Tag: photography


In Praise of The Expo Disc

FOR SOME YEARS I’VE BEEN WRITING ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY AND AWARENESS. I even discuss how, in post-processing, I attempt to restore to images the colours as I saw them and why they moved me.

I discuss the defining moment, when an experience registers in consciousness before we describe it in dualistic terms, such as colour, tonality, pallet, exposure and other words.

For me, photography explores experience – mine – and attempts to communicate it. I discourage people from making value judgements, about their own work, and that of others.

Some years back I purchased what I thought an expensive gadget called the Expo Disc. I don’t remember just how much I paid but I thought I had lost my marbles!

I tried it out immediately, and was amazed by the realistic results, even with my compact, and this was perhaps ten years ago.

Then, because it was so expensive I kept it in its case, couldn’t be bothered to attach it to my belt, and my expensive toy rarely got used.

Yes, from time to time, I got it out. Attached it with a lanyard around my neck, but still it seemed more of a nuisance than an asset. Meanwhile, I was shifting the white balance in my camera to the manufacturer’s settings for sunny, cloudy, shade etc.

I even got egocentric at one time declaring that as I shoot RAW anyway I always tweak the WB in post-production.

I also use a range of legacy lenses and digital filters to tweak colours and create period styles.

Deep down, however, I like my images to have the colours that inspired me. The Expo Disc achieves this painlessly, but you have to be prepared to discard the protective case and just put the thing in your pocket.

Do this and you’ll reap a return in investment in spades. The colours are perfect. They recreate the magical experience of seeing 🙂


Why Photography and Awareness?

Animated gif of a rock pool at Hartland Quay

Rocks at Hartland Quay, Devon 2015

WORDS . . . TRICKY BLIGHTERS, because they are rooted in dualism. That’s why some like to make photographic images. No duplicitous words there.

Take the idea of ‘The Decisive Moment’. It was popularized by Henri Cartier-Bresson as a way of describing a split second when an apparent outer event coincides with an equally fictitious inner psychology. But don’t you sometimes need more than a split second to fully become aware of your, repetitive, free flowing, original nature?

It’s all appearance and fiction because it’s not two becoming one but, rather, multidimensional awareness overlapping and interconnecting. For many, however, their fate is to experience nightmares in which their worlds, and they, are experienced as separated.

Consciousness plays such roles usually without revealing your real identity, but sometimes, as part of the show, you may find yourself knowing what you really are.

Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, for example. He admits to curing an entire ward of the criminally insane without visiting with any one of them. Instead he read their files and worked upon himself using ho ‘oponopono a traditional Hawaiian healing practice. This powerful technique demands that we take responsibility for whatever appears within our experience in the knowledge that it really dwells within us, clouding the clear plane of awareness.

Language separates because sentences are split syntactically into subjects and objects. The thing to remember, however, is that despite this apparent dualism, every sentence carries a complete meaning. It is this not simply the specific meaning of a sentence that is conveyed, but also the implication that communication reaches out.

Photography, too, has always been a medium of communication. But in the wonder of conscious-awareness, who or what is specifically communicating with whom?

Michael Eldridge, my friend and teacher, writes: ‘And so,’Photography and Awareness’, although the other way around would make more sense because with a developed and acute awareness, photography just follows like a happy and obedient puppy.’ I like this metaphor.

Cartier-Bresson put what Michael alludes to in this exchange:

‘Why did you press the button at that precise moment?’ asked the painter, (66 year old Paul Bonnard).

Cartier-Bresson turned towards one of the unfinished canvases leaning against the wall, and pointed in detail: ‘Why did you put a little touch of yellow here?’

Michael goes on: ‘. . . I would prefer the word ‘Absorption’ to ‘Awareness’ but it would sound silly as a title, so we’ll let it stand.

‘You see, when we are in a state of absorption, the awarer (sic) is not there as a separate entity and there is no duality.’

Here I take issue, although it’s probably just words being deceiving. This state of ‘absorption’ to which Michael refers, is misleading. Nothing, and on-one, gets absorbed into anything else, because they are both properties of the great illusion. No matter how much you may hypothesize on the nature of living the only thing that ever resists dissection is the fact that you experience and that you are aware of doing so. From where you, apparently, are everything you experience occurs upon a screen of awareness with which you originally, and correctly, identified .

