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Showing posts from May, 2011


Shaved my legs and did my hair last night but still took another hour today (shaving face, underarms and then doing - that should be attempting to do - make-up) - before starting a four hour + dressing-up shoot.  The skirt, two tops and a dress I got from charity shops last weekend were all I wore in the end despite having a wardrobe heaving with more 'girl clothes' than I have 'male clothes'.  It was raining hard and as a result the light in my spare front bedroom was very poor - was shooting at around a second at 400 ISO at f8.  It's hard to hold completely still wearing heels for anything more than that.

I tried a few ideas, including posing as if contemplating text above me (which would be added afterwards in photo editor software).  Using the self-timer and going back and forwards to check what it's looking like (and making slight manual adjustments to the exposure and occasionally setting a custom white balance) for 395 shots (I've just noticed the am…

Object of desire

(29th May 2011)

The tradition of male artists painting women, who are usually referred to as their 'muse',  it's been going on for a long time.  I think the motivation to paint while on a polite level is an acknowledgement of beauty is also very much an opportunity to simply savour the experience of attraction (which is just as likely to be rudimentary as any more refined feeling).  The female model allows the male to engage with her as a visual object that stimulates feelings of desire, and to metamorphose that response into an aesthetic problem which is resolved into an artwork.

For me, being (rather than seeing) the female muse seems an obvious development.  The challenge then becomes one of how to resolve various almost intractable physical problems in order to metamorphose into the same object of desire, and to then make an image of oneself.

The process is more problematic as it transgresses various socially accepted codes of behavour - if you are a male painter woul…

Diptych with invert

Non-compliance to the gender binary

(28th May 2011)

A couple with a background in social-justice issues have made the decision to raise their child, Storm, without recourse to imposing the traditional gender binary in any way upon him - and has led to a predictable avalanche of criticism:
I think it's an enlightened decision but the intolerance already unleashed indicates there is no way to maintain a free, supportive environment for very long, and the practical hostility they are already facing will be waiting for Storm on his own very soon, outside the family home. I anticipate he will eventually feel the need to comply at some level in order to access the safety and 'rewards' of 'fitting in'.
Their decision was influenced by something as simple as 'X: A Fabulous Child's Story' by Lois Gould

That's cool - but I also like …

Untitled photograph by Cindy Sherman

(27th May 2011)

Untitled photograph by Cindy ShermanI am a massive fan of this Cindy Sherman photograph, which is the stand-out image of her stunning 'Centrefolds' series from 1981.

It recently became the most expensive photograph ever when sold for nearly $4million at Christies a couple of weeks ago. Bargain!
In the Roberto Bolano book I'm reading I came across the expression 'from ethics to aesthetics' today - and this picture spans that range of need. Sherman is important both as a feminist critiquing the way women are viewed (in every sense) and refining the visual language of a medium in the process. A lot of her later work fails to engage in the same way but her place is assured and the money has been well spent.
I recently became (more) aware of Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura, of a similar age to Sherman, who as part of his own work emulates the most iconic images of women from art history including …