If you love your photography you may have been one of the thousands who visited The Photography Show (@ukphotoshow) at the NEC, near Birmingham, last weekend. You’ll have witnessed new cameras, technologies, printing processes, demos and lectures - if it’s photography it was there. The show has something for every style of work, and inspiration for beginners and professionals, both.
We take more photos today than ever before, sharing millions of images daily, yet with photos computer and mobile phone based, we rarely print. There’s still something special about seeing your photo on the wall, which is why (bit of self-promotion here!) I was so pleased to see my image – this week’s photo – of Kelly Hansen, lead singer of the band Foreigner, exhibited on the Tetenal (photo paper and materials suppliers @TetenalUK) display stand at the NEC, demonstrating their paper surfaces.
Paper type can hugely enhance a photo, and whether in a gallery or simply at home, can bring a subject properly to life, in a way you never experience when staring at it on a screen.
The basic message this week then, is to get printing, and remind yourself how great it is to pass a photo around, or see a print on display, capturing memories for both keeping and sharing, rather storing with the thousands of others on your phone – most of which will soon be forgotten.
Photograph by Stephen Curry.
There are many indicators that Spring is well and truly on the way, not least is the progress of flowers. When you begin to see the Daffodil, you know that the cold fingers of February are starting to wane, and the optimism of March is just around the corner. This brings me to March 1st; St. David’s Day.
St. David, the patron Saint of Wales, was a Celtic monk, Abbot and Bishop who lived in the 6th Century. Tradition holds that he died on this day in 569. His life is remembered today as this National Day of Wales. Traditionally on March 1st many people will wear a daffodil, a National emblem (as is the leek) of the Welsh.
Outside of the Welsh celebrations, you will find many gardeners ticking off the daffodil as the next step towards Spring. Equally you may start to find the more fair weather photographers among us, venturing out with camera, ticking their own list of flowers captured in their photos for the year.
What happened to you this Shrove Tuesday? Was it a day of indulgence, eating lavishly prepared pancakes? Or simply another dull day at work? A pancake race? For many, Shrove Tuesday is just another day, but for several towns around the UK, something a little more special is going on. Welcome to the world of Shrove Tuesday Football Games, pancake races and excess.
Shrove Tuesday lies in February or March, preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent.
Pancakes are associated with the day as a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk and sugar, before the fasting season and religious obligations of the 40 days of Lent. Fasting involves eating plainer food, refraining from the pleasures of rich ingredients. In many cultures, this means no meat, dairy products, or eggs.
In Britain, as part of community celebration, many towns held traditional Shrove Tuesday "mob football" games, some dating as far back as the 12th century. There are 15 games still in existence – not all on Shrove Tuesday, a number take place also at Christmas, New Year and Easter - festival dates, whether religious, traditional or folk, in basis.
The practice mostly died out in the 19th century after the passing of the Highway Act 1835, which banned playing football on public highways, others over the years dying out due to less interest or excessive trouble and authorities banning the games.
A number of towns have maintained the Shrove Tuesday tradition, including Alnwick in Northumberland, Ashbourne in Derbyshire (called the Royal Shrovetide Football), Sedgefield in County Durham (The Ball Game), Atherstone in Warwickshire (the Atherstone Ball Game), and St Columb Major in Cornwall, (called Hurling the Silver Ball). These are the main 5 now contested on Shrove Tuesday.
The games are still fiercely fought, with the balls highly prized, maintaining and winning the games are of immense value to the townsfolk involved and very little will stop the games going ahead. Tradition now plays a huge part, with some of these games reputedly begun 700-800 years ago – though records beyond the 1700's are often difficult to find, with history of the games being passed down through families, church records and village life rather than through the news. Nevertheless, Ball Games are known to have taken place around the 12th Century, so it is entirely plausible that some of these games, or variations thereof existed at this time.
So, if you have a little time to spare on Shrove Tuesday, and feel like risking your ankles or more, then head down to one of these towns and villages, where there's a little more going on than on a usual day.
Thoughts and opinions
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