Lipstick 2 by John Gaffen

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A second digital abstraction of a photograph I took, of the base of the Ladywell Play Tower (The Old Ladywell Baths), Lewisham. Legend has it, that during wartime, when makeup was scarce, local girls, queing up to go into the baths, used to use coins, to grind holes in the red brick at the base of this tower, and use this as a kind of improvised lipstick! (more likely, it was used as a sort of rouge!). The original image shown below, from which LIpstick 2 was made, using Photoshop Elements 7, was taken with a Canon 1Ds Mk 1 fitted with a Canon EF 24 – 105mm F4L IS USM lens.

I was a scientist for many years, working in the field of medical research, both in academia and in industry. In late 2004, I left science to pursue my creative interests in photography and the visual arts.

I am now a professional photographer living in South East London. You can view my professional photography website at:-

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  • Mike Oxley
    Mike Oxleyover 4 years ago

    What a great work, John. Turned into a pretty cool abstract! Very interesting background story, too. Hadn’t heard of “brick lipstick” before, although people were pretty inventive during those times. I remember my folks telling me about the use of eye pencil to create the illusion of the seams on nylons…

  • John Gaffen
    John Gaffenover 4 years ago

    Thanks for you comment Mike, I was told this story by a local historian, some time back now. There may be a bit of artistic licece in use here, I was told that it was used for some type of makeup!

  • Tania1403
    Tania1403over 4 years ago

    Great work John and I must say the story is so very interesting! :-)

  • John Gaffen
    John Gaffenover 4 years ago

    Thanks Tania!

  • pat gamwell
    pat gamwellover 4 years ago


    FEATURE PAGE: The Soul of Abstract

  • Brian Rivera
    Brian Riveraover 4 years ago

    Love this John. It looks like a painting.

  • John Gaffen
    John Gaffenover 4 years ago

    Thanks Brian, I think I got a bit lucky with the photoshop filters, but I was realy supprised and pleased with the result

  • Rene Hales
    Rene Halesover 3 years ago


  • John Gaffen
    John Gaffenover 3 years ago

    Happy Valentines Day to you too Rene and thanks for the comment

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