Category Archives: written word

Ways of Creating

An amazing soul passed away recently.

John Berger changed the direction of my photography career. This is why I now refer to myself as a Artist rather than a photographer.

I  first came across John Berger in an  online interview with Susan Sontag, another brilliant mind. I was doing research for a essay titled ‘Gender through the Lens’. Sontag had much to say. However Berger’s fascinating questions and approach were so interesting I had to find out more.To tell a Story

What I took from the research that followed was this.  Berger’s view was that more needs to be considered other than the art itself when making and viewing art. He refers to the placing of it, the environment of it, the mindset of the person viewing it, surrounding images, context of it (if in an article etc). He also summarised the idea that art can and does have a life of its own and it can go on to have many different meanings. The creator is it’s humble servant, giving birth to it and then  releasing it into the world . ‘Ways of seeing’ was broadcast in 1972 but it is still relevant today.

Another great mind John Ruskin, argued in his essay ‘on art and life’; that art which is created following rules is actually manufacture. Artists creating work to rules were but tools of the production process not true artists per se. He uses the example of a sculpture working to a plan or a map working in stone. If we take one of the largest European buildings to have stone sculptures – the Sacra familia in Barcelona, we can see this point  is proven. Each and every sculpted element on this great cathedral is created by a craftsman, not an artist. The artist is Antonio Gaudi the architect. Artists manifest an internal thought, dialogue or idea regardless of rules,  conformity.

Agree or not, both these ways of thinking could apply equally well to photography. On Ruskin’s point a painter still needs to know how to apply paint, (s)he still needs to know about posture, light/dark, and (s)he still needs to be able to make the image appear on the canvas – how is this not different than with a photographer? We need to understand the tools that get us to the image in our minds and do this free from as many rules as possible – in this case the tool is the camera, but using it is not the end goal, the image is. Understanding  the technical equipment alone does not make the result any more artistic than giving an elephant a paint brush.

And so with Berger’s views. To create an image is to give birth to something, to evolve it from within your own imagination first and then use the tool of the camera to assist in bringing it to life. After this it will have a life of it’s own. It will be interpreted and read in many ways, the same as a painting. Where it is shown, how it is shown, with what it is shown will all bring different meaning to it. This can be a wonderful thing? Like Mark Rothko though as the artist you may want to think carefully about the environment work gets shown in, where and how it is shown to minimise mis interpretation.


Private Escapes

I recently published my first photography book titled Private Escapes .

‘Private Escapes’  came about as a result of my daughter Emily (above) being very ill with IBS for almost a year.  Emily would go silently to her private escapes and be with the world again when she was slightly better. One of Emily’s escapes was poetry and one of her poems she wrote during this time is below. Seeing Emily’s approach led to me exploring other people’s places they go to for refuge when things get difficult.

In the book I explored the Private Escapes of eight individuals. Each of them was very unique and touching, each of them a wonderful window onto the person involved.

 Create Escapes 

When lights go out and tide rolls in,

The night is darkest before dawn,

When creatures seep through walls and skin

and the fox sheds a tear for the fawn.

When heavens open and the skies they fall,

the haze shatters like broken glass

white wings, dipped in oil span against it all

The black and blue hearts – heal at last

When the shapeshifting soul folds a final time

Years draw on, and my flesh it wilts,

When dreams are cast above,

the colours in their prime bundled up

in rich cushions and quilts.

When I write about waves looping to a crash

Trees sculpting themselves beyond gaze

Soaring mountains roaring through earth’s path

What I mean is to create an escape.

E A Charlton, 2016


Go Silently – Welcome

Welcome to Go Silently a photography blog inspired by

The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho

Go Placidly by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945). 

This blog is about the seeking and finding quiet space in a chaotic world.  Go Silently is a blog about finding moments of space in everyday places and everyday activities.

I will post here a  recently taken image linked with a sentence or two from  ‘Go Silently’.

All the images are my own and all rights are reserved. Sharing is welcome as are comments, opinions good or critical.

Go Silently!


Go ‘Placidly’ amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Go Placidly by .Max Ehrmann (1872-1945)

(NB. ‘Placid’ has a slightly different meaning in 2016 so often the word is changed to ‘Silently’.