Friday, 29 October 2010
Wednesday, 27 October 2010
The entire archive –lives licked by flames - was ruined when a water pipe burst, flooding the basement of the fire station in which they were housed. As the photographs are 35mm slide-transparencies, no prints or negatives exist: these, the originals, are water-damaged beyond repair.
The equivalent: an archive of ‘scorched scuba divers’, rescued from a houseboat fire. Fire-eaten frogmen, toasted coral, burnt fish, skeletal shipwrecks. Fire-damaged frogmen, like water-damaged firemen, must exist - be swimming around out there, somewhere?
Sunday, 24 October 2010
Friday, 22 October 2010
Then, I house my camera in the bird’s nest, set the self-timer and let the nest photograph me in the position I photographed the nest from: a bird’s-eye view of a wildlife photographer – part-bird, part-spider.
Monday, 18 October 2010
The Pataphysician, Alfred Jarry, said, ‘Clichés are the armature of the absolute’, and swans, like ducks and sheep (from lambing to shearing), invite (incite?) the production of photographic clichés. In sculpture, an armature is the framework around which the sculpture is built. 'Outdoor types' are often clad in a combination of fleece and down - walking, climbing clichés. An armature is also the name used for the kinematic chains used in computer animation to simulate the motions of virtual human or animal characters. In 1996, Dolly the sheep was the first mammal to be cloned, using the process of nuclear transfer. And we are all familiar with 'The Ugly Duckling'.
Saturday, 16 October 2010
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
I only got one shot at the duck before the wind picked up, leaving it dead in the water.
Sunday, 10 October 2010
Freiburg, Germany, I’m reading Boris Vian’s ‘The Froth on the Daydream’. It’s not a book about beer, but it gives me an idea. The streets of Teutonic Freiburg are paved with Pils, and aren't ‘street photography’s’ random, urban wanderings - filling the camera with intoxicating imagery – no more than a search for form, out of the foam of the everyday?
It takes just under two minutes to pour a 1-litre stein of beer, and the glass must be held at 45 degrees, so every time I encountered Pils on the pavement (and there were several), I pointed my camera 45 degrees down and took two-minutes-worth-of-photographs. Notice how in the final photograph, the white foot stepped in at the last minute - just the time the frothy head would be forming, if a Pils were being poured. By stepping forth towards the froth, a headless foot lends a hand - saves the daydream. I was ahead of myself with this 'beer idea'. It's as if I'd been waiting for the 'white foot' to come along, all along.
I’m drawn to the thin veins in the table-dancer’s legs - their rhythmic relationship with the rippling, white braiding of her skirt (evident in the first two images). And the plot of Vian’s ‘The Froth on the Daydream’? It’s a long story about a short marriage. Woman falls ill upon her honeymoon with a water lily in the lung, a life-threatening and rare condition that can only be treated by surrounding her with flowers. Her husband struggles to provide enough flowers, and she dies.
Thursday, 7 October 2010
A curving line is a flowing line (even when it’s concrete), for your eyes will smoothly follow a curve without pause. Curves also relate easily to one another in forming rhythmic relationships, but an arrangement limited to curves only is apt to appear weak and insipid without the assistance of - stronger straight lines – a lead.
Monday, 4 October 2010
Andy Warhol visits Jimmy Savile for afternoon tea and cake: Blonde on blonde? No, they’ve both got white hair (Andy’s is a wig). Look at the way the curtains cut Jimmy’s hair. The mirror cuts Andy’s in almost the same place. I’ve always wondered what kind of cake it is that Andy’s holding? And if you are thinking a high security mental hospital is a strange place for this duo to meet, think again. When Broadmoor was opened in 1863 it drew attention to the poor conditions in British asylums such as the infamous Bethlehem Hospital, which was known as ‘Bedlam’. This is how - on 6th June 1968 - ‘The Village Voice’ reported the aftermath of the shooting of Andy Warhol, by Factory Actress, Valerie Solanis. “When she finally came through the door, her hands were cuffed behind her back, it was bedlam. Photographers climbed behind the booking desk, elbowing cops out of the way. While police tried to book her, she poised and smiled for photographers”.
Friday, 1 October 2010
The Broadmoor 'criminal lunatic asylum', as it was called, was opened in 1863. Jimmy's in good company, other famous Broadmoor residents (past and present) include: Richard Dadd, painter of the Victorian era - noted for his depiction of fairies and other supernatural subjects -, who made his best work whilst incarcerated in Broadmoor; Thomas Cutbush, Jack the Ripper suspect; Roderick MacLean, failed to assassinate Queen Victoria; Peter Sutcliffe, the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’; Ronnie Kray, gangster with strong homosexual tendencies, convicted of killing Jack 'The Hat' McVitie; Ian Brady, 'the Moors murderer', and Charles Bronson (not the actor and star of Death Wish), a bank robber. Bronson holds world records for feats of strength and fitness, and when he's not up on the roof protesting, performs 3,000 press-ups a day.