Nathan Gill wrote in 2000: ‘If all there is is Consciousness, if there is only Consciousness, then why or for what are you still seeking? If there is only Consciousness then right now you must be that and everything else that appears in and as awareness must also be that, including your sense of separate self if that is how you appear now. Any personal sense of I or ‘doership’ or ego must be Consciousness. What else could it be?’

Michael continues:
‘And we all experience this state when deeply into a book or film, or fishing or playing chess whatever. And of course children spend most of their waking hours in this wondrous state until adults begin to interfere. And the deepest state of absorption is when we are in the act of creating, whether a painting, a poem, a garden etc. In short, simply doing the things we love, if we haven’t forgotten what these are.’

I love this idea but feel impelled to clarify something. Awareness implies a grasping of life’s immediacy. There is a possibility, for most largely misconceived, of taking responsibility. Absorption, on the other hand, suggests something less concrete. Something dreamlike perhaps?, to be possessed, not quite all there, spaced out.

It’s not forgetting what creative things we used to enjoy that causes our problems, but rather having forgotten what we are.

Jean Bolen, a Jungian Analyst, once explained to me that when this happens archetypes may consume us. We then become insensitive to those with whom we live or work. A variety of symptoms may break out, as a result, ranging from a chaotic lifestyle with its missed appointments and inability to stay with planned agreements, to plain old fashioned narcissism and insensitivity.

American psychiatrist Milton H. Erickson was once consulted by a painter who suffered with a creativity block. Erickson gave the man a post-hypnotic suggestion that the next time he attempted to paint he would go into a deep trance and complete the painting with no memory of the event.

In due course the man set up a canvas, and before starting took a bite from a cheese sandwich he had prepared for his refreshment. When he took the second bite he found that the bread was dry, which puzzled him. Upon looking up he was amazed to find that his room was quite dark and before him was a fully painted canvas. A whole day had passed.

Many of us would like to enjoy such ability when completing tax returns, or cleaning the lavatory basin, but we must ask ourselves what role awareness plays in this story.

The question also relates to how art is regarded.

Dutch-born painter Willem de Kooning first began to show symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in the 1980s. He began working far faster than ever before, producing more than 300 paintings before he died. These lacked the density and layered complexity that had put de Kooning at the forefront of Abstract Expressionism. Where before he took eighteen months, or so, to complete a work, often painting and repainting layer upon layer on the canvas, his work was now ‘complete’ when ‘assistants’ were ‘satisfied’ by it.

This is one of the dangers of focusing upon ‘absorption’ as a destination. Within the dreamlike matrix projecting what we call ‘reality’ awareness tends to conjure up what incomplete aspect of the idealized image it has of itself that it focuses upon.

Sometimes, words matter after all.

Cartier-Bresson said many wise things. Here are three of them: ‘You just have to live and life will give you pictures. . . . We must avoid however, snapping away, shooting quickly and without thought, overloading ourselves with unnecessary images that clutter our memory and diminish the clarity of the whole. . . . While we’re working, we must be conscious of what we’re doing.’


Adams & Eggleston

WHEN YOU’RE IDENTIFIED WITH BEING A PHOTOGRAPHER YOU CAN’T STOP YOURSELF FROM MAKING PICTURES. Painters are like this with oils and canvas. Even without a camera in your hands you will be making mental images that record snapshots of another world.

This world forms a synthesis of what appears to be ‘out there’, waiting to be photographed, and ‘in your head and heart’ comprised of intuition, movement and emotions. In fact there is solely one world for you, which you assemble as a result of stories you have learned, or created, and the pleasures and pains you seem to have experienced. All this occurs through and within Consciousness, however, because of conditioning most personalize Consciousness and associate it within an egoistic concept of themselves. They claim ownership of Consciousness when referring to their Personal Awareness. I attempted to explain this theory briefly, and more poetically, here in 2001.

If you ask William Eggleston why he makes photographs you get a straight, honest, answer. He says: ‘I like to do it.’ Isn’t that enough?

Alec Soth - image Jolson CC 3.0

Alec Soth – image Jolson CC 3.0

Another photographer, Alec Soth once said that there are now too many Egglestons in the world, or words to that effect. I take this to mean that there are today many people photographing mundane subjects and assembling them as collections in photo-books. This begs a question, however, are the photographs any good?

