Wednesday, October 31

Bound Paper Treasure #2

Hi guys,
It's back to my bookshelf today to give you a taster of a few more of my favourite photography books :) You can catch up on the previous instalment here.

25 Years collects just that: 25 years of Mary Ellen Mark's work. Her documentary photographs are successful not only because of their beauty but also because it is clear that Mark strikes up real relationships with her subjects. She has caught up with many of the people she photographed over the years, so that we meet them again and again at different stages in their lives. Her subject matter ranges widely. Homeless children and families, white supremacists, a school for the blind, the closed ward of a hospital, an Indian circus, Mother Theresa's home for the dying..

The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater is Ralph Eugene Meatyard's final work. He began the series after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. These playful masked portraits are a good bye to Meatyard's family and friends, a coming to terms with his own impending death. It is an intimate portrait and yet, with their identities hidden behind masks and under the alias of "Lucybelle Crater" this also becomes the archetype of family life: This could be you. It could be me.

The title and captions were inspired by Flannery O'Connor's short-story The Life You Save May Be Your Own and in sequence the series turns into a poem.

Published after Meatyard's death, Lucybelle has been much misrepresented and misunderstood. You just cannot do it justice when viewed out of sequence or with captions omitted. So if you are interested, be sure to pick up the James Rhem edition, which is the only one I know of that does this powerful work justice.

Nicholas Nixon collects some of the works of the photographer of the same name.
Nixon's masterful group portraits really stick out for me, beautiful images of his own family (amongst other a series of yearly portraits of his wife and her sisters taken over two decades) add a light hearted touch. But there are also images depicting the fragility of old age and terminal illness.  Nixon is no man of words (or not, in any case, of captions), his emotive images do all the talking.

Americans We collects a selection of photographs from a number of series by photo journalist Eugene Richards.

This man must have such a way with people, for he captures intimate images even of those he has only just met.  The captions that accompany his images add an extra dimension, allowing the viewer just a little bit closer into what we are seeing. I enlarged the captions a little in photoshop so you get a little taste of his words too :)

I am itching to get a hold of some of his more recent work :)

That's it for today.
More of my book shelf another day :)

Monday, October 29

What's the time again?

If you dislike the switch over to winter time - I am so with you. To me it always seemed a pointless endeavour (saving electricity, as if). I for one would much rather spend my mornings in the dark than my afternoon.

These photos are from way back right at the start of October, when the light was still with me on my cycle home from work. I had just dyed this dress (which used to be black & white) giving it a new lease of life and hiding a bunch of faded coffee stains in the process..

I have a feeling I have shared this song before, but it's stuck in my head once again. Only now I keep watching this guy's hands whenever they're in shot and am wondering how long it might take me until I can play a tune like this (and without turning it into mincemeat..). I think I need to brush up on my patience in 2013 ;)

Have a great start to the week!

beret: eBay
dress: highstreet (dyed)
card & shoesi: highstreet
belt: vintage store
tights: online store

Saturday, October 27

Odds and sods

A damaged Type 55 positive from my portrait shoot with a work colleague

Said colleague made our whole department virgin cocktails one lunchtime. I'll have to agree with our coffee cups: Life is grand alright :)

Finally: Chunky & chewy - not burnt. My kinda granola :)

I had my first lesson yesterday. My fingernails are going to be shorter from now on. At least on my left hand.. ;)

Like tire tracks

Tackling the dreaded hemming pile

Christening spoon and ornate spoon
As soon as we really have all manner of household items already we asked that our friends and family not give us housewarming presents, but if they really could not resist, one could never have too many spoons :)

These brushed steel leaves are housewarming spoons too. Inspired by the ancient Asian tradition of using leaves as eating utensils, this design can be used to scoop your meal or prong it with the pointy edge. Pretty nifty, hey?

So long :)

Thursday, October 25

Eddie ate dynamite and the fog never lifted

It's been dead foggy this week and I have had a blast taking photos in the pea soup :)

This is actually the second set of photos of this dress, but the other is scheduled to post waaay towards the end of the year. I am taking outfit shots most every day and am squirreling them away like some winter weary rodent.

Well, you can tell the following photos were taken lateron, but the mist never lifted fully that day..

Eddie with the explosive diet in the post title is just a reference to a mnemonic to memorise guitar strings - I am messing with our new to us guitar at all acceptable hours.

And a mushroom, because Kaylah is no big influence on this blog at all. No, no ;)

Until next time!

dress: online store
denim jacket & tights: eBay
ankle boots, hat & coat: highstreet

Tuesday, October 23

Mama there's wolves in the house..

Here I am, one early October morning :)

It's been one lazy old weekend over here. We gave Oxjam a miss as soon as I had a hell of a headache. It was biscuits and TV all the way from there. Well: Biscuits, TV and looking up chords, which I am trying my damnedest to memorise (never mind getting my sausage fingers to co-operate just yet). David got us a guitar to learn on through freecycle. Wouldn't it be nice if I discovered a musical bone after all? Either way, it's going to be fun getting to grips with the basics. Something exciting for the coming dark days :)

Also, I am hooked on these songs:

Have a great start to the week!

hat: present (hand me down)
sweater, coat, tights & boots: online store
skirt: etsy (VimVigorVintage)

Sunday, October 21

Show and Tell: My awesome field camera

I have run out of re-recording steam, so without further ado and with many a jump cut, here is a little show and tell for you guys:

I didn't go into much detail, but if there is anything particular you'd like to know or see, just shout me in the comments :)

Have a fantastic weekend!

