Nicholas Mackey

Follow author Add as friend Message author Subscribe to updates from author Subscribe via RSS
I write. I take photos. Go figure.

Urban Sea

Does a city have an ebb and flow like that of the sea?

Do the movements of people and traffic in an urban space mimic that of the tidal advance and retreat?

How does it feel when you have to navigate a strange town without your bearings as if trying to find your way in uncharted waters?

Or, possibly the sea can join together a city split between east and west.

Maybe the sea can act as a balm to troubled souls.

Or, perhaps the sea can wash away the sins of the world.

Does the sea have an ebb and flow like that of the city?


Recent Comments
Monika Schott
Thursday, 08 September 2016 20:56
Nicholas Mackey
Thank you for the compliment, Monika.
Tuesday, 13 September 2016 21:57
Katherine Gregor
What an interesting simile.
Sunday, 11 September 2016 17:09
1010 Hits

By The River

Early morning sunny
By the river
Shapes meander into
A horizon unleashing
flows of memory
Like a balm
Parched souls
The waters 
Wash over us
Separate sides
This thin vein
Flows onwards 
Fluid imprint 
On the landscape 
Of our lives 
Flitting by
Recent Comments
Katherine Gregor
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 10:08
Nicholas Mackey
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 12:54
961 Hits

Flight To Enchantment


London, Spring 2013

I was walking along Riding House Street in the West End towards All Souls Church Langham Place very close to the BBC and the revamped Broadcasting House. It was a little before 2.30 on this sunny afternoon and I had my old 35mm film camera with me. 

People often ask what prompts the moment to take a picture? How long do you have? But in this case, the brief answer: as I was meandering along this thoroughfare that links the bustling grandeur of Regent Street with some fascinating back roads leading to Goodge Street and Tottenham Court Road where an exciting assortment of restaurants, cafés and shops await discovery, I found myself enmeshed between three sets of high verticals and yet all these buildings were very different to each other: an archetype 1960s office block on my left with glass predominant, on the right-hand-side there are hints of the baroque with this grand edifice of an early 20th-century pedigree and then straight ahead there is the tell-tale steeple of All Souls Church designed by Nash in the early 19th century and a survivor from the Blitz of the Second World War. Instinctively I felt that this might make an interesting picture - such is the eternal optimism of us photographers. So I stopped walking and carefully aimed my camera trying to capture this trio of verticals. I pressed the shutter and it clicked comfortingly. More about the finished image in a moment.

This area of London has a special resonance for me as just around the corner from All Souls is that evergreen media institution: the BBC and back in the early summer of 1985 I had the privilege of attending a production/presentation course there. It was an excellent training ground in radio and it helped to enhance my understanding of the spoken word on the airwaves. I learnt, for example, that the best pictures exist on radio and how one was to speak when broadcasting. It was an exciting eye-opener and I relished every moment of it.

Shortly after this course, there was a very happy event in our family when my wife gave birth to our first son that same summer. So, I suppose you could say that I came of age as a fledgling father and a novice broadcaster at around the same time 31 years ago. Later, I went on to use these newly-acquired media skills as a freelancer for the BBC World Service while working overseas in the Middle East. Sadly, no basic training in fatherhood was available at the time but I learnt about this new role as I went along, supported by a marvellous life partner, and hope my efforts as a parent have been half-decent, as they say in Dublin.

And returning to the image in question, the bird flying majestically through the top of the attached picture is a complete fluke I promise you - no photoshop, honest guv. Every so often as a photographer, you get these lucky breaks. For me, this image has come to convey a sense of timelessness within what is normally a busy metropolitan setting and yet it is also something extra - a memory or glimpse of happiness with a hint of movement, of life. A flight to a better place, to enchantment perhaps?

The image, Flight To Enchantment, can be seen at:

Image ©Nicholas Mackey 2013 



© Nicholas Mackey

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
The longer we live, the more we understand how the senses overlap, merge, and can adopt one another's functions. I so agree about ... Read More
Monday, 29 August 2016 11:23
Nicholas Mackey
Thanks so much for commenting Rosy and I'm always appreciative of the interest shown in my scribblings. I still feel that I have y... Read More
Saturday, 03 September 2016 23:15
Rosy Cole
It's striking how your images are very much 'mood' pictures. There's the story of how they came into being, and there's another st... Read More
Wednesday, 07 September 2016 16:06
841 Hits

The Sullen Wrestler Challenge

I don't know about you, fellow writers, but I am never satisfied with what I write. And this morsel about the Four Courts Dublin as per my previous blog is no exception. I am truly grateful for the time people have taken to read and even to make the additional effort in commenting on what I have written. It does lift my heart when I see that some thoughtful person has said something in response to my attempt at describing an event on a truly awful winter's day of nearly seven years ago in connection with the fairly mechanical operation of taking a photo - such comments really do 'add value' to my existence and I am buoyed up by them. Thank you. 
As an aside, I revised this article 19 (yes, you read correctly, nineteen) times before it became partly acceptable to me. More about this later. 

