Thursday, 31 May 2012

Camera Obscura

Zoe Leonard created a camera obscura at Camden Art Centre for her exhibition Observation Point.
Camera Obscura by mdx

Monday, 28 May 2012

Book launch of Hospital School - A Year in the Life

My book launch was a wonderful event - a whole bunch of people, friends, students, children, teachers, medical staff and tutors all turned up to enjoy music, food, drink and a raffle while I took ny 3 minutes of fame and  signed books all night!

I (almost) enjoyed giving a speech describing the process of making the book

signing the books was more fun

 especially with the special signing pen.

Hannah played piano and sang a song 

and then we heard Ignite, a group from Wigmore Hall.

more about the book here:

Photographs by Will Dawson, a talented young photographer - check out his work here:

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Questions asked of photographers @

Questions asked of photographers @ 

Style of photography:
Type of camera(s):
What gives you inspiration?
What are your influences?
Why did you choose these photos?
What does photography mean to you?

the world waits on our doorstep

the world waits on our doorstep by mdx

This evening as I walk to the shop I see a man I dislike. He sits on a wall and doesn't see me approach, I walk close by him saying nothing - the same on the way back home.

From my front door I see my neighbours sitting outside with their new baby - we call across to each other cheerily.

I have a recurring notion to photograph the estate where I live. Why do I need to be somewhere else? The world waits on our doorstep.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

man in suit with bag

man in suit with bag by mdx

man in suit with bag on the phone
man in suit with bag on the phone leaning
man in suit with bag on the phone leaning in the sun
man in suit with bag on the phone leaning in the sun at midday
man in suit with bag on the phone leaning in the sun at midday on a Tuesday
man in suit with bag on the phone leaning in the sun at midday on a Tuesday in London
man in suit with bag on the phone leaning in the sun at midday on a Tuesday in London outside a train station

Monday, 21 May 2012

Sunday, 20 May 2012

sign vs signifier

sign vs signifier by mdx

One of the first photos from the 2nd A303 trip. This time shot on digital with a 50mm lens on a wet, rainy Thursday afternoon. Instead of stopping at lay-bys I parked at service stations and photographed the signs in the landscape, the petrol stations, the cafes and the motels. In many ways it all feels done to death, certainly from an American angle, but there doesn't seem a similar canon for England and the road. Certainly Paul Graham's A1 - The Great North Road is an influence as is Radio On by Chris Petit.

Friday, 18 May 2012


I've started reading HIGHARTLITE by Julian Stallabrass. The first part "Famous for being Famous" dissects Damien Hirst's appeal and strategies - describing him and his work as "a collage of quickly recognisable cliche". I walk through Hirst's current show at the Tate this afternoon – it feels empty. Full of stuff and full of people – but empty.

On the other side of the mountains

I put up Rob Hornstra's DIY exhibition / newspaper – On the other side of the mountains  at college today for the end of term Madfest. Here's an article on the making of it

Thursday, 17 May 2012

group show

It was a learning experience putting the work up and getting it level. We went for a centre line height of 152cm and just finished in time. Started with the middle and worked outwards. Having a piece of card marked with the width between prints helped. I had made captions for each photo, the name of the nearest woodland or if not, then road, but it took away from the images. Much stronger without, and the same information is on the intro text anyhow.

Last week I took the trip along the A303 again and shot 250 digital images – service stations and cafes.

The whole show looked really good together, a real range of approaches on the documentary theme. When I get some time I'll scan my negatives.

The show goes up.

Christina's landscapes – like paintings.

Karen's portraits exploring family likenesses.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The Way We See It

Flyer for our group show opening tomorrow at London Gallery West - no less!
It's an interesting process collaborating with people, and particularly photographers(!)
Tomorrow we hang our work, I'm really looking forward to seeing it all up on the wall.

A bunch of quotes about "documentary photography"

A bunch of quotes about "documentary photography" from exhibitors at our group show. We plan on using it as a poster at the exhibition.

