Features Editor John Cogan with further thoughts from the north

22 March 2014

SIG: Doc and Visual Journalism

© John Cogan

Thank you, those who have read and commented upon Blog 1. Your interest and kind words made all the difference. As a result, I might get addicted to this... becoming absorbed by my own meagre actions, the chance to inflate the mediocre! I can’t say that I lead anything like an interesting life and I have no idea who might be the least bit interested but as you wished to know how old I really am then I’ll come clean and admit to being 67 this year though with the cold, damp weather I wheeze and cough like an old gadgee (local dialect word for an elderly male).

What am I doing project-wise? Well, several projects occupy my time at the moment and I’m wondering just how I’m fitting in all the bits and pieces. Apart from the Fenwick Lawson project I’m helping the Magnum photographer Ian Berry (in his 80th year, though sit with him in his jeep and you’d hardly credit it!) write his reminiscences

© John Cogan

To add to the work load I’ve embarked on a project in the North East of England to produce a series of portraits of people who make an impact upon the area. The target is an exhibition sometime in the spring of 2015. Last Thursday I was fortunate to photograph the Chancellor of Durham University: the renown English baritone from Seaham Harbour, Sir Thomas Allen. This project already includes the chief executives of the Sage Music Centre, the director of the Theatre Royal in Newcastle, the Senior administrator of the Baltic Contemporary Arts Centre, a handful of local MPs, and the list just grows and grows.

© John Cogan 

As far as the writing is concerned I’m polishing off several articles for Candid... the one of Ami Vitale just needs her to supply me with a couple of pix; Anastasia Taylor-Lind’s needs the final sorting out of the images that will illustrate the piece and the article on the humanitarian and concerned photographer is waiting for a couple of images to come from Susan Meiselas. That’s about it for the moment but I will continue to keep you up to date with the happenings this far north. Oh, I’ve even given my first lecture to the good photographic people of Consett. Now, that was a fascinating evening with my street photography and collection of pix made on London Underground (Sorry Boris, I failed to pay my £50 for the privilege)... It seemed to go down quite well but some of my images have what I believe is now euphemistically called ICM... Intentional Camera Movement! What a wonderful excuse for a bit of shake! I’ll try and add a couple of my images from that night’s talk.

© John Cogan

Ah, Blog 2 rumbles to a conclusion and I sit here pondering the words as they marinade and the wind batters the side of the house. It’s Friday night and the local lads and lasses take most of their clothes off and stagger on ridiculously high heels to catch the X1 bus to Newcastle (one every 10 minutes!). I’ve tried for years to spot goose bumps on these bare arms and legs but to no avail... Somehow, these youths are fed anti-freeze at birth; either that or it’s a diet of Newcastle Brown Ale! Thank you one and all... and may the gods of the lens smile on all your endeavours.

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