I agree entirely with the sentiments so ably expressed by Barbara Froman in her recent article about plagiarism in which she goes on to describe the challenges associated with the activity of writing. When reading this I said to myself, "That's exactly how I feel. Barbara has hit the nail on the head of the remorseless struggle when writing." If it reads well, then probably the author shed blood, sweat and tears in the creation. Other writers have talked openly and cogently about their battles to tease out the correct word, the well-formed sentence, the smooth-flowing paragraph and then the page that sits well within the tale being conjured up from the imagination. But the truth is that writing is a bit like a wrestling match with a sullen opponent who is of inexorable strength ready to cast aside your nebulous inspiration, your fragile dreams, your nervous first attempts at drafting those incomplete ideas on paper for the very first time. So easily our first endeavours into this magical world of the creative can be thrown off course and wrecked on the needle-sharp rocks that represent the repetitive reality of our daily existence. English teacher admonitions about mixed metaphors come to mind all of a sudden - I can't imagine why! 

And the above reference to numerous revisions relates to how I try to put down my ideas on paper as it were aiming for lucidity - not always successfully I hasten to add - but here goes: often ideas for writing come to me visually, a bit like a film or video that plays out a single short episode - often with dialogue and varied angled views - or even a complete story unfolds in the realms of my filmic imagination and I rejoice in its fluency, the scintillating precision of the story as it clips along at a fair pace and I enjoy the 'ride' so much. Then I awake from my (day)dream and very quickly the finely-textured fabric of my story begins to unravel. As fast as I can, I begin to write, often in vain, attempting to recapture the excitement and magic of the story I had swirling around so effortlessly in my head perhaps just moments before. So I write and I write and I write and I write endeavoring to recollect the finely-tuned clarity of my dreams where I hope a story worth telling can be brought to the attention of readers in search of a decent tale.

But the truth is that it takes real, honest-to-goodness stickability to see the whole process through from that first tentative draft to the ultimate nirvana of publication when your newly-minted book takes on a life of its own. You then embark on another journey - that of being a published author - but that's a future story to be told.  

Recent Comments
Ken Hartke
"... often ideas for writing come to me visually..." I fully understand this -- my primary "hobby" now is photography but I don'... Read More
Wednesday, 27 July 2016 16:33
Nicholas Mackey
Many thanks for commenting Ken - much appreciated.
Tuesday, 02 August 2016 22:16
Katherine Gregor
Yes, I remember that you're never quite pleased with what you write... but, Nicholas, sometimes that's an unconscious fear of fail... Read More
Thursday, 28 July 2016 10:54
805 Hits

Latest Comments

Ken Hartke Sofia's Bakery
20 May 2018
Thanks, Rosy, -- glad you liked it.
Ken Hartke I Promise
20 May 2018
I am so looking forward to your return -- I love your writing and wish you well. From my youth I've...
Stephen Evans I Promise
20 May 2018
Sometimes when I am dealing with deep anxiety I find that work (by which I mean writing), and the f...
Rosy Cole Sofia's Bakery
20 May 2018
I just love this, Ken. As appealing to the senses as a painting. Thanks :-)

Latest Blogs

   I hear the rotating motion of the fan. My fingers typing on the keyboard.   It’s Tuesday, 4am. I hear my thoughts in this moment’s silence.   ...
My hypnotherapist said, “close your eyes and go to that place that brings you peace. Describe what you see.”   “I see Green all over, peaceful and ...
To get myself back on track. I am going to try.   A hypnotherapist is helping to quiet my mind. Residue from being hit by a bus a couple of years ...
                        The village sleeps while a few coyotes prowl and scuff through the alley that passes for a dusty street. They o...
Something is off balance. Despite the routine in place, there’s a gap somewhere in between.   Can’t quite put my finger on it. I just know and I c...