I’ve been to loads of places in 2010, as regular followers of this blog will be aware. Here, for those who are new, and anyone else who might be interested, is a selection of shots from each of the countries, cities and counties I’ve been lucky enough to visit.
One of the most striking aspects of my recent trip to Bruges with my friend Mark was the markedly different attitude to photographers that we experienced compared to that in the UK. You can’t open the paper these days without reading about yet another photographer being harassed by police for taking (legitimate) photographs in a (public) location. However in Bruges, despite the fact that the majority of people walking about were tourists taking photographs, the locals appeared to actively welcome the chance to appear in a photograph (see above). We both felt that we were free to go wherever we pleased, whenever we pleased, even as far as the industrial docks to the north of the city where photographers with large lenses in the UK would probably be accosted by officious staff or police almost as soon as they stepped on the premises. Wandering round the streets and canals at midnight has never been so much fun.
Whilst I don’t want to use my blog to make political points, the Conservative party did promise prior to the election to stop the abuse of stop-and-search powers granted to police under section 44 of the Terrorism Act, and the newly published coalition agreement also makes the same promise. I will be watching closely and hopefully we will see an end to the nonsense that innocent photographers have been subjected to for far too long.
As I write, I’m about to check out of the Hotel Notre Dame in Mariastraat in the historic Belgian city of Bruges. The city (Brugge in Flemish) used to be an important hub of trans-European trade until its port silted up in the middle of the 16th Century, but it has retained many of its medieval buildings and all of its charm. Probably unfairly, Belgium isn’t top of the list for many visitors to mainland Europe, but Bruges is certainly one of the most beautiful and friendly cities I’ve visited. Here is a selection of some of my photos of the many faces of this wonderful little place.
My friend and fellow photographer Mark Casey will have his photos online soon. I will link to them here when they’re online.
UPDATE: They’re up. Please go here.