Comments on photos (and architecture)

By mthomas

Photography by Steve Howse for Decanter

Photography by Steve Howse for Decanter

In a recent blog I used an image from a photoshoot for Decanter Magazine commissioned to accompany an article for their ‘My Passion for Wine’ slot. The image was not the one used in the article but people seem to really like it and have asked me about the angular building in the background (see below). The ‘shoot’ was at the University of East London Stratford Campus where I am based for part of my week. I am not used to being photographed, especially by a professional in public, so it was a strange experience despite Steve doing his best to put me at ease.

The building in the picture is the new Conference Centre at Stratford (soon to be venue of the De-medicalising Misery Conference (conference website here) run by my friend and colleague Professor Mark Rapley, Head of the training programme for Clinical Psychologists an Antipodean with an interest in wine and very GSOH.

cass-school-of-edThe campus has had a huge overhaul including the new Cass School of Education (picture to the right) and refurbished open spaces. It is not as striking as our Dockland Campus which regularly wins architectural awards but is a great place to work.  Here is more information on the campuses and buildings for those of an architectuaral inclination.

My office looks out over a green space containing a sculpture/garden that was at the Chelsea flower show. Perhaps more exciting is that my desk faces the Olympic site and I am monitoring the building progress and rise of the new (temple of consumerism) Westfield Centre. More importantly, things are settling down, for students and staff, after the unavoidable upheaval of the building work.

Photography by Steve Howse for Decanter

Photography by Steve Howse for Decanter

The image that was selected for the Decanter article was similar to the one on the left taken in the University library (an attempt to add intellectual gravitas perhaps). It was significantly different though in that I was looking up (recalling a trauma  or diassociating due to the embarassment of being ‘shot’) and gives the impression of me being slightly eccentric (Hannibal Lecter meets Woody Allen). People who meet me who have seen it are surprised I am not aloof and geeky! People who know me are convinced that it catches some important aspect of my personality. A big thanks to Steve and Decanter for allowing me to use his work and UEL for investing in such great buildings.

The emails from readers reminded me how important photography can be (especially in text heavy blogs). I guess I am lucky in that I have two good friends who are talented photographers. Huw Williams who did a lot of the early pics for the site (and was great on the technological stuff too) and James Wilson who used to work with a lot of well known photographers but now seems to specialise in taking lovely pictures of my wife and kids but embarassing pictures of me. I am a bit sceptical of ‘disclosure’ generally, and even more so on wine blogs; especially if it is along the lines of ‘we got a new hamster today’ but people have asked for a bit more info so there you go…