Tuesday, 28 September 2010

But I want to do everything..

The problem with me is that I want to do everything. I've been thinking about it more and more.
I was impressed with myself when I managed to focus on one medium, mostly. Photography is what I want to do. Knowing that doesn't help though. There are hundreds of different cameras, hundreds of different photographic practices and many kinds of film. How do I narrow down what I do?
Then there are themes, I stick to a theme for a while, evolve it and then start something completely different.

I have no focus.

other people seem to have work that leads from one theme to another, flowing naturally, with perfect progression. Their work recognisable due to having their own style. Often they use the same medium and the same techniques.

I don't want to limit myself, but maybe in order to control my concepts, I need to stick to one format and one camera and truely master that before exploring other options.

I think when uni starts up I will spend some time working in black and white 35mm, on one camera and try to fully master that so that the work becomes entirely about the concept, not the format.

In other news though, tomorrow I am doing a workshop in Platinum and Palladium printing. So that will be an interesting technique to master, even if I am without focus.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


I found these great youtube videos which really fascinate my curiosity regarding decay. It seems really final, the way when something dies, it rots and ends up folding in on itself.

Theres been this dead hedgehog on my way to work for the last couple of weeks, I saw it whole, then rotting, then maggoty, then finally when i walked past a couple of days ago it had almost completely disappeared. It was just a stain on the ground. How heartbreaking is that? We all have so little time.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Short series

Despite being advised by a friend not to continue with this series after the first photo, i did. It is a short series which really comments on the cycle of life, only choosing to photograph animals rather than humans because humans hide their dead so well.

What i was trying to communicate here was that death is a part of life and is always around us. When we start to look we can see it everywhere.

I am not particularly saddened by the death of animals, but human death i find disturbing. I have seen a dead human body once only and it did not look natural, like these animal deaths do.

I plan to advance this by looking more closely at decay.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Sally Mann & Wolfgang Tillmans

Beware, the second image in this post may make you feel uncomfortable.

Today I went to see two photographic exhibitions. I think I'm starting to give up pretending to care about other forms of art. Photographs are it, they're the one, they record every detail. They keep this moment and the nostalgic person in me treasures them. I think that part of having a bad memory is trying to make sure you never forget anything. And maybe part of feeling awkward in life is wanting to remember every single perfect moment.

I went to see an exhibition by Sally Mann (The photographer's gallery - Until September 19th), a photographer who I have liked since college, although i only recently discovered the techniques she uses and the methods possible to achieve so much clarity and detail.

I really like the way she captures moments of her children interacting with nature, doing what they wanted to do naturally, without having reached the moments in childhood where you begin to feel self conscious or worry about what you should or shouldn't do.

I loved this picture in particular, the way her daughter seems so oblivious to the camera and so peaceful in the open air. The focus is on the rocks, I somehow find photos more interesting when the focus is not in the obvious place.

I also feel that the fact that all of the photographs are in black and white makes them seem more timeless and altogether more about the moment, not the setting.

The exhibition was split into three parts; Family, Land and What Remains.

I found the 'What remains' part of the exhibition to be really unsettling. I read the warning before i entered the room, it was a theme i was very interested in. But still, seeing that level of detail in pictures of the human body decaying... for someone who fears death, I was a bit taken aback. And yet if the opportunity came up, I would take those photographs.

The photographs were of course both beautiful and timeless, the bodies looked as if they were trapped within different stages of decay. I sometimes think that humans are so afraid of death, we act like it's not going to happen, we say 'live for now' but are too afraid to actually do it. We bury our dead, we don't leave them to decay like this and therefore don't really see this, maybe this doesn't help us to accept that this is what will happen to us.

Next I went to see Wolfgang Tillmans (Serpentine Gallery - Until September 19th)

I wasn't sure what to expect for this one, and at first I wasn't impressed, all of the photographs were good, some were exceptional, but it seemed like there was no theme, they were like a mish-mash of snapshots. A picture of a runner next to a picture of boxes of eggs, an abstract photo next to a picture of the back of someones head.

There were a couple of things that ran through the exhibition though, a good eye for colour and what seemed like a fascination with light.

My favourite pictures were these:

They had that mystical feeling, that quality that you get from some art, the feeling when you don't know how it was done.

I went away thinking they looked like Cy Twomblys, if he were a photographer. I also thought they looked a bit like blood in water.

Altogether i thought both exhibitions were good and they gave me inspiration and ideas for my own artistic practice.

Edit: Decided this was too wordy so took out the press releases.

(All photographs are from the exhibition guides for the shows.)

Monday, 6 September 2010

Only one image

I took this a couple of weeks ago, It's the only grave image that I've taken that is personal to me.

I think this may just be one image that says everything to me and yet nothing to someone who has no explanation of it. Is it still art? I don't know if it matters when the lines between art and life blur. I almost feel that to say this was art would be to cheapen it.

I get a little heart tug, a strange feeling in my stomach, every time I look at this. At the same time I want to be strong and unfeeling as i am perceived to be and maybe as I am in many ways. However this may be the one thing that makes me have a reaction. One I don't want and feel guilty for not wanting.

Death is one of the only constants in life and yet it is one of the hardest consequences of life to accept, it is all around us and yet we are desensitized to it.

I don't know where i will go from here. Maybe I will avoid this photo for months, push it to the back of my mind and yet search for an answer of where i can go with this next. Maybe i will take the opposite route and stick it somewhere i can see it every day and torture myself with it, see if I can figure it out that way.