There is growing unease over the fracking exploration in this country which seems to be riding roughshod over local concerns, and being aggressively misreported in the press. The government is in a hard place- it has to reduce its reliance on carbon fuels and to some extent overseas suppliers.

However watching the very real concerns unfold at Blackpool and the often facile responses from the authorities, as well as the discovery that a lot of local councillors (who have admitted it) have received payments from Cuadrilla should provoke a considerable sense of unease. Is this really a solution? If it’s such a realistic proposition then is it just nimbyism gone mad by those who object?

This film was shot last week and shows a group of mothers and grannies, and their supporters taking possession of an access field that will be used by Cuadrilla. The security people were quite miffed at being caught sleeping on the job and weren’t at all keen to talk. I don’t suppose it was their proudest day.

This week Reclaim the Power will join in support of this action. Will the usual violent infiltrators ruin it and try to blame Reclaim the Power and the grannies, and use the press to aggressively misreport it? Watch the tabloids later this week and see if big money wins again…

I edited this piece with the Director over the weekend.

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Fire poi in France

So there I was trawling round with the camera when I came across this chap and his friends, who watched as he practiced his fire poi by the Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux. They were friendly and totally at ease in their environment. I wondered how long a group of young people like this would be left alone on British streets without the blue flashing lights turning up. Joi de vivre is naturally evident here.

fire poi in bordeaux pic by simon bennett photographer

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And so to conversations in Bordeaux

There are some people who reckon the only place to live is London and invariably trot out that overused Samuel Johnson quote to back up their argument. Given the economics of living in today’s London I’m not convinced about that one, and it’s only when I visit other places that I realise that the quality of life is also very significantly better elsewhere. The other day I was prowling round Bordeaux late in the evening, like you do, after work with my camera getting some night views of the city. From a safety perspective this could be questionable but I could feel the friendly vibe of this city and felt pretty safe there. This led to this all night traipse around the banks of the river between the bridges with my camera and tripod. During the evening I talked to a number of young guys at different times, all interested in the photo-taking. In this instance, I was just concentrating on a street shot using the ambient light when I was approached by this friendly chap who stopped to chat. Then in a second he posed and I clicked. It just happened – and this is him. Bordeaux is a pretty city well worth a few days of your time – with friendly locals, and very drinkable wine. So what are you waiting for?

photo of Bordeaux guy Victor - friendly face to a lovely city

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Powerboating in Guernsey

A very good friend of mine likes the kind of boats that appeared in my previous post about Guernsey – boats for sailing. She thinks I am a bit of a yobbo, but I like speed. It’s one of the few areas where I am aggressively competitive. This is why until recently my daily car use was an old car with acceleration measured in hours rather than seconds. I have to be first, if just to ensure that I am not stuck behind some imbecile who wishes to drive at ten miles per hour less than my good self. I don’t pretend to have a great love of the sea, but I have always liked the idea of having a speed boat as I love the exhilaration, and so it was with some envy that I watched the competitors in the Guernsey Powerboat trials a week ago….

powerboating in guernsey

powerboating in guernsey

powerboating in guernsey

powerboating in guernsey

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St Peter Port Guernsey

A break in schedules photographing lots of people allows time for some landscape shots on this beautiful island….

st peter port guernsey

st peter port guernsey

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Scilly Seal

My photography work has taken a new direction and I am doing a bit of travelling at the moment. Last week I got to the Scilly Islands and on a trip out to sea on this high speed boat I caught a seal waiting for the tide to come in so he could get off his perch….

scilly island seal wildlife photography by simon c bennett

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Let The Body Go – music video for Mark Northfield

Mark Northfield - Let The Body Go

I vividly recall the first time I heard the instrumental for this piece. It was when we were filming the session music (see last post) and Mark played this piece to which I remember feeling my eyes welling up. I was in grief for my father who had only recently died and my emotions were all over the place. I just thought it was a beautiful piece of music.

Then Mark told me that it was in fact a tribute to his late mother who had died about a month before Dad. What we have here is a touching accomplished piece of work which I was delighted to film and edit earlier this year.

