Wednesday 1 May 2024

Let's go round again

Welcome to May's Photo Challenge (we're up to #17, can you believe it?). For my original brief I was looking for revolving doors - not something you see a lot of these days; I realised this pretty early on and, consequently,  brought forward a theme I was going to use later in the year - namely mannequins - and decided to  run it in parallel. (If you've read a couple of my blog posts from earlier this year you'd see that I've been inspired by Israeli photographer Oded Balilty and Roxy Music!)

So, doors and/or dummies. Show me what you've got. 

As is customary, Rol gets to set the bar: "Hi John, mannequins I can do! Revolving doors... I don't think have arrived in Yorkshire yet. Being a country boy, I find some of your city-centric photo quests cause me problems. First up is a mannequin dressed as Prince from a local village's scarecrow parade last year. The theme was music, and the usual suspects were all present - Elvis, Freddie, Morrissey and the baby from the Nirvana album cover. But all the rest were made of papier-mâché. The house that did Prince obviously had connections in the fashion industry, that or they robbed a local department store's closing down sale.

Secondly, a very creepy house in Robin Hood's Bay with a face at the window.

Next up, the lovely Jo from Cornwall. This was her first message: "Hi John, ohhh, we had revolving doors at Camelot Castle a few weeks ago! Only took the picture as I liked the random ornaments. I remembered it as it was unusual to see these days. And Ezmay loved running round in it, driving the receptionist round the bend!"

A couple of days later I received this: "Today's your lucky day - I've been to a wax museum in Dublin and our hotel has a revolving door! x"

"Then, walking past the Irish Times building and I spot another one. They're like buses xx"

"Those creepy mannequins at the wax museum in Dublin."

"Not sure what Tina Turner has to do with Star Wars! Anyway, I was just chuffed I found two more revolving doors; I'll forever think of you when I see one!" Aw, thank you Jo. A great collection. See you next month.

A brace from Tim: "No revolving doors, I'm afraid, but a couple of mannequin efforts for your consideration. First up, spotted in Bulwell, Nottingham - heads on spikes viewed from the train so quite blurry, but definitely not something you'd want to chance upon in the dark!" 

"Secondly, this one's from Berlin. Equally sinister - it's all about the axe!" Thanks, Tim. These could both be stills from a Hammer Horror movie.

Andy, aka Mr. D, makes a welcome return. Having recently visiited friends in Berlin, he came back with a revolving door video and Keep Fit - German style!

Even in Deutchland mannequins still manage to make me feel uncomfortable...

...even when they're 'relaxing'. 

Or in the toy department! Thanks, Andy - great photos.

For those of a nervous disposition, look away now. Take it away, Ernie: "Nothing for revolving doors yet but will keep looking. Mannequins on the other hand - ten years ago a friend and I were spending a couple of days in Italy. We wandered into (what turned out to be) an empty restaurant and found this lot peering at us through the window." 

"They were even creepier close up." Thank you so much, Ernie. (My reply to Ernie mirrored my reaction to how this pair of pictures made me feel when I opened his email. I'll leave it at that.)

Charity Chic has got all bases covered this month and, as always, keeps it brief and to the point: "Doors from Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Glasgow."

"Dummies from Oxfam in Troon."

(This was the one that did it for me, CC).

A newbie this month; though not a newbie to me - the current Mrs. Medd! A local charity shop with its very own Tardis. A green frock.

And a red frock. Thank you, Jenny.

My good friend Riggsby from California - "From around 2005 (when I lived in Mountain View) this is the 'Curves Collection' My ex referred to the mannequin as Cher, but for me she was the Jean Genie."

"And Jean Genie with the 'Angles Collection'."

"Here she is again." Thanks, Richard. Only moderately creepy.

Alyson next - she's been on her jollies: "Hi John, here are my revolving door photos, Shot From Both Sides Now, From Up and Down But Still Somehow - sorry, got sidetracked. We were in the vicinity of Dundee last month, having a wee break in a cute cottage, when I remembered that the DC Thomson's head office, the home of the Dandy the Beano and Jackie magazine, has a set of revolving doors. We headed in to the city and soon found their building. What made it even better was that we could go in, as they have a reception area where they sell merchandise from the comics, Oor Wullie and The Broons. So, here are DC Thomson's fine revolving doors." 

Thank you, Alyson. I was up there a couple of years go - spotted the statues of Dennis the Menace & Minnie the Minx, but missed their offices.

Khayem: "I drew a complete blank on finding a revolving door, including a fruitless trip to Bristol where the ones I remembered from my callow youth have long since been ripped down and replaced by swishy sliders. I even trawled through my daughter’s boxed up Lego sets in the hope of finding one, but no joy. So, just the one mannequin photo, taken on the aforementioned visit to Bristol. This was a window display in Stokes Croft, a few minutes from the shopping centre and the bohemian bridge to St. Pauls. It’s a really busy thoroughfare for people and cars but I managed to capture a moment with a clear view from the opposite side of the road. I like the mannequin’s pose - somewhat defiant? - and the dress is beautiful. Way out of my price range and wouldn’t suit me, anyway." Thank you, K. Our second red dress. With another one on its way!

Moving on to a tasty trio from Pete Zab: "Here you go John, three from me - the first was a shop display, Diesel, in Bridlesmith Gate (Nottingham) in 2018."

