Friday, 29 June 2012

Union Press

Union Press by mdx
Inspirational stuff on Union Street, Borough, London. A temporary print space setting out to explore the legacy of the print trade along Union Street and the surrounding area but ending up intersecting and engaging with the local community in a range of surprising ways.  I happened on it yesterday along with fellow photography students.

One person was collecting tiny plants that grow along the street, pressing them, making prints and cataloguing them. Another person was collecting people's observations of life happening on the street and printing them out on a photocopier.
Union Press - What can you see? by mdx

There had been other intriguing projects - making prints with sheets of plywood and a steam roller - collecting tweets and printing them with stencils by hand - slowly.

Here's more

This afternoon I'd planned to go busking with the folk band under Southwark bridge, beside the Thames, our favourite spot – dark and cool in the summer with wonderful acoustics.
But instead we played inside the Union Press structure.
We all fitted in – Jo on whistles, Jo on guitar, Jill on dustbin bass, Martin on accordion, Jim on Mandolin and Roberto on violin.

booklaunch for "i saw a tiger running wild" by mdx

I'm reminded of this photo taken six years ago - and of x-chris and 56a bookshop.

 h brought his pig mask by mdx

Back in 2006 the wee fella was a year old
and –  I saw a Tiger Running Wild... in Burgess Park
or was it a crowman.

  crowman by mdx

Friday, 22 June 2012

photographer vs punter – participating and observing

I was there by mdx

stonehenge summer solstice by mdx
I planned to visit Stonehenge at the summer solstice to see if I could take photographs for my "A303 - The Road West" project.

I had ideas about photographing the stones and people from the four compass points, using medium format film, setting up automatic methods of how and what to photograph.
DD – Stonehenge – Solstice – 2012 by mdx

In the end I went with Deirdre and it shifted into being there, dodging the rain and soaking up the atmosphere.
cops in a field at night by mdx

It got me thinking how taking photographs often works best for me as a solitary activity.

It requires getting into a mode of observing rather than participating.

And although I can still interact with people it is from the role of photographer rather than punter.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Free Range View

Free Range View by mdx

University of Westminster BA Photography degree show

Last night was the private view of University of Westminster’s BA Photography degree show at Free Range in the Truman’s Brewery on Brick Lane. I worked on the bar for the first hour, realising a long held intrigue with being behind the bar rather than in front of it. I came back to see the show again in the quiet of the morning, along with shows from other colleges in the galleries next door. The Westminster show always feels a weighty affair and this year lightness was in short supply. A preponderance of work showcasing family illness, death and disease. A few more laughs would have been welcome - ironic ones even. It's a big show but missing some of previous year's prints of epic scale and quality, but still there’s much to intrigue, and as with music, some take time to grow into awareness. 
Three works that stuck with me. Edward Shaw’s topological portraits of trees in London parks shot on infra red film - the one big print on the wall alongside large, landscape format book. It’s quaintly old fashioned and yet satisfying in the circular scope of its remit. Council housing is an attractive proposition to photograph and flickr is a good starting point, take a look at and The Heygate estate at the Elephant and Castle has been done by every Tom, Dick and Harry – but Brendon Fraser’s work has a light touch both in composition and display, and yet I want it to say more – for it to be THE defining epic statement on photographing the Heygate. Having said that I think it might have been done (although in a different sense and for the whole Elephant and Castle) in Home from Home by Eva Sajovic in 2010. Ultimately it’s probably the fact that I didn’t have a go at it myself – though I do have some old snaps from when I used to visit my mate Steve on the 7th floor of Kingshill… 
But the piece that stays is Children have to go to school… adults go wherever they want by Lauren Lees, humble on the wall it makes most sense as a book. Lauren works collaboratively with children shooting a disposable film a week with minimum directorial input – it really feels, as the photographer steps out of the way, like it’s uncovering something vitally interesting through the images and texts of life lived at the age of ten. Other works to enjoy are Aredi Lambrechts urban landscapes, Sunhil Shah’s Uganda Stories, Veronika Abrandt and Katherina Dressel’s Robinson-esque journey down the river Lea and Sherry Cutler’s Traumascapes using authentic crime scene photographs. This year more than ever before I can actually imagine showing some of my work at the degree show in 2014 – in fact I’m almost looking forward to it!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Photographing musicians

Lucy9mm @ RB&H Arts benefit gig by mdx

Lucy9mm @ RB&H Arts benefit gig by mdx

Groanbox @ RB&H Arts benefit gig by mdx
A return to photographing musicians - I'd forgotten the joy of it, especially when there's room to move and it's all purely to please yourself. The last time was probably two years ago at the memorial gig for trumpet player and composer Harry Beckett, a musical mentor in many ways. That gig I shot with my old Nikon D80 - I got maybe a couple of useable shots from the whole night. Last night with the D700 was a whole different world - the one thing that was going to be OK was the exposure, fine even up to 6400ASA which left me to grapple with the flashing stage lights, shooting at f1.4 and figuring what was going to be in focus and then  - composing the shot.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

H via InstaCRT's “real world” filter

H via InstaCRT's “real world” filter by mdx
You take a photo on your iPhone with the InstaCRT app, it gets sent to Sweden, displayed on a 1" CRT, re-photographed and sent back in under 25 seconds – I don't quite know why I find this intriguing - but I do!