An image isn’t good, or bad, in comparison to any of William Eggleston’s photographs. Each of his images stands, or falls, on its own merit. The same applies to any image you happen to make. Some, when experiencing an image through the filters of their ‘personal awareness’, which is just code for conditioned prejudices, will not be able to see any merit in your work. An iconic landscape photographer, Ansel Adams, was critical of Eggleston’s work when it was first displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, (MOMA). He dismissed it, but back then in 1976 Adams had the attention of politicians, such as Richard Nixon who, like advertising agencies, were keen to sell us the iconic idea of Americans as plainsmen. Beat photographers thought differently, especially following the publication of Larry Clark’s disturbing work Tulsa in 1971.

I think there are, today, too many Ansel Adamses in the world, and too few Egglestons. Flickr, Picassa, and Facebook are crammed with dreamy images of blurred waterfalls and saturated meadows. Meanwhile, the world is drowning in beautiful, if deadly, human-made detritus. It is true that Ansel Adams was moved by the majesty of the American landscape, especially the Yosemites. He experienced the high peaks, tones, and the struggle to achieve perfection in a print as if a great musical work, which is not a bad way. His problem, however, is that even if he heard notes, or saw a potential score in the ordinary when he photographed it few were interested.

Baton Practice Manzanar War Relocation Center, 1943 - Ansel Adams

Baton Practice Manzanar War Relocation Center, 1943 – Ansel Adams

William Eggleston, seems to live in a unique, other worldly, place where he has remained oblivious to praise and criticism alike. It helps to have been born into a wealthy family, of course. within his images everything is beautiful, even objects most find ugly. He’s on some trip!

Adrian Searle, wrote in The Guardian:

“The pleasure of an Adams photograph lies in the quality he brings to, and draws out of, the rocks and ponds, the trees and falls. . . . Adams’s America presents itself as ancient and apparently uninhabited. Eggleston’s America is trashy and shrill, messed-up, beat-up, littered with man-made detritus. Adams and Eggleston do, however, make an oddly apposite pairing, harsh though the contrasts and contradictions are.”

Shell Oil Field, Pacific Coast, 1945 - Ansel Adams courtesy of Fortune

Shell Oil Field, Pacific Coast, 1945 – Ansel Adams courtesy of Fortune

Once, following an encounter group in the 1970s, someone spiked the last cup of tea with LSD. I have long since abandoned the idea that what I experienced, during my journey home and the few days following, were the result of gestalt therapy. I am grateful to whoever it was because, for a while, I was able to fully identify with the world as it surrendered to me. Flowers would beckon from the hedgerows and seem to kiss my soul. There was no space/time between us.

I feel, somewhat this way when I see a photograph, indeed I feel I may claim no authorship, save the moral right to copyright images under the Berne Convention, for pecuniary reasons. I do not make them, any more than they make me. They simply happen. I think it must be the same for William Eggleston.

Water Tanks, Ataköy 2015 - image Stephen Bray

Water Tanks, Ataköy 2015 – image Stephen Bray

Where Ansel Adams required a mule, packed with large format cameras, plates and lenses, with which to set out like some archetypal prospector into the mountains mining for images in idyllic landscapes; Eggleston simply walks out of his front door, or takes a car ride with his son. He is not recording landscapes but, instead, experiences. Nothing is contrived, although his images are carefully framed in order to convey the psychological flavor of his experience.

It may appear that I’m suggesting that William Eggleston is a better photographer than Ansel Adams. Let’s be clear, I’m not. They are different; they come from different times. Ansel Adams was part of America’s ‘f64 group’ and lecturing in photography when Eggleston was hanging out with Andy Warhol at ‘The Factory’.

Ulli Lommel and Andy Warhol on the set of Cocaine Cowboys, 1979. Warhol is playing himself CC 3.0

Ulli Lommel and Andy Warhol on the set of Cocaine Cowboys, 1979. Warhol is playing himself CC 3.0

Warhol was also, among other talents, a photographer. He made colorful artwork inspired by commercial, everyday, packaging, and the iconography of stardom. Eggleston’s work isn’t derivative of that of Warhol in any way, but just maybe the time spent at The Factory spurred Eggleston to using the commercial dye-transfer process as the medium for his color photography.

