Cyanotype Workshop at Rydal Mount, 21 May 2022

On 21 May 2022 I am running a cyanotype printing workshop at Rydal Mount, the lovely former home of Romantic poet William Wordsworth, where he lived from 1813 until his death in 1850. This is an opportunity to learn how to produce prints using a technique dating back to 1842, but with a modern twist. We’ll make light sensitive paper and then spend some time photographing in the gardens before producing negatives that can be used for printing. Bring a phone or a camera to take the photographs. If you are using your phone, please download the free Snapseed photo editing app before the workshop. Everyone will go away with at least one print, and negative.

More information and a link for booking is at the Rydal Mount website.

Cross-posted from

Hadrian’s Wall

In 2019 I walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall, from west to east, taking photographs as I went along. It was a great experience, and one I’d recommend to anyone with a basic level of fitness and some good walking shoes. In lockdown in the first half of this year I turned my photographs into a little hand-made artist’s book, and from there printed this softback book with a short piece of writing about the experience. It’s available for just £6 from my photography website.

Cyanotype Prints

Spring Flowers, 2020. Buy this artwork here.

This year was to be a year of exhibitions, projects, books, and workshops; it has turned out rather differently. Over the past weeks and months I have instead been concentrating on writing and printing. In particular I have been cyanotype printing, using negatives made from some of my photographs, but also, as with the work above, photograms made from pressed flowers. These three prints, made on a delicate hand-made paper from Bhutan, are mounted together on an A3-sized board to form a one-of-a-kind artwork. I’m selling this work, and other cyanotypes, over at my photography website (there are books and other prints for sale there too). Selling prints has been a great source of encouragement this Spring, so thank-you to everyone who has helped support me and other artists this way.

Cyanotype prints are available here.

Michael Marks Awards, 2019

Carousel Cover 16.1.18Web

On Tuesday December 10th I went to the British Library in London to receive the 2019 Michael Marks Award for illustration of a poetry pamphlet. I’ve written a bit more about this over on my photography website, but the short version is that this was for the photographs in Carousel, my collaboration with poet Rebecca Goss, published by Guillemot Press.

Receiving the award was a wonderful way to end 2019, which has been quite a big year for my photography. Back in October I had my first solo exhibition, at the Heaton Cooper Studio Archive Gallery in Grasmere (there are still some copies of the accompanying limited edition book available). I also exhibited at the Liverpool Art Fair, and I have two limited edition prints in the dot-art gallery’s Liverpool Collection, which you can see (and buy from there) until January 18th. The two prints are best seen in person, but if you want to take a look they are Mersey Docks and Harbour Board (Mann Island) and Futurist.


Carousel Cover 16.1.18WebI’m excited to announce that my collaborative book with poet Rebecca Goss is available from Guillemot Press today. It’s in a limited edition of 200, and like all Guillemot books is beautifully made and presented. This project has been simmering for over eight years, and we are delighted with the way it turned out. You can buy the book from Guillemot Press here.

Rebecca and I will be launching the book at Liverpool’s OpenEye Gallery on December 6th at 6pm. The event will include readings from the book and from Guillemot poet Amy McCauley.

More information is on the Open Eye gallery website.



Northern Exposure 2015

View from the Ribblehead Viaduct, North Yorkshire.
Framed: view from the Ribblehead Viaduct, North Yorkshire.

Last week I had some exciting news. I have been selected to exhibit my photography in the Northern Exposure exhibition at the Portico Library and Gallery in Manchester. Northern Exposure is an annual exhibition of the work of seven or eight artists from the North of England. This year the exhibition is taking place from 3-30 July, during the Manchester International Festival, so it is a great opportunity for me as a photographer, and one I know I am lucky to have been offered.

For as long as I can remember I have been interested in where the boundaries lie between rural and urban, natural and human-made. Even in my relatively short lifetime British culture has become significantly more urban-centred (and London-centric), but of course the process goes back much further than that. I have begun choosing the eight or so pictures for hanging in the exhibition and all of them will explore the ways in which human activity and nature interact, the human influence on apparently natural landscapes, and how we have come to see the natural, or perhaps unnatural, world.

