Monthly Archives: February 2014

(c) Mishka Henner

Sean O’Hagan has written a beautifully direct piece for Photoworks.

He has walked the tightrope and done it with light feet, gently balanced arms and a sly grin mixed with intent and concentration.

“We are now living in a world where photography is constantly conflated with the photographic and that this has ramifications beyond the purely semantic, not least in the question: what makes a good photograph?.”

I can only encourage everyone to click here (or on the picture above) to be sent directly to O’Hagan’s essay… otherwise below to start at the beginning.

www.photoworks.org.uk

neg

The lights go back on after twenty odd minutes splashing about in the dark and all worries about what anyone else thinks are gone gone gone. Time to get motoring along. Between the days slipping away and my body falling apart there’s only precious moments to make little snaps and to enjoy the view. And that big glowing gg full of swirling movement and stark shapes is a lovely view no matter whether a sheet gets light on it or not.

#norestforthewicked

#whyinhellareweusinghashtagsforeverything

#gottastophashtagging

blacking out window

  1. Cannibalise old airfreight shipping crate for large cardboard sheet.
  2. Attack said cardboard with sharp knife to reduce size to that of large bathroom window.
  3. Use far too much gaff in an attempt to chase all the little bits of light crawling around the edges.
  4. Turn off lights and stand there for  looooong time identifying all the little leftover pinholes.
  5. Now the room is ready to shuffle sheet film through the soup when needed (shed a tear thinking about that lovely custom darkroom back at home).
  6. Snap pictures and shuffle.

(c) Susan Meiselas

It’s surprising just how severe a shift can be when you look at familiar pictures after a break and life changes.

I received a brand new copy of Meiselas’ Nicaragua the other day (to replace the banged up borrowed copy that I had returned some time ago)…

And as I slowly thumbed through the familiar pictures I suddenly stopped and my guts knotted… on a picture I knew about… a picture that was no surprise… a picture that is neither graphic nor gory… the two little boys dragged out from a bombed building; dying there on that checker floor with their blood smeared around. I just near wretched and quickly closed the book.

Such a severe reaction to what is a beautiful picture – beautiful in its palette and skin and the quiet eyes of the elder child – and horrifying in the event it documents. Sickening.

And all this is because of my children. That’s the pivotal, heavy change to make me spin when the page opened. A concept I would have easily dismissed before but now am utterly consumed by.

It must sound rather silly of me to be having this epiphany… most reading this would be slapping their foreheads and shouting “NO SHIT!”… but I guess I’m a little slow off the mark.

Her work somehow now means something completely different to me.

www.susanmeiselas.com

The Daily Telegraph

I checked twitter early this morning and was confused about a few people a touch upset with the Daily Telegraph (a Murdoch tabloid in Sydney, Australia)… it’s not an uncommon thing… the Tele is known to aim straight at emotive response and binary language… so I went looking… and now I know what they’re angry about.

It’s a shocker of a headline… and that’s all.

Many people need to remember (and truly come to terms with the fact) that being offended is not reason to censor, banish or forcefully remove (there seem to be a few random comments from the ‘left’… and that astounds me)… it’s reason to not purchase the thing or to cancel subscriptions and to loudly denounce the work with your reasoning and own opinion and to debate the qualities of the thing in question… for if people get on this lynching train again we’re playing into stupidity… and let’s be honest that ‘the charge of offence’ has been aimed squarely at any number of artists and organisations (and to be pointed – many photographers… Serrano, Mann, Henson… and on it goes) in an attempt to claim criminality, moral destitution or to in some way agitate for the removal of public funding.

So let’s all just calm down a touch and engage with it rather than shout from the castle walls. Some of the “the ABC wasn’t this bad” comments are equally silly and useless and turn this into some sort of partisan debate. It’ll just turn the next fight over the next Piss Christ (for there will be a ‘next one’ as surely as there will be a sunset and sunrise in the next 24hrs) will have the two parties simply swapping stances…yawn.

KIDS GRIEVE FOR JUNKIE ACTOR DAD

Phillip Seymour Hoffman always kept his three children out of the spotlight, but Cooper, Willa and Tallulah, pictured last April, will be struggling to understand how he died in the bathroom of his New York apartment, inset, with a hypodermic needle still in his arm.”

Opiates have taken many talented people away from us (Whiteley, Cobain, Staley). Opiates have destroyed both the Resilient and the Vulnerable. Opiates have been the conduit or enabler for stunning creativity (Burroughs) in amongst fuelling the stunningly foul and selfish stupidity (Burroughs). Opiates have eased the suffering of the frighteningly injured and the terminally ill. Opiates have been the haven for many away from their torture. Opiates have been the plaything of social settings and the foundation of commercial movements (thank you heroin chic for all the silliness). Wars have been waged on opiates, against opiates and have at times been largely funded by opiates.

This creative life and lonely death does not deserve such an infantile headline… in fact, more importantly… who would (or could possibly) deserve such a thing?

(c) Nicholas Nixon

You all know I’m a fan of Nicholas Nixon… the more time I spend looking at some of his pictures the more I find in their simplicity… and of course the stunning prints he has made over the years are a joy to stand in front of (for he is a photographer more interested in the print as his object).

He’s always showing… and he’s also now making colour pictures (a grand departure from what most of us know him for).

And he’s acutely aware of his mortality and declining physicality… it’s interesting to see his own skin appearing more and more in the pictures as it grows weathered with time.

Hats off to him and hats off to his efforts… may they continue.

(c) Daisuke Yokota

The new issue has dropped – pictures pictures pictures. I don’t know about reinventing the medium but I like looking at what people are up to.

Unless You Will has been chugging along for a good bit of time releasing a heap of big issues (well… twenty nine to be accurate…). Romano should be proud and congratulated.

So as always KisimP is urging you to scurry over and get the new issue!

You can find it here.