There is a generation gap, between Adams and Eggleston, that is perhaps wider than the split between film vs digital. Eggleston reflects his conservative upbringing in his attire, but little else is conventional about him. Adams, on the other hand, looked far more like one of today’s people, dressed as he did in denim and cowboy shirts, but if he ever were a rebel it was in a different time. As Eggleston says:

“None of us was interested in, back then, what was considered art photography, which was very large large-negative landscapes like Ansel Adams.”

The Tetons and the Snake River, 1942 by Ansel Adams

The Tetons and the Snake River, 1942 by Ansel Adams

To photograph, and print, like Ansel Adams, requires great patience and skill, but I suspect there is a formula to it. Eggleston, on the other hand, is more spontaneous; almost like street photography but, when you really look, even his pictures taken on the street are more like landscapes than street photography as most know it.

Now go out and do your own thing!

Stephen Bray, 2014

Stephen Bray, 2014


Photography, Awareness, and Digital Media



Workshop poster by Colin Tracy

To be frank, though, I doubt our work has mass appeal. Digital people tend to find themselves hypnotized by the Apps on their phones, and being being available with a service, or ‘selfie’, whenever their boss calls. There is an audience, for our workshop, of course. It’s made up of those who like to slow down and enjoy each moment of living.

In galleries people come with time to look, see, explore and comment. Sometimes they are moved by what they encounter.

Playful comments, especially in visitors’ books, are the ones I enjoy most, because they reveal that people really have been touched by the work. Polite comments tend to be well meant but point to someone’s social conditioning. All are welcome.

Thinking about awareness led me to consider the nature of photography as a medium, particularly in this age where digital manipulation easily makes images share many of the attributes of painting. There is a cross-over with digital art.

Image © Stephen Bray

Digitally Enhanced Bonfire

I posted an image about this on Facebook a day, or so ago. I titled it ‘Digitally Enhanced Bonfire’.

Today’s work is more solemn. It’s not about changing light, but changing attention. Please watch and let me know what you make of it.


Can Photography Foresee the Future?

Photography has come a long way since Nicéphore Niépce made the first photogravure etching in 1822 and thus created an industry.

When I last visited his birthplace and the Musée de Châlon Sur Saone nearly forty years ago it was possible to take a sheet of sensitized paper from a drawer, and develop it into a replica of that first ‘magical’ image.

The First Successful Photographic Image via Wikipedia

The First Successful Photographic Image

Fashions wax and wane in photography, but I fancy that first image  was never deliberately composed yet, stylistically, it resembles something from the Cubist method for representing a mechanistic fragmented world that would soon unfold.

I don’t propose to dwell on how photographic processes developed here, research into Louis Daguerre, William Fox-Talbot and George Eastman are readily available elsewhere.

Instead I want to look at how some images have the ‘creepy’ ability to foretell the future.


Bichonnade Leaping © Jacques-Henri Lartigue Foundation

Who could doubt that the image, (above), by Jaques Henri-Lartique must have been taken by a mischievous eight year old?

But look closer, and it becomes apparent that there is something absurd about the bourgeois life depicted with its restrictive long skirts, peacock feathers, and whalebone corsets. In a very few years they disappeared from fashion forever.

Lartique caught this, (below), when he was just a few years older. Taken in 1912 it is emblematic of the twenties and thirties, because it celebrates the power of that forthcoming benzene driven age.


Papa at 80 kilometers an hour © Jacques-Henri Lartigue Foundation

Henri Cartier-Bresson wrote in 1952:

“Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression”.

His words were inspired by the philosophy of Zen Buddhism, which he discovered as he read ‘Zen in the Art of Archery’ by Eugen Herrigel. But there’s more to it than that.

Even before knowing anything of Zen Cartier-Bresson was working from another philosophy, and one that was augmented, rather than diminished, by Zen.

He was a surrealist.

The surrealists believe that just beyond our range of common perception life is pregnant with a far richer depth of meaning. Sometimes we catch glimpses of this. Psychoanalysts claim that dreams reveal such alternate worlds. Physicists, such as David Bohm, claim that there is an implicate order – a potential – beyond the explicable that is revealed to us.

