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Long Time Home - Norman Maclean

I live in the past and to some extent, have always done so. Little wonder then that although I taught art and art history for many years, I have taught Classical Studies for longer.

Ancient Greece and Rome are where I wander in my head and their imagery influence both my painting and printmaking as well as my writing.

I’m very attracted to a quote from the great Roman statesman, Cicero who once wrote: If a man has a library and a garden that is all he needs.

My garden is not a showplace being far from extensive in the domain of vegetables, but flowers and shrubs are important too.

Being surrounded by growing things that need tending affords a great deal of satisfaction.

I am completely contented when at home; never bored and never lonely. Last year’s lock-down was bliss in most respects since there was peace and quiet, time to devote to favourite pastimes including taking long walks, listening to music while painting, writing and reading at length, pottering in garden spaces.

When it comes to contemporary culture, I’m largely clueless. I dislike fashionable anything: style is much more useful from and artistic point of view although visual are is bedevilled by fashionable trends.

Perhaps that’s why my house quite often prompts visitors’ comments about its myriad images, memorabilia, extensive library and paintings: they reflect my own style, the way I think and live. Nothing fashionable in my house and there never will be!

I have greatly enjoyed overseas travels but have decided that if jaunting away is now over because of Covid, I don’t much mind at all. The privilege of living in this country should never be taken for granted. Being retired has brought the realisation that life has never been better.

I have no apprehensions about the future and find myself completely at ease with life in general.

Words by Norman Maclean Photographs by Thomas Teutenberg:

"Using a large format camera (Linhof Technika 4x5") is a very slow process.

"I only take 6 shots for this camera for each shoot, I have to make every shot count. Firstly I need to load film into light tight holders, this is done in a dark bag which is done by feel. I unfold the camera, set it up on a tripod and peer through the back of the camera. The image it projects is backwards and upside down when framing, so it can take some getting used to.

"To focus I use a loupe to make sure it's sharp, once focused the subject can't move. I then adjust my exposure settings and load the film. I remove the darkslide from the film holder and release the shutter. Once exposed I can reinsert the darkslide.

"One photo done".

Thomas Teutenberg, for the ONO Project.


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