Indiana Wants Me

I’ve had the good fortune to visit the US on 3 separate occasions in recent years – and most of that time has been spent in Indiana.
These were working visits – it’s one of the more unlikely holiday destinations if you’re heading across the Atlantic but it has a quiet charm and warm feeling that makes me want to return.


The city of Indianapolis is a smart place with an accessible downtown area, the speedway and is home to my weekly dose of NFL.

P6273270View from Monument Circle
Capitol Building
Monument Circle

Upstate (Downstate..?)

I spent quite a while at two of the state’s Universities – Ball State and Taylor – and travelled around some unheralded places.

Headin down south. Upland, IN
A poor man’s Stephen Shore. Muncie, IN
The Middle. Surrounded by corn
another photogenic gas station (petrol as we call it..)
The big sky around Matthews Restaurant, Matthews, IN
Welcome to Matthews
Old trucks and primary colours. OK, ‘colors…’
Grain Truck, Matthews

Gas City – the smallest ‘city’ I’ve ever been to, but home to Friday speedway. Noise, fumes and fried food.

The home of motor racing
Gas city Speedway
Gas City bunting

One of the most striking visual features I noticed was the signage. Sometimes grander than the actual place, sometimes unintentionaly funny but something we’ve lost over here.

The King of Pizza
It was closed, but I would’ve had a good time here
Free panties on Friday night, Fort Wayne, IN

Baseball. If ever a sport is more enjoyable watching live rather than on TV, it’s baseball. This was my first experience at Fort Wayne.

Parkview Field, Home of the Tin Caps
Uncontroversial kneeling

I hope to go back to Indiana next time I visit the US. It’s an unassuming place with warm, friendly people, incredibly photogenic and seems to exude a laid back form of conservatism. Sometimes, though you have to be immodest, especially if you are the best damn sports bar.

Simply the best. Blu 49


It Happened at the County Fair

Summer in Indiana and I got to experience that colourful cultural experience – the County Fair. We have, of course, fairs in Ireland – it’s usually cold and wet, they’re often like outdoor shopping malls, and they’re a bit… two dimensional. Now whether it’s the novelty of travelling or enjoying a trip to somewhere like parts of Indiana that are well off the tourist trail, there are things you just don’t get at home.

Forget Healthy Eating
There was a serious diet and a gym membership organised after this trip. It wasn’t just the grilled/fried everything – it was the sheer size and volume of portions.  All delicious, of course.

Corn Dogs.  Wrong on every level.. I ate loads
Make sure you have an up to date dental plan
Porky’s.  Ate here as well….
Satisfied customers from the Big Dog Diner
Something for the little ones..
Are we in Scotland???

We The People
With the fine weather and good food, everyone seemed chilled.

The Fire Department – ready for action
I think it’s a Nikon
Competition time
Love it when a Bass Player Smiles.  And nice Gretsch.

Bit of Politics
I have to say that these guys had considerably less attention than the food, agricultural shows, sports and entertainment. The Tea Party strangely had no tea.

Democrat casual.
Down with this sort of thing. Careful now.
A military presence

Tractors we have at home. Horses at agricultural shows, ditto.
Demolition derbies and pig wrestling, not so much.

John Cougar….   …. John 3:16
They actually did play ZZ Top for this
Driving without lights.  and windows
One careful owner
a fine display of horses and hats
ZZ Top tribute band and pig wrestlers
Ladies and Gentlemen., we have a winner

And finally..
Sorry about this Dave, but we were on the lookout for you the whole time.

most wanted
Lock up your daughters.. Dave’s skipped bail

Hancock, Grant and Delaware County Fairs, I salute you. Every conceivable type of food and entertainment, everyone enjoying themselves and so, so much to photograph.

Tech note:
ColorEfex Pro was used to punch the Raw files taken off the Olympus E450.  It’s a great free tool.

the Fuji 160 film emulation



Fairmount, IN.

Understated James-Dean-free welcome

It was while watching a recent documentary about Magnum Photos,  a segment on Dennis Stock’s photos of James Dean reminded me I’d been to his home town of Fairmount on a trip to Indiana.  Due to lack of time, I ended up in Fairmount early on a Sunday morning, had a walk, took some shots of the town and some James Dean related sights with the Olympus E450, and in the absence of any other souls or open cafes, headed on to my next stop.

I then forgot about Fairmount and the photos sat on a hard drive for a few years.  Looking at them now and running them through a quick Color Efex filter, Fairmount looks to these European eyes exactly like how a mid west US town should look.  with added James Dean.

An ornate 19th Century bank and stop sign.  Main Street, Fairmount


Fairmount Post Office.  Closed on Sundays
Wall based nostalgia
no MP3s
I’m sure a Beth Grant lookalike librarian works here

It doesn’t take long to find visual sightings related to Fairmount’s most famous son, and it’s all reasonably tasteful.

The Giant Bar and Grill.  
Fairmount Record Store
Rebel wall art

I never got to the James Dean gallery, museum or his grave site – it was a fleeting visit at an early unsociable hour  – but I’d love to go back.  I’d orginally had a look at these shots in black and white but a town like Fairmount deserves colour – and Kodachrome would have been wonderful.  Sadly like Fairmount’s most famous resident it’s another much missed Amercian cultural icon.

Gig Economy 1: Paper Dogs


Sometimes shooting a gig, especially in a small venue with manky lighting and a lot of shouty drunk people half your age can get you questioning your photography.  Then occasionally there’s a band who just hit the spot, visually and musically you’d want to photograph them again and again.  Paper Dogs are a 4 piece from Belfast with a very accesible hard rock/funky/bluesy sound with bit of Hendrix, Jeff Healy, Thin Lizzy and many more.

The band are led from the front by lead guitarist and vocalist, Chris Rooney.  Looking like a young John Power from Cast (to these old eyes anyway), he’s a dynamic presence and a performer with a bit of class.

Chris Rooney, Lead guitar and vocals


The rest of the band, while not as dynamic visually, perform as an exceptionally tight unit.  And with a style that looks effortless, they’re easy to photograph – lighting not withstanding.  The following shot of drummer Kris Young broke the no-flash rule – it was that or nothing as he was out of range of all the stage lighting


Kris Young, Drums


Mark Mahood, bass
Nick McCully, guitar

The band’s EP, “The Lost Art of Conversation” is on Spotify – definitely worth a listen and there are some more shots on The Flickr.

Kit:  Canon 5D, 50mm, 28mm and 85mm lenses
Lightroom, Color Efex and Silver Efex Pro.
(and a Speedlite 450 EXii….)