Saturday, 31 March 2012

pdfs sent to the printers

Finally finished all the edits and proof reading on my book Hospital School - A Year in the Life and sent it to the printers.
It's been a massive amount of work, but having seen the quality of printing on the proofs and having had so many eagle eyes checking and checking it I finally feel able to let go of it and wait for the physical book to materialise.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen – the second of two inspiring talks in one day

Went to a talk by photographer and writer team Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen at Foto 8.

I first came across Rob via his book 101 Billionaires, the ironic title of his documentation of the lives of the ordinary people of Russia who will never see any of that wealth. The 2nd edition is called 49 Billionaires. Last year I heard him talk at a conference about self publishing. Rob self publishes all his work and is fiercely determined to retain control over all aspects of the presentation and telling of his story.

Now he is working together with a writer on a much larger project, The Sochi Project, a 5 year documentation of the area around Sochi, an area on the edge of the Black Sea, in the lead up to the Winter Olympic games in 2014.

Jason Evans – the first of two inspiring talks in one day

First up was Jason Evans as part of our "Photography in Context" module at college. Jason works across all sorts of mediums and sets up a multitude of ways of working that I found quite inspiring. His Daily Nice website – a new photo everyday of something he sees that makes him happy, is wonderfully simple and engaging. He has also printed them up and given away as part of exhibitions. His exhibitions include wooden spoons! 

I really like his thinking around the difference between looking and seeing – makes me think of audio parallels of hearing and listening.

Also how he started off speaking of using the camera as a passport to experience – and that now he could imagine in years to come that he might not even be taking photographs any more.

Lots of interesting linkups of ideas – spoons and photographs? – they both deliver something to us...

His ideas on double exposures were interesting – how the final random results end up being something that defy strict authorship – how editing out "best " images isn't the useful focus - rather the process of all of the images.

He has interesting ideas on time and shooting projects and then not looking for them for a year so that his emotional engagement has loosened sufficient for a clearer eye on the edit.

And of course the fact that a lecturer comes in and says that Lighning Bolt is his favourite band!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

photography @ Imperial War Museum

Went to see 2 exhibitions at the Imperial War Museum:

 Ori Gersht: This Storm Is What We Call Progress and Shaped by War: Photographs by Don McCullin.

The Don McClullin exhibitions works well in the museum context – the inclusion of artefacts adding to the sense of sheer hard work and graft that McCullin exudes. Interesting to see the shift from photographs of conflicts to later work from the war in Bangladesh onwards where he focuses on the victims of war. Surprises included his moody landscapes of Somerset and playful photos of the Beatles. But it's his photography of conflict that stay – a shell shocked marine in Vietnam gazes blank and stunned from under his helmet – next to it a test print with instructions for the printer, although many are printed by McCullin himself.

The Ori Gersht by contrast is in colour and the prints both delicate and painterly. Cherry blossom shot at night dissolve into floating points of colour but referencing both Kamikaze badges of honour and Hiroshima's contaminated soil. A video re-enacts Walter Benjamin walking to safety in Spain on twin screens – juxtaposing landscape with an endless futile struggle. The show's title comes from Benjamin's writing on Klee's "Angelus Novus".

A Klee painting named “Angelus Novus” shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress. 

Walter Benjamin (1968) Illuminations: Essays and Reflections; ed. by Hannah Arendt, New York: Schocken Books, p257-8

Tabard Gardens nightscape

Tabard Gardens nightscape by mdx

Walking home from a rare visit to the pub. It reminds me of those kitsch landscape pictures made with silvery reflective material. I have some somewhere –


citylife by mdx

Saturday, 10 March 2012

February's photos

I'm still enjoying posting photos to flickr, making images manifest – but sometimes it seems that commenting on other peoples photos, and reading their comments on my photos can end up feeling like a distraction from actually looking, from seeing.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


1 by mdx

3 by mdx

4 by mdx

Last time I photographed my music class it was for the book  and I focussed mostly on the people and their activities. Yesterday I looked at the evidence – the tools of the trade.