14 January 2018

Cuts Hairdressers, Soho

Product photography - not my usual thing but I wanted to be helpful... 
The packaging doubles as an artwork. If you're on Dean Street maybe pop in and pick some up? One box will last a goodly long time. 

10 January 2018

Zibaldone in B&W

Got this little flexible-covered 300 page notebook that I am using for my latest Zibaldone. Not sure why I have gone B&W - I think it will teach me something, though at present there is much moaning and little else. Anyway, because my Mac laptop won't print to the Samsung Cheap-O-Rama Laserjet that I have (I have no idea why it does't work - I mean, there is some sort of seven-word explanation on the printer's minscule seventy-pixel LCD but I can't understand six of them) I have to download pictures to my phone and then print them from that using Samsung's Print Service Plugin for Android (which works very well). So, the combo of the need for tiny pictures for the Zib, in B&W, via my phone, means that I have uploaded the above little menagerie, made with Blogstomp, which I have then downloaded to my phone and printed off prior to it being cut up and the individual portraits stuck in the notebook. Convoluted, but kinda fun.

6 January 2018

Winter Train Ride II (b&w)

What I wanted to do here was try and pin down something of the cold grey but also at times beautiful winter countryside as it fled past the Shrewsbury to Welshpool train. These are the survivors of about 25 pictures - some others may appear, and these may be edited - I was in a hurry today, I don't know why. Square and black and white? Yes, that was what took hold of me. Anyway, January in the UK - it goes on a bit... More anon.

Winter Train Ride

I'd recommend popping this onto as large and as high-resolution screen as you can get hold of so that you can appreciate it all, most importantly the traffic lights which are probably not really visible if you are looking at this on a small laptop or, more likely, a phone. Taken with a Fuji XPro2 with the 23mm f2.0 which is my go-to lens on this camera. Do I like the Fujis now that they can focus? I certainly do.

More on Crewdson's dioramas

The Cambridge dictionary: Diorama: "a model that shows a situation, such as an historical event or animals in their natural environment, in a way that looks real."

Only of course, Crewdson's dioramas don't look quite real. We know we are looking at a representation of something else, a situation that perhaps hasn't ever happened - we know this because we find Crewdson's pictures in books and exhibitions, not by chance in someone else's photograph album. And they are too perfect in their strangeness, we know that someone taking a photograph of someone else in such circumstances would have an impact on the look and feel of the image were it real - the presence of the photographer would be palpable even if they were being ignored. Of course they are photorealistic - they are photographs after all, and ultra-high resolution at that - but the people in them are frozen, as if in thought or as if they were plastic figurines painted up to look realistic. Such as these:

[Photograph: Andreas Grewin - more here. Andreas - I can't find a working email link to you - if you see this and you have objections to the picture being here, let me know and I will remove it immediately]. 

I spent years in my early teens making dioramas like the one above - without the same degree of skill or attention to detail, but nonetheless with very much the same sort of subject matter and the same materials - a kit from Tamiya, paints from Airfix, shrubs made out of lichen... Was the driving force for me the same as it is in my passion for the pictures of Gregory Crewdson? It certainly seems like a strong possibility to me now, albeit, as already noted, my preoccupations were different. Whereas in my teens war was thrilling and manly and a world of possibility where control over one's surroundings could be wrought with a gun and explosives, as I grew up I became more interested in human relationships, in sex and attraction and in the strange unknowableness of other people - ambiguity, the difficulties of communication, the unbridgeable gap between ourselves and others, sometimes the fact that we are mysteries even unto ourselves. Besides, the horrors of war seemed to me too important to be airbrushed out by the romanticism of scenes such as the one above. I also discovered smoking and drinking and reading and music and going out and ... Life. And thus I gave up on these models. 

But now I'm beginning to think I only sublimated the interest I had in them, and that my interest in art and photography and portraits is the same interest but squeezed and made more complicated through several decades of experience and desire and literature and films and paintings and conversation and travel and that, at heart, I haven't changed fundamentally: I'd still like to control the world the way building these dioramas allowed, I'd still like the illusion of the power of life and death, the ability to overthrow the established order with a bomb and a bullet. And my interest in the run-down, collapsing world of Crewdson's vignettes stems from these same urges and thrills, the same desire to explore relationships, to know the unknowable, to explore the psychodramas until I understand myself and others. And maybe my desire to take photos stems from the same place, and maybe model-making, diorama-making, was a much purer form of this desire. And maybe all I see in Crewdson is the same exploration, the same desire in him - he leaves lots of questions (where else is the thrill?) and, like the rest of us, doesn't have the answers. 

Cuts Hairdressers, Soho

Product photography - not my usual thing but I wanted to be helpful...  The packaging doubles as an artwork. If you're on Dean Stre...