Friday, 3 December 2010

Gabriel Branby - Why Values Are Important.

I have just been pointed to this great video of a lecture for Do Lectures given by Gabriel Branby the CEO of Gränsfors Bruks AB, The Swedish company which make very cool, traditional axes. It tells a little of the story of his reviving the company from the brink of bankruptcy and of his ethos for design and manufacturing.

[Edit: Unfortunately the video appears to no longer work on this site. Direct link here: ]

It makes me all the more disappointed that, due to having to many orders to fill, they can't take on Benson Outfitters as a stockist. We can't begrudge them the success though.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sun Flower Seeds

I have caught a little of the press concerning the installation of Ai Weiweis 'Sunflower Seeds' at Tate Modern but I have to say, though I liked the idea and was fascinated by the fact that the vast number of seeds were all made by hand somewhere by someone, I haven't really made any effort to find out more about it. Tonight however I came across a post by Robin Wood on his excellent blog which included the video [below]. I hope I shall get to see the Sunflower Seeds now as I understand [I think] a little more of what its about and what a huge amount of work by so many people that it has taken to bring it to fruition.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Huntress with Buck

This picture of a teenage girl from Alabama on her first (and by the look of it fairly successful) hunting trip in South Africa has won the 2010 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, awarded by the National Portrait Gallery. David Chancellors shot was described as "powerful and beautiful" I have to agree on both points, a truly striking image.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Ox Cart Man

The Ox Cart Man - Donald Hall was first published in The New Yorker magazine as a poem on the third of October 1977. Hall later lengthened and adapted the poem to make it in to a children's book and had illustrations created for it by  Barbara Cooney, repeating the partnership which bought them their first Caldecott Medal. The Ox Cart Man published as a book in 1979 won the pair their second.
This is a book which I have been returning to periodically for just about as long as I can remember. Not only has it Cooneys wonderful, evocative illustrations (below) whose subtle details transport you straight the simple rural life in the New England landscape of the 19th Century. It also still has, despite the adaptation to book form, the heart and sole of a poem. A poem of an existence which involves people in the cycles of the seasons in a way which we might these days find ourselves a little two far removed from.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Adventures of Tintin (The Secret of the Unicorn)

Despite the usual tentativeness one experiences when considering a film adaptation of a favourite book I am rather excited about the up coming Tintin film from Spielberg/Jackson. I suppose the potential ruination of ones mental images of characters and places is lessened in this case because a: Tintin is a comic and b: Jackson has CGI'ed the actors to make them look like the stylised comic characters.

Tintin was just about all I read for a number of years of my childhood and early teens as I was pretty poor at reading. Add to that the fact that I have largely based my personal style/wardrobe on his for the last 6-7 years and I must admit that he has been a significant factor in my life, so it will be fun to see him up their on the big screen. These shots look great!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Pig & The Butcher

Going with the current theme of 'nice little films from Vimeo' I came across this one, from the states, which depicts the butchering process. A few friends and I kept pigs a year or so ago and the whole process was a joy, as soon as opportunity allows I intend to do it again.

The Pig & The Butcher from Paper Fortress on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Sir Johnny Scott - The Book of Britian

A Book of BritainVimeo.

Interesting sounding read from '...The Country Man." One for the Christmas list I reckon.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Bees Knees

I was invited along to a very informal introduction to bee keeping with KC and her lovely Bees a little while ago as she gave them some delicious sugary supplies to help see them thought the winter. While I was there  I managed to spot, and photograph, the queen bee. It was all very exciting and a little scary.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Item of Interest #002 - The Ryder Cup Gun

I recently came across these images of the Official Ryder Cup Gun. The O/U by Holloway and Noughton was a three month project for hand engraver Phill Coggan. Simply amazing work, especially on the portrait there and the gilding. 
Thought I won't be shooting anything like that smart, just looking at it makes me excited about this season really getting going.

...and no, I don't know either why the Ryder Cup (golf tournament) need an official gun but having seen it I don't really see a reason other than 'just because' is necessary.

Kit List: Patrick Leigh Fermor

I have recently finished reading the fantastic ‘Between the Woods and the Water’ - Patrick Leigh Fermor (A title I liked so much I nabbed and, with out meaning to, para-phrased for this blog).

In 1933, between the wars, the eighteen year old Leigh Fermor under took an expedition on foot across Europe from The Hook of Holland to Constantinople in Turkey.  Between the Woods and Water is the middle part of his record of the journey which and documents his travel across Hungary and Romania (including Transylvania).  The book is an amazing document of what those countries were like in a period now lost to history and an interesting education in the much more distant history of that part of the world. Beyond that it is a wonderful tale of his adventure, the people he met and the places he went.
I was particularly interested in his very minimal kit which he carried with him. Despite the fact he was often a guest in a châteaux or castle or other comfortable quarter he also spent nights in hay stacks and under beech trees.