More of my work is over at my photography website Mottershead and Hayes.

Caitlin and the Hens

Another quick post to say there’s a new poem and photo over at The Jupiter Project, my collaboration with poet Rebecca Goss. This one is called Caitlin and the Hens and although it has a comfortable, domestic setting, as with childhood itself there is a double-edged payoff.

The Jupiter Project

Thoughts on the Yashica Mat 124G


It’s been a couple of years now since I started using film cameras again and I have become quite attached to two of them in particular. I’ve written about the Zorki 4 rangefinder here before and if anything I’m more impressed with that now than I was back then, in the excitement of shooting my first roll of film in a decade. The Zorki–and its Jupiter 8 lens–is a great carry around camera that works really well in the street, but for a slower style of photography I’ve taken to using a Yashica Mat 124G. This is a black brick-shaped hunk of metal from the early 1980s which produces square negatives on medium format 120 film and makes images with fine detail and beautiful, smooth, out of focus areas.

Where the Zorki is a crude but effective tool, the Yashica Mat is a precise and delicate instrument. That’s not to say it isn’t robust–this one is over 30 years old and works perfectly–but if I was looking for a bludgeon to whack a burglar and still be able to take pictures of the crime scene afterwards, I’d pick the Zorki. The 124G is what is known as a “Twin Lens Reflex” or “TLR” camera, because it has two lenses, one for viewing (the top one), and one for actually taking the picture (the one below). The viewfinder flips up from the top and you look down into it to frame and focus the image, which appears back to front on a piece of ground glass. There is a little magnifying glass to assist with fine focussing. It’s a very simple system and it works well, but if you want to get it right, you have to take your time. Given the cost of film and the fact that you only get twelve shots per roll, you’ll want to take your time anyway. This is the last in a long line of made-in-Japan Yashica homages to the more famous German Rolleiflex.

Shetland, Fuji Acros 100
Shetland, Fuji Acros 100

There is a real sense of occasion when using this camera. It’s theatrical in a way that most cameras are not. Back in the days when owning a car was something special, people would make a decision to “take the car out” as a treat. Using the Yashica Mat feels just like that. Being fully manual–it has its own light meter, but it’s not coupled to any settings–you have to check the light and set the aperture and shutter speed to get the correct exposure. Like making good coffee, you have to go through a process, and do it mindfully and with care. Most digital cameras can be operated one-handed, an ergonomic development we can thank for the rise of the selfie, but for the Yashica Mat you need three hands. It’s best to have it hanging round your neck or on a tripod while you set it up. Yet for all this inconvenience and fiddling around, once you get the hang of it it’s surprisingly easy and pleasant to use. All the settings can be seen looking down at the top of the camera, which is what you’ll be doing anyway while you are framing the shot, and what you see in the viewfinder is pretty much what you see when the negatives come back from the lab.

Birch Trees, Kodak Portra 400
Birch Trees, Kodak Portra 400

I had a soft spot for these kinds of cameras even before I acquired this one. My Dad had a Yashica TLR in the 1970s (a 635 I think) and I have  happy childhood memories of him in holiday clothes, head bowed into the viewfinder while we smiled and tried not to blink at the wrong time. Since I started using one myself I’m even more taken with it. As an object it really looks the part, but it is also a functional and highly effective design, with a superb, sharp 80mm f/3.5 Yashinon lens. And when you use it it makes people smile.

Portrait, Kodak Portra 400
Portrait, Kodak Portra 400

Shetland, Fuji Acros 100.
Shetland, Fuji Acros 100

Skelwith Bridge, Kodak Portra 400
Skelwith Bridge, Kodak Portra 400

Fountain, Fuji Reala 100
Fountain, Fuji Reala 100

Liverpool Docks, Ilford HP5 400
Liverpool Docks, Ilford HP5 400

Woods near Rydal, Ilford HP5 400
Woods near Rydal, Ilford HP5 400

Yashica Mat124G 2