Failure IS an option: a short and sweet reminder

A friend reminds us: to fail is hopefully to learn

My friend, Jason Lazarus, is a highly-talented artist, educator, and practitioner of the secret arts of the alt-hist photo processes (as we like to obfuscate about the practice of alternative and historical photographic processes — in his case, especially, cyanotype, VanDyke Brown, and now, calotype). He runs a blog where he talks about these things and the accompanying trials and tribulations, as well as the stunning successes, that keep us pursuing them.

I have his blog listed over there on the right hand side, but I want to draw attention to his latest post discussing his beginning to learn the Calotype. “Redefining Failure: this is what learning looks like” is the title of his latest post and it is an honest look at what it means to explore, to fail, and to keep on trying.

Sorry, this one has no direct travel-related content, but as an artist, I do take inspiration where I can find it. Jason helped me to finally return to my own interest in alt-hist-photo and I remain inspired by him.

Do go and take a look, if you’re so inclined.

Á bientôt! (I promise some travel-related photos soon)

Trains, Boats, and Planes…


Not The Bear, the Station.

Today I had a brief discussion with a non-native Brit who confided that they were scared of taking the train. As I asked for more details, I began to understand that it wasn’t the trains so much as London’s Underground which, let’s face it, can be daunting at times. As for trains, I love Paddington (and St. Pancras!). But I think it’s because I basically love trains and train stations.

For me, they have the openness that airports generally lack. There is a greater accessibility about them. And one need not actually be traveling to hang out there. I do not find it strange to use a train station as a meeting place — at least here in the UK — as there are often perfectly serviceable restaurants where one can sit and partake of the literal or visual feasts all around them.


Of course, that does necessitate having some idea of where you are going…

As I said, I like visiting the Station, too. Coming in on the Hammersmith tube and exiting at Paddington is always fun because you can see both the old and new parts of the structure. They present wonderful visual textures at all hours of the day.


The decorative ironwork — it’s everywhere here… coupled with the clearly very contemporary:


(This image is especially for someone who has a “thing” for construction cranes, as well as the feathered kind!)

Of course, the social space is a great one for people-watching, as is readily apparent and already alluded to above.


And that’s another thing about trains: they’re multi-modal. How many times have I gone into any train or Tube station here (or for that matter, anywhere in Europe — and increasingly in certain more enlightened cities in the US) and seen someone with a bicycle getting ready to board. The fact that this guy is riding a folder was a bonus…

And dogs — non-service ones, at that! The airlines are nowhere as enlightened.

Of course, there’s the station as terminus, not just social space. Travel by train is still an option in this part of the world and I, for one, am enjoying it tremendously. Getting from Point A to Point B, as best one can, and one occupies one’s time as one must:


For once, phone-watchers were the minority.

So yes, I’m a fan of trains. And it’s one of the reasons I’m watching the whole privatization discussion here closely — so many places here one can get to and from by train and they need to be kept running and accessible by all.

Where will I go next?


I could ask these Greek tourists, but they were on there way into London, too, that morning!

Until next time, á bientôt!

Bibendum à Londres

Some of you just might remember an earlier blogpost from the Pas de Calais about Michelin tires and Bibendum, the Michelin Man (Whither Bibendum?) . Well, there’s more to the story!

We’d gone on a quest for brunch, looking for a restaurant that was supposed to be near the Victoria & Albert Museum , but apparently it wasn’t there, or at least not in its previous incarnation. So we found this place — Aubaine on Brompton Road — and decided to give it a try. But before that had happened, we came across another (not-so) small wonder!


Yep, the Michelin Tyre Co. Building.

With Bibendum, bigger than life. Or maybe this IS life-size…

Michelin Tyre Co. “Nunc est Bibendum”

In London!

Needless to say, I HAD to take some photos, at least one or two. There are tiled illustrations all around the outside and on the walls inside the Bibendum Oyster Bar, so I snagged a few of those.

Grand Prix
Paris-Vienne 1902


Paris-Brest 1891

But there wasn’t enough time on the parking meter to take all the photos I wanted, so I will have to go back. And the great thing is that it’s not far from one of the stops on Tube, so I can go straight there.

So for now, one more of our Hero:

BIBENDUM! On a bicycle!

Until next time, á bientôt!

P.S. Brunch was great! Do check out the Aubaine on Brompton Road, if you’re in the neighborhood.


Here and there…

Another trip around the sun for us all. Let’s see what this one has in store for us. In the meantime, apologies for the break in posts — it’s been a bit chaotic, but I have managed to make some images.

I’ve become a little more accustomed to driving on the wrong side of the road. I’ve even gotten used to the idea that they have cameras watching you — I just hope they’re actually reviewing the images because some of these folks really seem to ignore them!

Most recently, I’ve started finding excuses to explore the small towns and villages near by — the discovery that the Henry Moore Foundation is only a few miles away has me anxious for their seasonal re-opening. I’m hoping I can spend a little time there, making images.

I also discovered that at least one nearby town has a form of Saturday market that I managed to stumble upon and made a few quick grabs on the street. This one reminded me so much of that Genesis album I referenced earlier… wonder if she took “the Safeway home?” 😛


… so far as I know, the paper was not late. [Genesis, “Selling England By The Pound]

Made a quick trek in to see an exhibit at the British Museum. I’ve begun to find the space — as a place for people watching and street photography — as a surprisingly fruitful one. A little patience there certainly rewards one.


Fascinating to see who WASN’T gazing at some kind of mobile device. Someone suggested to me that those who were engrossed were actually on Google, looking up background to prepare them for their impending cultural experience. What do you think? Feel free to comment below… I’m always curious and often amused by the stories that people see, oftentimes because it is so at a variance with what I was perceiving at the time.

That’s it for now — errands to run while there’s still some daylight left!