I've a sappy rom-com novel from the tea-room at work I've borrowed which makes for an enjoyable time-out on these rain-free warm days. It's breezy but pleasant sat in the garden. Near to where I sit are some tall skinny plants with clusters of tiny purple flowerheads, nothing much to look at really but bumblebees seem totally drawn to them, there are always at least two hurriedly picking their way through them, like old ladies in the first few minutes of a jumble sale. With the stems flailing in the breeze it's impressive how they manoeuvre their way to an efficient landing, extract the nectar/pollen and move on to the next one with no hesitation or difficulty.
It obviously made me start thinking of what it would be like for a bumblebee to experience zero gravity. I think they might like it.
I just joined a dating website. Once you sign in it takes you through page and page of questions building up a profile (of sorts). You also have to upload a photo. I'm exhausted. Too exhausted to even think of opening more than one or two of the many messages that have started to appear in my inbox (are they real people sending them?). If they are, they obviously haven't read all the details I included. I need another photo...
After a conversation with someone at work a few days ago I was suddenly re-connected with break up songs from my past and have been listening to them again the last few evenings. They are still evocative of the time they helped.
The Format biennial in Derby next year has the theme Factory.
A few years ago I realised that becoming trans seemed almost an evolutionary development for a man. One aspect of the archetype male was perhaps defined in the industrial revolution and had perhaps historically declined along with the heavy industry, to be replaced by a less obviously masculine construct - permitting even a feminised idea of self. My early montages included factory locations as a way of contrast, but later an interest in the powerful personal impact of needing to express myself through transgender identity felt best articulated by images of demolition (often of those factories) and construction, particularly earthworks, which took over and separated out.
I'd like to try for the Derby show, so I'm back to painstakingly drawing paths in Photoshop and montaging two frames into one.
The depth of great photography on view at the online PHOTO-EYE gallery is impressive (and overwhelming). There are hundreds of interesting images I could insert here, but clutching at one while swept along, this is by Aline Smithson.
18 months ago a major semi-conductor factory near my home closed. The clearance work and first phase of building several hundred new homes began soon after. I've been sneaking in to take pictures ever since.
Recently I noticed plants had covered several tons of earth that had been temporarily deposited at one corner of the site. Heavy rainfall had encouraged growth but also shattered some of the flower heads. Wild poppies were growing on the spot where components for missile guidance systems had once been manufactured in 'clean' rooms. But just as they flourished the excavators are starting to move in and claw away. Every leaf will have gone in another week or two.
There's an online photo magazine I came across a year or so ago that I am impressed by but never had anything square shape to send them to see if they'd like to include in an issue, until now. Over the weekend I did two evening shoots at a site I have designated 'Poppy Hill', which is a large thrown up mound of earth at a brownfield development on a former missile guidance systems factory nearby. Poppies seem to thrive on disturbed ground, and these ten tons of discarded soil and debris are already tangled over with plant life. My little S95 allows switching between several frame formats and I thought it was time to go square and really enjoyed it.
Mosquitos are also thriving around there, especially with all the wet weather and I got bitten several times. At work today I had to keep going to the bathroom to run cold water over my hands which were burning up. My face looks worse but doesn't even itch so far, which is odd. One hand though looks like it's b…
My fake mobile Nokia phone came today - it's fantastic! The buttons click properly, it has various input socket thingies, the weight even feels right, the holographic image 'screensaver' even looks like it is switched on. It looks like it's fully operational but it is all an illusion. Perfect. Mums apparently buy these fake phones for their small children to protect their real one from being chewed and dropped on the floor a hundred times a day. What was real was the thrill of placing it on things, in a casual, mobile-phone user way, and seeing that it even sat there on things just like it was an actual completely real one. It's pretend, which means it's actually much, much better than a real one.
Morrissa Morris is a life-affirming, free-expression-encouraging, Jack Kerouac-loving friend of mine since meeting on that pre-Facebook/Twitter site, Myspace, long, long ago when the internet was like freshly squeezed orange juice. We've never met up and never even spoken on the phone but somehow have been emailing one another on and off over the years since Myspace collapsed back into a black hole of cyberspace. She's a whole-person healer and self-taught artist living with partner Neil in Scotland, and is originally from the US where she can trace her ancestry back to the Cherokee.
On annual leave from work and (excitingly?!) I was changing clothes to mix a bucket of plaster and do some repair work to a shabby wall late afternoon when I thought I should make the most of having recently shaved my legs (and also the new 'girl face' shirt that arrived in the post this morning which was a further incentive) - so went and did another dress up shoot for a couple of hours.
It's early July but the light was very soft and cold, like September already and eventually faded away into gloom by 8.30. But as far as distractions go it was adequate to get me to postpone the mucky plastering job, and might be useful for dealing with some other chores on my list for this week.
OK, so he's the transvestite artist but he's also, if I had to pick one, the most compelling important artist around at the moment. Just when you think he must be burned out soon he comes up with probably his greatest work - a series of tapestries (currently on view at the Victoria Miro) that resulted from his TV series exploring taste and class in 21st century Britain. Intelligent, insightful and charming he makes an impressive presenter - but it is those final art works that make him something special. Deffo a national treasure in my view.
La barbe are a group of French activists who don beards at patriarchal events to indicate in a non-aggressive, sardonic way that little has changed in modern times, that it is still men who preside in positions of authority and power. It is also interesting that when protesting at a masonic lodge they were briefly tolerated - until a camera was taken out and then security made their move. Photography may be ubiquitous in a digital age but it is still intimidating to institutions as it is a means of taking authorial control.
I was half-hearted about a dressing up shoot this afternoon but went ahead anyway (seeing as how I'd washed my hair and shaved my legs etc last night in preparation).
It normally takes just a little while to set up the camera framing (trying to get exactly perpendicular to the wall but also today trying to establish a 5:4 aspect ratio which involved using a measuring tape and positioning a bit of paper to blank out part of the LCD as the D5100 doesn't allow different aspect ratios to be selected, what!) and getting the exposure and white balance settings right - but somehow today I managed to faff around for the best part of two hours and still wasn't sure at the end of that that things were quite right - but went on to spend another couple of hours taking pictures, half-heartedly still. Ug. I had some new clothes (including a shirt and skirt I felt great in) but I'd exhausted these same ideas I was working with a couple of weeks ago. Fail.