Saturday, 25 February 2012

25th February - c)

Taking Photos of Things, Through Things.

Along the theme of looking back at #2 related photographs today, and, to unfortunately quash the originality of a another's recent blog entry, I found these. 
This is not to say that taking photographs through a doubled or tripled (or other bigger numberings I don't know the words for, bigger than 8 at least...) lenses is original to me, of course it isn't, as long as there has been a lens, there has been another of sorts to overlay it (apart from the first ever lens, ever).

During University, and since, the issue, not of my own original ideas, but those ideas of others, glaringly similar, which have succeeded both my own, and those of #2, has arisen a few times...

It is of great annoyance when someone, irrespective of intent, takes an idea close to your heart and mind, and presents it (usually inconsiderately, clumsily,  much to your chagrin) as their own. What seems crazy to #2 and I, is that these sudden and inconsistent leaps in the practice of others is received without question from the friends and tutors of said people. 
More than anything it speaks of how little people seem interested in the making-motives of other makers, maybe. 
Some people do see the enterprise of Art bathed in a religious light, but, more often than not, finished ideas for projects or pieces come from somewhere, the very root of the inspiration itself may seem mystical and intangible, but by looking at the connected channels and pathways, very real, describable forces, inextricably linked to inspiration can be pinpointed.

Explained in some earnest, if slightly vague way.

We're not all David Lynch with our revelatory nocturnal dreams. True some of us get passing flashes of possible fruitful subject matter, but usually they are just that, passing flashes.
The real, steadfast, 'life's work' kind of interests rarely strike us this way.
In my experience at least, the base hunger is already there, before the flash of how to communicate its' nature occurs.

Phew, after that somewhat serious and potentially hazardous venture into several tenuous metaphors, it feels slightly amusing to note that in this particular instance (taking photographs through the lenses/viewfinders of separate objects/cameras), there is no deep meaning behind the images.
Simply, when I acquire a new camera, children's optical illusion toy, or, indeed, savory biscuit, it's exciting to me to see how things appear, differ, distort...

(And in the case of the Hasselblad, where fear and inexperience meant I couldn't use it correctly, I used my phone to substitute an image from its' sight!)

 So here we go.

 I apologize for the quality of these images, they're an average of 3 years old, of low resolution, and some have been transferred and compressed numerous times.

1) Through a poppyseed cracker

2) Through a Ladybird optical toy

3) Through a magnifying glass

4) Through various analogue camera viewfinders

(King K; sprinty 35mm)

(Minolta 450 pocket, 110 film)

(Minolta X-300 SLR, 35mm)

(Hasselblad 500 SLR, medium format film)

(on the off chance that you've never met me and don't recognize my humor, I'm kinda taking the piss with the visuals section here, but the words before them I meant.)

Happy Birthday #2


25th February - b)

25th February - a)

Looking through thousands of photographs of #2 in my store, I'm struck by the number of possible divisions and sub-sections I could compile, by image theme/subject matter, in one super folder of images of her. I never tire of photographing her.

This morning, in an attempt to pick out and compile a record of some of our more memorable recorded times, I was literally dumbfounded by the sheer number of candidates.

Sometimes, in deepest nostalgia I look over photographs of our times shared. Particularly those times that I convince myself I'm unfeeling, miserable and that I've never loved. I laugh at my idiocy, I laugh aloud at some of the faces we've made, the postures taken.

I just happened to single out these seven, while looking through folders of 'work' we've assembled, seeking examples of it. As is evident I didn't select any 'work', (of which there is a copious amount, and beautiful at that, yeah I said it, and it's true!) I was more interested, this morning, for the moment, in the fact that I have at my disposal many pieces of photographic evidence to support the claim that #2 owns a camera, and has, on occasion, used it.
What made me laugh was the fact that these were taken largely during our joint 1st year as Fine Art students, and since then, since #2 became an official Photography in the Arts student, she has probably used her camera significantly less! This not only helps to sum up her approach to making, but our relationship, and our approach to life at large. Wistful, a strange looking forward with semi-hope, and looking back in deep regret. Having some ridiculously big, crude laughs now and then. 

Friday, 24 February 2012

A visit to the Town of Cats

I've recently devoured all 623 pages of parts one and two of 1Q84 by one of my favorite authors Haruki Murakami. The translation was published last autumn, but I hadn't seen it in a book shop until a week ago. I had to read it.

It has been argued that his created fictional worlds are very similar, sometimes remarked as being too similar, or indeed, the same. I find this criticism to be a strange one. It seems odd to me to expect that each time one man digs into his psyche out of self-discovery and revelation, mining its' contents and sifting through the fragments to piece together a sense of himself, his place in the world, the nature of that world, and so forth, that that self should be completely different each time. It would be absurd, unreal, forged and to me, as a result, empty. What good is a fantastical story if it speaks of nothing in any earnestness?

When I read his fiction, more so even than when I've read his non-fiction, I get the distinct feeling that I'm truly privy to a human man revealing his inner self to me, in his confusion, his fear, his joy. Of course this happens within the works of countless authors, certainly all of my favorite writers, Lawrence, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Salinger, BolaƱo (obvious and teenage choices but they are at least honest, I've yet to devour anyone's words like I have those of these men, which is no small achievement given how difficult the act of reading is for me at times)... But, perhaps because of the times in which they were written, and the backgrounds to which each man was familiar, Murakami's work is easier.

I accept the fantastical when he writes about it. Like looking at a Gregory Crewdson photograph, or a Hopper painting, I don't care if the laws of the everyday or even Physics are defied, the angles are off, the limbs disproportionate, so? What the artist conveys is done in such a matter of fact, yet somehow, incredibly subtle way, hell, I'd be benighted if I didn't accept the presented outright.

Yet there is still this feeling that accompanies such acceptance, it's been called the Uncanny, Surreal, ghostly, macabre etc., etc., whatever you choose to call it, it's there. It isn't unpleasant for me though, that feeling.

In a chapter of the book, later published alone as a short story in The New Yorker, Murakami introduces the Town of Cats, it is a short story one of his protagonist's happens to be reading on a seemingly impulsive train journey to a sanatorium by the sea.

If you have any interest in learning about the story a little better give it a read. As a stand-alone piece it isn't the greatest, but within the book it serves a vital purpose. Walking around I often feel disengaged, as do most of us I'm told. When reading I feel I am at least engaged with someone, someplace. Book Three is connecting me at the moment, for how long, well, that's up to me... It is hard to hold out. Especially those sometimes when, after closing the books and setting them down, I feel like I've returned to the Town of Cats.