Artists attempt to convey something of this by creating works that arrest the mind causing it to refocus and momentarily bring forth an alternate reality.

Sometimes a photograph has the power to do so.

Behind the Gare St. Lazare © Cartier-Bresson Foundation

Behind the Gare St. Lazare © Cartier-Bresson Foundation

In 1933 at the Gare Saint-Lazarre station, in Paris, Cartier Bresson saw that something remarkable was about to happen and pointed his Leica through the wire fence surrounding the station. Then he snapped this.

Some photographers consider this to be the greatest photograph of the twentieth century, not simply because it shows something of what we’ve all done at some time in our lives, but because of what else is in the frame. It is a portent of a global disaster.

The man of course, somewhat, resembles the Joker in a card deck – more specifically ‘The Fool’ from the mysterious Tarot Pack.

The Fool is considered to be the spirit in search of experience. He represents the mystical cleverness bereft of reason within us. In recent decks he is depicted as someone about to walk off the edge of a cliff.

Now lest you think that suggesting a man puddle-jumping is a far cry from the Joker about to jump a cliff into an abyss that is the future I must warn you that many consider ‘Behind Gare Saint-Lazarre’ to contain even more than this.

In the background a poster reads: ‘Railowski’, an almost generic name that could be invented to describe a Jewish rail transportee. On the foreground there is a broken hoop, perhaps symbolising the greatest calamity that may befall what was for centuries the world’s most useful mechanical object, the wheel.

The wheel also appears in the Tarot deck. It symbolises fortune, and appears exactly half way through the court cards at the point where Psyche, symbolised by ‘The Fool’ begins to experience the vagaries, and seasons of fortune.

It is written of ‘The Wheel’: ‘A common aspect to most interpretations of this card within a reading is to introduce an element of change in the querent’s life, such change being in station, position or fortune: such as the rich becoming poor, or the poor becoming rich.’

The open hoop protrudes above the water, symbolising the unconscious potentia and points to the reflection to the man’s reflection on its surface.

Could this really be a portent of changes of fortune things to come? The image was taken the year in which Hitler came to power.

Fanciful? Maybe . . . but Cartier-Bresson had a remarkable facility with fortune. As a boy a gypsy predicted many events that were to become true in his life. She predicted his marriages; their outcomes; the birth of his daughter as well as other significant matters that were to befall him.

Generations of photographers have been influenced by Cartier-Bresson. I’ve written about him elsewhere and, when he read my words, he was gracious enough to send me a message, which I found not simply helpful but also portentous.

One such individual is the mysterious Mr. William Eggleston of Houston, Texas. Perhaps more than any other photographer he has the ability to see through the American Dream, whilst still preserving a reverence for beauty.

It’s not that he’s an aesthete, far from it. But I do believe him to also be a surrealist. His pictures illuminate something beyond what is obvious, and indeed in photographing everyday scenes and objects, as they appear before him, he claims to take pictures ‘democratically’ and to be ‘at war with the obvious’.

You can see something of Eggleston’s democratic eye in this image of his uncle and a manservant. A black man in a white jacket strikes an identical posture to that of a white man in a black jacket.

‘Adyn And Jasper’ © William Eggleston Trust

‘Adyn And Jasper’ © William Eggleston Trust

This was taken at a time when the South was segregated, and so says something beyond the fact that these two men shared access to similar objects in their day to day lives. It’s not just that they’re in rapport – it simultaneously indicates a difference in station whilst pointing to a, soon to be, equality in rights unprecedented in modern American, and recent South African, history.

It was taken at a funeral. Could it be the funeral of male white dominance?

Perhaps the creepiest of Eggleston’s prophetic images is this one.

Greenwood, Mississippi © William Eggleston Trust

Greenwood, Mississippi © William Eggleston Trust

In it we see a blood red ceiling savagely cut by the white electric cables. In the centre is an electrical fitting, once ornate it now lacks a shade.

The only other features of the room are the top of a door, and some pop art poster renditions of the Karma Sutra. There is something beautiful about the depth of colour in it, yet few would want to hang it on a wall in their front room.

It could be the kind of room where a murder has taken place – a crime scene?

Eggleston took it whilst laying on a bed with the room’s incumbents a couple who were his friends. He just saw something, pointed the camera at the ceiling and . . .

