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Thursday, 15 June 2017


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If you take a day off to make pictures and then post them to your blog, can you deduct your mileage and meals?

[I suppose so! I don't, though. --Mike]

Mike, every now and again you need to get behinder just as you did with Xander. It's good for the soul.

With best regards,


As a child when visiting my grandparents in Lancaster, Pa, which is one of the mainstays of the Amish community in the U.S., there was a saying I was told was credited to the Amish that came to mind when reading your post. The saying went something like, "The hurrier I go the behinder I get." That may be a paraphrase.

Xander has grown to be quite a man. " The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree," as another saying goes.

A better investment of your time than banging away at a keyboard. Not that your readers don't appreciate the output. But some opportunities -- you just have to grab them while they're available.

Strange looking cows? Surely you jest and are showing your sense of humor. Big Horn Sheep are not cows.

[I used to do that to wake up my students...refer to any animals in a photograph as cows. Unless they were cows, in which case I called them dogs. This only ever amused me as far as I know. --Mike]

Just received my Paul Strand book. Carrying it home on public transit will be tough: nine pounds, really?

Second hurdle to overcome: breaking the news to my better half. I can hear it now: "But you already have a book by him!"

Ah, yes, my love, but not like this one. This book is almost as beautiful as you are.

Full marks to everybody for this sale: awesome book, great price, reasonable delivery time (ground, to Canada).

Thanks for undertaking this.


Garrett Chapel does indeed look like it belongs in Scotland, but I am wondering which one is it a copy of? About the only possibility would be the present day chapel at Iona (and it does seem to resemble it based on your picture), and Iona would be the only location of any Christianity in 6th century Scotland (or England). However, it would not have been built of stone until much later – the only stone buildings extant would have been Roman (and in England) for some time after the 6th century.

Not trying to be pedantic, and I'm not a historian. It's just that early Christianity and church architecture is an interest (and subject of photography of course) for me. Someone who knows more can chip in.

I also very much like Xander's picture of the robin. If I had taken it I would be very pleased with myself. All that D-76 of yore must have seeped into your DNA, and now his!

That photo by Xander is quite fine. Photography really lends itself to surrealism. I thought at first the bird was a reflection in the puddle. (Poor bird; I'm guessing it was a window kill.)

Re: "cows", a friend of mine is in a photography club that has the club-wide habit of calling any bird in a photo a chicken. I'm sure it was funny the first few hundred times.

Xander has his 'old mans' knack with the camera!
Will we see more of his work in future?

I tease my wife, a knowledgeable birdwatcher, by calling every bird I can't identify a "chicken." By this time, she's ceased being exasperated with my so-called humor, just shrugs in resignation.

I may have commented before re the Strand book - having seen the exhibition in Philadelphia, Strands notes on contact sheets and proof prints, and direct modification of negatives to improve composition, I think I can say that he would have LOVED Photoshop and digital photography.

That Robin photo caught my eye straight away. Stopped me in my tracks. Beautiful striking mysterious image full of questions. Maybe if Xander keeps up producing more photos like this he could do an Online Photographer print sale.

Xander's robin photo looks like one half of a father/son print sale to me . . .

Mike...How do you pronounce Xander? Is it EX-ander?

The Robin photo is worth a good print.

What a magnificent eye. Good to see the A900 is in very capable hands! Well done, Xander!

I don't want to rain on your parade, but: whatever the Garrett is it's not a copy of anything 6th century in Scotland. Superficially it might be Romanesque (so 11th/12th century), but in fact (based not on your picture but on their website) it's not even that, as there are elements of it which look significantly later than that. It looks to me like a sort of post-Morris medieval pastiche, which are fairly common in the UK and, I suspect, elsewhere.

Please don't take this as an being rude about it as I really like these buildings: the Victorians & Edwardians (and slightly later) did medieval far better than medieval people often did: I live near Castle Drogo which is a late, and fantastic, example of this sort of thing.

But there just wasn't anything like this in Scotland in the 6th century.

[I was just repeating what the caretaker of 35 years told us at the Chapel as he was locking up. Sorry I didn't look into it more thoroughly. --Mike]

'Xander at Garrett Chapel. It's an exacting 1928 copy of a 6th-century medieval chapel in Scotland.' I live in Scotland so I looked up the chapel website. No mention of Scotland. There are no 6th century chapels here and according to Wikipedia only a few ruins that may date from then. Not sure what you mean by 'exacting copy' anyway.

I just caught up with about 2 months worth of posts on TOP.

Congratulations to Xander on his graduation and new job, and especially also to his proud papa on Father's Day. You done good, Mike.

Xander's Robin picture is really wonderful, even the puddle is somewhat bird shaped.
Very nice

Xander's photograph is really a great thought provoking image. I keep coming back to have another look. I agree with others, it would be a great photo for an upcoming print sale. Happy belated Father's Day1

I'm looking forward to the Xander Johnston print sale!!

The robin pic is really good.

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