photography by Paul Hardy Carter

Fré

Fré Jaake, Painter, Valencia. May 2002.

Fré Jaake, Painter, Valencia. May 2002.

This was taken in Fré’s studio during what I think of as his ‘cathedrals’ period. He would pin large sheets of canvas up directly on the wall, not bothering with a stretcher, and just get stuck in with a lump of charcoal. He worked very quickly and often within a day he would already have a lot of paint down. There was no source material around that I could see – these amazing Gothic interiors came straight out of his head.

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Synagogue

The Spanish Synagogue, Prague. November 2003.

The Spanish Synagogue, Prague. November 2003.

It seems there are some places so inspiring that even the Nazis couldn’t bring themselves to destroy them. Of all the synagogues in Prague this one has the most visual impact. It now houses an exhibition of artefacts from the Nazi period as a way of commemorating the thousands of Jews from the city who were murdered. The people with the slightly ghostly expressions are looking at the exhibition cabinets, and inadvertently adding atmosphere to my picture.

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Cloister

St Martin-de-Londres, Languedoc, France. September 2003.

St Martin-de-Londres, Languedoc, France. September 2003.

So many places in the south of France give me the feeling that intense human habitation over millennia has produced buildings that, although separate from the landscape, grow out of it. Nothing in this picture came from more than a few miles away from this place, but only humans could have cut and arranged the stone to create something that, with the addition of the extraordinary natural light of the region, becomes magical.

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Work on the Land

Walking to work, Western Romania. October 2004.

Walking to work, Western Romania. October 2004.

This was taken at dawn from a moving train travelling across southern Romania. I love train travel, and the slower the trains the better. Sadly many countries are now replacing their old carriages, in which you could open the windows and take pictures, with the modern, air-conditioned, quiet, high-speed variety. In Romania they don’t even bother to close the doors on the carriages, so you can hang right out with your camera and the whole landscape is your subject.

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Work in the City

Walking to work, Sudbahnhof, Vienna. October 2003.

Walking to work, Sudbahnhof, Vienna. October 2003.

Train stations are one of the staples of a photographer’s visual diet. Many people moving past your lens, just passing through, thinking only of where they are going or who they are going to meet and hardly aware of their environment. Sadly many stations now employ staff who’s sole job appears to be telling anyone who pulls out a camera that pictures are forbidden.

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Pigeons in Formation

Pigeons in Formation, Valencia, Spain. May 2002.

Pigeons in Formation, Valencia, Spain. May 2002.

I don’t know why I started to take this picture, just one of those scenes that look interesting in some way I guess, and then the pigeons started to move about in my viewfinder as if choreographed. This is a perfectly typical scene in Valencia, a city of hundreds of churches and thousands of church doors, but this simple picture has remained one of my favourites out of the countless photographs I have taken there.

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Scooter hiding

Calle Vitoria, Valencia, Spain. May 2002.

Calle Vitoria, Valencia, Spain. May 2002.

What first caught my eye here was the light reflected on the street, and then the shapes painted on the wall which seem to mimic the pools of light, then the back end of the scooter which, for some reason, is sticking out onto the pavement. While I was preparing to take the picture this guy walked past me and hurried down the street, adding a sense of movement, and the composition was completed. This is one of my favourite pictures.

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“Don’t like it here…”

Bicske Refugee Centre, Hungary. November 2004.

Bicske Refugee Centre, Hungary. November 2004.

This boy from Kosovo had been living with his family in the refugee centre for a few months waiting to hear if their application for official status had been approved. He was in a country where he didn’t know the language, where he had no friends, didn’t have a school to go to and didn’t know what his future held. I found him pretending to talk to his friends back home on the telephone. He had no money to actually make the call, and anyway his friends probably didn’t have phones.

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Fooling Around in the Yard

6th District, Budapest, Hungary. May 2004.

6th District, Budapest, Hungary. May 2004.

The symmetry of this image appeals to me. Most of the apartment blocks in central Budapest, where the majority of the population lives, are built around large central courtyards used by the residents as common spaces. I’ve no idea why whoever decided to water the pot plants only watered two of them, and then not two next to each other, but it seems I wasn’t the only one to find the water patterns interesting.

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Fishing

River Sava, Belgrade, Serbia. February 2004.

River Sava, Belgrade, Serbia. February 2004.

The distinct geometry of the world we inhabit becomes very obvious from an elevated vantage point. Sometimes this seems like cheating to me, after all, I want to capture the world the way I see it, not the way it looks from some unusual perspective. It’s why I don’t use short or long lenses, and why I’m not interested in macro or aerial photography. In this case I was walking up a bridge ramp and this is simply what I saw looking over the edge – so I think it’s allowed.

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