Friday, October 19

Bound Paper Treasure

I am a big e-reader fan. Digital ink allowed us to give box after box of our books to charity, books that were taking up much needed living space in our tiny shoe box of a home. We've moved since and have a living space just the right size for the two of us. Still, it's nice not to have five double-stacked shelfing units towering over us, we now only have one in our living room (okay, I am willfully ommitting the ton of books shelved in the stair cupboard..).

The dusty smell of old paper is like perfume, but I much prefer reading print on an e-reader, which does wonders for those of us who have to close physical books due to eye strain after only a couple of hours and can't deal with small print. However, there are some books that aren't suitable e-reader material: The one shelf in our living room is where my photographic monographs hold pride of place.

When I was studying I loved hiding out in the library and I always had ten books on loan at a time. Some I kept taking out over and over again and when I finished my studies and handed back my library card there were a few books I missed thumbing through more than any of the others. Over the following Christmases and birthdays my own collection of photographic monographs began to grow. I thought I'd make a start at sharing some of my all time favourites (in no particular order) with you today :)

Richard Avedon's In the American West is a collection of photographs taken between 1979 and 1984 when Avedon set up his studio equipment and 8x10 camera in 13 states and 189 towns from Texas to Idaho. He sought out his models in state fairs, factories, slaughterhouses, ranches and roadside diners. I bet you've all seen at least one of the images in the series: The beekeeper

Avedon's blank white backgrounds, the tight frame and unusual cropping.. man. Sometimes picking up this books makes me want to burn my cameras because I'll never create something anywhere near this awesome, but other days it spurns me on instead. It's a truely insipiring piece of work.

You can read a more detailed account of this piece over here.

I am the girl with the snake around her neck and My brother the mud monster by Denise Dixon

The devil is spying on the girls by Sebastian Gomes Hernandes

Secret Games contains few of Ewald's own photographs. Instead it collates her collaborations with children in various countries and across different social groups between 1969 and 1999: She would equip groups of kids with instant cameras to depict their daily lifes, hopes and dreams. Through a child's eye you thus gain a glimpse into the day to day of youngster growing up in different cultures and across social classes.

The spontaneous, uncomplicated way in which these children turn their dreams into images and the unselfconscious way in which they record their family life is inspiring and the striking similarities across the globe just go to show that we have a lot in common eventhough our backgrounds may vary.

Sally Mann might just be my favourite photographer of them all. I have most of her books, but these three are my favourites. 

At Twelve collects photographs of young girls between childhood and adolescense. The composition of each photograph is stunning and many of the captions are rather hard hitting.

Immediate Family is an uncompromising selection of family photographs depicting not only the special occasions we usually record in our family albums but also those moments of childhood we fail to record. Tears, bloody noses and wet beds, the kind of moments every family experiences but we usually aim to forget. I don't believe she set out to shock but that her work is just plain honest.  Not everybody does: Immediate Family was her most controversial series.

What Remains contains three seperate series of photographs centering around mortality, landscapes where much blood has been shed and very literally: The decay of the body after death. Now, some people have had a look at this book and recoiled but I find it beautiful and reassuring.

To me there seems to be a calmness to all of Mann's work, a curiosity and deep sincerity in the way she expresses herself through the camera.

You can see interviews with Sally Mann below:

That's all folks.
More of my bookshelf another day :)

Wednesday, October 17

Cherry Hinton Hall

I've been living in Cambridge on and off for the past eleven years, but until the last day of September I'd never been for a walk in Cherry Hinton Hall park.

That said, I vividly remember crashing the Folk Festival held on the site back in 2001 ;) A few friends and I joined hands and danced right in. For the record: Nowadays I hold tickets for the festivals I attend ;)

Back to the present, and we went for an early autumn walk while my parents were visiting. My Dad snapped plenty of photos of me while my Mom found numerous camera worthy bits and bobs and David explored some childhood haunts.

This weekend I set up shop in my little garage studio for the very first time. I hadn't used my flash kit and large format camera in over four years, so I had been secretly worried I might have forgotten the tricks of the trade.

Thank goodness: Turns out it's just like cycling ;)

I am a big fan of Polaroid Type 55 film (it's an instant film for large format cameras, which gives you a 5x4 inches in size positive and a negative too). The negatives are painfully fragile but oh so creamy and gorgeous! I finished my last project just as Polaroid was closing up shop and eversince I've been a Scrooge about the 40 sheets of film left over after I completed that series of portraits.

Eventually I came to the conclusion there is no point in letting my precious film go to waste right there in it's original packaging and I finally broke open my last but one box.

New55, collaborating only informally with the Impossible Project, is working on creating a film inspired by the Polaroid classic, but I'll have to wait quite a while longer before I can top up my dwindling treasure.

Stupidly I checked out eBay and though I had guessed as much, it was still difficult to stomach just how much my little box of film is currently worth. As tempting as making between 100 and 200 dollars for only half my reserve sounds, I am really more likely to splurge on somebody else's stock than give up my own.

Meanwhile I am getting ready to use "proper" sheet film. No more instant gratification for me ;)

Now that I've "gotten back on the horse" I am thinking I might do a little video showing you guys my large format camera. Chances are I'll bore you out of your skulls, but you don't see field cameras around very much and.. obviously I think they are the bee's knees.

Anything in particular you'd like to know about it or shall I just give you a little tour of my favourite toy?

scarf: present
cardi: supermarket
dress: etsy (IsabelKnowles)
belt: highstreet
tights & trainers: eBay