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Showing posts from August, 2011

Not quite as good as the real thing


When you are a kid and playing cowboys and indians you never actually believe that you become a cowboy or indian, however much attention to detail.  If you get into the role play then what you achieve is  a simulation of an imagined experience. You don't really ambush and kill or be killed you get to pretend.  It's just a game.  Fun.

Sometimes I think cross-dressing is similar, it's a kind of aspiration to have the fun associated with 'the other'.  Problematically it's also transgressive in that there is still a strongly held taboo against that kind of dressing-up, regardless of age - parents feel concerned if a boy wants to cross-dress, perhaps less so if their girl is a tom-boy (as male attributes are somehow more acceptable).  They are aware of the social implications that would arise very quickly and could be harmful.  Repressing their child's impulse may be more harmful, of course.

Something I never expected - and I've only rarely been lucky enough…

Sad faced girls

Wendy at work was telling me about a band she was getting into called YUCK.  I just had a look for a video of theirs and found 'Rubber' which is astonishing - low budget and compelling.  The motionless, sad, beautiful face of the girl reminds me the subjects of Lisa Sarfati's photographs.

Out for out's sake

Sunshine on a Sunday so back to the land clearance site just out of town - more for the walk through woodlands and fields n the vicinity (the bits still intact) than anything else.  Although the prospect of blue sky in some shots for a change in place of a subtle shade of overcast white appealed.

3 supermarkets

It's a nice day and I've now got brake seals on my bike that actually keep the brake fluid in.  So despite the usual pre-shoot anxiety I set off to do a shoot, or three, in fact.  Three and a half hours later and I've been to Morrisons, Sainsbury and Tesco, photographing their value range products. All part of my developing a theory of gender/transgender, identity and clothing -  and low-cost food marketing. 

Generic foods

Kellogg's cornflakes are currently £1.99 for a 500gm box in my local supermarket - whereas their own brand box is 31p.  I am sure their own one will be appallingly bad - but I got a box.  I was seduced by its utilitarian style of packaging.  No imagery just two dull, lifeless colours and a font lacking in any elegance or decorative quality.  If you couldn't read it would be only the shape of the box - a standard cornflakes box shape - gave any obvious suggestion of what would be inside.  The result is a dramatic form of design that aims to emphasise just ONE particular quality, in this case the low price.  Nothing else matters so much as conveying that single idea.  All stores have their own generic branded low-cost alternatives and whatever colours or design are used the key point is always to put emphasis one thing -  in this case, of course, the 'cheapness' aspect.  Low-cost generic branding of cornflakes or chocolate relies on a quickly establishing one salient poi…

True Men by Brian Shumway

BURN online photography magazine always has a terrific selection of arty documentary imagery.  Brian Shumway's series called 'True Men' is currently online there - and here's a direct link to his portraits of guys who are non-conforming to masculine stereotypes:

Tara Inanloo

Check out this young photographer who studied photography at Nottingham Trent Uni - same college as me - and who has been labelled the Iranian Cindy Sherman.  I just found her work online and am impressed by her self-portraits.  She also does gig photos - which I used to do at local dives for nearly six years - so oddly it's more than just the dressing up for photos thing in common.

23 GB

Having spent a large part of another weekend unsuccessfully trying to sort the leaking front caliper on my motorbike I was suddenly psychologically prepared to go edit - as a preferable alternative.  A few hours later I had deleted well over 20 GB's worth off my eMac.  The hard drive had been full to capacity on occasion lately which has resulted in some panic-deleting of images from months ago when  trying to download newer photos (and hoping I've got those erased older folders backed up somewhere) - so it feels like it's got a bit of room to breathe again now.  It's OK for a first edit but still 90 per cent + of what remains has to be similarly dispensed with in subesquent sifts. It gets harder further along.

Eyelashes practice

I'd read it was awkward putting on false eyelashes so when I got some recently I was expecting a total fail - so was unexpectedly thrilled to almost manage to do it on my second attempt. My own eyelashes are a bit nothingy so they feel dramatically great, though a bit like having two moths loitering on my eyelids which takes some getting used to. Still, I'd deffo recommend them to absolutely everyone in the world ever.

Orange earth

Despite a front brake leaking brake fluid it was too tempting to bike out of town a few miles to see how the A46 road widening was going and take photos.  One crew were working on a new section but the main dig was wide open.  The proximity to a very busy main road is a bit distracting - the feeling of being watched/judged - but oddly no blaring horns this time or police pulling over (nowhere for them to park making it difficult).

The construction of earth banking is further on - and trenches - the colour of the dug earth is quite a vivid orange, strange.  I have now downloaded and had a flick through for technical checking - and noticed some over exposing going on - which is probably as much an edit as this shoot will likely get.

New skirt & long exposures in low light

Uncertain States Issue 07

There is a launch party in Hackney, East London Thursday 4th Aug for Uncertain States Issue 07 - which has a few of my photos in, including the cover shot.  So, 'Hi' to anyone who makes it to this blog from reading that magazine and thanks for stopping by.

Me and other objects

Podcast on 1975 New Topographics exhibition re-run

Curator Alison Nordström of Rochester’s George Eastman House on their re-showing of the seminal New Topographics exhibition:   (podcast HERE.)

It is a curious thing that today, this exhbition in art historical writing about the history of photography is the second most commony cited exhibition, after 'The Family of Man'.
An exhbition that nobody saw.  A catalogue that nobody read. But now an exhbition that everybody considers not only very important but thinks they know a great deal about. Why is it such a big deal now?  We're not sure.  A small group of people saw the show but they were a select group of people. The conversation was really not about land use, not about the built landscape.  The conversation was about what should a photograph look like. Is there any subject that should not be photographed... and turned into art. They were fine art not because of anything about the picture - that's never what makes something art - but these were made by artists, people wh…

# 3

As I'm back at work tomorrow I felt driven to get one more shoot in before then, even though feeling quite fatigued lately.  I've just finished a five hour shed session (maybe it should be workshop session) and after so long in heels (mostly 5 inch ones) I'm glad to sit down.  It's nice to still be in swishy skirt, pretty, figure hugging top (plus bra and boobs), jewellery (cheap but cute) - I mostly get all the validation I need in front of the camera, which has been the case for a long time now.  And it's quite cool in my house and I need layers before too long so tend to wear guy stuff.

I took about 350 shots, not much hope of more than one or two from that - and as often happens a mistake was the most interesting.  There's some software digital zoom button on the back of the camera (can't deactivate it) and I pressed it instead of the self-timer and didn't realise till I'd taken a dozen shots. I often just reach round the back of the camera to p…