Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Rust Never Sleeps
I love rust, me.
One of my most exciting photographic trips out was the time my friend Colin and I sneaked into the sidings at Carnforth and spent a good couple of hours poking around among the quietly redundant rolling stock. It was marvellous. I'm not particularly into trains as such, but they were satisfyingly large pieces of engineering; peeling surfaces, compartment handles smoothed by years of use, greasy springs (leaf and coil), glass dials, a driver's coat and hat stiff with oil and damp still hanging in a cab, paint receding through layer upon layer of decaying colour. Fantastic.
We were temporarily in the custody of the police later on when we were poking around Heysham ferry terminal. There was a small wait while they checked if I was the Richard Johnson who had jumped bail in Warrington. The WPC who was with them at least had a sense of humour ("Do we need the guns?") and wasn't as baffled as her more bovine colleagues by photo after photo of rust in close-up. Finally they realised that we posed no threat to national security and we weren't about to steal a ferry, and warned us that a) if we took photos near the power station we could be shot, and b) "These days" we had to be careful where we took photographs, e.g. near playgrounds, schools, anywhere outdoors, etc. Colin, who had the previous day been taking pictures of a colourful climbing frame, said "Funny you should mention that..." How they laughed.
One of my favourite photographs, that one at the top of the post there, came from that afternoon, and one day I'll start working it up into a painting. Until then, a painting of something else pleasantly weathered, the registration number of a Belfast fishing boat in Eyemouth harbour.