 The photograph isn't what was photographed. It's something else. It's a new fact.
 Garry Winogrand

Documentary: That’s a sophisticated and misleading word, and not really clear. The term should be documentary style. You see, a document has use, whereas art is really useless.
Walker Evans

When I lie, I am closer to the truth than documentary photography.
Tono Stano

 Photography for me is not looking, it's feeling.
 Don McCullin

A documentary photograph is not a factual photograph per se. It’s a photograph which carries the full meaning of the episode.
 Dorothea Lange

Documentary carries (old) information about a group of powerless people to another group addressed as socially powerful.
Martha Rosler

Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Robert Frankz To me, photography is an art of observation. It's about finding something interesting in an ordinary place.... I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
Elliott Erwitt

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

film swap edits

film swap image 8 by mdx
film swap image 7 by mdx
film swap image 6 by mdx
3 edits from the film swap series.
A square crop gives the option of leaving out the black line of the negative edge.
And a chance to edit.

These are strange photographs. It's hard to locate meaning in them. Although H laughed when he saw the squashed plastic bottle and the rubbish bin.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

film swap

want to try a film swap? by mdx
On March 4th I posted a project idea on my Flickr photo stream :

"the idea is that you shoot a roll of film - and then wind it back but leaving a bit sticking out, like this one I shot earlier  - then you post your film  to me and I'll post you this film and then we shoot the films over again - ending up with a film each of exciting double exposures - want to try it out? (I shot this @ iso 400)"

Not a totally original idea (is anything?) - there's a few flickr groups doing it here:
although mostly interested in swapping films between distant locations.

Anyhow - flickr photographer Caroline Fraser was up for it, and so I posted her my film.
And waited.
And after a while I received a black and white film in return which I eventually got round to shooting.

Caroline posted an interesting article on her blog exploring the potential risks of collaborating with a stranger (something I hadn't considered), the joy of shooting film, and the intrigue of the whole process of deciding what of your life to share with a stranger.

Following from Caroline's lead I took mine to Snappy Snaps for dev and printing and once again waited.
The anticipation and thrill of picking up your photos is lost in this digital age.  The frames inevitably overlapped (Snappy Snaps thoughtfully didn't cut the negatives) and their decision to print a particular frame adds a further level of editing to the final selection.

Ownership is interesting – I guess we both own all of it, which is kind of unusual for a photographer. Not for a musician (I'm always making this comparison). Reminds me of David Campany and Polly Braden's photographs of the Lee Valley shot on one shared camera – allegedly loosing track of who took which photograph. In the way that everything starts to refer back to something else I'm reminded of a musical collaboration I did back in 2000 with a musician in Oakland .

Not sure what we do with them – something we haven't discussed, but in a way the process of doing it and thinking about it is great in itself – so thanks Caroline for boldly collaborating with a stranger!

film swap image 1film swap image 5film swap image 4film swap image 3film swap image 2

Thursday, 3 May 2012

A303 - The Road West

A303 - The Road West by mdx

One of nine landscapes from my 'A303 - the Road West' series. A low quality scan from a print, just to get an image for the exhibition's flyer. A group show of our classes work on this terms theme - documentary.

It's been an interesting process - doing the visual research - the textual research - writing about the process and then seeing how doing all that helps or hinders the final outcome. The formality of the work book can be frustrating but it's useful - even if not immidiately obviously so.

I'm keen to put the work up and see it on the wall. I spent a good while pondering text to accompany it but for now it's just the title  'A303 - the Road West' and then 1 - Untitled, 2 Untitled and so on. Maybe later if/as it develops I'll find the text.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Hans-Peter Feldmann

Went to see Hans-Peter Feldmann's show at the Serpentine and then to see and hear him talk at the V&A. He started off talking about the joy of seeing art on toilet walls. How every sees it but no one knows who did it. The daily art that you don't see in museums. As with singing which everyone can do - but only some end up performing on the stage. A quote from Nils Bohr - something about realising his model of the atom was not a final point but just a step on the way. Bohr also said "there are some things so serious you have to laugh at them". He described two photos - a photo of a small girl and a photo of the Matterhorn. Putting them together our brain automatically starts making stories - she died in an accident on the mountain etc. The atmosphere of a series of images. A series of photographs of car radios called "Pictures of Car Radios Taken While Good Music was Playing (Ansichten von Autoradios, in denen gerade gute Musik spilt)". Paintings made cross-eyed, seascapes with the ships painted out and just the sea and sky left. Finding pictures in books - that someone would leave it there to keep it safe - the handbags - bought of women in a restaurant for 500 euros and the bag and contents displayed in a case. Eleven out of fifteen women he asked said yes. - "i don't believe in complicated things" putting the hand in the picture to show the size - all unlimited editions I liked his direct uncomplicatedness - and he was funny - always a bonus.