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Tuesday, 08 June 2010


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I never knew much about John Hedgecoe, but I read a version of The Photographer's Handbook when I first got interested in photography when I was about 15. Lots of great information, if not too deep.

Mike, re the wadded paper around the bin. I sincerely hope that you made an effort to record an image of it for posterity, on an analogue system of course. Maybe it could be the frontispiece?

I have that book which I read and re-read many times when I was beginning photography. Very sad at Prof. Hedgecoe's passing. Thanks for the heads-up.

Wadded up, huh? I've got this picture in my head.

All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy. All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy. All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy. All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy. All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy. All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy.All work and no play makes Mike a dull boy...

Move the wastebasket closer to the desk, it's easier to hit.
Conversely get 20 gallon garbage can and put it right beside your desk. You'll never
fill it in one day!
Then at night take the paper outside and burn it. So much more satisfying than
shredding the paper, beside you can roast hot dogs and marshmallows over the open flames.

Too many of the good ones dying lately. One of my first ever instruction books was penned by John. I always liked the heavily grained, 35mm B&W landscape gracing it's cover.

Yes, wadded up paper feels much better. Clicking the delete key just feels, ffft..
It just feels wrong to my analogue mind.

Very sorry to hear Joe Deal is ill. I took several classes with him at UC Riverside in the 1980s. He was an excellent teacher and a big influence in my visual development. The ocean of tract houses in which I existed had been invisible to me, but he showed how they were amazing photographic-subject material.

How strange are the differences between US and British usage of the language... On this side of The Pond, 'wadded up' would imply, colloquially, that someone has a lot of cash (i.e. possessing big 'wads' of banknotes).

My immediate reaction was to congratulate you for coming into a fair bit of money... :-)

Mike, we appreciate you for your writting style and I´m sorry to hear that you threw away those 2500 words... Maybe you should inaugurate a special „drafts” section, to publish there your rough notes that aren't worth further editing; it'll be kinda like contact sheets; even if you'd throw away 35 frames, it's nice to see those as a reference for the chosen 36th one.

ffft would not have worked for Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid


!Brainwave! Mike, how about a modification to your word processor which runs a little movie when you delete a page (full screen of course), showing a sheet of paper being taken from a remington, scrunched up into a ball and being thrown into a bin (with appropriate sounds); also the bin should fill up as the day progresses!!
I hope you are typing your analogue masterpiece with one of those antique typewriter fonts, complete with dirt in the letters?
Better again use this: http://www.nolad.com/vt/index.php

"On this side of The Pond, 'wadded up' would imply, colloquially, that someone has a lot of cash"

Oh, dear. No, actually I'm not wadded up then. One of the weird things about saving up for a new car is that you feel richer than you actually are right before you buy the car, and poorer than you actually are right after you buy the car. What's the opposite of "wadded up"? Wadded down?


@ MIke: What's the opposite of "wadded up"? Wadded down?

Skint. A condition I've been in many times. In rhyming slang, borassic (lint). Borassic lint was an antiseptic wound dressing.

Wadded up? Been there, done that.

It's fun to wad up paper and toss it. And in my case, my cat chases the paper balls so it's win-win.

What's the opposite of "wadded up"? Wadded down?

We just say wadded, I've never heard anybody say wadded up or down. For us Mancunians there's many ways to express being broke "skint" or "potless" (without a pot to P### in ) are just two of them.

I'm buying that book when you finish it. Not if, when. Oh, and are any of your other books still available?

You might consider writing shorter columns. This is the Web after all.

Try writing with a fountain pen, in a moleskin notebook, while listening to some good jazz, smoking a really fine cigar and drinking some good brandy or port. Just like shooting film again; the process becomes more enjoyable.

It is sad to hear that John Hedgecoe has died, a not too well known fact is that he played a key role as the portrait photographer of the Queen that appears on British stamps,

The portrait of Her Majesty is credited as the world's most reproduced photograph, to date selling more than 200 billion copies.

I don't think to many photographers will beat that achievement.

As an aside to your personal financial state, here in the U.K. Cockney rhyming slang for having no money would be, "Boracic lint" → skint, but I do like the idea of being "Wadded down."

Keep well and have a good day.

Sean: http://i49.tinypic.com/33wtdsl.jpg

Richard P


Here's a start:

It was a dark and stormy night when big Mike shouldered his camera bag and headed down the path to his Packard. As was his habit he absently fingered the film holders neatly arrayed in the bag surrounded by a small pond of flashbulbs.....

Keep going!

Huh; I only knew of Hedgecoe from his books, and apparently had formed some grossly incorrect impressions. I'm sorry I only learned about this in the context of his obituary.

Sounds like he had a long, successful, and prosperous career, anyway; my ignorance doesn't seem to have hurt him any.

In my mind the wadded up paper didn't come from a typewriter but from using a fountain pen on paper like how Peter Mellis suggests.

But using a Olivetti Valentine typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass is a good image too.

"The Photographer's Handbook" is educational literature for every kind of photographer. Amateur or professional. By reading it only you can find interest in photography.

The first book published by Hedgecoe - http://amzn.to/9Yn479 (and I don't know how many subsequent ones, because Hedgecoe's name did rapidly become a brand) - was co-authored by Michael Langford, who died in 2000. The two first met in the forces, and as well as publishing photography manuals they also worked together at the RCA. Like the author of this interesting obituary at the Guardian - http://bit.ly/9LzUSq - I too was a student under both these men in the late '80s, and remember both pretty much as she did. I find it sad that Langford's contribution seems (if the BJP's obit is anything to go by) to have been totally eclipsed.

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