"The second, a confused police officer in Sneinton Market, 2014."

"My third picture was taken at the 'Reimag(in)ing the Victorians' exhibition at Lakeside Arts, Nottingham in January." 

C from the excellent Sun Dried Sparrows blog: "Hi John, no revolving doors I'm afraid, but here's my artists' mannequin (she yearns to be a free spirit!) Cx."

The well travelled David Cooper next: "Surprisingly, I didn't have any old photos of revolving doors, but fortunately I visited a couple of places this month that had them: the RIBA in London for a photo exhibition." I must pay a visit sometime, David.

I'm guessing there was plenty of bow ties in evidence?

"And the Chocolate Museum in Cologne with my grandson." Nice one, Coops. Thank you, as always.

James was back in Nottingham recently. Like his dad he spends a lot of time looking up. Which is how he happened upon these misfits - three dummies precariously perched on a window ledge at the now defunct Debenhams in town.

As a footnote to this brace of shots, it appears these dummies have created something of a stir in the local press. It transpires some urban explorers have recently been in the derelict building doing what urban explorers do, and then these appear! Thank you, James - great work! OM x

Tony's from Pool Club and a bit of a hustler. He told me he shares his house with this dressmaker's mannequin: "It used to belong to my son's girlfriend. She passed it on to my youngest daughter, Lara, who is following the same career path in fashion." Thank you, Tony. And good luck to Lara in the world of fashion.

Adam next: "The only revolving door I could find - an office block entrance in Salford Quays. Me reflected in the glass is a bonus/distraction depending on your point of view." A bonus, Adam, I'd say!

Adam goes on: "Dummies - much more interesting. Not far from us an old woman regularly creates these seasonal displays in her garden. The Christmas one is especially fun, right at the cusp of festive and horror."

"I've never been quite sure which of the dummies gives me the most sleepless nights." 

Cheers, Adam. Steve Pemberton & Reece Shearsmith would have a field day with these.

Dave Stewart, my Mancunian expat friend, makes his Photo Challenge debut this month: "Hi John, I've got to go 'mannequin'. We've all heard stories of small seaside town waxwork museums with their interpretations of the famous 'interpretations' of the famous. This is the Fab Four from the now infamous Polonia Wax Museum in Krakow. Took this at a recent Christmas break over there. Enjoy!" I shall, Dave. Thank you. (Look no further than Jo's fantastic pics above for more crimes against wax.)

I'll quickly wrap things up. Just for once, all these shots were taken locally (and within the last couple of weeks).Taken outside H&M in Nottingham. I love the idea that mannequins eyes may be sensitive to sunlight.

The Test Match in West Bridgford is a splendid watering hole. It's also where you'll find these equally splendid doors. Looking in.

Looking out.

I particularly like the way they filter the light coming through them; then again, I'm easily pleased. (Especially when I've got a beer in my hand.)

Nottingham Hi-Fi, NG1. I wonder if their ears are as sensitive as their eyes? Answers on a postcard.

Capital One, Station Street, Nottingham. Waiting for James' train to come in last week I realised I was parked outside a set of revolving doors.

Victoria Centre, Nottingham. Not sure if this fits the bill but, what the hell - my bat, my ball, my wicket.

Mannequins with exceedingly long necks in Victoria Market.

Nottingham's long awaited new library. With not just one but two sets of revolving doors.

Nottinghamians will know The Bath Inn as something of an art deco oasis. Owned and managed by the son of an actual Time Lord, I've been known to while away many a happy hour in here. 

Next time you're up/down this way you must let me buy you a drink. You can even try on a new hat.

As always, a huge thank you to everyone who sent me their photos; I couldn't do this without you. I'll post June's theme in the comments below. See you next month.


  1. Glad to have made the editors cut!
    See you at the pool table. Tony x

    1. Always room at the top table for you, Tone.

  2. Replies
    1. Cheers, Ernie. I'll take that as a compliment!

  3. Fantastic selection well curated John. I'm kicking myself now for not being as creative as some of the others - so much scope with mannequins.

    1. Thanks, Alyson. If you're anything like me, you'll certainly be looking at mannequins in a new light from now on!

  4. Wow... looking at all of these I feel as if I've just awoken from an incredibly vivid, twisted, slightly disturbing, mad and trippy dream. Did I really eat that much cheese yesterday? Superb.

  5. A short film/ animation/ gif, a flick book even,o fall those mannikins and dummies, would be quite the experience

    1. Watch this space for the tie in book - 'Best of Photo Challenge' (working title at this stage!) - later in the year.

  6. Excellent as always. Some of those mannequins look surprisingly life like. (Not The Beatles, mind.)

    1. I concur - the wax Beatles bare little or no resemblance to their human counterparts. Anyone who tells you otherwise is blind.

  7. As well as the wax museums already mentioned by others I can heartily recommend the one in Dublin. Last time I was there the exhibits included:

    1. Hell's Bells! John Major's not worn well.

  8. A great selection as always, John, with back stories to match. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t take more shots or at least cross the road for a close up.

    Limbering up for the next challenge!

    1. Panic thee not, K. It's fine. You were obviously destined not to cross the road that day; Sliding Doors and all that.

  9. Cycles. And cyclists. June's Photo Challenge. By the 1st please. (Lycra optional.)