The house is no longer there. It was burned down with his friend in it. He had first been murdered with an axe.

A note on the copyright images included from the Cartier-Bresson Foundation; the Jacques-Henri Lartigue Foundation; and the Willian Eggleston Trust.

Fair Use Rational:

1. Used in an scholarly article about the artist. 2. Is a historically significant work that could not be conveyed in words. 3. Inclusion is for information, education and analysis only. 4. Its inclusion in the article adds significantly to the article because it shows the subject, or the work of the subject, of the article.5. The image is a low resolution copy of the original work and would be unlikely to impact sales of prints or be usable as a desktop backdrop. 6. An equivalent free image is not available and cannot be made.

This article was first published on ‘Blokes on the Blog’, as ‘For Grown Up Photographers Only’, February 13, 2012. The topics expressed here were subsequently expanded into two volumes: Photography and Psychoanalysis: The Development of Emotional Persuasion in Image Making, and Photography and Zen: Discovering your true nature through photography.  These are available paper bound and as Kindle publications.


Photography and Awareness

Each person must find his or her own path. Nonetheless,
seek guidance from wise and compassionate people and
listen to them earnestly. This will help you find the best
way to proceed – now and in the future.

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa.

Photograph by Stephen Bray

 When I began photography I had no idea that it could have a spiritual dimension. It was magical, of course, because it seemed a way to represent reality without the effort of drawing, or painting. Later, it became a way to meet girls, travel, and inform others.

But photography, particularly in this digital age is also a way to receive instant feedback about who you are when you know how to read the signs.

Most photographers are unable to deliberately pursue this course, because it requires surrender rather than attempted mastery.

Frustration arises when the white impression of a hair appears as an otherwise perfectly crafted image emerges on paper in the developing tray. More commonly, in these digital days, similar emotions arise when it seems impossible to correct an error made at the time of exposure using the latest image editing software.

These difficulties are information coming back from the eternity from which our self-identity has appeared. They point to a lack of self-knowledge as much as those errors in image-making. Often faults, such as the hair, or the poorly exposed digital file, may be traced back to preoccupations with our illusory selves as we prepared the darkroom, or made settings upon our cameras.

Sometimes disappointment rises to the point of anger, or desperation. In a way, this is good because it focuses our attention upon the dream of separation. It’s not the darkroom, chemicals, or camera that is at odds with creation but us, in the form of our self-image.

The very best photographers know how to get out of the way of their creativity and simply allow pictures to come. As a result their camera becomes like a ‘third-eye’ through which they see clearly. Experience hones technical skills, which now seem automatic. They know that their images are as much about them as the imaginary outer world that seems to present itself to be objectively recorded.

A few go so far as inject this insight into their work by including themselves as figures within the frame, but it’s not necessary to do so in order to learn from your photography.

As this journal develops I will share some insights into the work of notable photographers, as well as display my own work and write about the way of photography.

I hope you will enjoy what you find here.

An Interview with Photographer Stephen Bray


The Remarkable Story of ‘Trees and Sky’

Who would have thought that a friendship might endure for thirty-five years without those chums meeting, or hearing, of each other at all?

And how strange that each, in our own unique ways have trodden a similar paths.

Michael Eldridge is an accomplished artist, both on canvas, for like many good photographers he paints, and also as a highly attuned lens-man. Now living in the mystical Sibillini Mountains of Le Marche, Italy, he was an art teacher in Dorset, U.K. when I first encountered him.

I have been making images for half a lifetime using the skills first imparted to me by Michael long ago.

Although people rarely appear in their images both Michael and I share an enthusiasm for others. He is a driving force within the ‘Tiger Eagles Coaching Group’, and teaches Creativity Workshops, both in Italy and other countries.

I spent years teaching generations of psychotherapists, including doctors and psychologists, both in the U.K. and Turkey, and continue to provide support and supervision for many health care professionals.

There are three elements to each image Michael and I produced for our exhibition. There is the sky, which changes but like any personality yet remains the same essential entity. Then there are the trees, growing daily and, like all living things, subject to finite lives that witness both virtue and hardship.

The third element is you, the viewer. We invite you to make what you will of the images in this exhibition.

Stephen Jeremy Maxwell Bray and Michael John Eldridge

StephenBray and Michael Eldridge