Recent self-portraits in Brussels, Paris and London, some incorporating Droste-type reflections in mirrors and lifts.

(Thanks to Tim Lucas for coming up with the name for this post!)

Paris, December 2013.

Over my shoulder.


Going to church, Christmas Day 2013.


Chez Renato #01


Chez Renato #02



Not many film-makers whose names I would be prepared to wear on my chest.

Not many film-makers whose names I am prepared to wear on my chest.

Calais, from Eurostar.

Calais, January 2014.

Evil Selfie, BFI Southbank Green Room.

Evil Selfie, BFI Southbank Green Room, January 2014.


London, January 2014.


London, January 2014.


Paris, February 2014.


Paris, February 2014. (Reaction on Twitter: “With an actual camera? Woah!”)


I met my sister in the lift.


You might also be interested in:






  1. This is just an opinion, so feel free to pour scorn upon it.

    I think the penultimate pic might look rather nice in B&W.

    (Though in my head I’d be very tempted to up the contrast so the hair goes to white and put the red lips and nails back in at “full strength”.)

  2. No scorn at all, but I don’t agree. Beyond tweaking to adjust the exposure or skin tones or for a specific design purpose, I’m not a huge fan of colour engineering, Instagram filters to add faux old timey effects, and all that jazz. When I take a colour photo, that specific combination of colours (together with lighting and composition) will inevitably have been an integral part of the very reason I wanted to take that picture in the first place (even if these decisions were instinctive rather than conscious), so why would I want to change it?

    Not quite the same thing, but my pet hate at the moment – which I keep seeing examples of on on Pinterest – is old black and white portraits of Hollywood stars that somebody has recently decided (ie it’s not a creative decision by the original photographer) would be improved by adding colour – completely ignoring the fact that the tones, shadows, contrast and all-round picture quality of black and white photography are completely different from those of colour.

    No matter how carefully and lovingly this is done, I find it stupid, presumptuous and incredibly disrespectful of the original artist – and the results never look like like colour photographs anyway; they just look hand-tinted. For some reason, people who disapprove of colorisation of old movies don’t seem to object to this practice, which I find just as invidious. The other day I saw a Clarence Sinclair Bull portrait of Greta Garbo colorised like this. How DARE they?

    It’s one of the reasons I haven’t taken any black and white photos lately (still bearing in my mind your useful suggestions on this). Going back to thinking in black and white might take some time and effort – I would probably have to learn to think in black and white again, and take nothing but monochrome for a while.

    (Sorry – rambled a bit there, not to mention ranted… Not directed at you.)

  3. I don’t mind a ramble, it can lead to interesting places/ideas and a ‘rant’ shows that a person has passion for the subject. 🙂

    I fully agree with your disagreement, for the reasons you stated. It just struck me as such a superbly strong composition that if you wished (and found the time) to experiment with a bit of colour to B&W conversion it might be an easy one to start with, even if it was not originally intended for such treatment. (Before I ‘flapped my yap’, I did fiddle about with the colour settings on my monitor to make it look B&W-ish and it still looks good.)

    (Don’t know where the red thing came from, the picture must have triggered a faint memory of something else. Probably a film poster?)

    Colourisation is a fraud.

    If you (not you, you, but a generic you) take a photo with the specific intention of ‘washing out’ the colour to produce a B&W shot, then to me that is OK, Since the colour is extraneous information.

    But if you take an old B&W photo and try to put colour information back in that is dishonest, as it is at best guesswork, at worst it is outright fabrication. They even get the colours and the textures completely wrong, using colours that didn’t exist at the time, (like shocking pink!) and they put a bright sheen on lisle stockings. a plague on all their houses, grumble, grumble.

    (To demonstrate why it is impossible to recover the info here is a link to an advert, same model, same lighting, different film stock, wildly diffferent results.

    If the notations were not there I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what the original colours were.)

    Now because I am a Grade A hypocrite, there is one exception. When photos of WWI soldiers and sailors are done, they seem much less distant and more ‘connected’ to ‘us’, rather than distant, dusty far off people from another time. (I ‘feels’ legitimate because the colours are known from surviving uniforms, (they can’t quite recapture the skin tone, a coal miner or factory hand would be pasty white, (CoCo had yet to create the fad for sunbathing), where a farmhand would be ruddy faced or as brown as a nut.)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s