 “…and my kit seemed in as good repair as the first day in Holland. The ammunition boots from Millets in the Strand, crunching along on their only slightly blunted hobnails, were still good for unlimited miles. The old breeches were soft with much ware and cleaning, and every stitch was intact; only the grey puttees had suffered minor damage, but nothing showed when I had snipped off the ragged edges where snow and rain had frayed them. A grey shirt with the sleeves rolled up completed this marching gear. (I was darkening to the hue of a teak sideboard, with hair correspondingly bleached by the sun) I blessed my stars that my first rucksack, with its complex framework and straps, heavy water-proof sleeping bag and White Knight superfluity of gear had been stolen in Munich; the one my Baltic Russian friends had bestowed was smaller but held all I needed; to wit; a pair of dark flannel bags and another light canvas pair; a thin, decent-looking tweed jacket; several shirts; two ties, gym-shoes, lots of socks and jerseys, pyjamas, the length of coloured braid Angela had given me; a dozen new handkerchiefs (as we know) and a sponge-bag, a compass, a jack-knife, two candles, matches, a pipe-falling in to disuse-tobacco, cigarettes and - a new accomplishment – papers for rolling them, and a flask filled in turn, as the countries changed, with whisky, Bols, schnapps, barack, tzuica, slivovitz, arak and tziporo. In one of the side pockets there was a five-shilling Ingersoll watch that kept perfect time when I remembered to take it out and wind it up. The only awkward item was a soldier’s greatcoat; I hand’t worn it for months, but felt reluctant to get rid of it. (Luckily it was perfect for sleeping out, and, folded into a tight sausage and tied round the top of the rucksack, scarcely visible.) I still had the Hungarian walking-stick, intricately carved as a mediaeval crosier, the second replacement for the original ninepenny ashplant for the tobacconist’s of Sloane Square. Apart from sketch –book pencils and disintegrating maps, there was my notebook-journal and my passport.”
To Summarise:
  • ·         Ammunition Boots (Hobnails)
  • ·         Breeches
  • ·         Shirts (Grey)
  • ·         Grey Puttees (Cloth gaiters wound around the lower leg)
  • ·         Rucksack (Frameless)
  • ·         Trousers (Canvas and Flannel)
  • ·         Tweed Jacket (Decent-looking)
  • ·         Ties ( x2)
  • ·         Gym Shoes
  • ·         Jerseys
  • ·         Pyjamas
  • ·         Handkerchiefs
  • ·         Sponge Bag
  • ·         Compass
  • ·         Jack Knife
  • ·         Candles ( x2)
  • ·         Matches
  • ·         Pipe/Cigarettes/Tobacco
  • ·         Hip Flask
  • ·         Watch
  • ·        Soldier’s Greatcoat
  • ·         Walking Stick
  • ·         Journal/Sketch Book
  • ·         Pencils
  • ·         Passport
  • ·         Maps
What a long journey he travelled with such a little inventory. It just goes to show that you don't need more than a worn in pair of stout boots and a pack with a useful knife and a few other items to get you down the road.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Recent Destinations: Edinburgh and Bristol.

Two of my new favourite British Landmarks, which I have cleverly made look like 1940s postcards using hiperstermatic (not sure why).

Sir Walter Scott mamorial, Edinburgh.

Brunel's Suspension Bridge, Clifton, Bristol.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Out and About

Two spanky new cameras and the arrival of the fantastic Kelly Kettles in the Benson Outfitters stock room gave the perfect excuse yesterday to take a few hours out in the name of 'work'. So J and I headed down to the woods to try and get some half decent product shots in a really gloomy, wet (August) day. It doesn't seem to matter much, the weather, with a hot cup of Devonshire Tea in you palms and the smell of wood smoke in your hair.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

The Ancestary

My uncle is in the process of digitalising thousands of photographs taken by my Great Grandfather, George Ben White while he was living in India in the early part of the twentieth century. For obvious reasons this picture really caught my eye.

Monday, 2 August 2010

A View

Shooting over swathed rape near NF. A good day.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Scrumping with Jacko

I will report back in 2-4 weeks on how the first trial of 2010 vintage goes....

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Item of Interest #001- The Luminous Laguiole

Little French pocket knife.

5 Minute Biscuit

'Cream' together Butter and Sugar then add Flour and (chopped) Chocolate, form walnut sized balls and flatten them on to baking tray, cook for 5 minutes. I seem to remember quantities are in grams and temperatures in centigrade but I can't be sure.

Monday, 12 July 2010

A dandy summer pie!

We've just had in a shipment of enamel ware at Benson Outfitters so we figured we should christen one of the pie dishes. The result was a delicious blackberry and apple crumble. I feel more pies may be forthcoming..

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Benson Update:

Lots of new products on Benson Outfitters I have been photographing, great light yesterday.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Between the Woods and Water.

Today I went down to the woods with Tuggs, it was rather damp and dark and wintery but the birds were singing and it wasn't cold.
I snapped these with my iPhone, I'm still getting used to the camera but with the Photoshop App I think the results are OK.