Mark Northfield - Let The Body Go

Mark posted this on his Facebook page and it is more eloquent than anything I could write on the subject.

“Today would have been my mum’s birthday. It’s the first one since she died last July, so it feels particularly strange and poignant. I thought this would be an appropriate time for me to share this song and video, even though the instrumental version was the first of the Cherry Mint Koala videos I shared online last month.

Two days after mum’s death I wrote a song called ‘Let The Body Go’, which was my own way of trying to come to terms with the intense feelings of grief and release. Mum had suffered severe chronic pain for many years, and it had reached a point where everything was a huge effort. The struggle to survive became the only focus, and with no realistic hope of recovery. An impossible situation. And yet, being the incredibly determined person she was, she lived far longer than I ever expected.

But I didn’t want the song to just be about an ending, even though being present at her death was fresh in my mind. Stupid as this sounds, I wanted to undo time, to rediscover the woman she used to be when physical illness wasn’t so all-encompassing. To celebrate the joy of being alive, of physical experience, of music, and of the role that love and memories play in helping us deal with the nature of mortality.

Above all else, I wanted it to be a serene and beautiful elegy for the woman who lost her one and only child, but then raised two others completely as if they were her own. A most precious and enduring gift.

The video for the song is something I worked on with Eva Perdiki Holdsworth (who previously choreographed a duet for Waiting For Green). Most people who know me will know I’m not a dancer, and goodness knows there are enough talented people I could have asked, but as the song was so very personal I really felt it was something I wanted to have a go at, technical limitations and all. The second half depicts scenes from a life – some of which are directly connected with mum, some not – while the first half anticipates these movements by presenting them in a more neutral choreographic way. It was filmed by Simon C Bennett with assistance from James P Goldie.

The song was another piece used in the recent 1.2 dance project at ArtsEd. They sang my four-part arrangement of it in the WW1 context of the piece so unbelievably beautifully, I was moved to tears by the end. The experience of that performance will stay with me for a very long time.”

Mark Northfield - Let The Body Go

With thanks to UniQ Studios for their assistance with the lighting.

Assistant Editor: Sam Watts

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Music video for Cherry Mint Koala

I have been working on a series of videos of session recordings for Cherry Mint Koala, a trio of talented musicians who recorded music composed by Mark Northfield. ‘Let the Body Go’ is a work produced at an intense time for the composer and the emotive aspect makes itself quite clear.

Video still by photographer and cameraman Simon Bennett for Cherry Mint Koala music video

This series of recordings will be released as an album entitled ‘Beguiling Transmissions’ later in the spring.

This first track in the sequence – ‘Let The Body Go’ – was written by Mark last summer a few days after the death of his mother, Beryl Brown. Although it sprang from this very personal grief, the song was written in the hope that anyone coming to terms with such a loss might find a measure of solace through it. It is both a serene elegy and an uplifting celebration of life and love.

Mark’s vocal version of the song is the title track of a digital EP being released next month under his own name, and there will be a separate video featuring this.

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Hosts at Winterpride

There are some amazing creative make up artists out there and a few of them got the chance to flex their muscle with Seventa Image last month at Winterpride in Tobacco Dock. I was there ready to get them in their finery….

winterpride hosts and make up artists

winterpride hosts and make up artists

winterpride hosts and make up artists

winterpride hosts and make up artists

winterpride hosts and make up artists

winterpride hosts and make up artists

Amazing headsets by Alien Foxx Designs @alienfoxxx
Make Up Sponsor Seventa Image @SeventaImage

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Publicity photos for Iamsoho

You may recognize the models – it’s Class A doing the promo!

publicity photos for iamsoho lifestyle card member promo- photography by simon bennett

publicity photos for iamsoho lifestyle card member promo- photography by simon bennett

publicity photos for iamsoho lifestyle card member promo- photography by simon bennett

publicity photos for iamsoho lifestyle card member promo- photography by simon bennett

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