cemetery Road. It's relevance to me is that when I first moved to Hull I lived in a bedsit in of those houses and used to gaze upon the graves opposite wondering why on earth I'd chosen to move to this place. Thirty years later and I still have no answer.

Photography is often a solitary pursuit. Many of your images describe a beautiful solitariness. When you ramble, do you do so deliberately for photographic fodder, or is the walk the aim and any shots simply serendipitous?
I almost always have my camera with me when I'm out and about so some of the shots just happen. Lately however I've deliberately gone out with aim of taking a picture of some feature or other, this usually comes about because I've seen something in the local paper or I've read something on a Facebook group or similar. Since I've started the blog, simply researching for the writing has led to going out and finding more shots. It's a kind of positive feedback as us old biochemists like to say.

For photographers what is paramount, nature or nurture? Do you think that the city in which you live has preordained the type of photographs you make?

I think the type of photographs I take is down to my nature. I don't feel comfortable doing people shots, so-called street photography, there aren't many people in my pictures. I prefer to shoot buildings, empty places and so on and this is quite possible in Hull. If I lived in a busier more crowded and vibrant city then possibly I'd have to change my approach.

William Braquemard is based in Kingston-upon-Hull, in the UK. Please visit Hull and hereabouts to sample his finely honed wit.

Julie Storry - Sydney Eye

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